by Leon Rosenshein

Mini-Maxing Your Java

"It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
  It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed,
  the hands acquire shakes, the shakes become a warning.

  It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion."

    - The Programmer's Mantra

I first ran across that line in the mid 90s, and to the best of my sleuthing, it was pretty new then. Now coffee has never been my preferred source of caffeine, but I've used caffeine to great effect. Back in the day software was shipped in boxes, and you had to reserve time in a production facility to print/box/ship things. That was expensive, and there might not be another spot in the schedule for a while, so meeting dates was pretty important. Factor in that I was working for a gaming company, and if you didn't have you boxes on the shelves in time for Black Friday you might as well wait for next year. That also meant that production houses were booked solid and the next available slot was after the deadline so any slip meant you would miss the holiday. Because of that, I was part of more than one 3 month long, caffeine-fueled, tech debt generating, crunch mode.

And you know what, they mostly worked. We shipped, and the company didn't go bankrupt. They weren't without cost though. A big part of the team would quit, we'd spend a few months patching things to fix problems, and then have to figure out how to move forward with a new version or the next great thing. but those were issues for another day.

Nothing beats getting enough sleep at ensuring you're at peak effectiveness, especially over extended periods of time. Chronic sleep deprivation will really mess you up, both short term and long term. the negative impacts range from forgetfulness and lowered alertness to high blood pressure and strokes.

And while I absolutely don't recommend it, especially for extended periods, sometimes it is justified and you do need to spend the extra time and just get things done. In that case, caffeine can be a big help. But like anything else, you want to maximize the impact. So how do you know just how much coffee to drink, and when? Well, the Army has thought about it, and while they're not quite ready to release the app, there's a beta website you can use to get an approximation. And the tech is licensable. Wonder if we should add it to the Driver/Operator console.