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Tuesday Quickies 147

r3drun sent us pictures of the first production empeg (the Linux based car MP3 player). Tom Porter hooked us up with interesting essay by Neal Stephenson that is pretty interesting. Worth a read. emad sent us a link to a Vote for your favorite RFC page. Cracked me up: You vote by number. wall sent us what appears to be the new SGI Logo. Next, I've been waiting for an excuse to link Space Ghost for awhile, and Visoblast sent one that I think us amusing as hell: Naked Pictures of Keith Richards do not affect wildlife. I'm probably only posting it because I listened to Some Girls and Beggers Banquet today. In other music news, RedOregon sent us amusing parody lyrics, Welcome to Berkeley California (you can guess the tune) And finally, GiMP wrote in to say that someone created the Slashdot dance. Hemos has never looked lovelier.
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Tuesday Quickies

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  • Not correct! The answers are:

    1. 553573861 (*without* the first zero)
    3. SNOW CRASH (with a space? Not sure...)
    4. PRITCHARD (the characters' *middle* name)
    5. Social Security number (I guess anything's OK)

    ...I still can't get in though! Anyone got the decoder card?
  • Hold on just a second, while I pick up my brain...Stephenson writes a pretty good stick, eh?

    I won't get into why the Stephensen piece was posted in the middle of a slew of Quickies, but I will point that that it's too bad that a lot of potentially interesting discussion about it is mixed with stuff about the RFC poll and the SGI logo.

    One point that I haven't yet seen made: IMHO, this piece is potentially as important as 'Cathedral and Bazaar', for not for us . This piece is something that you can show your non-Linux using friends, something to clue them in as to what the hell we're doing, and why it's so important to them, even if they don't recognize it.


  • I like the SGI logo... it seems to fit with their using of lesser CPU's (Intel instead of MIPS RISC) and inferior operating systems (NT instead of Irix).
  • by Tok ( 1055 )
    What have the folks at SGI been doing with their spare time? Practicing lobotomies? This logo is perhaps the most incredibly hideous logo I've seen since that company from Redmond became a household name. Then again, to speak very bluntly, even that logo has a bit of style.

    I'm not laughing :).. Well.. Yes, I am.. But not very hard :)

  • but http started the web rolling....also I thought 'Cerf.V' was in on TCP?
  • RFC 1149 [] is truely the best choice amoung all the rfc's out there. My Fav Choice Too.
  • I wish John Katz wrote as well as him... Chris
  • Combine them and you have a fully caffeinated tech/poet, a rarity in this modern world.
  • Someone with some musical skill needs to mp3 that song...
  • Dancing Slashdot?

    Tips for /. immortality:

    1. Use Photoshop or GIMP to make (or more often edit) a graphic. Spend all of 2 minutes to run a canned filter on it and save as an animated GIF.

    2. Post to web page. Make sure to put a counter at the bottom. They're very accurate.

    3. Post a message to rob on a slow day and wait for the hits to arrive.

    - Darchmare
    - Axis Mutatis,
  • by Silmaril ( 19015 ) on Tuesday March 30, 1999 @08:23PM (#1955631)
    Rowan's "essay" on the GNU Community gets
    full billing while Neal Stephenson's fascinating monologue is relegated to one of many
    quickies? Wake up, slashdot editors.
  • 1) I loved the old SGI logo. I was even seriously considering getting it tatooed on my lower back ... now I can do it legally Plus when I see the old logo my brain links to to "steal me please"... The new one: I work for CGI but i claim I am SGI. 2) Perhaps a naked keith richards would be a better logo for SGI ... I expect that neither logo would effect animal life either.
  • 64 bits beats 32 bits any day...

    Only problem is, when you split development costs 15 million ways, it's pretty cheap to maintain an OS, but when you only split it among 1000 or 100000 people, it's much more expensive. Same thing for the chips.

    Personally I don't care so much about the chip as the OS; SGI has always ruled because of raw, seething, furious I/O and memory bandwidth. If they support Linux on their machines (preferably all of them) we all win -- an alternative to poopy NT and kick-ass I/O at (relatively) low prices.

    SGI no longer enjoys their position as "The" graphics workstation and hence can't gouge for them as much, so they can't reasonably support low-end development. If someone buys an Origin or an Onyx, suddenly there's a lot of money to spend on development again.

    So Linux on the low end (as soon as there is support for hardware-accelerated X) and Irix on the high end is about all SGI can be expected to offer, given the razor-thin margins for lower-end machines. I mean, do you see Dell doing any OS development? IBM (on the low end)? HP (low end)?

    Linux is about all the Unix workstation makers can afford these days ;-).

  • I'm thinking about that... it could be a hit
  • Hmm, after voting for my favorite RFC, now i need a site where I can vote for my favorite cDc text []...
  • i have a /. icewm theme if you care.

    can't stand blackbox, though.
  • this isn't Silicon Graphics' new logo.. i'm sorry, this is some other dumb company's (silican graphics) new logo.. doh!

  • Right on. An excellent appeal to the power user communities in the Mac and Windows worlds. (esp. the Mac one)
  • by acb ( 2797 )
    ...besides Netscape for linux doesn't include a midi player

    Though plugger with timidity can play embedded MIDI files all too well.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Today, something fairly normal happened at work.

    One of our printer servers failed, and a bunch of people wasted a bunch of time trying to get their documents printed.

    We run a fairly standard corporate structure - Win 98 boxes linked to NT machines that act as print servers.

    Stephenson was right in that with Linux, a bunch of hackers and amateurs have built a tank that would make Guderian drool, and that the majority of users dont want an impregnable, low-maintainence, fast, efficient tank - they want a slow, ugly unreliable stationwagon.

    However, if you are in business, you need something that can get in to position fast and put shells onto the enemy position as quickly and reliably as possible. The manufacturer is secondary.

    Given this, if you are in business, you want the best, most easily maintained tank you can find.

    Users at work get what they are given - I am given a Win 98 box, whether I want one or not.

    Linux boxes running Samba are better print and file servers for Windows NT than Windows NT boxes are.

    In this case, if the business buys Linux servers running Samba, the 'tank' is invisible - the user keeps their comfortable Windows 9x environment - and they gradually realise the fact that their printers used to fail, but dont any more, and that file transfer is faster.

    I think that is weak point that Linux can take over the enterprise from.

  • go to the questions are unnecessary.


  • I, too, didn't find the essay. But lo and behold, a fellow slashdot reader has the answer. I'm sure cmdrtaco will have fixed it by now.

    BUT! the site is kinda cool, too. But, um, where's the decoder card from? I'm guessing the book flappy cover thingie.

    So who's got a password?

    here's the answers...

    1. 055357861
    2. snowcrash
    3. shanghai
    4. waterhouse
    5. your ssn.

  • 'fraid removing the last slash from the url doesn't work - the essay has definitely gone off the radar. Now you get "We are sorry, but this page is not currently available."
    Anyone know when it'll reappear? I was halfway through reading it, hit Reload and it was gone ...
    The first half is excellent! :-)
  • Yes, I realize it was very long and your knee was jerking, but if you had read the article, you'd see why he left it out. This was not a survey of operating systems. Don't fault the author because his choice of subject matter doesn't include your pet project. He also glosses over all sorts of free software issues and makes minor errors of fact and does other things that are sure to raise somebody's dander (including mine, at times), but that's all beside the point.

    And if you think AmigaOS's age is a selling point, you missed the whole huge section on cruft. Linus and the Be guys are both saying that in a few years it'll be time to throw out the old and start over. Microsoft is sort of agreeing with NT, and even Apple is taking baby steps with OS X. AmigaOS is just as obsolete as MS-DOS and MacOS are, and can be taken out behind the barn with the rest of them.

    It also doesn't help that Stephenson has probably never used a Miggy. He says right up top that this will be an idiosyncratic essay. He wasn't trying to be comprehensive and well researched, he was simply getting his ideas down on "paper".
  • I liked the old one way better!

    And who is this lunatic talking about "lesser CPUs" and "inferior operating systems"? Feel free to buy an Origin 2000 with 128 R10K's, and support the development of Irix. What's that? You can't afford to? You can only buy an NT box like everyone else?

    Hmm, what a coincidence -- SGI's going where the buyers are. Granted, they seem to be rather slow with the hardware-accelerated X support, but we'll have to wait and see... it is rather pointless to start flaming them this early on.

  • Really an incredible essay. Far more deserving of a full slashdot article than that juvenile GNU essay earler....

    In fact, this evening, I went to the main library of the University of Texas (doh!) to look for Snow Crash I was so impressed. The online catalog showed it as checked in, but I could not find it on the shelf!

    could it be a Redmond conspiracy?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Notice that the stylized g in the new sgi logo is really a lateral view of a person with an open mouth and popping eyes.
    No doubt they put the magic number 666 in there somewhere as well.
    Pity, I very much like their current logo.
  • Then why was "sillicon" misspelled twice in the registration info?
  • Are they trying to make it appealing to the simple-minded Wintel crowd?? It's got the feel of Teva... I guess they're worried that a 3D illusion may cause their new target customers' heads to hurt. Pity.

    R.I.P. SGI
  • I reckon we all get on and implement this one, hot coffee in the could also chuck in some eggs the night before and have some how do I get the toast to work? ahh bugger it, just plug the toaster in the wall and drop it in as well....

    Network Working Group L. Masinter Request for Comments: 2324 1 April 1998 Category: Informational Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol (HTCPCP/1.0)

    dont you just love april fools everywhere :)

  • I already have a minimal htcpcp server written in Perl... Doesn't actually make the coffee, but it processes requests, and is a valid server... It's single threaded, which is probably a good thing.

    My favourite bit of that RFC is the bit about security. Read it if you don't know what I mean...
  • Wonderful essay. Wow, that man can write! First
    "Snow Crash", then "Mother earth, motherboard"
    in 'Wired', december'96, .html (Try to find a paper copy of it before you download it, the online version is ~260Kb and none of the great pictures...), and now this one.
    Looks like I have to find out what other essays/books Mr. Stephenson has written....
  • While I like the goals set forth for HTCPCP, the functionailty would be better implemented through simple GET and POST methods and conveying the other directives through XML in the body of the passed file object.

    This would allow for greater flexibility in client and server implementations, and would foster interoperability with proposed protocols for teapots, soda machines, beer kegs and drinking fountains.
  • by Spatch ( 28798 )
    I've always been partial to 1036 myself, but see the big winner so far is 822... oh, sigh.
  • for real man. i was getting pretty damn tired of seeing farm animals dance. but i could rock to the /. dance for days.
  • It's got to be the HTTP/1.0 protocol. While the internet would certainly have grown, it would in no way shape or form be what it is today without rfc 1945,

    RFC 1945. Informational "Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.0", T. Berners-Lee, R. Fielding, and H. Frystyk, May 1996. Also available in plain text, HTML, and PostScript (gzip'd) formats.

  • by goon ( 2774 )
    slashdot the article just in time before page started to dribble in at 30bs
  • I concur, 'tis a brilliant ramble.
  • i actually like it, man.
    frankly the whole retro-underwood look is probably gonna catch on with other manufacturers...
  • what's an ex-Unix-lover to do?

    I saw somewhere that older NeXT cubes were going for $700 or less... that's kind of cool. I think it was in Performance Computing (nee Unix Review or something like that) where they had a big article on running older Unix systems for cheap.

    I think I'd rather just have the monitor from one of the Maximum Impact systems and an adapter card to use all 1600x1200 pixels... mmmm, decadence.

    Well, that, and stereo-in-a-window on Linux.

  • Yeppers.

    Neal has also written 'Cobweb' under the Stephen Bury pseudonym.

    And lo ... it rocks also.

    ...and while I'm ranting about my favourite SF authors

    ==> Howard V. Hendrix ==

    wrote two absol-fragging-lutely amazing novels, 'Standing Wave' and 'Light Paths'.

    Thoroughly recommended for people who like books with concepts wild enough to make your brain hurt.

    Right up there with 'Godel, Escher, Bach' and the Illuminatus Trilogy.
  • WTH is the management in Mtn. View thinking?!?!

  • And don't even bother wasting bandwidth telling that 'Interface' wasn't written by N.S....

    Tha Big D.
  • I too can only say "an amazing read". Brilliant, captivating. Why didn't he supply his email address, I'd like to thank him.
  • The original TCP standard... don't leave home without it. Besides, Postel authored it.

  • The new logo is awfull. I always thought that SGI's "cube" logo was one of the coolest logos out there. Sad to see a company that was once on top taken over by marketing nitwits.
  • OK. I admit it. I'm a Neal Stephenson zealot. I've read Snow Crash. I've read Snow Crash *aloud*. To other people. Without their consent. Zodiac, Diamond age, ingested.

    But seeing that essay linked through Slashdot is really a kicker. Finding out Neal Stephenson is as oddly fixated on Linux as I am is like walking into my regular corner bar and finding out that, previously unbeknownst to anyone, Metallica is playing there that night because they know the owner from years ago and by the way James Hetfield might need to crash at my place tonight if its OK with me.

    I love it.

    And you know you're reading this, too, Neal. No self-respecting Linux pseudogeek does not read Slashdot at least on occasion. And no writer is enough lacking in vanity to not read his critics.

    You, sir, are the tits. Good luck with the new book.

    Many thanks,

  • by nelsonrn ( 2165 ) on Tuesday March 30, 1999 @09:42PM (#1955678) Homepage
    You must read the Stephenson essay.
    -tank builder
  • Shurely 1149 is the best.
  • Ugh. The new SGI logo is Horrible. There is no distinguishing it between a Computer Graphics company and perhaps a clothing chain. Stick with the old one!!
  • Personally, I prefer RFC 1882, the Twelve Days of Technology before Christmas. On a related note, April 1 is almost here... I wonder what RFC it will bring us this year.
  • RFC = request for comment. Most of the standards of the net were decided on in this manner. Go here [] for an indexed list. Search on "Avian" for a good time.


  • 64 bits beats 32 bits any day...

    Only problem is, when you split development costs 15 million ways, it's pretty cheap to maintain an OS, but when you only split it among 1000 or 100000 people, it's much more expensive. Same thing for the chips.

    Personally I don't care so much about the chip as the OS; SGI has always ruled because of raw, seething, furious I/O and memory bandwidth. If they support Linux on their machines (preferably all of them) we all win -- an alternative to poopy NT and kick-ass I/O at (relatively) low prices.

    SGI no longer enjoys their position as "The" graphics workstation and hence can't gouge for them as much, so they can't reasonably support low-end development. If someone buys an Origin or an Onyx, suddenly there's a lot of money to spend on development again.

    So Linux on the low end (as soon as there is support for hardware-accelerated X) and Irix on the high end is about all SGI can be expected to offer, given the razor-thin margins for lower-end machines. I mean, do you see Dell doing any OS development? IBM (on the low end)? HP (low end)?

    Linux is about all the Unix workstation makers can afford these days ;-).

    Oh, ps. I have a couple of PPC boxes and will probably buy an old Sparc or Alpha one of these days. Maybe even a real old MIPS R3000, that's the only kind of assembler I can stomach. (well, x86, but that's a necessary and rare evil)

  • I just noticed that they misspelled "Silicon" as "Silic a n" for their "pseudo-mark" entry. Let's just hope they proofread their software better than their trademark applications :-)
  • by Checkered Daemon ( 20214 ) on Tuesday March 30, 1999 @08:05PM (#1955688)
    I hope this doesn't get the Well swamped by the slashdot effect, but ...

    Stephenson has also posted an article about 'Cryptonomicon' on the Well. It's aimed at readers of the Cypherpunks mailing list, and covers the technical and historical basis for the book.
  • by thinker ( 7404 ) on Wednesday March 31, 1999 @03:20AM (#1955689)

    More of a novella, really, but...

    1 point to CmdrTaco for mentioning it.

    -1 point to CmdrTaco for burying it in a bunch
    of Quickies.

    Both ``The Cathedral and the Bazaar'' and
    ``In the Beginning was the Command Line'' were
    written by programmers who were, in part,
    describing their introduction to Linux. The
    difference is one was written by an egotistical
    prick, and the other by a writer(you decide which
    is which).

    There are many jewels for a fortune(6) file in
    Stephenson's piece.

    It could almost be entitled ``The
    Re-Education of a Mac Bigot''.


    The author expends a great deal of prose(well
    written!) wrestling with the fact that until a
    computer Operating System or software application
    does what you (the user) mean, you will have to
    learn to do what it means.

    The Windows and Mac Operating Systems are just
    sick, sad, sorry interludes in the evolution of
    interaction between humans and computers.

    "The Internet interprets censorship as damage,

  • If for nothing else, read it to learn how to gracefully express your ideas.

    Neal is a Writer. His essay (and almost all of his published works) is an example of how you should strive to express yourself. Look at how he transitions from one point to the next, without any jarring skips, or requiring huge leaps of comprehension. His analogies are well-thought out, and explained in sufficient (but not excruciating) detail where they might be unclear. The wording isn't dense or filled with jargon or buzzwords, and yet conveys clear meaning and the sense of understanding.

    All in all, an excellent work. I realize that everyone can't reach this level, and for alot of the short posts here, it's not necessary to put that amount of effort into it.

    But, and this is really important, if you want to make yourself understood, put the same effort into your writing as you do your code.

    I will always value a good techinical writer above a good coder - I can find good coders all over the place, but someone who can both understand code (usually someone else's) and can clearly and logically document it in a manner that others find usefull, is a gift.

    I strive to reach Neal's level of writing. While I'm not there yet, hopefully I'm better than I used to be.


    Oh, and for all of those /.-ers still in H.S.: Pay Attention In English Class. For those in college: Take a good Expository Writing class. Both are as valuable to your future as any C.S. class; in fact, I would value them as MORE important than any single C.S. class.

  • remove the last slash from the url. not
  • I must say... that is the single most depressing thing I've seen all week. They've traded their cool 3D Cube for some near-Courier text. Sigh Marketroids.... grumble, grumble, grumble

    The following sentence is true.
    The previous sentence is false.
  • Yes, also read _Snow Crash_, which is funnier, but IMHO less well developed. The only other novel of his that I know about is called _Zodiac_ and is about a guy who cruises around in a rubber boat and makes existance miserable for companies that dump toxins into the watershed. A *very* entertaining read.
  • Not only does he rock as a sci-fi writer, I thought the essay was the most balanced and informative piece I have read on Linux and computers in a long time. This gets hidden away as a quickie, while Katz and ESR gets hyped whenever they open their mouths?
  • That'd be


    A Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers []

    Where would we be today had these not been invented?


  • Hmmm..guess I should have a higher caffine level before posting. I wasn't attempting to say that the essay argued that Joe SixPack should go buy a copy of Red Hat (or even Debian), but I think that a reading of it could help to foster understanding between the Morlocks and the Eloi, to use Stephenson's terminology.

    It might help some of the Eloi decide to check out what the Morlock life style has to offer, but I don't think (and I wasn't trying to say) that that was the point.


  • by heroine ( 1220 )
    If that SGI logo is SGI's vision of effective marketing, we'd better get used to depending on Microsoft for what little pittance of an economy they already give us.
  • Posted by gmesser57:

    Follow the link to the counter rant, from there the link to the Stephenson essay works.


  • Oh man.. I can't stop laughing from that one :-)

    Anyone up for making a Slashdot [] theme for blackbox?

  • Used R4400 Indigo2 High Impacts are going for ~$2k nowadays. I'm thinking seriously of getting one and returning to the SGI world. Bit of an antidote for the boring PC. :-)

    Linux is cool, but there's nothing quite like SGI. I feel very sad they're going to NT; I feel it's an enormous loss -- and I was responsible for the purchase of several new SGI systems a couple of years back.

    Oh, and I agree with the folks who say the new logo looks lousy.


  • What ending? I read the last page of the last chapter of Snow Crash and was surprised not to find another chapter when I turned the page. Same thing for Diamond Age. NS has some great ideas, but his characters lack depth and his plots lack conclusions.

    I would still recommend both Snow Crash and Diamond Age because NS has some brilliant ideas. I'll agree that Snow Crash was the better of the two.

  • I have to agree. Not only is this the best history of modern computing that I have ever read, I have laughed outloud at least 10 times since I started, and I'm only a third done.
  • I think the title says it all. This guy writes beautifully. I don't know whether he would want the job, but he certainly seems capable.
  • I was just happy to learn that he wrote the whole thing in BeOS, from his BeBox no less...
  • I think this essay may be a milestone of sorts. It's so well written it would fascinate people who've never even touched a computer. I'd say more about it but I'm going to reread it and let the ideas percolate for a few days. My head is still ringing.

    One more thing--Stephenson says he uses FVWM and is looking at E. Someone should turn him on to Window Maker. :-)

  • All I have to say is "Wow."

    And also: Please re-submit this as its own feature. It deserves to be widely read.

    I was truly blown away by this essay -- a huge, rollicking trip through culture, cosmology, computers and the history of the OS. All written in simply amazing prose.

    I have never read one of his novels, but I can say that this essay has inspired me to go out and buy _The_Diamond_Age_ and _Snow_Crash_ (and probably _Cryptonomicon_ as soon as its out).

    I have recommended it to they small minority of Linux hold-outs I know among my more intelligent friends. This essay shows them with style what they are missing.

  • Huh? Cruft is about the heaping on of features of dubious value, not age. Amiga OS development has been, , somewhat slow since Commodore submarined. Hardly an environment conducive to growing cruft.

    But how much stuff will Gateway have to bolt on to bring it up speed? State-of-the-art in OS has changed mightily over the past 15 years, and they're not going to be able to sell the old system without a little updating. The early MS-DOS versions didn't have much in the way of cruft, either, they were little more than kernel, init, and shell, but I wouldn't want to use it.

    If you want new features, at some point you'll have to throw out your old OS and move on. Period, end of story.
  • by acb ( 2797 )
    How about the Free Software song?

    Or should that be reserved for the RMS Dance?
  • the server linked to afraid of the /. effect or something? I found only a 404... *sniff* that means less procrastinating for me...

  • Stephenson's essay (nee novella :-) ) is long but well worth taking the time to read. I wish I wrote half as well as him.


  • Those of us working on the batmobile found some good tidbits there as well...
  • I encourage everyone with a sense of humor to go vote for RFC 2324. If you don't know why, go read it. [] :) By far, the most useful I've seen, and AFAIK, no one has even implemented it yet.
  • Beautiful, lyrical, absorbing, and full of fascinating arguments and arguments on - well, everything from the DoJ/MS case to the image of the Batmobile and the geodesic dome to represent certain products and communities. (Which cracked me up. How apt!) I've probably put everyone off, now, but honestly, even the "Essays shouldn't be on slashdot" people will find this relevant. One caveat: I do think it deserves reading thoroughly, rather than skimming. Expect to spend some time reading it. And going "Yes!" out loud and double-taking at various stages, with luck. In common with several other people, I feel this merited more than a "quite interesting" comment buried amid SGI's new logo and the Slashdot dance.
  • If you never read Snow Crash, go get it. The ending was a bit lame, but he writes circles around William Gibson. His other cyber-book, The Diamond Age, was not as great. Also of note is Zodiac, which is best described as an eco-thriller .
  • by pohl ( 872 )
    Ok, it's 6am here. I've gotten up early to meet a deadline, and I find this pile-o-quickies, nearly pass up the entire lot, but something makes me click on the essay link...and I can't stop reading. That bastard. I think I'll have to punish him by buying his books. I've had so many people tell me "you've gotta read snowcrash". Now I understand why. It's going to take a lot of effort to put it aside for later.
  • Oops. My bad. It's only mispelled once. ("SILICAN" {sic})
  • It was merely the DoD standardizing of TCP.

    But Postel wrote it up anyways.

  • I think the subject sums it up.


  • Why do I get the feeling that our Fearless Taco didn't actually *read* the Stephenson essay? I would think that anyone who gave it the time would realize it's importance -- it certainly doesn't belong in the Quickies. It needs it's own /. post, where fruitful discussions can frolic unfettered in the comments. It needs to be posted in a prominent location at the top of the main page where it will persist and permeate the /. consciousness for days, weeks, months to come... Seriously, this essay is incredible, impressive, and *important*. I think the basic, most important thing I got from reading it was _understanding_ of concepts that I already thought I was familiar with. I loved the analogies and the discussions about popular culture. The clear, concise, accurate insights contained within helped crystallize some of my years-old random feelings and thoughts about the computer industry, about operating systems, about how my way of experiencing things appears to differ from most people. I feel like I can share it with anyone with even minimal computer literacy, and not only will they be able to understand the computer-related content, they might gain clear understanding and insight into esoteric aspects of our society and culture. The really *brilliant* aspect is the fact that it's about as objective as an essay discussing MS, Apple, Linux and Be can get. And because of this, much can be learned from it. I think this essay could be a vital piece of literature for anyone wanting understanding of operating systems, interface paradigms, basic computer industry history, and how computing fits into contemporary culture. Ok, so some of the above paragraph seems to ramble and babble a bit. What can I say, it really hit me. Perhaps I'm still a bit dioriented from the impact, and all I can do is gush about how incredible it was.... Anyways, my point is, it's really worth the read. Stephenson struck me as a really good writer -- this is my first time I've read him -- and if I didn't have to work on my senior design, I'd spend the next 2 weeks absorbing his books. I guess they'll have to wait... Ok, enough from me already; sorry for the somewhat disorganized thoughts.
  • by Why2K ( 29813 ) on Tuesday March 30, 1999 @10:06PM (#1955732)
    The Wired article was called Mother Earth Mother Board []. Highly recommended for those who haven't read it yet.
  • "And if you think AmigaOS's age is a selling point, you missed the whole huge section on cruft."

    Huh? Cruft is about the heaping on of features of dubious value, not age. Amiga OS development has been, , somewhat slow since Commodore submarined. Hardly an environment conducive to growing cruft.

    NS even gave examples of old-but-not-crufty: the automobile interface. You could probably figure out how to drive a Model T Ford, once the steering wheel and accelerator and brake pedals had been pointed out. :-)
  • It's a crack man... Thoose guy's a GIMP rule!!!
  • He wrote Diamond Age? Wow, I've just read the first 1/2 of this essay (who are we kidding, this is an online book), and it's spectacular. I had planned on reading Diamond Age a few months ago, but passed. I'm definitely going back to it now!
  • I just want to contribute to the apparently prevalent opion that the new sgi logos sucks.

    To me, the old one's actually is one of the better logos in the whole industry.

    Maybe they should do a poll on this...
  • I would have had that if I didn't HATE music embedded into webpages, besides Netscape for linux doesn't include a midi player :(

    Maybe Ill add it later :)
  • Cartoon Network moves there stuff to the archives quickly, it seems. Try here [] instead.
  • Come on, I still think Intel CPU's are inferior to ultrasparc. alpha and ppc. (I own a Sparc machine and an Alpha machine). So no, I do not buy an NT box like everyone else. I like Linux on Alpha and Sparc. I simply prefer Unix to NT, and I think I am not alone in that. I do not own an sgi machine (yet), but I do have an old machine with MIPS RISC CPU, a Digital Decstation. (I collect computers..)
    And I admit, I do have an x86 machine, but that one has an AMD CPU.
  • by Dewb ( 4591 ) on Tuesday March 30, 1999 @08:50PM (#1955745)

    The correct URL for Neal Stephenson's essay is nning_print.html [] -- just take off the slash. I would have thought Slashdot readers to be a bit more enterprising.

    I have to agree with Silmaril above.. it doesn't make sense that this long, literate and excellent essay by an insightful and respected writer gets relegated to a quickie, while Rowan van der Molen's whiny, unfocused rant gets a full article.

    If Slashdot is going to have such a lax and sloppy editorial policy (further, and more egregious, examples of which abound) then it might be more interesting to pick articles using the same moderation system that's currently used for comments. If it didn't improve things, at least it would be radical.

  • by goon ( 2774 )
    forget the issue, (after SEP'1997). One of the most interesting thing I remember about the article I remember was digging holes for the cable going thru SE Asia. They laid the cable down something like 2 metres of rock for entire lengths of islands...why, 'cause everyone and their dog has a 'back-hoe' :)

  • I went poking around the cryptonomicon site for more cool Stephenson, but was stopped at the gate by these questions and a decoder card:

    Have any of you intrepid soles navigated this?

  • [] seemed to get me in the site
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, I hope that caught your eyes.

    As you hopefully have seen, the readers in here are both literate, well read and reflected. Why not therefore add a BOOK item to your categories? After all, how many might not have missed the article about Neal Stephenson's latest book just because it was tucked away in the quickies section??

    Neal Stephenson is an important authoir, he puts todays realities into perspectives, letting us see reality from a different angle. OK, so it might not be about fuses, bigger disks, more RAM etc but in the long term it is people like him that define the future.

    So this might sound a little grand, eh? Then what about William Gibson? Few paid attention outside the intelligentia when he wrote Neuromancer, even fever realised what "Cheap Truth" heralded. Yet in my field of research he is as important as any article you might read in Science or Nature. Then came the media. That is, 15 YEARS too late. They sure didn't invent the gunpowder but they acted all like they were standing way too close when the cyberpunks lit the fuse.

    I have tried to make this point before that being technically interested does not make for intellectually stunted minds. Amazing how few realise this.

    So the question remains, my dear Taco: will you help those of us who do not conform to media's (and Hollywoods) image of us, and help us stay at the forefront - not only of the Tech but also of the trends that together with tech moves the world quietly forward?

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser