When
· Naughties
· · 2004
· · · October
· · · · 31 (4 entries)

A Little Bit of Payback · I found out last Au­gust that the the Votemas­ter was ac­tu­al­ly An­drew Ta­nen­baum, short­ly af­ter I met him on­line. I’d writ­ten him sug­gest­ing that Electoral-Vote.com need­ed a feed; RSS was new to him so I ex­plained and helped de­bug his, it’s been a huge suc­cess (#79 on the Blog­lines top 100 as I write). Those read­ers who nev­er stud­ied Com­put­er Science may not know that Andy Ta­nen­baum is one of the top CS au­thors in the his­to­ry of the world. He’s al­so the au­thor of Minix, the ed­u­ca­tion­al OS that helped mo­ti­vate Li­nus to write Lin­ux. I per­son­al­ly learned net­work­ing from his clas­sic Com­put­er Net­works and once taught a course us­ing Minix and his com­pan­ion text Oper­at­ing Sys­tems. Which is to say, he’s one of my ma­jor in­flu­ences and one of my heroes. It was very sweet, ex­plain­ing a lit­tle piece of our dis­ci­pline to one who ex­plained so much to me. Kind of amus­ing too... his half of the con­ver­sa­tion in­clud­ed some­thing along the lines of “It can’t be that sim­ple; you mean the whole world just polls this RSS thing to see if it’s changed?” Plus, it’s worth say­ing that Electoral-Vote.com is a very fine piece of work, up to Prof. Tanenbaum’s high stan­dard­s. If you haven’t been read­ing it, dig through the archives and en­joy his eru­dite but amus­ing com­men­taries on the course of the elec­tion.
 
Rolling Out Roller · Back in Septem­ber I had a lot of fun speak­ing with the US In­tel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty. Talk­ing of­fline, they men­tioned that they were look­ing in­to de­ploy­ing blog in­fras­truc­ture and I told them we’d based the Sun in­fras­truc­ture on Roller, that it was work­ing out well, and that we were hir­ing its in­ven­tor. The in­tel guys said “Could he drop over and talk to us about it?” Seemed like a good idea, so Dave and Will Snow dropped by “somewhere near DC” and it turns out that what they want is sen­si­ble and doable, so we’re go­ing to do it and they’ll prob­a­bly use it. We’re very in­ter­est­ed in Cor­po­rate Blog­ging (this is an ex­am­ple, even if in­tel­li­gence pros don’t in­cor­po­rate). Is there any­one else out there think­ing about de­ploy­ing some en­ter­prise blog in­fras­truc­ture? Give me a holler.
 
PT Oozer · On last week’s trip to the Colorado Soft­ware Sum­mit I had the mis­for­tune, for the sec­ond time in the last year, to re­ceive a PT Cruis­er from Avis. This au­to­mo­bile is a mis­be­got­ten fail­ure, de­spite its ad­mirably id­iosyn­crat­ic shape and am­ple head­room. Its ride is un­sta­ble and jit­tery on high-speed turn­s, its car­go space ab­surd­ly lim­it­ed. Worst of al­l, it is the sin­gle most un­der­pow­ered car I’ve driv­en in many years; tak­ing it from five to nine thou­sand feet of al­ti­tude up US In­ter­state 70 was al­ter­nate­ly mad­den­ing and ter­ri­fy­ing. Clear­ly they re­pur­posed a sewing-machine fac­to­ry some­where to build the en­gi­nes. Steer clear, I’d say.
 
Window-Blind · In a Colorado ho­tel room.
 
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