Dorothy Parker said “It’s not the tragedies that kill us; it’s the messes.”
Sometime that’s how I feel about computing. I think of messes such as having to remember that arc tangent is
atan in R and Python, but
arctan in NumPy and
bc. Or that C, Python, and Perl use
elsif respectively. Or did I switch those last two?
These trivial but innumerable messes keep us from devoting our full energy to bigger problems.
One way to reduce these messes is to use fewer tools. Then you know less to be confused about. If you only use Python, for example, then
elif is just how it is. But knowing more tools is worth the added mess, up to a point. Past some point, however, new tools add more mental burden than utility. You have to find the optimal combination of tools for yourself, and that combination will change over time.
To use fewer tools, you may need to use more complex tools. Maybe you can replace a list of moderately complex but inconsistent tools with one tool that is more complex but internally consistent.