Monday, 7 May 2001
Most ties are too short for me. With my size 48 collar, I am barely able to tie a Four in hand (fashionmall.com/...fourhand...) and have a bit of tie left.

Do you know that you can get ties in different lengths? asks one of my lunch partners at our regular lunch table. No, no, that won't be any good, my neck is too big. So I need a different width, I rattle back. The whole table puzzles over this absurdity for a long silent minute. It is something to be proud of, as silences are few and far between around here.

Ties are strange things. At home my ties are hanging over my closet door, one dimensional, top to bottom. The second dimension is for the tie rotation system. Once worn, a tie joins the back of the queue. Ties that have not been used for a while will soon get their turn.

Around the neck the ties goes horizontal. The one dimensional character is just fake. The thing bends in horizontal space, encircles my neck, so it becomes 2 dimensional. Somewhere around the knot there is another bend. From that point onwards the larger part of the tie suddenly hangs down again, in its familiar 3rd dimension.

In short, the tie is a 1 dimensional object that has no problem bending itself into a 2nd and 3rd dimension. Strange, strange.

How many dimensions does a computer program have? It is about a year ago that I started pondering this question.

  1. Hmm, my initial response was 1. The program source is just a flat, one dimensional ASCII file.
  2. No, it is 2, I decided after further contemplation. Because at run time you can go two ways with an if-else structure. A while-loop is a circle.
  3. As an OO specialist my answer is 3. Seeing that one and the same method, possibly with an if-else structure inside, can be implemented in several classes using polymorphism.
Following this train of thought, a tie looks like computer source code, including the difficult knot at the initialisation of instances. Programming on contract basis is just writing code per running meter. Decide for yourself what kind of measure that is, length, width or height.

Till next week,