A woman sat down across from me on the train, pulled out her knitting needles and went to work on what appeared to be a scarf. I briefly pondered the fact that she chose to busy herself with constructing a scarf the hard way when it’s obviously faster and cheaper to buy a scarf off the shelf.
Then I immediately pondered how many of my personal programming projects fall into this same category of wheels that don’t need to be reinvented. There are still plenty of projects I want to take on that would surely serve no practical purpose in the grand scheme of things, particularly when evaluated against what I could be spending my time on.
Video game console programming springs immediately to mind. I was interested in Sega Dreamcast programming long after the system had become obsolete. For that matter, I’m still interested in Sony PlayStation 3 programming, even though that community is about to be driven underground. I have long been interested in the technical aspects of the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and have always wanted to write software for that console as well. A few years ago, I even purchased RetroUSB’s PowerPak, a CompactFlash-based game cartridge, probably the easiest method for testing code on an actual system. Mercifully, I recently gave away that item (and the console, an SNES-style top loader), so that’s one less area on which I can waste my spare dev time. I still have the DC and the PS3, though.