Random Quotes and Thoughts

January 8, 1998 to November 6, 1999

[Thursday, January 8, 1998]

"Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational
 things in the pursuit of phenominally unlikely payoffs."
           -- Scott Adams, _The Dilbert Principle_

"Reporters are faced with the daily choice of painstakingly researching 
 stories or writing whatever people tell them.  Both approaches pay the
           -- Scott Adams, _The Dilbert Principle_

You Say:       "Our company is skilled in many other things that are never
                reported by the biased media."

Media Reports: "Our company ____killed ___m____other t__________________er_

           -- Scott Adams, _The Dilbert Principle_
[Sunday, March 1, 1998]

"We can only hope that people will outgrow their need for government before
 the government finishes outgrowing its need for the people."
[Sunday, April 19, 1998]

"He would be perfect for me... if he were someone else." --csb (mocking women)

"I think real love is something you have to fight for, not something that
just strikes you like [a bolt of] lightning.  *Attraction* may strike
that way, but *love* doesn't.  It takes time to grow." -- Kristiina Prauda

"This is why love may not be the most important thing in a lasting
relationship; commitment and trust and a desire to share a life together
are really what keeps things going long term.  Love is the frosting on the
cake: it's lovely and it tastes good and keeps the cake from drying out,
but it's not the cake itself." -- Marcia Bednarcyk
[Thursday, May 15, 1998]

Maggie wrote:

Volunteering is an excellent idea.  I recommend volunteering because you
can improve the life of someone else and yourself.  It's not a bad idea
for men who want to meet women, too.  I've volunteered for literacy
organizations, at animal shelters, and in nursing homes.  The vast
majority of volunteers were women.  I always figured that the men in my
city must be off at sporting events or something.
[Sunday, June 14, 1998]

fortune: cpu time/usefulness ratio too high -- core dumped.


Dormitory                  Dirty Room
Evangelist                 Evil's Agent
Desperation                A Rope Ends It
The Morse Code             Here Come Dots
Slot Machines              Cash Lost in 'em
Mother-in-law              Woman Hitler
Snooze Alarms              Alas No More Zs

US Politicians:

George Herbert Walker Bush   Huge Berserk Rebel Warthog
George Bush                  He bugs Gore
Ronald Wilson Reagan         A long-insane Warlord
Ronald Wilson Reagan         Insane Anglo Warlord
Leroy Newton Gingrich        Yon Right-winger Clone

This one's amazing:  From Hamlet by Shakespeare 

To be or not to be: that is the question, whether tis nobler in
the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
In one of the Bards best-thought-of tragedies, our insistent
hero, Hamlet, queries on two fronts about how life turns rotten.
[Saturday, June 27, 1998]

"As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world for
 one person." -- Gaelyne Gasson

Ironically, as one person [a software developer], I *can* change the
world.... when I get around to it.
[Thursday, July 2, 1998]

"Electricity is actually made up of extremely tiny particles,
 called electrons, that you cannot see with the naked eye unless you
 have been drinking.  Electrons travel at the speed of light, which in
 most American homes is 110 volts per hour.  This is very fast.  In the
 time it has taken you to read this sentence so far, an electron could
 have traveled all the way from San Francisco to Hackensack, New Jersey,
 although God alone knows why it would want to.
        The five main kinds of electricity are alternating current,
 direct current, lightning, static, and European.  Most American homes
 have alternating current, which means that the electricity goes in one
 direction for a while, then goes in the other direction.  This prevents
 harmful electron buildup in the wires."
 -- Dave Barry, "The Taming of the Screw"
    (The scary thing is that maybe 60% of the people who might read the
     above wouldn't know any better)
[Sunday, August 2, 1998]

"Basically, Doom is a (violent) 3D arcade game where
 you run around in a maze and kill things with
 shotguns and chainsaws.... After you get tired of
 killing things, you can run it over a network and kill
 things together with your friends. After you get tired
 of that, you can kill your friends." 

                    -- Frequently Asked Questions: Doom
Is it better to be a jock or a nerd?

         Consider the following...

 * Michael Jordan will make over $300,000 a game:
   $10,000 a minute, assuming he averages about 30
   minutes per game. 
 * Assuming $40 million in endorsements next year,
   he'll be making $178,100 a day (working or not)! 
 * Assuming he sleeps 7 hours a night, he makes
   $52,000 every night while visions of sugarplums
   dance in his head. 
 * If he goes to see a movie, it'll cost him $7.00, but
   he'll make $18,550 while he's there. 
 * If he decides to have a 5 minute egg, he'll make $618
   while boiling it. 
 * He makes $7,415/hr more than minimum wage
   (after the wage hike). 
 * He'll make $3,710 while watching each episode of
 * If he wanted to save up for a new Acura NSX
   ($90,000) it would take him a whole 12 hours. 
 * He'll probably pay around $200 for a nice round of
   golf, but will be reimbursed $33,390 for that round. 
 * Assuming he puts the federal maximum of 15% of
   his income into his tax deferred account (401k), he
   will hit the federal cap of $9500 for such accounts at
   8:30 a.m. on January 1st, 1997. 
 * If you were given a tenth of a penny for every dollar
   he made, you'd be living comfortably at $65,000 a
 * He'll make about $19.60 while watching the 100
   meter dash in the Olympics. 
 * He'll make about $15,600 while the Boston
   Marathon is being run. 
 * While the common person is spending about $20 for
   a meal in his trendy Chicago restaurant, he'll pull in
   about $5600. 
 * Next year, he'll make more than twice as much as
   all of our past presidents for all of their terms

   Amazing isn't it? *But*... 

An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician are shown a pasture with a
herd of sheep, and told to put them inside the smallest possible amount of

The engineer is first. He herds the sheep into a circle and then puts the
fence around them, declaring, "A circle will use the least fence for a
given area, so this is the best solution."

The physicist is next. She creates a circular fence of infinite radius
around the sheep, and then draws the fence tight around the herd, declaring,
"This will give the smallest circular fence around the herd."

The mathematician is last. After giving the problem a little thought, he
puts a small fence around himself and then declares, "I define myself to
be on the outside!"
"'All men are created equal'... what a load of crap!"
 -- Craig Bruce, 1998-07-27, #580
"He's the kind of guy that you would want on your side to help you win the
 war, but not really the kind of guy that you would invite to the victory
 party afterwards."
 -- Craig Bruce, 1998-07-30, #581
"I am worried about the fate of humanity.  My parent's generation was the
 last where women made rational choices about the fathers of their children.
 Today, young women just look for the most extravagant loser they can find."
 -- Craig Bruce, 1998-08-01, #582
[Sunday, August 30, 1998]

Possible books to read:

The Demon Haunted World - Carl Sagan (****)

Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science - Martin Gardner (****)

Cosmos - Carl Sagan (****)

Innumeracy - John Allen Paulos (****)
[Tuesday, September 1, 1998]

"Give me a break!  The American people knew that President Clinton was
 a sleaze bucket before they re-elected him.  They're showing themselves
 as nothing but fucking hypocrites now."
 -- Craig Bruce, 1998-08-17, #000

"I've got the brains
 You've got the looks
 Let's make lots of money
 You've got the brawn
 I've got the brains
 Let's make lots of money

 You can tell I'm educated
 I studied at the Sauvon
 Doctor in Mathematics
 I could have been a Don
 I can program a computer
 Choose the perfect time
 If you've got the inclination
 I have got the crime."

 -- "Opportunities", The Pet Shop Boys

"Knowledge isn't necessarily power.  Just as often, it is merely knowing
 the proper time to cringe."
 -- Craig Bruce, 1998-08-22, #000

"There must have been a door there in the wall
 When I came in."
 -- "The Trial", Pink Floyd, _The Wall_

"Think about it... if ever a fraction of reports about alien sightings and
 abductions are true, then the aliens are being astoundingly sloppy for
 such a technologically advanced race."
 -- Craig Bruce, 1998-08-29, #000
[Thursday, September 3, 1998]

"Isn't it funny how circumstances always seem to be 'extraneous'?"
 (especially in court)
 -- Craig Bruce, 1998-09-03, #000
[Saturday, September 5, 1998]

"I guess I'll have to pull an all-nighter on Montuesday."
 -- Craig Bruce, 1998-09-05, #000

"So how's your McRelationship going?"
 -- Craig Bruce, 1998-09-06, #000
[September 15, 1998]

"The United States would not be able to win another war against Japan.
 The US is too dependent on Japan for the electronic components of its
 weapons systems."
 -- Craig Bruce, 1998-09-15, #000
[Friday, October 9, 1998]

"We cannot begin to address the problems of crime and social breakdown
 unless we admit to the real reasons for this.  Spending more money on
 jails and social programmes is like rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.
 We need to discuss a change in direction."
 -- Robert Bateman
[Saturday, October 17, 1998]

"Never underestimate the ability of a large corporation... to FUCK UP!"
 -- Craig Bruce, 1998-10-17, #000
[Monday, October 26, 1998]

"The big companies have no future.  By and large, there are no more
 advantages to big business.  There are only disadvantages."
 -- Peter Drucker, "The Relentless Contrarian", Wired magazine interview

"They're worried about becoming obsolete.  They [the music industry
 association] position themselves as middlemen, but -- guess what --
 the Internet gets rid of middlemen."
 -- Robert Schroeder, chairman of Diamond Multimedia

"He is a doctor of mathematics.  'The Math' is with him."
 -- Craig Bruce, 1998-10-29, #000
[Saturday, November 14, 1998]

Pfeiffer's Law of Emergency Preparedness
"The one emergency you are fully prepared to meet never occurs."

"Me spell chucker work grate.  Need gramma chicken."

"GPL -- The Source will be with you.  Always."

"The bad reputation UNIX has gotten is totally undeserved, laid on by
people who don't understand, who have not gotten in there and tried
anything." -- Jim Joyce, owner of Jim Joyce's UNIX Bookstore
[Thursday, December 3, 1998]

Posted in a newsgroup:

> >When you're driving at night and a streetlight blinks out in front of you,
> >is that an omen? An insult?
> >He he.
> >
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
> Actually, it's probably neither. I'll bet that the lamp you saw was the
> HID (high intensity discharge) type, such as a mercury-vapor light. A few
> years ago, when I was dating this one particular woman (who was into New
> Age "woo-woo" stuff), she pondered the very same observation. What were
> the odds that we would pass by at the precise moment that a light bulb
> burns out after operating for thousands of hours? Oooh, this must be a
> "sign" from the Universe!
> Well, at the time, I wanted to impress her with how much I was a
> "Sensitive New Age Guy," instead of a dull engineering geeky person,
> so I didn't explain the real reason behind our observation.
> The truth is, HID lamps rarely quit working suddenly (like "burning
> out"). As the lamp deteriorates, the ballast (inside the lamp post),
> struggles to keep the lamp ignited. This causes the ballast to overheat,
> and a over-temperature safety switch inside the ballast shuts off the
> power. The ballast then cools down, the safety switch turns back on,
> and the lamp re-lights a few minutes later. It's a characteristic of
> HID lighting systems. In reality, that lamp you saw has been cycling on
> and off every few minutes, probably for the past several nights. With
> thousands of street lights all over town, the likelihood of seeing one
> of them in this condition is not that uncommon.  On the other hand,
> it could be an important message from the Cosmos!      8-)
>               Peace,
>                              Mike J.
[Sunday, January 3, 1999]

Have you ever noticed that there are a lot of bald men that star in
advertisements for everyday products?  Funny how there are so few of them
who are movie stars.
(some entries lost to a hard-drive crash)
[Thursday, April 8, 1999]

Saw The Matrix last night.

Jeremy Holmes (krayzi_j@yahoo.com)
Iowa, USA

Date: 4 April 1999
Summary: If you've dared to believe your life is more than what you've

.......this movie is for you. The Matrix changed me. I don't see the world
the same as I did mere hours ago. If you've ever dared to hope that maybe
the world isn't what the older generations would like you to believe,
you must see this movie.
[Sunday, April 25, 1999]

Written by Roger Sessions about CORBA's decision to use Java as a central
component in its architecture:

   Those that insist that components can only be built with an
   object-oriented programming language (and only one object-oriented
   language, at that!) are indulging in an intellectual arrogance that
   will quickly make them irrelevant in the knock down, dirty world
   inhabited by those who must build real systems, build them fast,
   and build them with whatever resources happen to be at hand.

"Journalism is one of those fields you go into when you're too stupid
 to do anything useful. Computer journalism is for journalists with no
 people skills."
 -- ConceptJunkie on SlashDot

"If car reviews were written like software reviews we'd be seeing in-depth
 recommendations based solely on the quality of paint job."
 -- ConceptJunkie on SlashDot

[Tuesday, June 22, 1999]

Bob is a classic Cathedral builder (Score:2)
by Eric Green (e_l_green@hotmail.com) on Monday June 21, @07:36PM EDT (#551)
(User Info) http://members.tripod.com/~e_l_green

This is the same guy who has said, for each of the last three years,
that the Internet will collapse by the end of the year and that the only
solution is to charge per-minute fees for Internet access.

So far he's batting .000 here. I suspect his annual "the fall of Linux"
speech will start to acquire the same patina as his annual "the collapse
of the Internet" speech, for the same reason -- Bob simply does not
understand how an anarchic network of developers can keep something like
the Internet or Linux going. Bob is the classic Cathedral guy in Eric S.
Raymond's "Cathedral and Bazarre". The operations of a bazarre frighten
him. Ethernet has a classic simplicity reflective of Bob's highly ordered
personality. When he sees the Internet or Linux, he sees chaos, and cannot
see why it does not collapse under its own weight.


-- Eric Lee Green [Not speaking for my cats!]
Microsoft now has no choice but to put Windows 2000 head-to-head with
Linux.  Too many of Microsoft's key server products are Windows only,
particularly the two flagship products, Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft
SQL Server.  If the Windows NT platform fails then so do these products
and it will not be a simple matter of porting to Linux for either of them.
The products will in all probability die a slow death if Windows NT is
forced to stand in the shadow of Linux.

However we do not yet see what Microsoft can do, other than spend marketing
dollars and we doubt if that will make the difference.  Microsoft is
caught by its reliance on the operating system as a revenue source.  It has
been possible for Microsoft to make massive revenues from the OS, but in
reality users do not really care about the OS.  They want applications.
Microsoft never became dominant because Windows was technically better or
even better designed than the competition - it became dominant because
the software vendors made it the first choice for building software on.
Linux is becoming the first choice server platform.  To level this out,
Microsoft has no choice but to offer price parity with Linux - but the
Microsoft business model forbids this.

-- http://www.it-director.com/./99-06-22-1.html
[Saturday, August 7, 1999]

On Slashdot:

Ontario Politics: an insider's view (Score:2)
by Tackhead on Friday August 06, @11:05PM EDT (#29)
(User Info) 

I'm gonna indulge myself and get political here. I was a resident of
Ontario for many years; the current provincial administration in Ontario
is a libertarian's dream. (OK, maybe that's giving 'em too much credit -
they've also done some pretty loony things too - but they're the closest
thing to libertarians I've ever seen in power.)

They're politicians - and ideologues - which is a dangerous combination,
even (especially!) if you happen to like their ideology, as I do. But
at least you know what they stand for and what they're gonna do when
elected. Here's a snapshot of their platform:

- Lower taxes. They were first elected with a promise to cut the provincial
  portion of income taxes by 30%. Even I thought they were blowing smoke
  up the voters' arses on that one - and then they did it. I was both
  pleased and stunned.

- Lower spending. The five years preceding the current administration
  saw a socialist administration which hiked welfare benefits by 20%, and
  taxes to match. Ontario was one of the highest-taxed, highest-spending,
  highest-deficit provinces when the socialists got the boot for the
  new crowd. All the spending cuts that were made in Ontario were also
  campaign promises.

- Generally libertarian business/social practices. Relaxed labor laws,
  less red tape, less governmental interference in private and commercial

Within a month of their election 4-5 years ago, this administration: 

- Abolished photo radar (brought in by the previous administration - no,
  not visible cameras on the side of the road as deterrents, but unmarked
  vans, driving along with traffic, designed to maximize revenue.)

- Abolished race quotas (the previous administration brought 'em in and
  said "they're not quotas, they're merely numerical goals for all
  businesses to meet or get fined")

- Repealed a rabidly pro-union piece of workplace legislation (umm,
  also brought in by the previous administration...)

- Cut welfare payments by 20%. 

- Instituted the first part of a 5-year tax cutting plan. 

Again - all of these things were election promises. This is the first
time I'd ever seen a party elected with a platform of repeal laws, not
enacting new ones. It was also the first time I'd seen a party actually
do the stuff it said it would do during the campaign.

Five years later, the previous administration's tax hikes had been
completely undone, and the budget, which had been running $12B deficits
annually, was within epsilon of being balanced.

Well, you get the idea about what the current situation in Ontario
is about. Ontario lived through five years under socialism, and then
brought in the right-wing libertarians in a landslide of disgust with
the socialists. That brought about 4-5 years of radical social change,
after which Ontario ended up with the lowest provincial taxes in Canada,
and a balanced budget to boot.

The best part? After five years of relative economic freedom (and incessant
whining from bitter socialists about how the province was going to hell
in a handbasket :), the voters finally got their chance to pass judgement
on the new regime...

drum roll... 

...and the right-wing libertarian crowd got re-elected with another
majority. Based on the fact that they spent five years in power and made
good on every tax cut promise they made in the first campaign, folks
who live in Ontario can look forward to more income tax cuts, and a 20%
cut in a large part of their property taxes.

So what the hell does this have to do with crypto? 

IMNSHO, if you elect libertarians - regardless of the party banner they
happen to be running under - the free crypto just comes with the rest of
the goodies.
"You can kill a man, but you can't kill what he stands for... unless you
 first break his spirit."
 -- Cancerman, _The X-Files_
[Saturday, August 7, 1999]

From Slashdot:
My software design process (Score:4, Funny)
by Shoeboy (peter.johnson@NO_SPAM.voicestream.com)
   on Tuesday August 10, @12:45AM EDT (#36)
(User Info) http://microsoft.com
This is how the shoeboy does things: 

1.All the probable users are asked to contribute their thoughts on what
the project was supposed to do. Most of them suggest things entirely
unrelated to the description of the project.

2.All reasonable suggestions are torn up and fed to a goat. 

3.The goat is sacrificed in the middle of an inverted pentagram while
the PM chants "CTHULHU FNAGN" (this step is optional)

4.The development group works out a good application framework on a
whiteboard. The least popular member of the group is then assigned to
create a powerpoint detailing the proposed framework.

5.Out of bitterness, the guy writing the powerpoint discards the teams
ideas and writes his own. The powerpoint is then sent to management.

6.Management approves or vetoes the project based on the color scheme used.

7.The team suddenly finds themselves commited to a shitty framework. The
alpha geek on the team blames the PM and begins playing political games
to get him/her replaced.

8.Deciding that misery loves company, the team asks the Unix and NT admins
what platform the app should run on.

9.The Unix wookies and the NT trolls declare total war on each other and
the PM gets cc'd on every message in the resulting flame war.

10.The team hires a bunch of contractors to help develop the project. 

11.Performance review time. Everyone tries to look good at the expense
of others. Massive flame wars erupt.

12.Team begins to develop application while attempting to keep PM in
the dark.

13.PM gets revenge by requesting customer feedback on the proposed
feature set.

14.Team vetoes all customer requests, promises to include them in the
next version.

15.Management hears the customer complaints. Demands more powerpoints.

16.Reorg time. PM now reports to a new manager.

17.Team missed deadline for first beta as they are working on powerpoint

18.Cubicle move. Work interrupted as everyone in the building starts
moving cubes to the tune of 'pop goes the weasel'. When the music stops,
they all rush to a new cube except for one sluggish contractor who is
promptly fired.

19.Team missed second beta deadline due to the loss of the contractor
fired in step 18.

20.Management decides that the project will never get finished, cancels it. 

This isn't the best way to design software, but it seems to be a common method. 
[Saturday, August 14, 1999]

Name: Thomas Eppic
Location: London
Occupation: IT Tech Support
I feel that Mr. Raymond has been a little naive. ZDNet are right, Microsoft
(and SAP) sell to the managers, not the technical people. The managers
say do this or do that to the techies, and the techies have no choice but
to comply. Then the managers complain when it all goes horribly wrong,
and blame the techies for not making it work.

I work in technical support. I support hundreds of users in a day to day
environment, all using NT or Windoze '95, and I see this kind of thing
happening day in day out, and not just in IT.

What Micro$oft have done, is to make an easy to use interface with their
OS, which even managers (bless 'em) can understand, which is how they can
sell it to them. Any techie worth his salt will know that Linux is a very
viable alternative solution over NT/9x. Unfortunately, many 'techies' also
buy into the Micro$oft hype on the belief that it makes their job easier.

ESR says that 'its a complicated world'. Too right it is, and managers
don't like feeling out of their depth on this increasingly technical
world. They look for an easy-to-use solution that they can understand,
and *that* (currently) is Windoze.

I think the desktop market is where Linux will either make or break
Micro$oft.  The server market, we've won mainly due to the stability of
Linux and products like Samba (which allows users to map network drives
to the Linux boxen in exactly the same way that they can to an NT server)

[Saturday, August 28, 1999]

From Slashdot:

911 Calls Linux - For Reliable Service 

In January 1998 I began testing linux for our 911 Center here in St. George
Utah. We are the 911 Center for the South west corner of Utah. In November
of 1998 Testing was complete with great success. I implemented Linux as
the workstation for our 911 Center using RedHat 5.2 and AfterStep as the
windows manager. These workstations get worked on 24 hrs a day seven days
a week and run several apps on screen.

Some of the apps that we run our Eterm to connect to the main HP Server,
X3270 for our State computer connection, WordPerfect for different reports
the dispatchers create, and some custom apps I have written in C.

Our WordPerfect was given to us Mike Cowpland CEO of Corel. The WordPerfect
8 has worked perfectly. Thanks Mike.

Our uptime has been over 200 DAYS. This doesn't even come close to the
reboot once a day with the Microsoft OS. I could give several horror
stories of when the dispatcher is in the middle of a hot call, then had
to reboot.

Linux has done so well, that I have unplugged the reset buttons and
disabled the power switch. This was done to prevent finger glitch when
they have to restart the NT box our radios work from (I just wish Motorola
would switch over), that sits next to the linux box. Linux is the main
console that the 911 Dispatcher works from, and has held up better than
any I have ever seen. Linux has been doing great in the server end, but I
have heard it's not very good at the client end. NOT TRUE. My installation
time for the first pc was 45 minutes for full install with apps. By the
time I got to the last set it was 30 minutes for full install. As a client
it has worked great.

The only shutdowns have been from one power supply failure, and a kernel
update for each. The workstations are still running great.

Officer Sherman Stebbins
St. George Police Department
e-mail policesa@infowest.com
[Saturday, September 4, 1999]

On Slashdot:

Re:Microsoft will be reborn...not likely (Score:3, Interesting)
by RenQuanta on Friday September 03, @06:46AM EDT (#47)
(User Info) http://udel.edu/~earnoth/

They've been trying ever since the browser wars, with no success. Remember
MSN? Neither do I. Then there's Hotmail, (what security hole?) and Ebay
(sinusoidal behavior makes its debut on the Internet). The big players
to be taken seriously on the Internet do not include Microsoft. They've
failed miserably because the rules of the game have changed, and they're
stuck with what made them what they are.

As Cringley's well-written article points out, the MS strategy no
longer applies. Close standards which take advantage of market forces
(PCs becoming the dominant hardware standard) is one thing when the
technology is a stand-alone box. When the technology hinges upon the
Internet, ie communication between many people, closed standards will
always be ignored for open ones. It's simply the nature of the environment.

For MS to reinvent itself enough to survive in the Internet Age, they must
inevitably abandon all that has made them profitable. Money is the only
thing keeping the company in the game, it certainly isn't technological
or innovative prowess. Their current dominance in office productivity
software will not save them, Star Office being offered free will do to
them what they did to Netscape (what sweet irony it is). Even better
yet, a coordinated triumverate between StarOffice, WordPerfect Suite,
and Applixware will but speed up the process.  It is simply a matter
of time before the Darwinian nature of the industry makes Microsoft the
dinosaur of the PC industry.

I've just gotta get me one of them neato sigs...let's see, where'd I put
my copy of Bartletts? Hmm... RenQuanta http://udel.edu/~earnoth/
Web based MS Office (Score:2, Informative)
by Tim Macinta (twm@alum.mit.edu) on Friday September 03, @08:23AM EDT (#89)
(User Info) http://www.twmacinta.com/

Did anybody notice this article over at news.com. Steve Ballmer was quoted
as saying "We certainly will have Web-based office productivity services,
no doubt about it." It's funny how every time one of their competitors
makes a surprise announcement like Sun did Microsoft jumps up with the
attitude of "oh, of course we had plans for this all along too, so you'll
naturally want to wait for are version because everybody always ends
up using our products anyway so don't risk your future compatability by
using a product which actually exists now". I predict one of two things
will happen here:

    1.This will end up becoming classic Microsoft vaporware. 
    2.They will shove pieces of Office into ActiveX controls in Microsoft's
      usual, contorted manner and claim that it is a web based office
      system despite the fact that it's bloated to the point of being
      useless for internet use and that it only runs on Windows.
[Wednesday, September 22, 1999]

Name: Tim Wasson
Email: wassontj@intcon.net
Location: Wichita KS
Occupation: Access Developer/Linux Hobbyist
ZDNet is increasingly irrelevant as people figure out that they can get
real information from the Internet, and not have to read processed opinion.

Thinly veiled attempts to stir the pot might get you hits, but they
certainly don't build you up as a relevant member of the computing

Honestly, I read ZDNet as one would view a circus freak show: Amusing in
a seriously overhyped sort of way, but not anything that will influence
thought patterns in the future.
[Friday, September 24, 1999]

Ignorance is not knowing that there is a problem.  Stupidity is knowing
that there's a problem but doing the wrong thing about it.
Name: Bradley Abrams
Location: Worcestor
Occupation: C++ Programmer

There is a lot of make believe going on at MS, but no real innovation
in years.  It's just like this: Win98 was just a patch to Win95 which
was just a makeover of 3.11 trying to look like Mac which was itself a
rip off from Xerox. Yuck.
See you in court, pal
John Lanchester

Clunky, buggy, crash-prone, counter-intuitive to use, creakily resting
on top of its antiquated DOS shell, Windows became the most successfully
revenue-generating piece of software in the history of the world.
Do or die, Netscape...do it (Score:4, Interesting)
by Oscarfish (webmaster@spamoscarfish.com)
on Tuesday September 28, @08:22PM EDT (#89)
(User Info) http://www.oscarfish.com/

I feel like a Nazi using IE5, but it is stable, light, dependable. I'll
continue to use it until someone gives me what I want: a clean, sturdy,
and stable version of Netscape, whether Netscape is the one to bring it
to me or not.
[Monday, October 4, 1999]

Re:Ok, there are problems, but... (Score:5, Insightful)
by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 03, @07:05PM EDT (#149)
You need to understand how the industry really works. 

The Vice-president doesn?t care if the software works or not. If SOMETHING
isn?t installed on the target date that the President gave him, he is
out the door.

The Director who reports to the VP doesn?t care if the software works
or not. Actually, he hopes it won?t, since when the VP gets canned,
the Director hopes to be promoted. Meanwhile, the Director is going
to do everything he can to help. Like scheduling seven hours a day of
mandatory ?specification review? meetings for the developers and their
supervisors. And ?opening dialogs? with temp programmer agencies to help
the managers with their resource management problems. And encouraging the
Business Analysts to learn SQL so that they can provide better direction
to the programmers in their functional specifications.

The Managers who work for the Director don?t have time to care if the code
works because they are too busy interviewing the hordes of fresh immigrant
(temporary) programmers who have professional experience in every language
you ever heard of. Except practical English.

The Supervisors who work for the Managers don?t care about the code
because they are too busy filling out the project status reports and the
time sheets for the contract workers, attending the ?specification review?
meetings, and sitting on the ?issue resolution? committee.

The Business Analysts actually care about the code and are sure that it
would work if the programmers would just use the EXACT SQLs that were
written in the functional specs. And don?t bother them with any techie
nonsense about ?syntax errors?; the ?Learn SQL during Lunch? book said
it worked exactly like that. And ?We need to have a meeting to discuss
YOUR refusal to follow our design. We intend to escalate this as an issue.?

The Project Leaders don?t care about the code since they are on contract
from the consulting arm of one of the ?big 42? consulting/accounting
firms. They care about three things: keeping their billable hours at
maximum, forcing everybody to submit reports formatted according to their
company?s standard, and seeing that something is installed on target
?go-live? date. Since their contract expires the day after ?go-live?,
they are free to piss off everybody in sight. They won?t be around when
the bomb explodes.

The programming team leaders would like to care about the code. After all,
they used to be programmers. And after ?go-live?, they are going to be
stuck supporting the project. But with the sudden influx of temp/contract
programmers, the new team leaders are spending all of their time trying
to explain how the version control software works and why code is written
on the development box, not the QC box, and trying to actually get logins
for the temps in the first place. If anybody had asked, the Senior TL
could have knocked out half of the project with a handful of Korn shell
scripts, but he is busy setting up card tables in the hallway for six new
temp programmers whose names he can?t pronounce or spell and one whom he
is already about to kill. At least setting up card tables serves as an
excuse for avoiding the mandatory specification review meetings.

The new temp/contract programmers would also like to care about the
code. And as soon as someone comes to their senses and replaces this
horrible [AIX | BSD | HP-UX | Linux | NT | Sun ] box with a [decent |
larger] [AIX | BSD | HP-UX | Linux | NT | Sun] system and installs a C++
compiler, the code that they have written will work fine. There?s not any
real difference between MQSeries and DCE. Obviously there was a mistake
in the specification so we coded for the one we used last time.

The Tech Writers, meanwhile, not only don?t care about the new programs,
they don?t even know that there is new software coming. Nobody has talked
to them about documenting it. Three days before ?go-live?, one of them
will overhear a conversation in the lunchroom. But conversations about
the ?latest fiasco?  are too common and this one will rgotten for another
four days..

The QC/QA group cares about the code. They are already receiving threats
from the Operations group about ?another delivery of bug-infested
code?. Consequently, seven of the first ten bug reports will be for
misspelled screen prompts.  The other three will read ?Doesn?t work?. (It
will subsequently be discovered that ?it didn?t work? because the sysadmins
had not installed the test code on the correct box.) Testing might a
little faster is someone could answer them just one simple question:
?What is it supposed to do??

The system admins are completely unconcerned about new code. Until it is
installed somewhere, they are free to ignore the upcoming need for disk
space, printer queues, bandwidth. Just as well, since they are going to
have to take the network down for the next week to install new routes
in the bridges or bridges in the routers (they seem vague on what they
hope to accomplish). But ?we should have your workstation IP addresses
changed out by the middle of next week, for sure, d00d?.

Oh, and the Marketing department just pointed out to the President that
there is no certificate of Y2K compliance for the project.

And all vacations and time off has been cancelled. 

And the company firewall is now blocking http requests to monster.com.
"With proprietary software, the trick is to develop just enough
 functionality and value into your offering that anyone else who tried to
 clone your software would incur too much expense and lead time for your
 customers to bear." -- Jordan Henderson
interesting piece of trivia... (Score:2, Informative)
by bjtuna on Sunday October 03, @05:11PM EDT (#39)
(User Info) http://www.bjtuna.net

When I was in high school, two alumni came to speak before the student
body. The two students worked for Microsoft, and one of them was (at the
time) the head of the Internet Explorer development team. He was talking
about their upcoming release of IE5, and noted that they still had to fix
some bugs before releasing, but that IE5 would ship with approximately
2,500 KNOWN bugs. He also said that this was a relatively low number
of bugs, and that he was proud of his team for achieving such a high
efficiency level.

Isn't anyone else a little bothered by the fact that Microsoft, and
presumably other Big Software companies, have convinced themselves that
this is okay? They spend so much coding time adding bloated features with
lots of bugs, rather than fixing the ones that are already there. Shameful.
Reporter: "What do you think of Western Civilization?"
M.K. Gandhi: "I think it would be a good idea."
The Road to Software Hell (Score:5, Insightful)
by rlp (rlp@yahoo.com) on Sunday October 03, @06:42PM EDT (#129)
(User Info) 

Want to produce really bad software. 
It's easy if you follow just a few 
simple rules: 

1) Produce no documents - avoid creating 
requirements documents, design specs, 
etc. Just jump right into coding. 

2) If it's a large project, divide the 
work into several different development 
groups, and make sure they don't 
communicate. If they can be 
geographically separated, so much the 

3) Don't hire any experienced 
programmers, or if you make the mistake 
of hiring them, don't listen to them. 

4) Make sure that managers create 
impossible schedules. Nothing produces 
bugs like highly caffeinated over-worked 
sleep deprived programmers. 

5) Change requirements (unwritten of 
course) frequently. Be sure and add 
plenty of new features at the last 

6) Be absolutely certain, that you don't 
learn any lessons from industry history. 
Don't read Brooks, Deming, Humphrey, or 
any other Software Engineering or 
Quality literature. And for God sake's, 
DON'T look at 'http://www.sei.cmu.edu/'! 

7) Avoid any and all code inspections. 

8) Avoid creating any sort of 
development processes, or if you do, 
make them so pointless and burdensome, 
that they are self defeating. 

9) Do believe that you can test quality 
into a product. But be sure to compress 
the testing schedule just in case. 

10) Three words - "Ship it anyway".
Some real-life examples of poor testing (Score:2, Informative)
by jd on Sunday October 03, @10:55PM EDT (#271)
(User Info) 

The European Airbus aircraft was fitted with an automatic override system,
to prevent the pilot from performing dangerous manoevers. At it's first
public showing, the pilot flew low over a forest. The computer detected
an apparently smooth surface below it, decided the pilot was trying to
land, determined the landing gear was still up and the speed was too
great... All on board (journalists and crew) were killed. The pilot,
not the software company, was blamed.

The Ariane 5 rocket was one of the most advanced, computer-controlled
rockets of it's time. The level of software control was amazing. In it's
first flight, it blew up. The programmers had apparently put an incorrect
sign in a calculation and the guidance system went into a catastrophic
positive feedback loop.

London's 999 service (the UK's version of 911) was partially computerised
in the 1980's, with ambulance requests being relayed and dispatched
by computers. The monitors were set to display each request. If an
unanswered request was pushed off-screen, a warning message would be
added to the display. Unfortunately, this is an unstable feedback loop.
On one busy night, the entire system freaked, loosing a large number
of calls and sending the displays into an inescapable infinite loop of
error messages. An unknown number of people died, that night, from these
bugs. Beyond a brief mention by the national press and the return to a
manual system, no attempt was made to hold the software firm accountable
for injuries or deaths resulting from badly-tested software.

Software I've had a hand in debugging, for a company that will remain
nameless, has had astonishing, trivial bugs. Some were through using
positively ancient 3rd-party libraries (ever hear of upgrades?). Others
were caused by the AWFUL output of automatic code-generators that rival
The Last One in their uselessness. Absolute filepaths littered the code
(gggghhhh!!!). An apparent ignorance of what a compiler warning means
further led to shoddy code. I re-wrote the application, almost from
scratch. The compiled binary, for a Sparc Solaris 2.5 box started off
at 11 megabytes. After upgrading 3rd party components, and doing the
code PROPERLY, I reduced the size of the binary to 1.5 megabytes. With
a bit more time, I could probably have fitted this evil monstrosity onto
a single floppy. I want to know how the hell someone could write SO BADLY
that the resulting code was almost an entire order of magnitude larger than
it should have been. Never mind how most of that extra code was pure bug.

The PDP-8 had an interesting bug in it's firmware. Popularly known as
the HCF ("Halt and Catch Fire") instruction, the computer could be put
into a catastrophic state which resulted in the computer self-destructing.

A number of Commodore PET computer games, when released, simply failed
to run. The software not only contained fatal bugs, it contained
bugs that would have prevented any testing or use at all, crashing on
initialisation. This software was never tested at all, before release.

JAVA was originally designed for embedded devices and machinary requiring
fault-tolerent software. It's licence specifically prohibits such uses
and the language implies that it has not been ensured to work in the very
environments for which it was intended.
[Tuesday, October 5, 1999]

John Edwards, PhilyTech, talking with Eric S. Raymond:

Despite recent tentative attempts by Microsoft, IBM and other computer
giants to gain a foothold in the open-source market, Raymond sees little
chance of the movement becoming co-opted by big business.  "How can they
do it?" he asked, noting that the sheer number of developers working in
open-source software will thwart any effort to corner the market. "Trying
to control our culture is kind of like trying to cut water with a sword
--- you can try all you like, but all you're going to do is splash a few
drops around and look silly."
[Saturday, October 16, 1999]

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[Monday, November 1, 1999]


"It is now just about exactly a year since the Halloween Documents were
first released upon an unsuspecting world. Many things have changed;
Linux 2.0 has gone from promise to memory, the Halloween Documents' author
has quit Microsoft to go to work for a Linux-based startup, mainstream
market-research outfits like IDC now predict a 30% server-market share
for Linux in the near future, and the first Linux IPO rocketed Red Hat
Software to a six-billion-dollar market capitalization. A few things have
remained the same; Windows is still buggy and insecure and crash-prone,
Windows 2000 still isn't shipping, and Microsoft is still making excuses."
By Ken Ringle quoting Thomas Gold:

"The problem is this system of peer review" wherein established scholars
in a field pass judgment on new papers before publication, he says. "That
rewards small steps but discourages bold ideas and the very sort of
cross-discipline thinking that can provide the greatest breakthroughs. I
don't think there's any question that we produced more great ideas in
the first half of the 20th century than we have in the second"--when peer
review has ruled.
[Saturday, November 6, 1999]

Reed Scowen

It is an institution the business and political leadership of Quebec
has every reason to value highly.  Political uncertainty has imposed
economic hardships on the average Quebecker.  But for the elite, the
threat of separation, accompanied by unending demands for concessions
to avert it, has become a fabulous tool for getting and holding power.
Quebeckers instinctively understand that they have nothing to gain by
separating--or by abandoning the threat to separate.
The Andrew Window Manager (Score:5, Informative)
by osu-neko (osuneko(whirlpool)iname(spot)com) on Saturday May 13,
@10:04AM EST (#16)

What follows is an excerpt from "Programming as if People Mattered:
Friendly Programs, Software Engineering, and Other Noble Delusions",
by Nathaniel S. Borenstein.

The Andrew Window Manager 

An interesting constrast to the UNIX success story is the less well known
but far more typical tale of how the institutionalized greed of the men
in suits managed to kill another promising piece of software, the Andrew
Window Manager. In contrast to the UNIX story, which occupies a key role
in the history of computer software, the Andrew Window Manager is nothing
more than a footnote in that history, a minor story that has been quietly
repeated many times without anyone ever seeming to learn anything from it.

The Andrew Window Manager (WM) is a program that, as its name implies,
manages windows on a computer's screen. It was one of the first
network-oriented window managers to run under the UNIX operating system
on a scientific workstation with a bitmap display. It was fast, easy to
use, and reasonably reliable. Among those who used this class of machine,
it generated intense interest, and a steady stream of visitors came to
its birthplace, Carnegie Melon University (CMU), to see it.

However, WM was not owned by CMU. It was developed as part of the
Andrew Project, a joint venture of IBM and CMU. Part of the agreement
that defined the joint venture stated that IBM would own the software,
but that "reasonable" licensing arrangements would be available.

Unfortunately, there are many definitions of "reasonable." To a university,
a licensing arrangement like the standard UNIX license was "reasonable." To
IBM, such low-cost licensing sounded insane. While IBM and CMU argued
over licensing arrangements, the people waiting for licenses got impatient.

One such group, from MIT, eventually gave up on WM entirely, and built
their own window system instead. That system, which they called X Windows,
has the traditional evolutionary relationship with its predecessor: it
did everything WM could do, and more. Moreover, the MIT group managed
to align itself with a multivendor consortium that funded the continued
development of X Windows as a nonproprietary, easily licensed standard
window system. Within a few years, IBM found that nobody even wanted to
license WM any more, and that IBM was in danger of being entirely left out
of an emerging standard. With little choice, IBM embraced the X Windows
standard, and CMU began converting all of the Andrew application software
from WM to X.

What is most notable here is that WM was a very promising and useful piece
of software. It was ahead of its time, and many groups would have liked
to pick it up, use it, and improve it.  By trying to from the beginning
to squeeze every possible penny out of it, IBM squeezed the life out of
it instead. Good software needs to evolve, and it cannot evolve in the
face of greedy licensing arrangements.

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