For several years I’ve been a fan of the analogy of Mechanical Sympathy as it applies to software development*. I’ve decided to make the analogy more concrete, by finding out what pressing the pedals has been doing all these years I’ve been driving. Out of my way Jackie Stewart, I’m taking a class in basic car maintenance.

Last night was the first class in an eight week beginner’s Car Maintenance course at Glasgow Clyde College. By the end of it I should understand how to look after our family cars and perform basic repairs. I’m hoping that will translate to being a better driver as well, not that I’ll be drag racing the local teenagers, but I might mean detecting problems sooner, driving safer, and possibly extending the life of an expensive and depreciating asset.

The workshop we’ll learn in was pretty impressive given it’s in a college campus. Would not have looked out of place in big-brand repair shop. The instructor, Gordon, was particularly keen on insisting that there are no silly questions, we’re there to learn, it’s important to ask. I kind of enjoyed the freedom of deciding that “yup, I am a complete novice, I don’t care about looking stupid, if I’m clueless I’m asking”.

I’ll be better placed to recommend the course by the end of the eight weeks, but so far I’m pretty excited and optimistic.

* Footnote: I think I’m able to claim (with no hipster irony at all no, sir, honest) that I liked the analogy of “Mechanical Sympathy” in software before it was cool, being introduced to it at a software conference way back in 2011.

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Graham "Grundlefleck" Allan is a Software Developer living in Scotland. His only credentials as an authority on software are that he has a beard. Most of the time.

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