There's a sentence near the beginning of TeX for the Beginner by Wynter Snow1 which has stuck with me for years. I don't have the book handy, but it goes something like this:
There are two kinds of bugs: typos and opportunities to learn.
There's a problem I've been trying to diagnose for the past couple of days. When I was becoming discouraged about it earlier today, I thought of that quotation and immediately felt better. "I'm so deep into this at this point that it couldn't possibly be a typo, so at least I'm learning! And I've been working on it so long, I must be learning a whole lot! Awesome." I attacked the problem with renewed vigor.
Just now, I finally ferreted out and fixed the bug. Guess what it was?
An extra '
/' at the beginning of an XPath expression. Yeah. A typo.
So. Today I learned that sometimes, things that appear to be learning opportunities are, in fact, not.2
- Actually her name, and the reason I picked up the book in the first place.
- In fact, this might be the central dilemma of my professional life.