You see, yak shaving is what you are doing when you're doing some stupid, fiddly little task that bears no obvious relationship to what you're supposed to be working on, but yet a chain of twelve causal relations links what you're doing to the original meta-task. Here's an example: "I was working on my thesis and realized I needed a reference. I'd seen a post on comp.arch recently that cited a paper, so I fired up gnus. While I was searching the for the post, I came across another post whose MIME encoding screwed up my ancient version of gnus, so I stopped and downloaded the latest version of gnus. "Unfortunately, the new version of gnus didn't work with emacs 18, so I downloaded and built emacs 20. Of course, then I had to install updated versions of a half-dozen other packages to keep other users from hurting me. When I finally tried to use the new gnus, it kept crapping out on my old configuration. And that's why I'm deep in the gnus info pages and my .emacs file -- and yet it's all part of working on my thesis." And that, my friends, is yak shaving. (Not that this particular example happened to me recently or anything.)So there you go, Yak Shaving.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Posted By Allen at 8:27 PM
I read something the other day that referred to Yak Shaving. I didn't know what it was, but found this great post that describes it very well.