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   16.04.2015 - A world full of magic

Social media is like black magic to me.
I can observe a wizard using an incantation, then try it myself.
But nothing will happen.
See, a wizard knows that the incantation should be spoken while facing north at sunset, not south at sunrise, and most certainly not during the day facing a building (since that can backfire).
Also, i couldn't have know that the initial hand waving and the first word wasn't a part of the incantation - the wizard just tripped and swore in his native language.

So when a commenter suggests that "You'll want to add a facebook button to your blog", i google "facebook", look around blogs for such buttons, google "addthis", get the right code, put it on the site so that it looks kind of like on the other blogs, and wait for the magic to happen.
Which it does not.
And i have no clue why - it's an incantation, not understanding.

Contrast this to writing code.
It looks like an incantation - a bit of text which you feed to a compiler, and magic happens.

 int main(int argc,char **argv)
   printf("Hello world");
   return 0;

But in the code everything makes sense.
Return type, procedure name and parameters, calling to a function that prints, string that is to be printed, job done statement, all intermixed with bits of syntax.
If something does not work, i know exactly where to look and what can be wrong.
If it wrote "Hallo world", then obviously the string given to the print function have a typo.

Here i am the wizard, and the spells make sense...

That happens a lot in life.
Right now i'm in Chile, and i don't know Spanish.
How big of a problem is it? Not as much as you think. You go into a store, pick what you need, go to the check-out, put it all on the conveyor, smile when the lady says Hola, wait for number-sounding words and give her money.
It's an incantation, and it works. Most of the time.
The other times she will ask "Dona [something] [something] cuatro peso?".
The magic fails to happen, and you have no clue what is going on.

The other time your roommate will try to light a gas stove.
She goes through the motions of opening the valve, striking the lighter, moving it to the burner...
And magic fails to happen.
She have no clue why not. It worked before, and now there is no gas.
I take a look, and there are two options that are immediately apparent - either the gas is not paid for, or the master valve is closed for some reason. Turns out it's the second.
For me it's understanding, for her it's incantation.

We live in a world full of magic, and each of us is a wizard in his or her trade, and a spell reciter in the rest.

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