April 9

Infinite customization is infinite.

I “grew up” in technical writing in the real world. I never completed much college, just took my ability to write and think and plan and hack, and did things by the seat of my pants. I’ve met a lot of great people along the way, people who took a chance on someone who wanted to learn, and taught me.

I eventually realized I had a knack for seeing patterns and designing pretty good data structures. Politics I sucked at, but give me a block of data and some user needs, or a website to convert to a new CMS, and look out. I’d be on fire designing it to within an inch of its life.

Which can lead to too much of a good thing. Sure, you can DITA the crap out of everything you have.

But sometimes you have to step back and say, if we have to code things down to this microscopic level, we’ve got too much stuff and it’s time to start cutting back what we document. (Note, this was during my flexible times of working in the tech industry. When I was in the strict confines of the aviation industry, no possibility was left undocumented.)

What is “Infinite Customization”?

The easiest way to explain it is using old math puzzles. I grew up with cool books (thanks, Mom and Dad!) on logic and other cool stuff. So I knew the puzzle of going half the distance, then half the distance, then half the distance and never getting where you are going. My brother took that concept and put it in his book, but reversed.

The more things you have you can customize, that you choose to customize, means that you’ll likely never be done. You’ll find one more thing to code. Or tweak. And you’ll get eaten alive trying to “perfect it”. Or you will go quite mad trying to document it all.

Gnawing off your leg to get out of the Infinite Customization trap.

So “Infinite Customization is Infinite”. It’s both an observation and a warning. You can get lost forever trying to be all things to all people. And it’s also why I try to automate the crap out of things. Anything I have to do more than twice means step back. Figure out how to stop fiddling till all the pixels fall off the screen and roll under the dark corners of my desk.