· 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.
author · Dad
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