I wake up, and once again it's December 9.

Adam Rifkin adam at xent.com
Tue Dec 9 23:53:06 PST 2003

I wake up, and once again it's December 9.  My own private Groundhog Day.
And although the following stream of consciousness spends most of its
time looking in the rearview mirror, I'm aware of the fact that most
of my vision is fixed gazing over the horizon.

To the untrained eye, the following will seem like gibberish.
To the trained eye, the following will *be* gibberish.

...drifting asleep...number nine, number nine...

I wake up, and once again it's December 9.  I think about one liners:


A list of recent favorites in no particular order:

"Intertwingularity is not generally acknowledged; people keep
pretending they can make things deeply hierarchical, categorizable and
sequential when they can't. Everything is deeply intertwingled."
    -- Ted Nelson

"There is not One Way to Greatness.  Greatness is The Way."
    -- Jay Mohr to Dat Phan

"The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear."
    -- Zen proverb

"The past is never dead.  It's not even past."
    -- William Faulkner

"Shit tastes better when wrapped in dollar bills."
    -- Rohit Khare, 8/15/2003

"I believe people who lead charmed lives follow four basic principles:
they act upon opportunities, pay attention to gut feelings, expect
good fortune, and when bad fortune does strike, turn it into good...
The more relaxed you are, the more open you are to chances to turn
bad into good... The best place to relax is at home."
    -- Richard Wiseman, PhD, University of Hertfordshire

"You are what you do."
    -- Bill Maher

"Anger is more useful than despair."
    -- Arnold, Terminator 3

"I'm the star.  You people are the lackeys and the drones.
Have I made myself clear?"
    -- Rosanne Barr

"Every rectal thermometer made by Johnson and Johnson is personally
tested. Now close your eyes and repeat out loud 5 times, 'I am so glad
I do not work for Quality Control at the Johnson and Johnson Company.'"

"Business is about accepting Type 1 (false-positive) errors;
Dating is about accepting Type 2 (false-negative)."
    -- Rohit Khare

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."
    -- Henry David Thoreau

"I hate writing; I love having written."
    -- Dorothy Parker

"When I have a vision for my life, money is then a tool to make the
vision a reality. If I have no vision for my life, then money is in
fact the only way I can gauge my worth."
    -- The Reverend Dan Matthews

"I'm telling you, fellas: I gotta have more cowbell!"
    -- Christopher Walken

"For a thousand hackings at the branches of evil, it is worth nothing
to one strike at the root."
    -- Henry David Thoreau, 1854

"Sow a thought, reap an action.  Sow an action, reap a habit.
Sow a habit, reap a character.  Sow a character, reap a destiny."

"Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight
to tell the difference."

"I pray for WISDOM to understand my man, LOVE to forgive him, and
PATIENCE to deal with his moods. Because, Lord, if I pray for STRENGTH
I'll beat him to death. Amen."

"What is common sense is not always common practice."

[Memo to myself: Is the Google Toolbar popup blocker crashing my browser
session just about every half hour?  Investigate when I have some time.]

I wake up, and once again it's December 9.  I think about Steve Jobs:


> The world needs more smart editorial these days. The problem is that
> that has nothing to do with technology.
> ...
> I think you could make available the Second Coming in a subscription
> model, and it might not be successful.
> ...
> We were right. We told them the music subscription services they were
> pushing were going to fail. MusicNet was gonna fail, Pressplay was
> gonna fail. Here's why: People don't want to buy their music as a
> subscription. They bought 45s, then they bought LPs, they bought
> cassettes, they bought 8-tracks, then they bought CDs. They're going
> to want to buy downloads... Slowly but surely, as these things didn't
> pan out, we started to gain some credibility with these folks.
> ...
> Our position from the beginning has been that eighty percent of the
> people stealing music online don't really want to be thieves. But that
> is such a compelling way to get music. It's instant gratification. You
> don't have to go to the record store; the music's already digitized,
> so you don't have to rip the CD. It's so compelling that people are
> willing to become thieves to do it. But to tell them that they should
> stop being thieves -- without a legal alternative that offers those
> same benefits -- rings hollow. We said, "We don't see how you convince
> people to stop being thieves unless you can offer them a carrot -- not
> just a stick." And the carrot is: We're gonna offer you a better
> experience . . . and it's only gonna cost you a dollar a song.

I go to http://www.itunes.com/ .

Tom Petty - _California_
> California's been good to me.
> Hope it don't fall into the sea.
> Sometimes you got to trust yourself.
> It ain't like anywhere else.

Warren G - _I Want It All_
> I want it all; money, fast cars
> Diamond rings, gold chains and champagne
> Shit, everydamn thing
> I want it all; houses, expenses
> My own business, a truck, hmm, and a couple o' Benz's
> I want it all; brand new socks and draws 
> And a bowl everytime I stop and talk to y'all

Black Eyed Peas - _Where Is The Love_
> I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
> As I'm gettin' older, y'all, people gets colder
> Most of us only care about money makin'
> Selfishness got us followin' in the wrong direction
> Wrong information always shown by the media
> Negative images is the main criteria
> Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
> Kids act like what they see in the cinema
> Yo', whatever happened to the values of humanity
> Whatever happened to the fairness in equality
> Instead in spreading love we spreading animosity
> Lack of understanding, leading lives away from unity
> That's the reason why sometimes I'm feelin' under
> That's the reason why sometimes I'm feelin' down
> There's no wonder why sometimes I'm feelin' under
> Gotta keep my faith alive till love is found

Eminem - _Lose Yourself_
> You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
> You own it, you better never let it go
> You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
> This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo

I wake up, and once again it's December 9.  I think about intertwingularity.


We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.  Every moment of every
day is spent making more interconnections or accelerating the pace of
other people and programs making interconnections.  For accelerating
interconnections accelerates human knowledge, and the closer human
knowledge acceleration gets to lightspeed, the closer The Universe is
to becoming self aware.  Live for that moment between becoming and being.

I wake up, and once again it's December 9.  I think about startups.
It is better to be a Founder than it is to be a Loser.  The core
responsibilities of an entrepreneur are:
  1. Survive.
  2. Lead with vision.
  3. Build a culture.
  4. Offer continuity.
  5. Foster visibility, awareness, and understanding.
  6. Make the deals.
  7. Recruit.
  8. Inspire.
  9. Adapt.

What cultural values do I hold to be self-evident?
  1. Innovation.
  2. Evolution.
  3. Decentralization.
  4. No bullshit.

Of course, the more people I meet, the more I realize that one
person's bullshit is another person's (very useful) fertilizer.
(Memo to myself: Ask Mary Mary quite contrary how does her garden grow.)

Bullshit to an engineer is The Way It Is in marketing.
Bullshit to a marketeer is The Way It Is in sales.
Bullshit to sales is The Way It Is in engineering.
And that model doesn't include the services, finance, and legal folks.

So when I say "No bullshit", I mean the culture has to pick its trump
suit.  How do ties get broken?  Who gets the final say?  Is it a sales-
led culture, a marketing-led culture, or an engineering-led culture?

Which do I think is best?  I'm as biased as Troutgirl, because I hold
as my core value -- the thing that I believe gives companies their
advantage over tough competitors -- to be innovation:


Joyce writes:
> Does innovation come from project managers? Well, let's see. Google:
> founded by engineers. Ebay: founded by an engineer. Yahoo: two
> engineers. Amazon: engineer. Microsoft: you guessed it. And of course
> the whole Open Source movement, which has jump-started plenty of
> innovation as well as having as-yet-uncounted effects on the tech
> economy, is practically a PM-free zone even now. Sure, I'm
> cherry-picking -- but come on, can you even think of a group of
> PM-founded companies to cherry-pick? You ask anyone in Silicon Valley
> how new ventures get started, and they'll say the same thing: couple
> engineers have a brainstorm, get VC funding, and are pushed aside
> later by management types. You ask Joel Spolsky, someone so thoughtful
> he's respected by both sides, and he'll tell you flat out that "no
> software company can succeed unless there's a programmer at the
> helm". You bring me your list of innovative companies founded by
> project managers, I'll bring my shit, and we can get down to comparing.
> Going further down the food chain, the question becomes: are coders
> merely fungible monkeys at typewriters who execute on the ideas of
> product managers? This question is actually extraordinarily
> undertheorized at this point, and therefore hard to discuss cogently
> with those who've never worked in the trenches of a high-tech
> company. But here's my guess, which has no more hard evidence behind
> it than anyone else's: the ratio of PM input to engineer input grows
> as overall innovation decreases. Now this is not always a bad thing,
> as anyone who's seen a startup be ruined by the headstrongness of the
> engineering staff can tell you -- and to be honest, I think naughty
> engineers are one of the biggest reasons that Silicon Valley startups
> fail. But if we're talking about innovation as the engine of economic
> growth and the guarantor of continued American technological
> dominance, I'll stand by my guess in 20 years.

I wake up, and once again it's December 9.  I think about death.

  1. What do I want to do before I die?

  2. What do I want to do in the next 5 years?

  3. If I knew I was going to die in the next six months,
     what would I do with my remaining time?

  4. What are the financial ramifications for my answers
     to questions 1, 2, and 3?

I wake up, and once again it's December 9.  I think about Rod Tidwell:


> They're shooting the Reebok ad down there. Jerry, Where are my
> endorsements, you know what I'm saying? I ain't get no love from
> Chevy. Ain't get no love from Pepsi. Ain't even get no love from that
> little Energizer bunny. I ain't get no love from Nike. Obviously, I
> ain't get no love from Reebok. Did I ever tell you about my Reebok
> story? I'll boil it down for you. F@$# Reebok. All they do is ignore
> me. Always have!
> ...
> I got a shelf life of ten years, tops. My next contract's gotta bring
> me the dollars that'll last me and mine a long time. Shit, I'm out of
> this sport in 5 years. What's my family gonna live on? Huh?
> ...
> Anyone else would have left you by now, but I'm sticking with you. And
> if I have to ride your ass like Zorro, you're gonna show me the money.
> ...
> I am a valuable commodity! I go across the middle! I see a dude coming
> at me, trying to kill me, I tell myself 'Get killed. Catch the ball!'
> BOO YA!! Touchdown! I make miracles happen!
> ...
> Hell yeah that's my word. Some dudes might have the 'coin,' but they
> will never have the 'kwan.' It means love, respect, community, and the
> dollars too. The entire package. The kwan.

FoRK is the shiznit.


There just aren't enough O's in smooth to describe how smooth we are.

I wake up, and once again it's December 9.  My own private Groundhog Day.
Where was I on previous incarnations of Groundhog Day?  I turn to two
years ago, when I turned 32 and FoRK was about to turn six years old:


Let's quote this one in question marks...

? At 26, 27, 28, [and 33] I didn't put fingers to keystrokes to bang out
? phosphors now archived on the Deep Thought that is the World Wide Web.
? At 29, 30, 31, [and 32] I did.  Here are some snapshots...
? "In case Rohit's forgotten the utility of a good marketeer" -- my
? circle at 26-10days:
?     http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/fall96/0735.html
? "There's a slit in my underwear?  Says who?" -- my circle at 27+40days:
?     http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/winter96/0130.html
?     http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/winter96/0148.html
? "Isn't life a lot better when FoRK is quiet?" -- my circle at 28+9days:
?     http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/oct97/0799.html
? "Flossing is a good time to think" -- my circle at 29:
?     http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/nov98/0134.html
? Said Steve Jobs, "Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask
? creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty
? because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed
? obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect
? experiences they've had and synthesize new things." -- my circle at 30:
?     http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/nov99/0412.html
? "Who says you can't sleep your way to the top?" -- my circle at 31:
?     http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/oct00/1647.html
? "Temper the fact that if you don't understand something you should
? keep drilling down and asking questions until you do, with the fact
? that you can't know everything.  Surround yourself with people with
? complementary skillsets.  If someone asks if you're a God, you say,
? YES!!!" -- my circle at 32:
?     http://www.xent.com/pipermail/fork/2001-December/007261.html

Is it time to REST and relax yet?


That it's Groundhog Day again has potentially theological implications.
So sayeth the shepherd...


Let's count the sheep with angle brackets.  So sayeth the flock:

> December 7, 2003 Groundhog Almighty By ALEX KUCZYNSKI
> A new movie series from the Museum of Modern Art, "The Hidden God:
> Film and Faith," features some pretty brooding stuff. There's a 1955
> Danish movie about a man who thinks he is Jesus Christ, an Ingmar
> Bergman pastiche about a tormented pastor, a Roberto Rossellini movie
> about monks. These are, of course, the "intellectual with a capital I"
> films that audiences might expect at a religious-theme retrospective
> organized by a major museum. Subtitles and all that fancy stuff.
> With one exception. On Thursday, the opening-night feature at the
> Gramercy Theater, where the series is being presented, was "Groundhog
> Day," the 1993 movie starring Bill Murray as a sarcastic television
> weatherman forced by a twist of fate and magic to relive one day of
> his life, Feb. 2, over and over.
> Since its debut a decade ago, the film has become a curious favorite
> of religious leaders of many faiths, who all see in "Groundhog Day" a
> reflection of their own spiritual messages. Curators of the series,
> polling some 35 critics in the literary, religious and film worlds to
> suggest films with religious interpretations, found that "Groundhog
> Day" came up so many times that there was actually a squabble over who
> would write about it in the retrospective's catalog.
> Harold Ramis, the director of the film and one of its writers, said
> last week that since it came out he has heard from Jesuit priests,
> rabbis and Buddhists, and that the letters keep coming. "At first I
> would get mail saying, 'Oh, you must be a Christian, because the movie
> so beautifully expresses Christian belief,' " Mr. Ramis said during a
> conversation on his mobile phone as he was walking the streets of Los
> Angeles. "Then rabbis started calling from all over, saying they were
> preaching the film as their next sermon. And the Buddhists! Well, I
> knew they loved it, because my mother-in-law has lived in a Buddhist
> meditation center for 30 years and my wife lived there for 5 years."
> In the movie, which enjoys its own seemingly endless cycle of rebirth
> on cable television, the character played by Mr. Murray is in
> Punxsutawney, Pa., covering Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, for the fourth year
> in a row. Frustrated because his career is stalled and by the fact
> that he can't seduce his producer, played by Andie MacDowell, he sees
> his assignment -- waiting for a groundhog (or a rat, as Mr. Murray's
> character calls it) to see if there will be six more weeks of winter --
> as the final indignity.
> But it isn't quite. The next day he awakens in the same bed in the
> same bed-and-breakfast, to the sound of the same tinny clock radio
> with Sonny and Cher singing "I Got You Babe" and the babblings of the
> frighteningly cheerful local D.J., to discover that it is Feb. 2
> again.
> At first, he uses the repetition to his advantage -- he learns French
> poetry, for example, as part of his scheme to seduce the
> producer. Then he realizes that he is doomed to spend eternity locked
> in the same place, seeing the same people do the same things every
> day. It is not until he accepts his fate and sets about helping people
> (saving a homeless man from freezing to death, for example) that he is
> released from the eternal cycle of repetition.
> Of course, this being an American film, he not only attains spiritual
> release but also gets the producer into bed.
> Angela Zito, a co-director of the Center for Religion and Media at New
> York University, screens the film for students in her Buddhism
> class. She said that "Groundhog Day" perfectly illustrates the
> Buddhist notion of samsara, the continuing cycle of rebirth that
> Buddhists regard as suffering that humans must try to escape (a
> belief, Dr. Zito noted, that was missed by executives at Guerlain,
> who, searching for an exotic name, introduced a perfume called Samsara
> in the 1980's, overlooking the negative connotations).
> "Groundhog Day," Dr. Zito said, is a cinematic version of the
> teachings in Mahayana Buddhism, known as "the greater vehicle."
> "In Mahayana," she said, "nobody ever imagines they are going to
> escape samsara until everybody else does. That is why you have
> bodhisattvas, who reach the brink of nirvana, and stop and come back
> and save the rest of us. Bill Murray is the bodhisattva. He is not
> going to abandon the world. On the contrary, he is released back into
> the world to save it."
> Wow. So can anyone (a newspaper reporter?) be a bodhisattva?
> "I would call that a Napoleon complex," Dr. Zito said with a
> sniff. "There is only one bodhisattva, and that is the Dalai Lama."
> Some theologians see much less Buddhism in the story than
> Judaism. Dr. Niles Goldstein, rabbi of the New Shul congregation in
> Greenwich Village and author of "Lost Souls: Finding Hope in the Heart
> of Darkness" (Bell Tower, 2002), said he finds Jewish resonance in the
> fact that Mr. Murray's character is rewarded by being returned to
> earth to perform more mitzvahs -- good deeds -- rather than gaining a
> place in heaven, which is the Christian reward, or achieving nirvana,
> the Buddhist reward. He has not used the movie as an allegory for his
> congregation, he said, but he might now.
> "The movie tells us, as Judaism does, that the work doesn't end until
> the world has been perfected," Rabbi Goldstein said.
> But wait. Michael Bronski, a film critic for The Forward who teaches a
> course in Jewish film history at Dartmouth, said he sees strong
> elements of not only Jewish but also Christian theology. "The
> groundhog is clearly the resurrected Christ, the ever hopeful renewal
> of life at springtime, at a time of pagan-Christian holidays," he
> said, adding: "And when I say that the groundhog is Jesus, I say that
> with great respect."
> The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and an associate editor of
> America, the National Catholic Weekly, didn't quite see the groundhog
> as Christ-like. Referring to the Murray character, he said, "You do,
> however, very clearly see the deadness of his life at the beginning of
> the movie." After the self dies, he added, "what is reborn is this new
> person resurrected from his comatose way of looking at the world."
> Mr. Ramis, who was raised Jewish, said he feels like a Buddhist, but
> does not practice any religion. "Although I am wearing meditation
> beads on my wrist," he said. "But that's because I'm on a Buddhist
> diet. They're supposed to remind me not to eat, but actually just get
> in the way when I'm cutting my steak."
> The connection between Judaism and Buddhism, he said, is a strong one,
> adding that many Buddhists in the United States started out as
> Jews. "There is a remarkable correspondence of philosophies and even
> style between the two," he said.
> Yogis, Jesuits and psychoanalytic practitioners have told Mr. Ramis
> that they feel a strong spiritual kinship with the message they see in
> the film. In the case of the psychoanalysts, he said, "it's the `we
> keep reliving the same old patterns over and over again until we gain
> the right to free ourselves' thing."
> And in Washington, a branch of the Chinese spiritual movement Falun
> Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, has used the movie to instruct members
> in its belief that the spiritual self is not allowed to move to higher
> levels until it learns from past mistakes. (Dr. Zito said that makes
> sense, because Falun Gong draws many beliefs from Buddhism.) Some
> Wiccans also point to the film as particularly important to their
> beliefs, because Groundhog Day -- the day itself -- is one of the four
> "greater sabbats" that divide the year at the midpoints between the
> solstices and equinoxes. Several Web sites devoted to Wicca call the
> movie required viewing.
> Scott Prendergast, a 32-year-old actor and director who said his film
> career was inspired in part by movies like "Groundhog Day," said he
> noticed the spiritual element in the film from the first. (Mr.
> Prendergast has two short films currently showing on the Sundance
> Channel.)
> "No one comes down and issues this formal command, and so he doesn't
> know, and the audience doesn't know, why this day is repeating, but it
> is," Mr. Prendergast said. "And that's why it is appealing to so many
> different religions. He faces this existential test, but he does not
> know it's a test, and he doesn't know what the results will be."
> A survey of religious leaders in Punxsutawney turned up little
> excitement about the movie's message. One, Charlene King, the director
> of the Child Evangelical Fellowship of Jefferson County in
> Punxsutawney, said her organization does not use the movie to teach
> spiritual values. "We stick pretty much to Scripture," Ms. King said.
> Dr. Zito couldn't think of any other obviously Buddhist movies off the
> top of her head. How about the original "Star Wars" trilogy, with its
> message of redemption? "Lord of the Rings"? Or, say, "Shampoo," whose
> main character -- a Lothario hairdresser played by Warren Beatty --
> makes the same mistake over and over until he recognizes it and
> considers changing his ways?
> " `Shampoo'?" Dr. Zito said. "I don't think so. Warren Beatty probably
> knows he'll never be saved."

We interrupt this otherwise meandering piece of feckless nonpoetry to
bring you some straight, uneditted chaff from the vault... what started
as a post on December 9, 2002 but never got sent, then was added to
when I left Caltech for good but also never got sent, and now I realize
I'm never going to polish it enough to make it worth sending so I may
as well just send it in raw form.

We'll quote this one using the pipes of peace.

| From: Adam Rifkin, http://www.ifindkarma.com/
| Original Draft Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2002, stuck in a hotel in Half Moon Bay.
|       Last edit: sometime at the end of January 2003.
| Subject: Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out.
| /me sips on cinnamon schnapps and thinks about "rifkin think week 2003"
| Rohit, my brother, read this whole post.  Follow the links.  Remember
| what we've forgotten.  Essentially, we have forgotten more good ideas
| than most people think in their lifetimes.
| Forgive me Brother, for I have Cinned.  It has been 13 months since my
| last confession, when I fell into the sixth power circle:
|     http://www.xent.com/pipermail/fork/2001-December/007261.html
| Rohit claimed that post is more depressed, whereas I considered it less
| impressed.  A liberal application of ... uh, I kind of lost my train of
| thought.  I HATE SAUERKRAUT!
| Caltech has removed all traces of my website.  I'm gonna have to
| slowly migrate myself to http://www.ifindkarma.com/ and it stinks
| to have to re-build my Google reputation all over again.  I'm like
| Sisyphus meets Prometheus -- I get knocked down, but I get up again,
| you're never gonna keep me down.
| To quote Horatio Sanz doing an impression of Kim Jong Il, "I am not some
| petty cheiftain that can be easily intimidated.  I am extremely unstable
| and highly irrational and, for your information, quite completely
| insane.  At age three, I was diagnosed as psychotic, sociopathic, and
| suffering from both Manic Depression and Acute Pediatric Schizophrenia.
| I was a chronic bed-wetter.  Not only my own, but the beds of others.
| As a consequence, I developed Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder,
| and Gender Dysphoria.  In addition, I am quite delusional.  I have
| difficulty distinguishing reality from my fantasy world.  My first
| response is violent anger, then a lengthy crying jag, followed by
| sudden, deep sleep for about two days, then several hours of frantic
| masturbation, punctuated by more crying jags.  Afterwards, I burn my
| thighs with matches.  Anorexia Nervosa, Agoraphobia, Obsessive
| Compulsive Disorder.  To control these psychiatric conditions, I have
| been placed on a variety of medications, including Lithium, Buspar,
| Prozac, Celexa, Ativan, Zoloft, Zyprexa, Thorazine, Ritalin,
| Methotrimeprazine, and Wellbutrin.  I do, however, refuse to take them,
| because my Paranoid Psychosis leads me to believe that my doctors are
| actually secret robot assassins.  In addition to other mental disorders,
| I suffer from Agnosia, a condition that renders me unable to distinguish
| one object from another.  If placed under emotional stress, I could
| easily sell enriched plutonium to Al Qaeda, thinking it was a box of
| wheat thins."
| This has been a week of closing options, not creating new ones.
| I think former New York Islanders goalie John Vanbiesbrouck said that.
| Now I'm 33.  Funny, but things always seem to happen in threes.
| Beberg has left the Valley.  With less Adams is it less of a Valley?
| FoRKexpress:
|     http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/oct00/0255.html
|     http://www.xent.com/pipermail/fork/2002-July/013309.html
| Friendster, Plaxo.  Seems to be a trend forming here.
| oSpace:
|    http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/august97/0281.html
| ONESIMUS == One Namespace Everywhere, Simultaneous Instances, Multiple
| Uniform Searchspaces:
|     http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/may97/0662.html
| *TP, or TeePee (a la Apache):
|     http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/may97/0606.html
|     http://www.xent.com/pipermail/fork/2003-January/016420.html
| The Ten Commandments of FoRKposting:
|     http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/feb98/0142.html
| Leaving Australia -- the Longest Day of Rohit's Life:
|     http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/apr98/0414.html
| Rohit on Speeding Tickets:
|     http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/apr98/0031.html
| As Rohit continues the search for one person in 5.8 billion:
|     http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/apr98/0115.html
| FoRK Classic: Cellular Programming:
|     http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/oct00/0254.html
| Coupled-Loosely Asynchronous Web Services (CLAWS) similarly need a
| manifesto.  Time for Rohit to crack his knuckles and start writin'.
| Remind me to FoRK Rohit's "There Is No Now" Manifesto.
| ----
| aDaM at XeNT.CoM
| more .sigs than you can shake a stick at...
| He had strength and she had none
| And yet they both reached for the gun.
|   -- "Chicago" original movie soundtrack
| Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this.
|   -- Kelly Clarkson
| Every rose has its thorn,
| Just as every night has its morn.
| Just as every cowboy sings a sad, sad song.
|   -- Bill and Ted quoting Poison
| It's turtles on turtles on turtles, all the way down, Jim.
| It's what inspired us to want to create a company called Terrapin
| Software. As Ernie would say, The Turtle Stops Here.
|   -- http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/may97/0606.html
| Faster than a Speeding Turtle!
|   -- http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/fall96/0208.html
| The main problem is sharing state across event handlers: then you have
| to introduce locks, bringing in all the baggage associated with them.
| But my intuition is that we can unify the API for event models at
| different levels of the application stack -- from GUIs to OS events to
| events between components of a document to events traveling across the
| Internet -- and in so doing garner the same kind of win with regard to
| adaptability that events in Ousterhout's talk had over threads.
|   -- http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/apr98/0391.html
| A few more thoughts as to why DOM events (inside a document) and
| Internet-scale event notification are similar problems, in my mind.
| I've been trying to reconcile whether event passing mechanisms on many
| different levels actually do work similarly. I still have a lot to read.
| My intuition is that if we could unify the API for the event models at
| several different layers of the application stack -- from the way the
| GUI sends event to "documents", to how documents send events among the
| components (and scripts) embedded within those documents, to how the
| components in documents subscribe to (and notify) the components and
| scripts in other documents across the Internet -- well, then we'd have
| something truly powerful.
|   -- http://www.xent.com/FoRK-archive/apr98/0439.html
| Q: Why Terrapin? What does the turtle reference mean?
| A: In Steven Hawking's book A Brief History of Time, there is an
| interesting story on the first page. A colleague of Hawking's had just
| finished a presentation on astronomy at a local university. He had
| covered such diverse topics as stellar evolution, the mechanics of the
| solar system, etc. When he was done, he asked for questions. An elderly
| woman stood and said "Well, I think you have it all wrong! You are up
| there declaring that the earth is rotating around the sun. That's not
| true! In fact, the earth is sitting on top of a giant stack of turtles!"
| Not yet completely flustered, the astronomer attempted a response:
| "Ma'am, that is absurd! After all, what are the turtles themselves
| standing on?" She replied "Young man, you do not understand. It's
| turtles all the way down!"
| We have always thought that was a clever story, and over time it evolved
| into a metaphor for the difficulties that development organizations are
| facing. Our focus is always on finding the 'bottom turtle', which
| represents the core problem of an organization. Without exception, we
| have found that process-maturity problems are the 'bottom turtle'. This
| then led to our logo, which we visualize as the 'bottom turtle',
| struggling bravely with the weight of the world pressing down on
| him. Our job is to give the bottom turtle some relief by improving our
| clients software development effectiveness.
|   -- http://cycletime.com/Frequent.html#turtle
| What makes a software company?
| In the book Intellectual Capital: The New Wealth of Organizations,
| Thomas A. Stewart identifies 1991 as "year one of the Information Age."
| He reports that 1991 was the first year that capital spending on
| information technologies surpassed capital spending on industrial
| technologies in the United States. The spending gap continues to grow
| wider, notable evidence that this is the Information Age.
| One of the key attributes of a software company is the ability to manage
| requirements.  This applies to both development and operational
| environments.  This begins with an ability to unambiguously specify
| individual requirements in a way that results in a requirement that is
| testable.  This is important because requirements establish the
| objectives of development, maintenance and operational activities.
| A second key attribute of a software company is the ability to make well
| informed decisions regarding changes to any of the software development
| artifacts (requirements, documentation, code, etc.), and manage the
| evolution of those changes.  This requires a well-defined change-control
| process, and a configuration management tool.  The change-control
| process determines how, when and to what the changes can be applied.
| The configuration management tool enables the management of the multiple
| contexts that result from changes and intermediate states of the
| software being developed or managed.
| A third key attribute of a software company is a mature mechanism for
| communication among the team members.  In this sense, the team should be
| broadly defined to include the variety of individuals that make up the
| software user community, stake holders, etc.  Large teams require
| additional emphasis on maintaining an effective communications
| mechanism.
| Fourth, a software company will maintain and follow a set of defined
| processes that serve at least three purposes.  The first purpose is to
| be the glue that binds the various tools and methods together.  In this
| role, it is important that the process fits well with both the computing
| infrastructure (tools, methods and systems) and the architecture of the
| system affected by the process.  The second purpose of process is to act
| as the current that maintains the momentum of the organization.  This is
| particularly important in today's environment that includes a shortage
| of software professionals that is characterized by a high rate of
| employee turnover.  The third purpose of processes is to create
| well-defined points of coordination between team members.  Defined
| correctly, the processes serve a purpose similar to a metronome or
| conductor in music, or a system clock in a computer system.
| A fifth area that I would like to emphasize is the area of reviews.  It
| is important that artifacts of the software development and management
| process are subject to some form of review.  The effective use of
| reviews has been demonstrated to be a highly effective, and in fact, a
| cost-effective mechanism for improving software quality and enhancing
| the manageability of the software development process.
| These five areas of emphasis tend to align well with some of the key
| process areas of SEI CMM level 2 and 3 organizations.  Requirements
| management and configuration management are key process areas of level
| 2.  Process definition, intergroup coordination and software reviews are
| key process areas of level 3.  These two levels of the CMM have
| additional key process areas.  It is important to note that the
| organizational dynamics of software development and management are far
| more complex than this list of five areas of emphasis suggests.  These
| five areas represent fundamental software management activities that
| effective software organizations must be able to carry out without
| difficulty.
| I have mentioned the SEI CMM, one of several methods of assessing the
| capability of a software organization.  This being a widely-accepted
| assessment tool, I will use the SEI CMM to illustrate the answer to the
| question raised by the title of the article.  An organization
| distinguishes itself as a software organization when it achieves a
| capability level of 2 or greater.  In order to accomplish this, the
| organization will have gained control of some of the fundamental areas
| outlined in this article.
| This leaves one unanswered question:  How does an organization transform
| itself into a software company?  The answer to this question in specific
| terms is beyond the scope of this article.  In fact, there are a large
| terms is beyond the scope of this article.  In fact, there are a large
| number of paths that will lead an organization to greater capability in
| the development and management of software.  I will note a few of the
| attributes that relate to the ability of an organization to transform
| itself into a software-development organization.
| A software company begins with a commitment to learn and employ the
| fundamental principles that govern the development and management of
| software.  This commitment will originate from the highest levels of the
| management of the company.  If the support does not exist within the
| executive management of the company, the barriers to becoming a software
| company will likely be too substantial to overcome.  A corporate culture
| that aligns with these principles follows, and this becomes the fertile
| environment in which the maturation of the processes for management of
| intellectual capital will occur.  As the processes mature, a climate of
| teamwork and cooperation emerges.  Anything other than a team
| orientation challenges the basic nature of intellectual capital.
| Substance and objectivity must prevail over the dominance of
| personality.
| While it is crucial that executive management support the transformation
| of the organizations that develop and manage software, there must be a
| strong motivation to change on the part of the individuals that comprise
| the software organization as well.  The way that they do their work and
| relate to other team members will be affected by the transformation.
| This motivation must endure a sustained effort over months before any
| visible results are likely.  Some of the more recalcitrant staff members
| may need to be reassigned to areas that are not directly affected by the
| transformation effort.
| This article answers the question:  "What makes a software company?"  by
| describing five fundamental activities that should be emphasized by
| software companies.  It has also described some of the ingredients that
| must be present for a company to be successful in transforming itself
| into an organization that is effective in developing and managing
| software.  No attempt has been made to discuss the costs and benefits
| associated with such a transformation.
| In summary, there are fundamental activities that should become the
| focus of an organization that intends to distinguish itself as a
| software organization.  Once an initial proficiency in performing some
| of these activities or other level 2 or 3 key process areas has been
| attained, the company will have distinguished itself as a player in
| software development and management. 
|   -- http://cycletime.com/softwarecompay.html

Pulling up out of the rabbit hole, My Eyes Glaze Over (MEGO)...

This post has taken so long to read, it feels like December 9 all over
again.  Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like an Apple.  G5.

Lessons are repeated until they are learned.
We've upped our standards, so up yours.

Congratulations, Dr. Know.  You've defeated Level 28.
But don't spend too long celebrating, 'cause here comes Level 29!
The day keeps repeating itself until we get it right.

aDaM at XeNT.CoM

.sig triple play!

"Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today."
  -- Groundhog Day, http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0107048/quotes

"When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and
bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the
cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and
basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine
a better fate than a long and lustrous winter."
  -- ibid

"To be the man, you've gotta beat The Man. WOOOOOOOOO!!!"
  -- Ric Flair

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