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The code [for ksh] has changed a lot over the years which I suspect is an indication that I am never completely satisfied with my code. In fact whenever I look at code I wrote a few years ago, I can't believe how bad it is and I always believe that my new code is finally ok. -- David Korn, [Slashdot interview]

When reading things I wrote in the past (even here on MeatballWiki) I often fail to understand what I wrote. Or, I see what I wrote in a different light. Sometimes I don't even understand the motivation behind the work. This is also why memory isn't perfect. When we look back in the past, we don't remember it as when we lived it, but through the filter of our current mindset.

Looking at this from another perspective, I always wondered about kids, e.g. ScriptKiddies, who are building reputations online now that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. They certainly don't understand the ramifications of what they say now, but they will later when Internet background checks become more common. I have a lot of stuff in my past that I'm embarassed about now that I'm older, and I'm sure that in five years the same will happen again. This can be very dangerous, and another reason to ForgiveAndForget. -- SunirShah

A standard self-improvement technique for musicians is to record a practice session on tape (more usually minidiscs today) and listen to it. It is widely accepted in the music community that the tape is worthless at first, because the musician is too caught up in the memory of the performance. Time, usually a couple weeks, must pass before the contents of the tape can be evaluated objectively. For other activities -- writing, developing software, involvement in community -- it takes years to develop HistoricalPerspective? and end up Swizzling oneself.

There's a saying, "hindsight is 20/20". ContextSwizzling both makes this possible and makes this untrue - looking back at your past contributions can trigger either "I was such an idiot!" moments, or "why the heck did I write that?" moments, or even "Oh right..." moments. However, these can change with your own current state of mind (indeed, sunir - "we look back... through the filter of our current mindset" sums this up nicely) and thus hindsight is not 20/20, it fluctuates just as much as night vision on a back road where there's the occasional car passing by and blinding you with its headlights. -- NatalieBrown


I think these statements of your are quite perceptive, probably because I now find myself frequently having to decide how to summarize all of the electronic notes I've accumulated since 1967. Having been a compulsive "pack rat" for the last four decades, I'm now confronted with the need to "tidy it all up" [and likely in less than 1/2 the time it took to collect it all] :-). I simply can't cannot count the number of times I've recently had to say "that content is obviously only valid in the context of...". It's given me a whole new appreciation of the lament that those "words are out of (their intended, at that time) context.

-- HansWobbe


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