December 2003 Archives

I was going to throw out a little bit about the interesting contrast between the way Dean’s remarks about the effect on Saddam’s capture on Americans’ safety were generally taken and the recent rise in the national threat level, but then I got home and found out that Glen already covered it, and likely did a better job of it than I would have. The only thing I’ll add is that DeLay wasn’t the only one spouting off about how wrong Dean was; I watched several of the Sunday talking head shows yesterday, and the general consensus seemed to be that Dean had shoot his mouth off on this topic, that he was utterly wrong, but that it wouldn’t cause him lasting damage. Cynic of the week award to Pat Buchanan, who described Dean’s comment as “technically correct but politically foolish”.

The big news of last week was that “we” caught Saddam, cowering in a hole. Turns out, that’s exactly what happened, only the “we” was Kurdish intelligence forces, and the “cowering in a hole” was “laying in the hole where they left him, drugged to the gills”. So, basically, yet another “wag the dog” special, from the people who brought you the Jessica Lynch story. This would be a good one to spread widely; maybe exposure will force the US media to at least mention it…

(The link is to a site I’ve never heard of, with a distinct lefty feel to it, but if you scroll down, the story is pretty well sourced, from all over the place.)

Joel has a piece up called Biculturalism, which about two parts review of The Art of Unix Programming, one part bitching about ESR, and another two parts discussing cultural differences between Unix and Windows programmers:

What are the cultural differences between Unix and Windows programmers? There are many details and subtleties, but for the most part it comes down to one thing: Unix culture values code which is useful to other programmers, while Windows culture values code which is useful to non-programmers.

It’s an interesting article, and you should go read the whole thing. I’ve been considering picking up tAoUP, and I’m considering it more strongly now that I’ve read Joel’s review.

The one nit I wanted to pick was in response to the pull quote above: I don’t think Joel really takes the next step and considers why this difference exists between the Unix and the Windows culture. In my experience, the difference exists and persists because in the Unix culture, even normal users are expected/encouraged to do some programming — things on the order of small loops to process a bunch of files in the shell, and that sort of thing. In the Windows culture, normal users are expected/encouraged to just accept whatever software they can beg, borrow, or steal, and figure out how to adapt themserves to it, rather than the other way around — they’re supposed to be consumers, not creators.

I’m not saying one culture is superior to the other one because of this fundamental difference, but I am pretty clear on which one I want to be part of.

by the way

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For some reason, it seems worth noting that Genehack is five years and some odd months old. I don’t think all the content is currenty online, but it’s all stuck in tarballs somewhere or other, and once I get the new blogtool stuff in more of a working state, I’m going to start backfilling. (You’re all breathless with anticipation, I can tell…)

Genehack Rule Of Meetings The First: A room full of people, with half of them talking to the other half in normal speaking voices, all at the same time, is not a meeting. It’s a cocktail party with extremely crappy refreshments.Genehack Rule Of Meetings The Second: If you’re going to have a hidden agenda at a meeting, recognize that the key to achieving it lies in keeping it hidden. Assume that the other people in the meeting with you are at least as smart as you are, and develop cover agenda(s) as appropriate. If you’re not willing to invest that effort, don’t even bother calling the meeting.

Sorry for the silence around here. One of the “before the end of the year” goals is a project that should liven things up a bit, here and elsewhere; I just need to make sure that it gets done.

In related news, I did manage to finish off one of my four “before the end of the year” goals this weekend, so we’re gettin’ there.

Today is World AIDS Day, which means it is once again time for Link And Think. Just because I don’t have the time to do the former doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do the latter.

Finally, let me close by saying I do own socks. Many pairs. You have been warned.