I’m about to spend ~75 MB of RAM to cache 500 XML files just because it’s convenient. It’s worrying how casual we can be with system resources when virtual memory, garbage collection, and JIT are all there to “help.” But anyway, it’s all running in a virtual machine on some big-iron server I’ve never seen, so who cares, right?
My inner Apple ][ developer is crying, if not well and truly dead.
Cedric King Palmer was born in 1913 in Sussex, England and educated at the Royal Academy of Music. He volunteered during the war for service in the RAF but was rejected for poor eyesight. He went on to conduct a series of orchestras in the 1940s and 1950s, and several of his compositions proved popular at the time. Throughout his life he authored several books on music, including The ABC of Church Music and several volumes in the “Teach Yourself” series. He named each of his series of dogs “Nimrod” after the Elgar’s 9th Enimga variation (Op. 36), and died in 1999 still a popular music educator.
I’ve decided to start collecting “production music" (aka "stock" or "incidental" music) and sound-a-like works from the 1950s and 1960s.
To me it’s a fascinating sub-genre because it is simultaneously overtly corrupt and sublimely innocent. Written by classically-trained composers as works-for-hire, music production companies collected libraries of thousands of these tracks for the express purpose of licensing them as scores to the nascent television industry.
Yet the compositions themselves evoke an idealized post-war America, unmarred by the issues of the day; we picture June Cleaver or Donna Reed vacuuming in pumps and pearls, rather than anti-communism, the threat of nuclear war, racial strife, urban flight, gender equity, and growing anti-war sentiment. There’s an innocence (or naiveté) to the music, and only through reuse of these works throughout eras of changing idiom in film and (primarily) television production have they acquired the cynicism and irony that contemporary audiences ascribe to these “orchestral confections.”
Up first is Lawrence Reginald Ward “Laurie” Johnson, an English composer and bandleader who studied at London’s Royal College of Music. His works include the television themes of Top Secret and the Avengers, and the film score to Dr. Strangelove. But I’m partial to “Happy Go Lively”, which he wrote for KPM Music in the 1950s.
The software I’ve been working on for the last six months successfully ran end-to-end for the first time yesterday. At the time I felt chest-thumpingly pleased with myself and unsurprisingly giddy. Today I feel strangely detached from all of it, and I’m not sure why.
I recently had an interesting exchange on Facebook. It started when Bob complained,
I’d just like to point out that Facebook used to be a fun place for keeping in touch with friends and family. As of late it seems more and more political. From “Obama will eat your children!” to “Romney will enslave us all!” to the various pro- and anti-union sentiments.
I have my own views on all of these things, but will be keeping them to myself.
Remember when someone posted their political views on Facebook and it totally changed other people’s opinions? I don’t either.
Most commenters responded primarily to the last paragraph, acknowledging the inefficacy of grandstanding in that forum. I was more interested in the first sentence, and responded:
I’ve actually been thinking about this quite a bit lately, and I think it stems from a conceptual change that Facebook made some years ago. As Joel Spolsky pointed out in 2003, “small software implementation details result in big differences in the way the community develops, behaves, and feels.”
Once upon a time, the entire application was designed around “writing” on your friends’ “walls,” fostering an expectation of user-to-user interaction. If I remember back to 2004 or so when I joined, you actually couldn’t write on your own wall, or at least it was non-obvious in the UI to do so. Now, you “update [your] status” on your own “timeline,” primarily by sharing links, and if you get the incomprehensible privacy settings wrong, anyone on earth can comment. No, they’re not the same. And the post-ranking algorithm used on the home page’s timeline gives more weight to link-sharing than to text, so if you want to show up in your friends’ main screens with their 2,638 friends you have to share links and post pictures and videos (which are more links, by the way) or your clever note won’t even show up.
In short, the site changed the entire conceptual design from outward-looking interactions based on text exchanges to inward-looking soapboxes for posting links to other sites (like, say, your company’s product site) with rudimentary commenting. It’s all the worst features of a personal blog with better UX and no need to run WordPress.
Bob liked my comment (I could tell because he clicked the “Like” button, not because he said anything), but one of his contacts (I have no idea if he and Bob are actual friends or not) disagreed with my conclusion,
Social media thrives on sharing and spreading. Links allow more reach in terms of sharing by connecting new sites, content, and other forms of multimedia. In a world of SEO and page rank it is an important feature.
and in so doing, reinforced my point,
Telling, though, that you called it “social media.” Once upon a time it was called “social networking.” Again, they’re not the same.
which seemed to open his perspective a little:
Very true, I don’t think I even realized that change.
How interesting: a perspective-changing interaction conducted entirely by text exchange; simultaneously an example and counter-example of Bob’s complaint.
I have long believed that the universe keeps one’s karma in balance throughout one’s life, that periods of turmoil and sorrow are balanced by subsequent joy, and vice-versa. Recent experience has only reinforced this belief.
I sailed an ocean, unsettled ocean, through restful waters and deep commotion, often frightened, unenlightened; Sail on, sail on sailor.
I wrest the waters, fight Neptune’s waters; sail through the sorrow of life’s marauders, unrepenting, often empty; Sail on, sail on sailor.
Caught like a sewer rat alone but I sail, bought like a crust of bread, but oh do I wail.
Seldom stumble, never crumble, try to tumble, life’s a rumble, feel the stinging I’ve been given, never ending, unrelenting, heartbreak searing, always fearing, never caring, persevering; Sail on, sail on, sailor.
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“Instead of designing beautiful data-structures and elegant algorithms, we’re looking up the EnterpriseFactoryBeanMaker class in the 3,456-page Bumper Tome Of Horrible Stupid Classes (Special Grimoire Edition), because we can’t remember which of the arguments to the createEnterpriseBeanBuilderFactory() method tells it to make the public static pure virtual destructor be a volatile final abstract interface factory decorator.”—Mike Taylor (via Gruber)