Book Report: Googleを支える技術
I'm a technical writer. Technical writers write tersely. This promotes quick comprehension. If your writing is translated, there is another benefit. The translator does not need to work so hard.
Holidays are generally good times. Friends who have moved away come back to town. I don't even mind when they call up to say that they're running late for dinner before a show at the Fillmore. (Aside: To gloss my twit, the sousaphone joke was a lame joke I told at the Fillmore. The opening band, Crystal Antlers, was setting up. They seemed to have a lot of equipment. "All they need now is a sousaphone," I said. But partway through their set, out came a sousaphone. Except that now that I do an image search on "sousaphone", I see that I had the name of the instrument wong--though they did haul out the instrument I was thinking of. It might be called a "melodica"? Wow, this is turning out to be a long aside.) I especially don't mind this if I'm next to a bookstore. Bookstores are good places to loiter. I wandered over to the Kinokuniya bookstore. I don't remember much Japanese, but I remember some. I drifted over to the computer section. I could browse titles there--they'd mostly be in English or in phonetically-spelled out English.
Googleを支える技術 had "Google" in the title, so I thought it might be interesting. (This is a good time to re-iterate that my opinions are mine, and might not reflect those of my employer who might find books about Google really really boring for all I know.)
I expected it to be a book about searching, but it was about Google's technology infrastructure. It was pieced together from public information--there were chapters on GFS, BigTable, the things you can find out about. Also, there was a chapter on engineering culture. And therein I spotted the sentence that caused me to buy this book:
I didn't know enough Japanese to know exactly what that meant, but I could tell it was about Google engineer Steve Yegge. This was good news--maybe I could use this book to give Steve a hard time. So, like I said, I bought the book.
I finally got around to typing that sentence in. It took a while. To type in Japanese characters, you pretty much have to know how to pronounce them. Do you know how to pronounce "氏"? Yeah, like I said, it took a while. (Yes, I tried typing in a couple of words and then searching the web to see if the text was already out there. No dice. No, Amazon's search inside the book doesn't search inside this book. I tried all that, see?)
I was glad it was a short sentence to type in. This promoted quick comprehension. If your writing is translated, there is another benefit. The translator does not need to work so hard.
Oh, right, what does the Japanese sentence say? It says, roughly, "Google engineer Steve Yegge said in his blog." This part of the Japanese book was talking about code reviews. Steve Yegge mentioned that the Google codebase is clean.
Now think about what I said about writing tersely.
Now think about some poor sorry Japanese slobs reading Steve Yegge's blog posts.
Ha ha ha ha.
Uhm, for those of you in the audience who don't read Steve Yegge's blog, his blog posts are long.
Nevertheless, this guy Yasushi Aoki has posted translations of some Yegge posts at aoky.net. I salute you, Yasushi Aoki. I wore myself out just typing that one sentence into an automatic translator. I wondered if "aoky" might have a meaning other than just pieces of the translator's name. I tried searching the web for the "aoky", and the first hit was a Japanese web page which suggested that AOKY is an initialism. I fed that into the auto translator and got:
It first opened for YORO
K a year
I don't really understand what that means, but I'll take that as my excuse to say: Hi Happy a year! See you in 2009!