Cheerful thoughts

Better Days
Goo Goo Dolls

And you ask me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days
Cuz I don't need boxes wrapped in strings
And desire and love and empty things
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days
So take these words
And sing out loud
Cuz everyone is forgiven now
Cuz tonight's the night the world begins again
And it's someplace simple where we could live
And something only you can give
And thats faith and trust and peace while we're alive
And the one poor child that saved this world
And there's 10 million more who probably could
If we all just stopped and said a prayer for them
So take these words
And sing out loud
Cuz everyone is forgiven now
Cuz tonight's the night the world begins again
I wish everyone was loved tonight
And somehow stop this endless fight
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days
So take these words
And sing out loud
Cuz everyone is forgiven now
Cuz tonight's the night the world begins again
Cuz tonight's the night the world begins again

Here's an example of arrogance, eventhough he's right

Subject: A bike shed (any colour will do) on greener grass...
From: Poul-Henning Kamp <[email protected]>
Date: Sat, 02 Oct 1999 16:14:10 +0200
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Sender: [email protected]
Bcc: Blind Distribution List: ;
MIME-Version: 1.0

[bcc'ed to committers, hackers]

My last pamphlet was sufficiently well received that I was not scared away from sending another one, and today I have the time and inclination to do so.

I've had a little trouble with deciding on the right distribution of this kind of stuff, this time it is bcc'ed to committers and hackers, that is probably the best I can do. I'm not subscribed to hackers myself but more on that later.

The thing which have triggered me this time is the "sleep(1) should do fractional seconds" thread, which have pestered our lives for many days now, it's probably already a couple of weeks, I can't even be bothered to check.

To those of you who have missed this particular thread: Congratulations.

It was a proposal to make sleep(1) DTRT if given a non-integer argument that set this particular grass-fire off. I'm not going to say anymore about it than that, because it is a much smaller item than one would expect from the length of the thread, and it has already received far more attention than some of the *problems* we have around here.

The sleep(1) saga is the most blatant example of a bike shed discussion we have had ever in FreeBSD. The proposal was well thought out, we would gain compatibility with OpenBSD and NetBSD, and still be fully compatible with any code anyone ever wrote.

Yet so many objections, proposals and changes were raised and launched that one would think the change would have plugged all the holes in swiss cheese or changed the taste of Coca Cola or something similar serious.

"What is it about this bike shed ?" Some of you have asked me.

It's a long story, or rather it's an old story, but it is quite short actually. C. Northcote Parkinson wrote a book in the early 1960'ies, called "Parkinson's Law", which contains a lot of insight into the dynamics of management.

You can find it on Amazon, and maybe also in your dads book-shelf, it is well worth its price and the time to read it either way, if you like Dilbert, you'll like Parkinson.

Somebody recently told me that he had read it and found that only about 50% of it applied these days. That is pretty darn good I would say, many of the modern management books have hit-rates a lot lower than that, and this one is 35+ years old.

In the specific example involving the bike shed, the other vital component is an atomic power-plant, I guess that illustrates the age of the book.

Parkinson shows how you can go in to the board of directors and get approval for building a multi-million or even billion dollar atomic power plant, but if you want to build a bike shed you will be tangled up in endless discussions.

Parkinson explains that this is because an atomic plant is so vast, so expensive and so complicated that people cannot grasp it, and rather than try, they fall back on the assumption that somebody else checked all the details before it got this far. Richard P. Feynmann gives a couple of interesting, and very much to the point, examples relating to Los Alamos in his books.

A bike shed on the other hand. Anyone can build one of those over a weekend, and still have time to watch the game on TV. So no matter how well prepared, no matter how reasonable you are with your proposal, somebody will seize the chance to show that he is doing his job, that he is paying attention, that he is *here*.

In Denmark we call it "setting your fingerprint". It is about personal pride and prestige, it is about being able to point somewhere and say "There! *I* did that." It is a strong trait in politicians, but present in most people given the chance. Just think about footsteps in wet cement.

I bow my head in respect to the original proposer because he stuck to his guns through this carpet blanking from the peanut gallery, and the change is in our tree today. I would have turned my back and walked away after less than a handful of messages in that thread.

And that brings me, as I promised earlier, to why I am not subscribed to -hackers:

I un-subscribed from -hackers several years ago, because I could not keep up with the email load. Since then I have dropped off several other lists as well for the very same reason.

And I still get a lot of email. A lot of it gets routed to /dev/null by filters: People like Brett Glass will never make it onto my screen, commits to documents in languages I don't understand likewise, commits to ports as such. All these things and more go the winter way without me ever even knowing about it.

But despite these sharp teeth under my mailbox I still get too much email.

This is where the greener grass comes into the picture:

I wish we could reduce the amount of noise in our lists and I wish we could let people build a bike shed every so often, and I don't really care what colour they paint it.

The first of these wishes is about being civil, sensitive and intelligent in our use of email.

If I could concisely and precisely define a set of criteria for when one should and when one should not reply to an email so that everybody would agree and abide by it, I would be a happy man, but I am too wise to even attempt that.

But let me suggest a few pop-up windows I would like to see mail-programs implement whenever people send or reply to email to the lists they want me to subscribe to:

+------------------------------------------------------------+
| Your email is about to be sent to several hundred thousand |
| people, who will have to spend at least 10 seconds reading |
| it before they can decide if it is interesting. At least   |
| two man-weeks will be spent reading your email. Many of    |
| the recipients will have to pay to download your email.    |
| 				 			     |
| Are you absolutely sure that your email is of sufficient   |
| importance to bother all these people ? 		     |
| 							     |
| 		[YES] [REVISE] [CANCEL] 		     | +------------------------------------------------------------+

+------------------------------------------------------------+
| Warning: You have not read all emails in this thread yet. |
| Somebody else may already have said what you are about to |
| say in your reply. Please read the entire thread before |
| replying to any email in it. |
| |
| [CANCEL] | +------------------------------------------------------------+

+------------------------------------------------------------+
| Warning: Your mail program have not even shown you the |
| entire message yet. Logically it follows that you cannot |
| possibly have read it all and understood it. |
| |
| It is not polite to reply to an email until you have |
| read it all and thought about it. |
| |
| A cool off timer for this thread will prevent you from |
| replying to any email in this thread for the next one hour |
| |
| [Cancel] | +------------------------------------------------------------+

+------------------------------------------------------------+
| You composed this email at a rate of more than N.NN cps |
| It is generally not possible to think and type at a rate |
| faster than A.AA cps, and therefore you reply is likely to |
| incoherent, badly thought out and/or emotional. |
| |
| A cool off timer will prevent you from sending any email |
| for the next one hour. |
| |
| [Cancel] | +------------------------------------------------------------+

The second part of my wish is more emotional. Obviously, the capacities we had manning the unfriendly fire in the sleep(1) thread, despite their many years with the project, never cared enough to do this tiny deed, so why are they suddenly so enflamed by somebody else so much their junior doing it ?

I wish I knew.

I do know that reasoning will have no power to stop such "reactionaire conservatism". It may be that these people are frustrated about their own lack of tangible contribution lately or it may be a bad case of "we're old and grumpy, WE know how youth should behave".

Either way it is very unproductive for the project, but I have no suggestions for how to stop it. The best I can suggest is to refrain from fuelling the monsters that lurk in the mailing lists: Ignore them, don't answer them, forget they're there.

I hope we can get a stronger and broader base of contributors in FreeBSD, and I hope we together can prevent the grumpy old men and the Brett Glasses of the world from chewing them up, spitting them out and scaring them away before they ever get a leg to the ground.

For the people who have been lurking out there, scared away from participating by the gargoyles: I can only apologise and encourage you to try anyway, this is not the way I want the environment in the project to be.

Poul-Henning


Missed chances and new beginnings

Heaven was needing a hero
Jo Dee Messina (single)

I came by today to see you
I had to let you know
If I knew the last time that I held you was the last time
I'd have held you and never let go
It's kept me awake nights, wondering
Lie in the dark, just asking why
I've always been told
You won't be called home
Until it's your time
I guess heaven was needing a hero
Somebody just like you
Brave enough to stand up
For what you believe
And follow it through
When I try to make it make sense in my mind
The only conclusion I come to
Is heaven was needing a hero
Like you
I remember the last time I saw you
You held your head up proud
I laughed inside
When I saw how you were standing out in the crowd
You're such a part of who I am
Now that part will just be void
No matter how much I need you now
Heaven needed you more
Cause heaven was needing a hero
Somebody just like you
Brave enough to stand up
For what you believe
And follow it through
When I try to make it make sense in my mind
The only conclusion I come to
Is heaven was needing a hero
Like you
Heaven was needing a hero
and that's you

Random Song

Mama we're all crazee now
Quiet Riot

Ma mama weer all crazee now
Ma ma mama weer all crazee now
Woo!
I don't want to drink my whiskey like you do
I don't need to spend my money but still do
Well don't stop now ah come on
Another drop now so come on
I want it live now ah come on
That's why
That's why

I say
Ma mama weer all crazee now
Ma ma mama weer all crazee now, yeah

And you told me fool firewater won't hurt me, but you lied
And you tease me and all my ladies deserve me, I'm gonna get 'em back
But don't stop now come on
Another drop ah come on
I want it live now so come on
That's why
That's why

I say
Ma mama weer all crazee now
I say
Ma ma mama weer all crazee now
Get crazee
Yeah!
Let's go!
Let's party!

I say
Ma mama weer all crazee now
Ma mama weer all crazee now
Oh yeah
Ma mama weer all crazee now
Ooh
Ma ma ma ma mama weer all crazee now
Get crazee with me
Ma mama weer all crazee now
(Mama, mama I'm going crazee. Help me)
Ma mama weer all crazee now
(Oh help me I'm going wild and crazee)
Ma mama weer all crazee now

I say
Ma ma ma ma mama weer all crazee

I said
Ma ma ma ma mama weer all crazee now
Yeah
Ooh-ooh

The mouth is mightier than the pen…

The pass
Rush (Presto)

Proud swagger out of the school yard
Waiting for the world's applause
Rebel without a conscience
Martyr without a cause

Static on your frequency
Electrical storm in your veins
Raging at unreachable glory
Straining at invisible chains
And now you're trembling on a rocky ledge
Staring down into a heartless sea
Can't face life on a razor's edge
Nothing's what you thought it would be

All of us get lost in the darkness
Dreamers learn to steer by the stars
All of us do time in the gutter
Dreamers turn to look at the cars
Turn around and turn around and turn around
Turn around and walk the razor's edge
Don't turn your back
And slam the door on me

It's not as if this barricade
Blocks the only road
It's not as if you're all alone
In wanting to explode
Someone set a bad example
Made surrender seem all right
The act of a noble warrior
Who lost the will to fight

And now you're trembling on a rocky ledge
Staring down into a heartless sea
Done with life on a razor's edge
Nothing's what you thought it would be

No hero in your tragedy
No daring in your escape
No salutes for your surrender
Nothing noble in your fate
Christ, what have you done?

The mouth is the worst weapon against you. Whether it's yours or someone else's it'll always screw you up

Jobs @ Stanford

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky -- I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation -- the Macintosh -- a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me -- I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma -- which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Song that got i/on my head

What I am
Eddie Brickell and The New Bohemians

I'm not aware of too many things,
I know what I know if you know what I mean.
Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box.
Religion is the smile on a dog.

I'm not aware of too many things,
I know what I know if you know what I mean.
Choke me in the shallow water
Before I get too deep.

What I am is what I am.
Are you what you are - or what?

I'm not aware of too many things,
I know what I know if you know what I mean.
Philosophy is a walk on the slippery rocks.
Religion is a light in the fog.

I'm not aware of too many things,
I know what I know if you know what I mean.
Choke me in the shallow water
Before I get too deep.

What I am is what I am.
Are you what you are - or what?
Don't let me get too deep.

Homophobia…

I am the girl kicked out of her home because I confided in my mother that I am a lesbian.

I am the prostitute working the streets because nobody will hire a transsexual woman.

I am the sister who holds her gay brother tight through the painful, tear-filled nights.

We are the parents who buried our daughter long before her time.

I am the man who died alone in the hospital because they would not let my partner of twenty-seven years into the room.

I am the foster child who wakes up with nightmares of being taken away from the two fathers who are the only loving family I have ever had. I
wish they could adopt me.

I am one of the lucky ones, I guess. I survived the attack that left me in a coma for three weeks, and in another year I will probably be able to walk again.

I am not one of the lucky ones. I killed myself just weeks before graduating high school. It was simply too much to bear.

We are the couple who had the realtor hang up on us when she found out we wanted to rent a one-bedroom for two men.

I am the person who never knows which bathroom I should use if I want to avoid getting the management called on me.

I am the mother who is not allowed to even visit the children I bore, nursed, and raised. The court says I am an unfit mother because I now live with another woman.

I am the domestic-violence survivor who found the support system grow suddenly cold and distant when they found out my abusive partner is also a woman.

I am the domestic-violence survivor who has no support system to turn to because I am male.

I am the father who has never hugged his son because I grew up afraid to show affection to other men.

I am the home-economics teacher who always wanted to teach gym until someone told me that only lesbians do that.

I am the man who died when the paramedics stopped treating me as soon as they realized I was transsexual.

I am the person who feels guilty because I think I could be a much better person if I didnt have to always deal with society hating me.

I am the man who stopped attending church, not because I don't believe, but because they closed their doors to my kind.

I am the person who has to hide what this world needs most, love.

Favorite LOTR movie quote

Aragorn: Hold your ground, hold your ground! Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of woes and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you *stand, Men of the West!*