Growing up a little

A year ago, at two-and-a-half, The Gibber knew the entire Thomas the Train Engine pantheon.  He knew the names of all the engines and cars, probably down to their manufacturer, tonnage, service history, serial numbers and refitting dates.  (Myself, I could tell the engines apart from the cars in the dark but only because the engines have things that stick up and hurt your feet differently).

This morning The Gibber held two engines up to me.  “Daddy, who are these?”

I can distinguish them because their names are printed on the bottom. “That’s James, and that’s Skarloey,” I told him.  This saddened me a little.  He’s gone from being totally crazy about trains to having other pursuits: A little while later he was back to the Lego, building towers and spaceships, trains forgotten.

We saw Wall-E today (his first movie), and he sat through the entire thing.  I predict that we will be stepping on a lot of Lego robots….

Diablo 3: “Stay a while and –URK!–“

Diablo3!  Diablo3!  Jumping and down:  “Wheeeeeeee!”

Movies and stuff here….  The graphics and play look awesome.  Of course, no release date (this is Blizzard).

My wife and I lost a summer to Diablo II and its expansion pack.  (I cranked up D2 recently, just to try out the new patch that makes it CD-free, and the next thing I knew I was levelling up a Sorceress in the middle of the second episode.  I shook my head and backed away from the mouse.  Dungeon-crawl crack, that’s what it is: “My name is Landon, and I play Diablo 2 …”).

No word on whether you can throttle Deckard Cain and get the bastard to shut the heck up.  Just identify the loot, okay, old man?  Sorry about the blood and stuff.


knock knock

We’re driving to the grandparents’ house for dinner:

“Daddy, say ‘Knock knock who’s there!'”

“Knock knock.”

“Who’s there.”


Me: “Okay, you have to say ‘Knock, knock’, right?”



“Can you say it?”

“Okay, Daddy: Knock, knock!”

“Who’s there?”

“Um, ice cream!”

“Ice Cream who?”

[we’re passing through an intersection now]

“Ummmm . . . ice cream traffic light!”

(pause.  suppressed groan on my part)

“Daddy, say ‘Knock knock who’s there!'”


That is not your daddy’s OS

I swear to God, the next time I see someone declaring that they’ve written a new operating system in a browser, or (worse) that the browser somehow _is_ the operating system they’re writing applications on, I’m going to find a rock, tie a typewritten “e-mail” to it with a piece of string (“XML”), declare the rock a “TCP/IP packet,” and throw it through the moron’s window (“port”).

I’ve lived through this already. Except that the “operating systems” in question weren’t browsers, they were implementations of BASIC on 8-bit microcomputers. Remember the days of chained-together BASIC programs that used PEEK and POKE and CALL to bend the system to their will? People did write very large applications in BASIC for systems like the Apple ][, the Atari, and IBM-PC: Accounting packages, point-of-sale systems, video games (lots of those), you name it, and every one I’ve seen the source to was an unmaintainable hash. It’s what you get when you hack in BASIC.

It’s important to remember how far up the food chain you are.  Why?  So when someone comes to you and complains that your “scheduler” is O(N**2) and that the “context switch” overhead is on the order of a millisecond, that you have someone else to blame.  Because if you’re on the hook for that, and you think the primitives you’re working with are at the level of an OS, you’re pretty much sunk.

I used to worry about the “kids” who know just Java and who wouldn’t even know where to start if you gave them a raw CPU and a handful of memory. Now I’m worried about a new crop of “software engineers” who may never write a line of code that isn’t executed by an interpreter, who somehow think that the Javascript they’re writing is it, rather than what it really is: A hothouse flower supported by a vast infrastructure of sophisticated components, and that’s before you get to the damned browser.

Declaring that a minnow is a whale doesn’t make it so. So, fine: You can call your browser an OS if I can call my Emacs session, well, anything I please.



Play Guitar Hero with wife (who is much better than I am).

Get my Shadow Priest to level 70 (an hour an evening, how long can it take?.If it matters: Kabdib, playing Horde on Zangarmarsh, level 45 today…).

See if Age of Conan is any good (could be, but: p a t c h P a t c h P a t c h P A T C H p A t C h P a T c h …).

Continue slogging around in Liberty City.

Find more agility orbs in Crackdown (so I can get to more agility orbs, I guess).

Finish the single player campaign in Halo 3 (well, and Halo 2. And 1, for that matter).

Wrap up Overlord (a delightful little game, with wonderful voice acting except for the elves, who sound like bored software engineers trying to do voice acting).

Find out where I stopped in Gears of War and decide if I want to continue. I hate getting lapped by a title’s sequel.

Mass Effect: Ditto. (Answer: Probably not).

Do I even want to crack open Command and Conquer?

Give Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey to some charity.

Burn my copy of “Hideously bad ninja game whose name I have mercifully erased from memory.”

Oh yeah, work on the yard and clean the garage.