Friday, October 22, 2010

PEM Editor and Fun

Very very early in this project, my good friend Cesar Chalom told me of his own work in FoxCharts.  Not knowing what I was eventually going to get myself into, I asked him why he had spend so much time on his own project.  His explanation was simple ... "It's been a lot of fun!  It should always be fun!  When it stops being fun, I will quit!"

When I was in college, my goal was to teach mathematics at the university level.  When I learned that the likelihood of actually getting such a job was exceedingly slim, I left after getting a Master's.

Nonetheless, I have always delighted in solving problems.  Sudokus, crosswords, Games magazine ... I still have a book from high school with the title "Mathematics is Fun".  I have another which contains the memorable quote "Numbers are our friends" in the preface.  In my family, my brother's line "there's a math problem everywhere" was a wonderful acknowledgment of the joy we all feel in solving those problems.

Which is all to say that I enjoy challenges where the fun is conquering the challenge, regardless of utility of the result.  (When I finish a sudoko that I have proudly wrestled with and won, I still just throw it away.)

And PEM Editor has provided an endless array of challenges.  I have learned an awful lot about VFP because of it -- but there is a lot more to it than that.  There have been suggestions that I have hung on to for ever six months, waiting until I had accumulated both the technical skills and also the perspective to see the problem in the correct light.  I have been given explicit challenges where I was told I could not do something.  And I have come up with new combinations of the tools I have created to create what others have not even suggested.

Ah, it has all been worth it!

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