Jake Worth

Count to Ten

Published: February 15, 2022 2 min read

A trick that that has helped me as a programmer: count to ten before killing a process.

I learned this in IT. When a screen froze, the IT professionals I worked with would stop and count to ten before taking action.

You’re watching a process run, it seems to have frozen, and you’re getting no instructions. Before killing it, stop and count to ten. If the process is still hanging after that, kill it if you must.

Computers don’t operate on human time, and our brains are ill-equipped to conceive of what they’re doing and when they’ll be done. Often they are about to finish or provide information, but our nervous wetware interrupts them and possibly makes things worse.

Give the computer a chance to finish or fail, and then intervene if you have to.

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Blog of Jake Worth, software engineer in Maine.

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