Early days

In the 80s my native country Bulgaria was in the grip of communism and import was kept to a minimum. It was a common practice in the communist block to reverse engineer Western technology and produce replicas under a different brand. This was the case with the Pravetz home computers — analogues of popular Apple, IBM and Oric machines.

In the early 90s, Pravetz computers were still too expensive for most families to have at home. They were mostly available in universities and schools. There was an aura of excitement around them.

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Pravetz 8A — original from http://www.pravetz.info

Around that time I was 11 and I joined an after-school sciences club in my home town Ruse that had a computer hall with Pravetz 8As and an enthusiastic teacher. On the first Informatics class, I learned how to write a BASIC program that prints on the screen something resembling a squirrel using ASCII characters. …

I started my career in 2005 in Bulgaria. At that time, sitting with headphones deep in “the zone” for days on end tackling gnarly problems was the norm.

Then came pair programming. It was advocated by eXtreme Programming (XP) and the agile community for its various benefits. I was sceptical at the start: “Why use two people’s time for something that one is perfectly capable of doing? Surely having two pairs of eyes on something can’t compensate for this?”

Since then I have changed three companies and multiple teams and had a fair chance to see pair programming delivering on its promises, but also saw it being annoying and inefficient. …

maya malakova

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