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13 August 1999

When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I think only of how to solve the problem. But, when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful I know it is wrong.
-- R. Buckminster Fuller, seen on pyrAlert!

Handy rule of thumb: every time you hear a news "personality" (Cokie Roberts, John McClaughlin, etc.) or a political figure (Bush, Gore, Clinton, yadda yadda) say "the American people", as in "the American people are tired of such-and-such" or "the American people clearly want more of X", substitute in "people like me" and get a much clearer picture of what they're saying.

Americans (or do I mean "people like me"?) are far more diverse than such folk choose to recognize; we do not have one mind or one set of preferences. We can't be unified just by saying it is so.

Heck, even among people I know who are like me, there are often strong disagreements on what to do about any one issue. Surely the entire populace doesn't think the same thoughts.

Treating "the American people" as a unit in public discourse is a convention that is worse than useless, it's stultifying. Resist it.

Seen on a boy and his basement, I think someone's putting William Safire on. He rattles off several supposed "cyberspeak" words and definitions:

  • Eyeball Hang Time [NY Times, free registration required]
    cybersex gritch ... marries digiporn to the portmanteau of grouch and glitch, producing a phrase meaning "hacker's complaint about the encryption of dirty pictures".

Half of the terms he says are "cyberspeak" are complete gibberish to me ("gritch"?). Or am I simply out of the loop out here in the midwest?

He has ripped right, and his description of management bandwidth rings true, but there are so many not-quites in the piece: real time isn't exactly a substitute for "now", it's more like "concurrent with real-world events", as in "real time stock quotes".

Looking at data longitudinally means (I think) looking at it as a time series, not "looking at it side to side". You could confuse the two, I guess, but...

The word he says is metrix ("measurements, standards for evaluation") I would think is "metrics", the plural of "metric", and that's already a real word last I checked.

Anyway. It was just a puzzling article.

Here's an okay parody of the increasingly-idiotic MPAA movie rating system:

The Register sums up the DoJ-Microsoft summing-up:

I really don't know what I'd like to happen to Microsoft as a penalty if they lose.

I think the trial's been extraordinarily useful in exposing some very poor behavior on their part, and that in itself has produced some interesting results. The more people know about what [omitted]s they have been and continue to be, the more likely people are to look for alternatives on general principle and based on self-interest (since MS' primary motivation at the executive level is clearly to grab power, not to serve their customers better).

In fact, I'd be pretty happy if their punishment is simply that they have to continue to make their "innovative" practices and "customer-focused" business decisions public for the next several years. The market will take care of them in the long run, and markets work better with more information... :)

That's all I've got time for today. Have a fine weekend; I'm going to see Weird Al live tomorrow!

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