CodeMash 2010 – The Mother Of All Bugs

Presented by Andy Hunt

It was a pleasure seeing Andy speak. He’s one of the co-authors of The Pragmatic Programmer and it’s nice to see his perspective on things. Today’s talk was a pleasant surprise. No talk about Java evils or process improvement, but a discussion on cognitive science and why we think the way we do and how this thinking (or sometimes lack of thinking) leads us to certain paths in our programming or our project management structure.

The talk included a number of examples, but some of the most striking were videos that were used to illustrate points on lack of attention or diverted attention. One example had us focusing so hard at a certain group in the video, that a gorilla walking through the scene was just barely noticeable. Other examples asked you to notice something different or something that changed. Again, I did not get most of them and it really makes you think.

The talk ended with a great quote, actually more of a conversation between himself and his boss. He was asking for something, (I don’t know exactly what), and his boss responded “What’s stopping you?” he said “Nothing” and his boss replied, “that get’s in my wall a lot too”.

Nice talk, hope see others at some more conferences this year!