[FoRK] KK: the art of endless upgrades

Tom Higgins tomhiggins at gmail.com
Wed May 18 21:07:59 PDT 2011


On Tue, May 17, 2011 at 8:03 AM, Ken Meltsner <meltsner at alum.mit.edu> wrote:
> If you live in an hundred-year old house, you find that you may be on the
> third or fourth replacement for a given subsystem; worst case is when you
> have a hundred years of partial upgrades and replacements.

I do. Our house was built int 1890...and walking thru it every day I
am constantly reminded of feature creep, code reuse, shifting
requirement sets and what happens to a project after handing it over
to a long line of maintainers/developers. There are parts of the house
that show shifting use cases over the decades...from a formal entrance
becoming the main run to the "every day use" corridor that linked the
main floor's rooms together being chopped up over time into closets
and extra rooms. There are parts of the house that used to be
networked together...the upper and lower kitchens were linked by a
dumb waiter whose shaft latter became a run for pipes and wires. Even
in our time the ever present phone jacks and rj45 have been mostly
stripped away as well as the coax for cable...we have need for
neither. When we redid some of the electrical we  found plenty of knob
and tube ware as well as cloth covered wire...I shiz you not. Of the
HVAC system I will say only routing skills of a different sort were
needed...but it was fun learning.

Daily I am reminded of my past life as a bit wrangler and how in
months or even weeks the sort of layered archaeological piling on I
see in the house happened to projects.

-tom(this old house)higgins


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