Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Can't resist posting another blog post. The following folklore is titled "Close encounters of the Steve kind."
Steve had managed to get Don Knuth, the legendary Stanford professor of computer science, to give a lunchtime lecture to the Mac team. Knuth is the author of at least a dozen books, including the massive and somewhat impenetrable trilogy "The Art of Computer Programming." (For an amusing look at Knuth's heady self image, and his $2.56 reward program, see http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth/books.html )

I was sitting in Steve's office when Lynn Takahashi, Steve's assistant, announced Knuth's arrival. Steve bounced out of his chair, bounded over to the door and extended a welcoming hand.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Professor Knuth," Steve said. "I've read all of your books."

"You're full of shit," Knuth responded.

Apple story

One of the best stories about American-Japanese relations I've heard. Better even than the Crazy People ad, interestingly enough also involving Sony. Note that it's talking about how Apply initially needed to get a floppy drive working, and the Apple engineers had to work around the complete looniness of Steve Jobs:

They hatched an alternative plan to continue to work with Sony surreptitiously, against Steve's wishes. Larry Kenyon was given a Sony drive to interface to the Mac, but he was told to keep it hidden, especially from Steve. Bob and George also arranged meetings with Sony, to discuss the customizations that Apple desired and to hammer out the beginnings of a business deal.

This dual strategy entailed frequent meetings with both Alps and Sony, with the added burden of keeping the Sony meetings secret from Steve. It wasn't that hard to do in Japan, since Steve didn't come along, but it got a little awkward when Sony employees had to visit Cupertino. Sony sent a young engineer named Hide Kamoto to work with Larry Kenyon to spec out the modifications that we required. He was sitting in Larry's cubicle with George Crow when we suddenly heard Steve Jobs's voice as he unexpectedly strode into the software area.

George knew that Steve would wonder who Kamoto-san was if he saw him. Thinking quickly, he immediately tapped Kamoto-san on his shoulder, and spoke hurriedly, pointing at the nearby janitorial closet. "Dozo, quick, hide in this closet. Please! Now!"

Kamoto-san looked confused but he got up from his seat and hurried into the dark janitorial closet. He had to stay there for five minutes or so until Steve departed and the coast was clear.

George and Larry apologized to Kamoto-san for their unusual request. "No problem.", he replied, "But American business practices, they are very strange. Very strange."

Ah Apple. When you released the puck mouse, I guess you hadn't learned anything.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hell just froze over

Microsoft and the Linux Foundation just presented a joint letter to the American Law Institute. I think you know you've screwed up when such diametrically opposed viewpoints team up together.

Thought I think that CNet said it best - "Finally, Microsoft and the Linux Foundation agree on something. Neither wants to stand behind their products."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I think that the fact that my favourite track on Last.fm is CD laser lens cleaner speaks volumes for the general quality of today's popular music.