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Soundbyte 195: It’s a beautiful day

7 June 2015

After a few busy weeks with preparing our new house and actually moving there, this weekend we finally had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather.
So I started the Sunday with a nice ride on the mountainbike. I’m quite lucky in Deventer we have some nice trails. Finally I could ride my 29” carbon bike again which due to our temporary house (and the lack of storage space there) had been stored in my parents garage for the past half year. After biking for about an hour on the beautiful singletracks in the woods I got struck by bad luck… A branch which looked more like a tree trunk slides into my rear wheel. Carbon is a really fantastic material for a bike frame, especially when it has to handle forces coming from the directions the frame is designed to handle. Those definitely are not the forces that are applied to the rear bridge by the lever the branch creates when stuck in a rotating wheel. This resulted in the rear bridge to snap like a twig. This makes the second time in two years I completely wrote off a carbon bicycle frame.

After this happened some thoughts crossed my mind. I won’t bother you with the thoughts that occurred to me first and especially the words that came to mind. But when my initial anger had subsided it made me think of technology choices with respect to requirements, something we have do deal with often in our profession. Is carbon actually the most suited material for the rough riding like on a mountainbike ? As you will understand I have a pretty clear opinion on that right now. With more traditional materials like steel and aluminum probably way less damage would have been done. Do the advantages of new technology always outweigh the often unknown disadvantages ? In this case the technology is obviously not capable of providing the same qualities as the more traditional materials do.

Questions and thoughts that also apply to the daily work of a software engineer. Hardly a day passes between the announcement of yet another new javascript or distributed processing framework. It’s our job not to ride the new waves blindly but to critically assess technology in relationship to the problems we’re trying to solve.
So yes, carbon is hot and happening and everyone rides it so it’s probably great stuff. But sometimes … steel is just the better option …

On a sidenote, I’m pleased to tell last week we’ve been asked to give a presentation on graph databases at one of our colleague companies after they’ve visited our presentation at the Luminis DevCon.

An now…music. As I refuse to have some misfortune spoil a beautiful day: “It’s a beautiful day” by the Beach Boys.

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