Been quiet for a couple of weeks for a good reason: It was about time to get my laptop (where all of my blogging happens) back to fitness.
I tend to consider a proven fact of life that even if you try to keep the amount of
crap evaluation software you install in your workstation, it will eventually slow down with the time. Hard disk defragmentation, virtual images and other maintenance tasks help to lengthen the life of your fit system, but there is no better thing than a clean "reset" once in a while.
Accepting that fact leads you to do things in order to prepare for that day, the day in which your system will be fast and shiny again. As I had accepted the fact, the first thing I did after getting my working laptop and installing the basics of a development machine (Windows Service Packs and fixes, Visual Studio, Resharper,...) was running a free disk imaging software to get an snapshot of a "clean" system.
But time passes. And newer versions, Service Packs and things-that-are-indispensable get released. That way, an 1-odd year old disk image is not fit anymore. And that takes a loooot of time.
I spent solid 6+ hours to get my usual software stack back to current. And that is only because I had already installed the OS and base software and knew exactly what I wanted and got most of the binaries with me. Imaging adding some more hours of OS installing and downloading mammoth-size software packages to that time count.
Roughly, since last year, this happened in my standard stack world:
- Windows XP Service Pack 3
- .Net Framework 3.5 SP1
- Visual Studio SP1
- SQL Server 2008 Express (plus SP1)
- Asp .Net MVC v1
- Silverlight 2
- Resharper 4.5
- Visual SVN Server 1.7.2
- Tortoise Svn 1.6.2
- AnkshSvn 2.0.6347 (although it does not work with latest Subversion version :-(, yet)
- Enterprise Library 4.1 (and v5 cooking)
- NUnit 2.5
- Rhinomocks 3.5
- Notepad++ 5.3.1
- KDiff3 0.9.95
- DiffMerge 3.3.0
- Some more I can't remember from the top of my head
And those do not include any of the myriads (not really, just about the dozen) of drivers and utility updates from Lenovo and the billions (again, dozenS with a big S) of software updates from Microsoft.
Do not get me wrong, I must love the fact that software is moving (and I heartily do) because it means we have better, more secure, feature-complete and less-buggy software (in some cases even faster software) in 90% of the cases (the remaining 10% is for feature-bloat ¬¬).
But it just takes and awful lot of time.
Just imagine that independent/solo developer/consultant that charges by the hour. The prospect of a day downloading and installing software and praying that everything goes according to plan, is not the image of a non-billable day that he has in mind (I guess his thoughts involve margaritas and hammocks or a family outing -that may or may not include margaritas and hammocks-).
But hey! It has to be done. We are craftsmen and we need to keep our tools sharp or else....
One can argue that most (but not all) of the software aforementioned has some some sort of update-push system. Meaning that even if I knew that something has to be downloaded I'd have to wait for a suitable (for their systems and mine) slot of time for my system to be updated.
And then I'd have to wait some more hours (or days) to take yet another disk snapshot that will be outdated in less time than the previous.
Isn't progress a wonderful thing?