On automation of work, relationship, and everything else

OK, so this story is circulating the Russian-speaking web for a few days now.  Somebody got it translated to English and Business Insider picked it up.

After the guy left for a new job, his former coworkers were looking through his work and discovered that the guy had automated all sorts of crazy things, including parts of his job, his relationships, and making coffee.

While it’s nice of them to link to the GitHub repository with all the scripts, I hate to see how this is being over hyped.

Firstly, the title itself – “A programmer wrote scripts to secretly automate a lot of his job — and email his wife and make a latte”.  There is nothing secret about this.  Mundane tasks are mundane tasks and we all hate doing them.  Programmers and sysadmins have the tools to automate those, so that’s what they do.  In fact, it’s quite a common practice.

Secondly, the language of the article:

After the guy left for a new job, his former coworkers were looking through his work and discovered that the guy had automated all sorts of crazy things, including parts of his job, his relationships, and making coffee.

How are scheduled messages “crazy things”?  I think these days you can even do that with mouse clicks in something as stupid as Microsoft Outlook.  And with all the APIs these days, it’s trivial to send SMS messages or make your own scheduled coffee.

In regards to coffee in particular, The Linux Documentation Project used to have The Coffee HOWTO for as long as I can remember (back in late 90’s at least).  It was updated in 2004 and is still available as Coffee Making HOWTO.

This article just once again highlights how far apart are business people and technical people in their understanding and use of technology.  In fact reminds me a story from one of my previous jobs when a release of a new major project on which the team worked for a few month was frowned upon, while the news of a replaced image slider on the website’s homepage got a standing ovation from the full room of staff… Sad, sad truth about the state of the world.

And just so that I don’t leave it on that sad note, if you are not too technical and want to look at some of things which are trivial to do, have a look at IFTTT website, which can help you connect your web services (social networks, emails, calendars, etc), smart devices (Android and iPhone gadgets, lights, etc), locations, and certain actions in just a few clicks.  And it’s all free too.  And if that’s not enough and you want to automate more, including some of your business stuff, have a look at Zapier.  They are awesome too.

Stop wasting time on silly things.  And maybe even learn to code…

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