The Olduvai Imperative

Joe Gregorio

When I see the very cool things Jon Udell has done with my sparklines code I simultaneously feel elated and frustrated. Elated that someone can do cool stuff and possibly make a difference using code I wrote. Frustrated that our tools today are so crude that it takes very specialized knowledge to blend all these technologies together. The ability to create those graphs needs to be in the hands of everyone, not just those of us practiced in a very narrow set of arcana. When I think of the hurldes to that I think of Steve Yegge's rant:

You have no idea the pain I feel when I sit down to program. I'm walking on razor blades and broken glass. You have no idea the contempt I feel for C++, for J2EE, for your favorite XML parser, for the pathetic junk we're using to perform computations today. There are a few diamonds in the rough, a few glimmers of beauty here and there, but most of what I feel is simply indescribable nausea.

And the title of this post? The Olduvai Impertive is the name given to the human need to make and use tools.

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