→ The Art of Endless Upgrades

It's taken me 60 years, but I had an ephipany recently: Everything, without exception, requires additional energy and order to maintain itself. Not just living things, but the most inanimate things we know of: stone gravemarkers, iron columns, copper pipes, gravel roads, a piece of paper. None will last very long without attention and fixing, and the loan of additional order. Life is maintenance.

Most surprising to me has been the amount of sheer maintenance that software requires. Keeping a website or a software program afloat is like keep a yacht afloat. It is a black hole for attention. I can kind of understand why a mechanical device would break down after a while -- moisture rusts metal, or the air oxidizes membranes, or lubricants evaporate -- all of which require repair. But I wasn't thinking that the intangible world of bits would also degrade. What's to break? Apparently everything.


Software sits still and the world around it changes rapidly. Even a diamond on a sand dune would be impervious to the individual grains of sand blown at it by the wind and remain the same diamond, but quickly it would be buried in the shifting face of the desert.