January 14, 2012

Tools

When I talk to people who are serious about their computer-related tools (which happens frequently since I write software), I often end up in discussions about how X tool is better than Y tool. These discussions are silly and overdone arguments such as Android is better than iPhone, OSX is better than Windows, Vim is better then Emacs, you get the idea. These discussions are mostly holy-wars or eternal feuds or whatever you want to call them and are silly. Neither side is going to change their mind or be enlightened when the discussion devolves this far.

Many times the reason you make the statement X tool is better than Y is that you have trained yourself to make use of a set of features that make your work go smoother and faster and you do not now how to do those same things in the tool you claim is inferior. This tool might actually have the ability to do what you just learned, just maybe with different key commands or some additional setup required. Now your statement is invalid.

Your statement might not also be provable or logical at all. When faced
with the choice of a variety of similar tools, it is human nature to convince yourself that the choice you decide on is far superior to the other tools you could have chosen. This is not really logical, this is human nature. These debates are pointless because each side is not operating entirely on logic. More fruitful discussion about tools should ideally sound more like this:

Them: Hey, check out this nifty feature my editor has to make work easier.
You: Oh cool, I wonder if my editor can do that.
Them: Pardon me while I go get work done faster with this new feature.

Maybe it can, maybe it cant. If it cant maybe that is when you decide that you need to switch and use the other persons editor. Not because they claimed their editor was superior, but because it did things that you wanted to be able to do. Maybe you find that your editor of choice can do those things and now the other person can decide if they want to use your editor of choice. Theres no real reason to change using any tool unless another tool is way more helpful or yours is broken somehow and needs replacing.

As far as Im concerned, youre welcome to use whatever tool you want assuming it gets the job done, its not ruining your day, and I dont have to use it.