Today I went back to the place where I used to work previously and met some of my old colleagues, who have helped me shape my career so far. After going there, I started thinking about my past. I went into flash back mode and started thinking about the very first program I wrote there. I was a new programmer with very little knowledge of C++ (I still don’t think, am very good at it.). I do promise to stay away from technical jargons (as much as I can) this time.
The task assigned to us was to convert a RAW image into BMP format. Task wasn’t very hard. My team lead would say “It’s nothing great“. It’s so funny that whenever he said “it’s nothing great” meant I had to spend at-least a day trying to figure out how to fix the issue. To be honest, it’s just that he was very good with coding and I was nowhere near his league.
So back to our story, I and my close friend X(I will not name him till he gives me permission to use his name) started working on it. We decided to try our luck with Google and as luck would have it, we hit BMP wiki page. Read about the header stuff and spoke to our senior Mr. Y (everybody were our seniors in those days. Good old days, we had no responsibilities.). He gave us the green signal and we started working on converting the RAW image to BMP. We worked for hours and had no results to show for it. As the image below shows, we were literally scratching our heads.
So we went back to Mr. Y, he saw our code and asked us to create a C structure and fill it with the values he gave and write it to a file. Desperate as we were, we tried it too, with no positive results. We were confused and desperate to finish the work. We were still thinking about what to do, when one senior Test Engineer (Team Lead) Ashithraj passed by and we started conversation.
Ashithraj : It’s late aren’t you guys going home.
Me : Got a problem trying to figure out how to do it.
Ashithraj : What are you guys working on?
X : Trying to convert Raw image into BMP format.
Ashithraj : It’s a headache.
Me : I know, we have been struggling to do it.
X to Ashithraj : How do you know it’s hard.
Ashithraj : I had to do it too. I had the code but recently I lost it.
(I was cursing our rotten luck and Ashithraj started to speak again).
Ashithraj ; I didn’t write the code. I search for it in Google and found it. You can try it too. But don’t tell anybody I told you to search for it in Google.
(We were listening to him like he was giving a pravachan(Sermon) to us)
We thanked him and finally we could see a ray of light at the end a long dark tunnel. We could clearly see a path which would take us to our salvation our goal. Converting RAW image to BMP, it was our friendly Internet search engine GOOGLE.
We started working with extra energy. I don’t know where it came from. I didn’t care either. We started searching for source code to convert RAW image to BMP and finally got a piece of code, Our ticket to salvation and decided to call it quits for the day. We never knew that things were changing for the worst.
THE NEXT DAY
We started compiling the code. I was working on a Macintosh machine and my friend on Windows XP. I tried to compile the code on Macintosh and got errors which I had never seen before. It was expected, I was still relatively new to Macintosh (The problem was I have never seen those errors again on Macintosh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).
My friend X wasn’t doing any better. He was struggling too, he was getting different errors. We thought it was because of the fact that we were using two different compiler. I started working with him on fixing these errors on his machine. We spend hours trying to fix these errors and we had some numerically positive result to show for it. Our error count increased from 45 odd too 300 or more.
It was almost afternoon now and the only progress we had made was to increase the error count. We were now lost and confused.
So finally we decided to approach our Team Lead, who re-directed us to Mr. Y, who promptly came to help us. He looked at all the errors Visual Studio was showing up and looked up at my friend X with an expression I believed was surprise. Let me warn you am not very good at reading facial expressions.
(He took one look at the code and started talking)
Y : Did you write this?
X : Yes.
Y : So you need my help to fix these errors.
(I was thinking : Why on hell will we call you otherwise?)
X : Yes
Y : I can’t help you.
X : Please, I need your help.
(I had never seen my friend X speak so respectfully)
Y : Do you know win 32?
(I was tired of this interrogation, How thick can Mr. Y be? We didn’t know C++ correctly, The only time we would know win 32 will be in our dreams.)
X : No
Y : In that case I can’t help you.
(By now few people were listening to this conversation including our Team Lead. I could see all our efforts going down a drain but X managed to keep his emotions under control and ask.)
X : Why?
Y : Unfortunately for both of us, Your code is written in win 32 and I don’t know win 32 either and it also means you have downloaded the source code.
Next thing I knew, entire floor was laughing and few people were walking towards us to get first hand information about the “funny incident” (I didn’t find it funny). My friend X, was embarrassed but he managed to laugh. I was laughing too( Sorry X).
Fortunately for him, this was the end of his problem. Unfortunately my problems had just started. I won’t discuss that since it is a complete technical jargon.
We finally managed to complete our first assignment. We struggled through it, searched for code on web, embarrassed ourselves in front of everyone. At least there was one silver-lining, we were on right track!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GOOGLE IS GREAT. You need source code try Google first, think later. It’s a mantra in which many Software Engineers believe