"A playground full of gangs of angry eight year olds"

There’s a thoughtful piece by Andrew Brown over at the Guardian’s CiF site about why on-line forums are so full of polarized, angry, hate-filled people. “Technology alone can’t really explain the madness of the online world. It is the social aspect that turns it into a playground full of gangs of angry eight year olds. Above all, it is the sense – the hope – that we have an admiring audience out there.”
His piece is followed by a variety of comments, some thoughtful, some angry, and some that (inevitably) start out as a parody of what he was talking about and slide into the real thing. To me, the saddest responses are typified by someone with the ID Scrittipolitti: “I really don’t see the problem. CIF is certainly no more abusive and angry than everyday life. “ If true (and how could it be?), what unremittingly depressing lives such people must live….

Relo questions: Flexcar

Here’s the first in a series of questions related to my move to Seattle.
I’m thinking about going car-less in Seattle, and relying on Flexcar when I actually need a car. Public transportation seems pretty good, and I may well be able to find an apartment in walking distance of work. Advantages: no garage or parking costs, no anxiety about car theft. (Chris seemed to have particularly bad luck when he lived in Seattle.) Disadvantages: less flexibility, can’t drive outside the lower 48 (i.e. no trips to Vancouver or Victoria).
So what do you think? Right now I’m planning to leave DARWIN in Massachusetts; I can always change my mind in a few months….

And now, the envelope please….

It’s official (or it will be as soon as FedEx does its thing): I’m going to work for Amazon.com. I shall be working with Werner Vogels, the Amazon CTO. My start date is August 14; I’ll be heading off to Seattle on August 8. Lots to do between now and then.
I’m very excited by this job, and just a little bit intimidated too. For years I’ve been involved in projects at Sun which focussed on “distributed computing at large scale”. Those of you who heard Rob Gingell or Greg Papadopoulos (or me) speaking on the subject will know that we were convinced that the reality of “large scale” would continue to surprise people. (Shades of Hofstadter’s Law, or Douglas Adams on space.) Well, now I get to deal with “really, really large scale” – unmediated, no excuses, in the flesh. It’s challenging. It’s… well, exhilarating. And it’s a wonderful opportunity.
More anon. Right now, I’m going to crack open a bottle of champagne!

P.S. Many thanks to all of you who helped with this, especially Dan, Cassandra, Wendy, and Rakhel.

Shine on You Crazy Diamond

Syd Barrett dies.

Lime and limpid green, a second scene
A fight between the blue you once knew.
Floating down, the sound resounds
Around the icy waters underground.
Jupiter and Saturn, Oberon, Miranda and Titania.
Neptune, Titan, Stars can frighten.
Blinding signs flap
Flicker, flicker, flicker blam. Pow, pow.
Stairway scare, Dan Dare who’s there?
Lime and limpid green, the sounds around the icy waters under
Lime and limpid green, the sounds around the icy waters underground

Sun memorabilia

Herewith three items of Sun memorabilia: two photos, and a video clip. The photos were scanned at 600 dpi from prints; you can click through to get the full-res images. The video clip is a 25MB MPEG4.
The first is a group shot taken at a country club somewhere in the Greater Boston area, with Scott McNealy and a bunch of long-time East Coast Sun folks. I can’t remember the occasion – 10th anniversary of ECD, perhaps? (That would make it 1995.)
sun group
The second is much earlier: a shot of the ECD staff including the larger-than-life Barry James Folsom. It must date from about 1987….
sun group
The final item is the video clip that was prepared for Phil Rosenzweig’s memorial, after 9/11. (I doubt that grommit will serve this fast enough for glitch-free viewing; you might want to right-click on the link and save the file before playing it.)
If you can supply precise dates and times, please leave a comment. (And of course I’ve been gazing at these photos, scratching my head and saying, repeatedly, “Dammit, I know that face, but I can’t put a name to it!!!”)

Random 10

Here’s the mix for this week (un-manipulated!). Some Hi-NRG stuff, and then there’s the crystalline elegance of Eddie Jobson’s Theme Of Secrets:

  • “Who Do You Think You Are (Saturday Night Fever Dub)” by Saint Etienne (from Who Do You Think You Are)
  • “I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind Of Thing (Wild Pitch Mix)” by the Pet Shop Boys (from I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind Of Thing (Dance Mixes))
  • “The Pirate Of Penance” by Joni Mitchell (from Song To A Seagull)
  • “Inner Secrets” by Eddie Jobson (from Theme Of Secrets) personal favourite
  • “Amor Amor” by Nino (from Buddha Bar 2)
  • “Vertigo” by U2 (from How to dismantle an atomic bomb) personal favourite
  • “Betty Boop’s Birthday” by Al Stewart (from Between The Wars)
  • “Love Puppets” by the Legendary Pink Dots (from Curse) personal favourite
  • “Sam Hall” by Johnny Cash (from American IV: The Man Comes Around)
  • “Encore Une Fois [Dancing Divaz Club Mix]” by Sash! (from Encore Une Fois)