When
· Naughties
· · 2004
· · · January
· · · · 13 (3 entries)

Two Laws of Explanation · There’s been a lot of buzz re­cent­ly around Edge.org’s as­sem­blage of “Laws” pro­posed by In­ter­est­ing Peo­ple. No­body asked me for one, but late­ly I’ve been do­ing some con­sult­ing for Dick Hardt’s stealth start­up Sx­ip Net­works while I look for a gig and it re­freshed my ap­pre­ci­a­tion of maybe the most im­por­tant les­son I’ve learned over the last cou­ple of decades, maybe enough to pump it up and claim it’s a Law, in fact two: Here­with the Two Laws of Ex­pla­na­tion ...
 
TPSM-11: Technical Elegance · If you have the mis­for­tune to not be an en­gi­neer, you’ve nev­er known the thrill of en­coun­ter­ing, for the first time, tech­nol­o­gy that is beau­ti­iful. If you are, you know what I’m talk­ing about, and if you’re not, noth­ing I can say will help you (a line in­vent­ed I be­lieve by Duke Elling­ton). Other tech­nolo­gies are less aes­thet­i­cal­ly com­pelling, and we call them kludges and hacks and pieces of [in­sert your fa­vorite sca­to­log­i­cal ter­m]. It’s all very well to drink deep at the well of Ex­is­ten­tial Engi­neer­ing Beau­ty, but does it ac­tu­al­ly make any re­al dif­fer­ence to whether a tech­nol­o­gy suc­ceeds or fail­s? ...
 
On TV · Last Sun­day, the whole fam­i­ly was over at Peter & Kim’s place to hang out, drink some left­over New Year’s Cham­pagne (Mumm’s yum­m), play with the new pup­py, but most­ly to watch TV. Be­cause we don’t have any (well, a de­cent lit­tle Toshi­ba for watch­ing DVDs) but P&K have a satel­lite dish and a high-end Run­co pro­jec­tor and 5+1 sound and gen­er­al­ly the whole tick­et. Wel­l, some of you may not have seen live sports on a good HDTV satel­lite feed with the 16:9 as­pect ra­tio and so on: Trust me, it’s an en­tire­ly new art for­m. Saw the KC/Indy game; The con­ven­tion­al anal­y­sis was that the KC de­fense col­lapsed, but I’d say it was sim­pler than that, the Indy of­fen­sive line shut down the pass rush and since Man­ning was on, that was all she wrote; but with that kind of pass pro­tec­tion I could have thrown some of those tight-end-slant com­ple­tion­s. Then Peter ex­er­cised the au­dio with choice cuts from the Con­cert for Ge­orge DVD; nice to see Ro­ry Gal­lagher lay­ing down some chops and if you didn’t shed a tear or two when Paul opened up Some­thing in the Way She Moves on ukelele well you need to get in touch with your feel­ings or what­ev­er. Any­how, the to­tal­ly bizarro part of the event was IBM’s weird Lin­ux ads fea­tur­ing this ug­ly blond kid who makes me think of the Real­ly Bad char­ac­ter in a Stephen King piece. Nar­ra­tive by Hen­ry Louis Gates and Kurt Von­negut and so on is pret­ty classy, but I’d still like the pen­guin back. Plus the ads on the IBM Web site—even the Quick­time versions—won’t play on my Mac, which is lame. What with the HDTV and DLP and so on, we’ve been think­ing about a satel­lite dish and big­ger screen; and while the foot­ball and the con­cert were great, watch­ing the com­mer­cials re­mind­ed me why we haven’t had TV all these years. Giv­en the com­pe­ti­tion, the weird blond kid was a high­light. Maybe that’s the point.
 
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