Solipsism Gradient

Rainer Brockerhoff’s blog

Browsing Posts published in May, 2003

Hi Daniel,

Daniel Steinberg wrote:

One of the engineers noted that it was possible to turn all of the processor off with this application. Some users complained that this caused the machine to crash.

I remember testing one of the first BeOS releases on my Genesis MP528, which had 4 processors… performance was very impressive. I didn’t try turning off all processors, unfortunately – I thought that they obviously would test for that.

I still have the Genesis stashed in a corner here, although with a G3/300MHz CPU card instead of the original 4-processor monster, which burned out due to (I think) non-tropics-proof heat-sink paste.

Der Schockwellenreiter quotes a marvelous cautionary paragraph from Daniel Steinberg‘s article Transforming iCal Calendars with Java:

This code is presented as an example. Do not use it on data for which you don’t have a copy. It hasn’t been widely tested. Consult a professionally trained computer scientist or a twelve year old child before attempting anything difficult on your own machine.


Posted by Daniel Steinberg:
Your thread about users having difficulty with .dmg and most recent note about the Be installer reminded me of this Be story from one of their first developer conferences.

Be supported multiple processors early on. They had a cute application that allowed you to turn processors on and off so that if you had a dual processor machine you could see that apps ran faster with both processors on than with just one on. One of the engineers noted that it was possible to turn all of the processor off with this application. Some users complained that this caused the machine to crash.

As I’ve mentioned before, I won’t be able to make it to MacHack this year… however, I strongly recommend this year’s conference for anybody interested in programming for the Mac.

MacHack #18: Unstoppable will be held from June 19-21, 2003, in Dearborn, Michigan. The official theme is the Spinning Pizza of Death icon_biggrin.gif. Have a look at the contents; I’ve never seen so many papers and sessions, all very interesting. This will certainly be a conference to remember.

For the first time, MacHack will happen before Apple’s WWDC, which will begin immediately afterwards: June 23-27 in San Francisco. In other circumstances, this close juxtaposition would make it possible for me to attend both conferences; let’s hope they do it again that way next year…

Tim Bray writes about his rediscovery of Rex Stout’s books:

These books are awfully damn good

…the characters are all really interesting people, sparkling conversationalists, and the great thing about the novels is that you get to spend a few hundred pages with these smart, aggressive, sharp-talking, fascinating people.

Most of Rex Stout’s books feature eccentric, overweight private detective Nero Wolfe and his faithful sidekick Archie Goodwin. I own practically all of them, as well as some lesser-known books featuring other detectives, like Theodolinda “Dol” Bonner, who also appears a couple of times in the Wolfe books. I also have most of Robert Goldborough’s continuations of the Wolfe canon, as well as William S. Baring-Gould’s “Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-Fifth Street: The Life and Times of America’s Largest Private Detective”.

Read Tim’s post for more details, including a rare photo of Rex Stout and a (probably inaccurate) sketch he made of Wolfe’s office, which I believe is from Baring-Gould’s book. There are other sketches available.

Here’s a review of the first Nero Wolfe book, Fer-de-lance. It contains my favorite Wolfe quote, which I’ve adopted as my own motto:

…when a District Attorney commands his presence in Westchester, he tells Archie to refuse, saying “I understand the technique of eccentricity; it would be futile for a man to labor at establishing a reputation for oddity if he were ready at the slightest provocation to revert to normal action.”

No article about Nero Wolfe can be complete without a reference to noted SF author Philip José Farmer‘s elucidation of the complete family tree of the so-called Wold Newton families; according to Farmer, Nero Wolfe, whose original name was John Hamish Adler, was a secret child of Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler. Wolfe’s brother Marko Vuczik (originally Scott Adler) was the father of Archie Goodwin; Archie is revealed also to be a cousin of Travis McGee on his mother’s side. Other famous members of the Wold Newton families are Tarzan (Lord Greystoke), Angus McGyver, and Lara Croft.

Dave Pollard nearly a week ago selected several excellent tips from Richard Moran’s book Beware Those Who Ask for Feedback. They’re worth quoting:

    07. People who ask for feedback are usually really asking for validation.
    49. Never gossip, entertain gossip or do things that give rise to gossip.
    57. Work always gravitates to the most competent.
    59. Low-hanging fruit almost always turns out to have been already picked.
    71. Never confuse making people happy with doing what needs to be done.
    98. There is no relationship between morale and organizational success.
    110. If you get a below-average performance rating, change departments, supervisors, or jobs.
    143. If employees don’t like your system or process, it won’t get implemented.
    181. There are no communication, turnover or morale ‘problems’. They are all symptoms of management problems. Fix the problem, not the symptom.
    195. When an initiative begins with a series of posters, it’s already in trouble.
    250. When giving a presentation, think of what people will remember. That’s no more than two things.
    285. Never expect total honesty in front of the boss.
    335. Make someone’s life easier. It always pays dividends.

The Albert Einstein Archive opened just a few minutes ago. It contains manuscripts, lecture notes, diaries and hundreds of other documents – many of them publicly available for the first time. Fascinating…

Der Schockwellenreiter calls attention to the amazing Flying Pig Gallery of Paper Automata. Wow.

He also posted another gem, here translated from the original German – two script kiddies chatting:

> We’re now hacking ThreeM who’s taking us on his IP is:

> E78 has already started but his computer keeps crashing I think ThreeM is attacking us too


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