Monday, November 18, 2013

Writing from my other life, in languages both foreign and strange

In my other life, a huge software release looms on the horizon: December 7th! The outcome of this December day may not be as catastrophic as that fateful day in 1941, but close. I don’t anticipate any loss of life, at least not yet. Tears? Shouting? Pulling out hair? Yes, yes, and yes. But blood will not be shed (at least not by me).

In my other life, I am a software engineer, one who has put in a huge amount of overtime lately for the aforementioned release. While consumed with my work, I thought it would be interesting to share some snippets of the writing I do when not slaying dragons and chasing elves in novels.

The languages presented are nearly as ancient as Latin, and some may add just as dead. Some (re: my sons) would argue I'm just as old. Maybe I am, but it's been a challenging and rewarding career. Anyone who guesses the languages wins . . . um . . . a hearty pat on the back. I don’t have anything to give away just yet :-)   

Some may find it strange when I say that programming is much like writing a novel. A problem is presented to me, a goal is spelled out. It is my job to start at point A and design a process to solve the problem (plot), code the process (write the draft novel), wind my way through all the landmines and obstacles and testing (edit draft, write, cut, edit, write, cut, cut) until I have a final shining product that works (a story people will enjoy reading). 

A little known fact is that most software engineers read fantasy, while the hardware geeks (you know, the guys who can build a motherboard with their eyes closed) read science fiction. Go figure.

If anyone asks me what I do other than write, I can honestly say that I write software.
I've left a message below coded in IBM EBCDIC.  Code is read vertically and then left to right. (E3 is one letter) Want to try and decipher the message? You'll get another pat on the back. :-)


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