Oraware, Peoplecle?

Larry: Lots of luck with your recent purchase of PeopleSoft.

If you want to be successful, your first move should be to format every single hard disk on their premises, then locate and mass-degauss their off-site backups. (Or you could nuke ’em from orbit). The important thing is to get every. single. bit of infestation before it crawls into your own engineering organization and, uhm, borks your own, uh, hummhahm… [clears throat]


never mind

(“Match made in heaven, just perfect, innit?”)

Congratulations on your fine purchase, and have fun with it!

Well, What Did You Expect?

Ursula K. LeGuin is hopping mad about “Earthsea.” Link.

The list of authors who have been savaged by Hollywood is hugantic, including John Varley (Cheryl Ladd starred in Millienium, ’nuff said), Harlan Ellison (The Starlost and countless others), Phillip Jose Farmer (the excerable Riverworld adaptation), and so on. When the studio asks, “This Star, uh ‘Walk’ thing . . . does it need to be in space?” you do have to wonder at the glorious design of the body’s autonomic nervous system, capable of sustaining respiration and heart action in an otherwise brain-dead shell.

Sorry, Ursula.

Rock, rock, rock…

I seem to be the last person on the Internet to find out about the game of Rock, Scissors, Paper, Spock, Lizard. Oh well. Link.

There are no end of tounge-in-cheek sites about RPS. Here. Play by mail here. There are many variations (I didn’t see any with Dev, PM, Manager, but as they say, “feel free.”)

What Tolkien Left Out

On a scrap of paper, found in the basement of a ruined tower

19 for the Orc hordes running amuck,
43 (more or less) for Goblin tribes in their smelly tunnels,

Those 19 for the Orcs and the 43 (give or take) for Goblins — where did those go? Did they fail some popularity contest?

And scribbled in a margin –

What about cereal box prizes? Ask S. about this. GM promises great franchise opportunities.

That would explain a lot.

Classic Mac

I’d forgotten how big a pain in the rear it was do do anything systems related on a classic Macintosh. I’ve been reviving dead macs recently (I now have two IIsi systems, don’t ask), and getting a 2G SCSI drive working (for making backups of existing disks) was the usual amusing mix of locating file transfer software, debugging RS232 connectivity, getting files across intact, and patching systems software with ResEdit. I’m not even going to mention the happy dance of the SCSI drive ID. A moral high ground: I didn’t have to heat up the soldering iron, which is my rule-of-thumb indicator that you’re dealing with a historical artifact, not a computer.

For users, Macs are great. But this brought back just how nightmarish systems-level stuff was back in the day.

For extra credit insanity, I’m going to dig out the MPW shell (“MPW’s Hell”) and time the compiles. Impossible to believe that anyone got any work done in that environment, but somehow we did….

6am music list

Personally I think that lists of “what I’m listening to” are scraping the bottom of the barrel, posting-wise, but I haven’t been able to get back to sleep since the Gibber woke up at 4, so here you are.

Tori Amos: Scarlet’s Walk. I especially like Long Taxi Ride, which seems to be stuck in my head. But that’s okay, it’s a friendly little tune.

Front Line Assembly: Civilization, Epitaph, State of Mind. Decent “dark techno”. I found a bunch of these for $6 used a while back.

Mansun: Six, Little Kix, Attack of the Grey Lantern. Not to be confused with Marilyn Manson, this is decent alternative rock. Lantern has been a favorite of mine for nearly a decade. The band has broken up (sigh).

Nik Kershaw: To Be Frank. Kershaw wrote “Wouldn’t It Be Good” a long time ago, and it’s what he’s most known for. Every album is better than the last, but he’s decided to quit the music biz. Fortunately he did Frank before bailing.

Shakespears Sister: Hormonally Yours. Includes some of the women from Banannarama, another “two album” wonder group.

Tom Tom Club: Dark Sneak Love Action. Members of Talking Heads tried to break out into some other groups, but nothing really gelled, did it? This is probably the best TTC album (I can’t find their first one on CD).

In video, a friend lent me a copy of Ghost in the Shell II – Innocence. OMG. I liked the visuals a lot, but the “acting” and dialog are truly terrible. The basset hound (is it a robot doggie?) was cute. Not much to recommend it, otherwise.

Coffee Pods

Penny Arcade spills the beans on something that I knew deep down inside was just bad and evil: Pod-based coffee makers (hope the URL works). I figure that if the manufacturer is into you for $100, plus has you captive to buy these pod things in order to make coffee, what point is there in making the coffee any good at all? (And: Why would anyone expect Black & Decker to make decent coffee? Do you buy power tools from Peets?)


“That design sucks. Nobody capable of making that design work would ever design it that way.”
— rk, April 18 2001

[We tend to design systems to the limit of our ability to make them successful. Good designs are often very simple, to the point that you might say “This is too simple, there’s almost nothing there!”]

Mars’ Law: Everything is linear if plotted log-log with a fat magic marker.

The ability to improve a design occurs primarily at the interfaces. This is also the prime location for screwing it up.
— Akin

Too much reality can doom an otherwise worthwhile design.
— Akin

A bad design with a good presentation is doomed eventually. A good design with a bad presentation is doomed immediately.
— Akin