Tag Archives: computer

My delicious.com bookmarks for June 2nd through June 6th

  • iPad App Pricing – Nice analysis of iPad and iPhone application pricing.
  • The Value of Ideas – "Ideas are worthless. Execution is everything." Or actions speak louder than words.
  • The IBM Muppet Show – "IBM. The Muppets. Two venerable institutions-but not ones we tend to associate with each other. Yet in the late 1960s, before most people had ever seen a computer in person or could identify a Muppet on sight, the two teamed up when IBM contracted with Jim Henson for a series of short films designed to help its sales staff."

My delicious.com bookmarks for January 16th through January 22nd

My delicious.com bookmarks for July 9th through July 17th

  • The giant Apollo 11 post – The best of the web on the 40th anniversary of the moon landing.
  • Year two – Nice analysis of where the App Store need to change in order to keep both customers and developers happy.
  • Let's all take a deep breath and get some perspective – "[Google are] starting to look like the new Scott McNealy. Remember him? Ran a company called Sun, which had a great little business going until McNealy became obsessed with Gates and started doing things like paying millions of dollars to buy StarOffice so he could get into that booming free software business."

First Mac

I’ve started to get “into” Twitter, the micro-blogging site, in the last month or so. One trend that I picked up on is that of “hashtags” where you put a hash (pound) symbol followed by a word somewhere in your message. This makes is searchable. The most recent that I’ve participated in is #firstmac, for which my contribution was:

A white iBook G3, paid extra to get the 600Mhz version with the faster bus speed and an impossible-to-use-it -all 384Mb of memory

And that’s entirely true but I can’t tell the full story in 140 characters, hence this post.

The first Mac I ever used was at university. Durham wasn’t big on Macs but there were a few lying around in the labs. I always liked playing around with new toys and so I occasionally used one, if only to bring up a terminal to Telnet into the Unix server and check my email.

This was back in ’92 or ’93 and email was only accessible on the big Solaris and HP-UX servers. The timing also meant that PCs were on Windows 3.1 and so fairly basic. Using a Mac, an LC with a tiny colour screen if I remember correctly, at the time was pretty cool.

What I didn’t realise was that the sound on early nineties Macs was substantially more advanced than on PCs of the time. I found this out the hard and embarrassing way.

One day between lectures I made a bee-line for the LC and brought up the terminal application. The standard of my typing, then and now, is such that it usually takes several attempts to get the server name correct. The Mac would make a sound when it couldn’t find the server.

Except this time someone had changed the default system beep and replaced it with a thirty second long sound sample called “orgasm.”

Did I say that the speakers on that LC were surprisingly loud?

I don’t think I used a Mac again for nearly ten years.

“There are no Buddhist Computer Systems”

I recently went to a BCS talk entitled “Eight Significant Events in Computing.” In the question and answers session at the end, one attendee noted that most innovations were Western in general, from the USA in particular. There are a good number of exceptions but, okay. He continued: the result of a Capitalist system and not Communist or Fascist. Again, I’m not sure that this is entirely true.

But it was his final point that floored me: IT innovations were mostly Christian. A few confused looks made him clarify with the line, “There are no Buddhist Computer Systems.”

I’m not really sure what a Buddhist computer system would look like, but I came up with the following list that would possibly qualify:

  • The concept of karma means that every time the application crashes, next time it starts you get a new, useful feature
  • Processes that crash are reincarnated rather than restarted
  • Long running processes (dæmons) therefore are said to be in nirvana

Then again, I wasn’t convinced that we actually have Christian computer systems either. Surely a Christian system would have the following properties:

  • A vast user manual written by people who claim to have seen the software
  • And translated some time later into a kind of pidgin English
  • The first half of the manual would be about version 1.0 of the product, which users still claimed was absolutely accurate. Even the bits that contradicted those in version 2.0
  • Both versions, but especially version 1.0, often erased your hard-disk or deleted child processes
  • Whether erasing your hard-disk or deleting child processes is a bad thing or not is still hotly debated by some users
  • Although version 3.0 has been around for a while, many users still cling to earlier versions
  • Despite having a third of the market, users often claim that they are being persecuted by people using other software or no software at all

Can you think of any more?