Satchmo on Software

Since moving the the DC region, I’ve taken an interest in jazz. I was listening to a podcast over the weekend and learning about the life of Louis Armstrong. He is recognized as a foundational influence in jazz shifting focus from collective improvisation to solo performers. According to many critics his creative leadership was waning by the mid 1950s. The host on the show said that he spent the rest of his life "exploring the beauty of the craft he helped create". I’m not nearly knowledgeable enough about jazz to comment on the timeline but the comment stuck with me.


As as software developer, there is a steady pressure to keep learning about the industry and experiment with new tools and technologies. I’m far too young to think that I will be able to retire with the knowledge I have now, so it’s a given that I’ll have to reinvent myself multiple times even if I keep the same job title. Does this mean that even if I deliver hit after hit for my clients that at some point I’ll be ushered off stage as my jazz looses popularity to some new R&B sounds? Is there an option for me to explore the music that I’m working with now?

I recently wrote a script to combine and format text files. There’s nothing exciting about the technology. There was no differentiation between the script I wrote recently, and my first programming assignments in high school. Was I really going to deliver work that could have been written by a freshman???

As I meditated on this, I realized that I could comment the code and refactor it so that next time a one-off request comes through, someone else could modify my code and reuse it. I added some logging so that the results could be independently verified and analyzed. I made a simple User Interface for selecting folders and files. The end result is still the same, but I feel that the product is now fit for use. It is in no way revolutionary, but for our current needs, it fits perfectly.

From February 1 to May 2, 1964 the Beatles held the #1 Billboard spot with hits including "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "She Loves You", and "Can’t Buy Me Love". On May 9, 1964 Louis Armstrong ends the Beatles 14 week streak atop the Billboard charts with "Hello, Dolly"

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