What do you typically use when you are starting a coding session?
For myself I prefer Metal/Rock from bands like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disciple_(band)
"Milt, do you ever listen to classical music when you're working?"
Kahl is illustrated as turning back from his work, towering over Williams and bellowing
"Of all the s-s-s-stupid god-god-god-damned questions I-I-I-I've ever heard! I-I-I-I-NEVER heard such a-a-a-f-f-f-f-stupid question! Iy-Iy-Iy-Iy-I'm not smart enough to think of more than one thing at a time!"
The author is then pictured with "Animation is concentration" written across the back of his shirt.
I tend to agree with this sentiment when it comes to programming. If you can't have quiet, find a place where you can to start new projects. Music is to be enjoyed, and I enjoy music most when it's the thing I focus most on. I can listen to music when cleaning, but not when programming (or cooking).
I have a "boom box" (what are those called, these days?) in the kitchen, and I'll listen to it while doing basic prep work, stirring, etc. But when it comes to adding spices and testing for taste, I have to mute it. If I leave it on, it is a mental struggle to relate what I am adding (not just items, but also hand-measured quantities) to past experience and to fully perceive what I am tasting (particularly as I am looking to adjust and optimize, and not just enjoy a finished preparation).
I also need to turn the music way down or off during various parts of cooking. For example, when I am frying up meat and waiting for the right time to add onions, either sound from the pan helps me adjust heat, stirring/flipping, and timing; or silence allows me to better focus my concentration on same. Another example, when bringing something to a boil, I am using sound and not just visual appearance to judge progress.
Upvoted. As an fan of animation this is indeed an excellent book.
Another one I particularly enjoyed is "The Illusion of Life" - particularly the early chapters in which the authors describe describe Walt Disney Studios during their startup days.
Sometimes classic Coltrane era Jazz, sometimes 70'-80's-90's rock amalgam, sometimes acoustic guitar (Kaki King, Doyle Dykes, other non-alliteratively named artists), sometimes trance/electronica. I like to kid myself I play bass guitar, so sometimes a custom-built bass guitar heavy station.
As someone else mentioned though, mostly nothing. I find it easier to concentrate.
It's hard to automatically classify this kind of music, so I have a half-dozen or so hand-made playlists, each around an hour long.
The music is for when I know what needs to be done and just have to sit down and do it. When I'm thinking about a problem, silence is what I need.
And then, Iron Man Soundtrack or Matrix soundtrack, or Linkin Park. This is for when I know what I am doing, and it just needs to be coded.
Like, doing tests, fixing bugs, testing new features, pretty much all coding which doesn't require any help.
Grouper, Burial, Ricardo Villalobos, Ahmad Jamal, Bill Evans, some classical sprinkled in, Ben Frost, Julianna Barwick, Black to Comm, Eno's Ambient stuff, Stars of the Lid, Magma, Boards of Canada, Gas, Leyland Kirby, Rachmininov, Zelienople, Belbury Poly, Mt. Vernon Arts Lab, Basic Channel, Eno-Moebius-Roedelius, Fursaxa, Jannick Top, Philip Glass, Wouter Veldhuis, and Montauk
If it's a trivial but time-consuming let's-wire-A-to-B-to-C kind of task, then I'll put on an interview podcast (e.g. NPR's Fresh Air or something techy like The Changelog). Those don't require the same level of attention as an audiobook or an information-dense podcast like Radiolab.
When at home I don't have a particular style. If it's quiet, I'm OK with that.
When it's noisy (usually some neighbor's dogs or own music) I just pick the album I'm currently into and loop that. Nowadays, for some reason, I'm listening to the the Twin Peaks sound track by Angelo Badalamenti.
He was an excellent mixer and I feel sad that he (apparently) has quit. He recently let his site djriver.com lapse but you can still get his stuff through iTunes or torrent.
Works great for me.
As easily distractible as I am, a great set of noise-canceling headphones is a must. They help me control my adhd and block external interference. I really recommend the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7's. I pretty much already have them on when I code. http://bit.ly/9FCd5e talks about them a bit more.