It’s peanut butter jelly time!

April 30th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

More Flash weirdness. If watching pointless Flash movies is wrong, I don’t ever want to be right.

Big picture

April 29th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

I decided to set A Pattern Language aside for now and read Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities instead. A Pattern Language is fascinating and engaging, but because its scope is so broad, it elides much of the reasoning and experience behind each pattern. Jacobs presents a more detailed argument about a narrower topic, which is what I want right now.

In other news, I (heart) Throat Coat tea.

Blobby goodness

April 26th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Ready to get your weekend off to a cheerful start? Mr. Nice can help.

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, etc.

April 24th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Good things about Sunnyvale:

  • Flowers everywhere. The roses in Sunnyvale are spectacular—even the most neglected gardens have perfect roses, flowers the size of saucers, with creamy petals that look good enough to eat.
  • A surprisingly nice library that stays open until 9 p.m. on most weeknights.
  • The farmers’ market, the very best thing of all.


April 24th, 2002 § One comment § permalink

A coworker and I went for a walk during our lunch break today, and we started discussing the next version of a Web application we both work on. I complained that some of our developers had thrown away one of my ideas for the UI and implemented something far less user-friendly. As I explained the problem, though, I realized that my original idea wouldn’t have worked. Then I came up with a new idea that will.

After work, I came home, picked up A Pattern Language, opened it to pattern 131 (“The Flow Through Rooms”), and chanced upon this paragraph:

The following incident shows how important freedom of movement is to the life of a building. An industrial company in Lausanne…installed TV-phone intercoms between all offices to improve communication. A few months later, the firm was going down the drain—and they called in a management consultant. He finally traced their problems back to the TV-phones. People were calling each other on the TV-phone to ask specific questions—but as a result, people never talked in the halls and passages any more—no more “Hey, how are you, say, by the way, what do you think of this idea…” The organization was falling apart, because the informal talk—the glue which held the organization together—had been destroyed. The consultant advised them to junk the TV-phones—and they lived happily ever after.

Nous aurons toujours Paris

April 22nd, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

A Pattern Language is an important and valuable book, not only for its contributions to architecture or to other pattern languages, but because it encourages its readers to pay attention to and make sense of their own communities and homes.

Mostly, though, the book makes me miss Paris, a city so perfect that it seems unfair that anyone should have to live anywhere else.

Sustainable agriculture

April 19th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

An organic gardening expert has figured out how to grow enough food for one person on just 4,000 square feet of land.

For those who won’t settle for less

April 18th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Today’s mail included an offer for a free issue of Robb Report, which purports to be “the unquestioned authority on the luxury lifestyle, covering every angle of affluence.” But wait, there’s more:

No wonder ROBB REPORT is the “must-read” of the successful individuals. After all, where else can you learn about $980 shots of Scotch in Manhattan? Buffalo horn eyewear? What’s hot in luxury bedding? And what $5 million buys on the housing market in Aspen vs. Rancho Santa Fe?

Boy, do they have me pegged.

Big Larry is watching you

April 14th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Today’s New York Times Magazine included a great article about Silicon Valley’s post-September 11 rush to help the federal government track its citizens (l/p: pinchydotorg), including a scary interview with some Oracle executives:

As the databases are consolidated, I asked, who should decide the proper balance between privacy and access? How do you avoid a situation in which someone could be kept off a plane because he had skipped jury duty or had an overdue parking ticket? A hush fell over the room, and people looked awkwardly at their sandwiches.

Finally [Tim Hoechst, a senior vice president for technology at Oracle,] spoke up. “You’ll notice that we all became suspiciously quiet when we started talking about policy questions,” he said. “At Oracle, we leave that to our customers to decide. We become a little stymied when we start talking about the ‘should wes’ and the ‘whys’ and the ‘hows,’ because it’s not our expertise.”

The Tom Lehrer song about the Nazi rocket scientist who defected to America popped into my head: “‘Once ze rockets are up, who cares where they come down?/That’s not my department,’ says Wernher von Braun.”

Justification for those philosophy classes

April 12th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Sure, you’ve heard of Pascal’s Wager, but are you familiar with Pascal’s Wagering?

In a short time, word spread around Paris that Pascal was the thinker to beat at that year’s World Cup of Philosophy. His rooms were always comped. His purse overflowed with all-you-can-eat coupons. His credit was good in the casinos and in the shops. He could get excellent, same-day seats for ‘Groupe Bleu d’Homme.’

I can’t believe it took me this long to find out about The Morning News.

Where am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for April, 2002 at pinchy dot org.