I grate my teeth any time I hear a sentence that starts ``Can't you just?'' If those words come out of your mouth, stop and think. You're missing something important.
``Can't you just'' is usually said when discussing a problem with someone else. The other person will explain the problem, and you'll jump in with the handy, simple and obvious answer. Some examples:
``Can't you just run an extension cable over to that one?''
``Can't we just add a flag to the USER table?''
In each case, someone has a complex problem, with the not-very-helpful suggestion of an obvious, quick-win solution. The suggester has undoubtedly not taken all the issues into account. The response in each case will be one of the following:
This doesn't mean that the simple, obvious solution is any more viable, only that the listener hasn't thought of the reasons why yet.
It's extremely rare that a complex problem has a simple solution, or that the simple solution doesn't have far-ranging side effects. Running an extension cable adds to the rat's nest of cabling in the server room, or the user flag will soon have to be a set of flags that become a maintenance headache, or the Linux server causes problems in an all-NT shop.
As programmers, we're used to doing magic and making things work right. As Perl programmers, especially, we are Lazy and Impatient, and expect the problem to be easily solved. However, if someone has been struggling with the problem for a while, the chances that they've missed an obvious, painless solution are small. It's also somewhat insulting to presume that the answer is right there in front of the person, unseen. Rephrase ``Can't you just'' as ``Have you not noticed that the obvious solution is to'', and you'll see what I mean. You're probably not that much better of a problem-solver than the other person.
There's nothing wrong with being helpful when colleagues are faced with a problem. Just keep the enthusiasm for your solution balanced with a healthy amount of skepticism, and expect that they're not blind.