The Alt-Tab-while-you're-waiting Trap

Today I’m working on a complicated database driven web page. I edit the source using vim on the main file server. In order to get the file onto the webserver, I then quit out of the file and a script checks my syntax and ftps the file into the correct location on the webserver. Once its there, my prompt returns and I know its time to refresh the web page. Which is interesting, but if you are still reading then you must be wondering what my point is.

Its this, the file check and write takes too long. Its not ages, its like, seven seconds. But its long enough for me to jump to the other window (or in this case, tab) and read the next headline in my feedreader, or the message in my chat window … and you can guess what happens next! I read the article, or reply to the message, or whatever. About three minutes later (if I’m lucky), I’ll remember to refresh the page, check my changes and go on with the task in hand.

This is why all programmers need fast hardware and efficient tools to develop with. My waiting attention span just isn’t long enough to wait more than about three seconds for compile/upload/reload/whatever else is needed. I think I can multitask but actually I end up distracting myself completely!

Speaking of which, my upload is finished ….

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