Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Write Once Memory

I used to work with a colleague who I believe had what I liked to call 'write once memory'.

Basically, once they had been exposed to an idea or a solution, it was learned. Straight away. Which is great, really, in that you never have to go back over that stuff again. In theory. Unfortunately, there was also no way to retrain the concepts learned. Which, generally, is quite useful, too.

I remember one time when this person was working on a particular section of the web application that we were co-developing. Working on a particular page that, when reloaded, threw a web server error.

Straight away, they got up out of their seat and proceeded to restart a totally unrelated data service, because they had "seen that error before and it's the data service that causes it".

It wasn't until I walked out of the room and sent them the line from the web application's error log to show that, no, really, it was in the file that you were editing, that they would even *consider* the possibility that it was their mistake. This was not because of some egotistical mindset that refused to accept that they may have been wrong... it was simply that "I've seen x do y before and so when I see y, it must be x".

I know that sounds like an isolated incident, but time and again this person showed me that once they learned a connection, that was it for life.

It was odd and frustrating.

But it did teach me one thing: to this day, I try my hardest to ensure that I've given a problem the best assessment possible before going and making hair trigger attempts at resolving it. Along with this, I always try to work out the cause-and-effect relationship of what I type and what I ended up seeing.

Who knows... maybe I can use those assessments to realise how much I actually learned from that colleague of mine.

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