The next 5 days are somewhat pivotal in the history of the health of the US. We haven’t faced a pandemic in 100 years, and the exponential spread of COVID-19 is very concerning. Lots of events are being cancelled from the local schools to the NBA. During this time of social distancing, one activity that is seeing a surge in popularity is sim racing. So I thought I would do a short series of daily posts on sim racing as we buckle down and survive these next 5 days (or whatever it is).
The 3 virtues of programming
Larry Wall, the inventor of the Perl programming language, says the the 3 virtues of programming are laziness, impatience, and hubris. I actually believe he’s right. Laziness is a virtue, but not just in programming, all things, even learning how to drive a virtual car! How can laziness be a virtue?
Laziness is basically wanting to minimize effort. But there’s a huge difference between true laziness and false laziness. Let me demonstrate what false laziness looks like in a variety of different scenarios.
- When using a word processor, I use spaces to indent or when I want things to line up with each other. Instead of spending 10 minutes to learn how tabs work, I burn valuable hours hitting the space bar, and things still don’t line up properly.
- When using a spreadsheet, I type in all the values by hand. Instead of spending 10 minutes to learn how formulas and named ranges work, I burn valuable time doing data entry, and the values end up polluted with typing errors.
- When programming, I copy-paste functions between files. Instead of spending 10 minutes to learn how libraries work, I now have to bug hunt through every program instead of fixing one library.
False laziness has the appearance of being lazy, but it actually ends up taking more effort rather than less. How does this manifest itself in the racing world? Drivers who race-race-race and never take the time for training or coaching are exhibiting false laziness. If the goal is to improve with minimal effort, you need 3 things:
- Data acquisition
- Comparative data analysis
Without data acquisition, you’re basically blind. In order to fix problems, you need to see problems. But getting the data is only part of the problem. You need to learn how to read that data and compare yourself to a faster driver. Finally, you need to put knowledge into action. A coach can help you read data and make changes to your driving.
Tomorrow: those who can’t do