It’s Thursday. Lunch. And I’m still bummed out after learning about the death of a co-worker and friend, Stuart Schaeffer. More on that later. First, a few articles that hopefully Stuart might have appreciated:
On to Stuart. This morning we had an email message announcing that Stuart had died from some unspecified sudden illness at the end of his vacation. This makes me sad. Stuart and I had been working together since he start here. He was on the DGUX evaluation team with me, and worked on a number of programs and projects. He was always a kindred spirit, and introduced me to a number of new groups, such as Big Daddy and the Austin Lounge Lizards. He was a UPPIE (that’s a yuppie without the Y), and enjoyed the latest techo-gizmos and toys. He lived on the Westside and looked down on the valley; I regret we were unable to show him VPAC—he was coming to see Bernadette Peters with us. We had a shared love of grammar and clever turns of phrases. I will truly miss having him around at work.
Just learned that Dennis Ritchie, one of the co-creators of both Unix and C, has died. Arguably, this is someone who had more influence than Steve Jobs; without his work, we wouldn’t have had all the Apple products (many of which are Unix based or written in C), or even the Microsoft products (which I recall are written in C as well).
That should make it three, coming after the death of Steve Jobs and Gene Schultz.
As the digital universe is now aware, Steve Jobs passed today. Although I’m not a Mac person, I do have memories of working on an Apple ][ during my years in the UCLA Computer Club, and using Xenix and the Lisa OS on some of the early Lisa machines at Quadratron, as well as an early Mac during my BLACKER days. A few years ago, I got an iPod, and it has been an extension of me ever since.
Thank you, Steve, for your gifts to our world. The technology, the creativity, the inspiration. You will be missed.
I think parenting these days has gotten extremely lack—at least parenting of politicos and corporate folk. I’m seeing more and more spoiled children behavior out there. Don’t believe me? Here are two examples:
Congress. Yup. Spoiled children. The attitude seems to be “I’m going to get my way, or I’ll have a temper tantrum. You can’t make me eat my vegetables. You can’t. You can’t.” Look at Mitch McConnell. He blames Obama, who in reality has given in to most of what the Republicans want, with much more cutting of the economy than I’m sure he would like to do (knowing Obama, he’d probably like to stimulate the economy with government funds, not cut). But Obama is willing to cut. But because Obama won’t give McConnell everything he wants, Obama’s the bad guy. In fact, any parental figure who seems to say “no” to the Republican children (which, I will readily admit, are not all Republicans). I’m beginning to think we need to take Congress to the woodshed to teach them a lesson in how to cooperate.
- Amazon. Amazon is mad at California trying to get Amazon to collect use tax. So Amazon, in their traditional temper tantrum, cut off their affiliates. They actually don’t care about the affiliates. Most won’t bother to update their sites to remove the affiliate links in case the matter gets resolved… thus Amazon gets the referrals and doesn’t have to pay the affiliates. But Amazon knows it will lose in court, and so now they are trying to get a referendum to kill the sales tax law. I’m sorry, Amazon, but you should pay the tax. It’s like drinking your milk and eating your vegetables. You sell and deliver tangible goods in the state. Demonstrate that you are a good corporate citizen instead of just being greedy for your profits.
P.S. Speaking of children, the creator of programs that many of us older folk loved as kids has died. Sherwood Schwartz, creator of those thoughtful social explorations about blended families or the behaviors of stranded castaways, is dead at 94.
I’ve recently learned of the death of Bob Morris.
You’re probably going, “Bob who?”. You might know his son Robert Tappan Morris better—he created the first big Internet worm. But Bob is arguably more important. He’s one of the creators of Unix; he’s also a genius in the area of cryptography. I met Bob when he was working at NSA—he was a TRB member, and I often presented to him. I remember him chain-smoking away, asking the occasional insightful question.
We’re losing them one by one… the pioneers of the computer industry. It is the passing of a generation.
The remaining lunch-time links don’t form a unifyable theme, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth following:
- Wither PSA? Remember the days when it was cheap to fly? Not so much, anymore. The WSJ has an interesting piece on how Southwest’s prices aren’t so discount these days. Evidently, they are cheap if you by far in advance, but as you get closer to the flight, the price goes up until they sometimes exceed the non-discount carriers, even if you add in baggage fees. In other airline news: American Airlines has stopped accepting bulky strollers at its gates. So evidently, you need to pack your child in your carry-on luggage (actually, you can still use umbrella strollers, just not the really big, over 20 lb ones).
- Seeing Red. An interesting “frequent flyer” story from an opthamologist who operates a flying eye hospital. He flies into poor countries, often on commercial flights, but flies out on the eye hospital. This creates all sorts of security questions. They often don’t believe there is a flying eye hospital, but there is: a DC-10 jet that’s fully equipped to teach and provide eye care no matter where they are in the world.
- Dennys. Seven boys from Trabuco High in Orange County have attempted to get into the Guiness Book of World Records by eating Denny’s pancakes for 24 hours! You see, Dennys has an “all you can eat” pancake special, and their goal was to to order it for $4 , and then to continue ordering refills — for 24 hours straight. They ended up consuming 301 pancakes, for an average of 43 hotcakes per person — or about 7,000 calories per kid for the pancakes alone. To break up the routine, the boys occasionally ordered bacon. They ate so many pancakes that the Denny’s manager had to run out during the night for more ingredients for batter. One kid vomited in a bush on the patio, and another almost fell asleep on the toilet. For variety, the boys put hot sauce on the pancakes. One crushed a hotcake into a glass of water to “eat” it in a different form. Don’t feel like pancakes? Dennys’ is offering a sundae made with vanilla ice cream, maple syrup and bacon bits.
- The End. Just because no one has posted it yet: Jack Kevorkian has died, unassisted.
From an announcement about the death of Jane Russell:
Russell’s provocative performance in ‘The Outlaw’ — and the studio publicity shots posing her in a low-cut blouse reclined on a stack of hay bales — marked a turning point in moviedom sexuality. She became a bona fide star and a favorite pinup girl of soldiers during World War II. Troops in Korea named two embattled hills in her honor. …
A piece of California history has died—someone who so embodied health that you thought he would live forever. I’m speaking of Jack LaLanne, dead at the age of 96. I remember Jack’s fitness shows, which I seem to recall were on Channel 9. From simple basic calesthenics and good eating, Jack taught that anyone could become and stay fit. If you go to a health club today and use exercise machines, you have Jack to thank. If you watch an exercise video, again, you have Jack to thank. If you like to drink whole fruit juices, that’s Jack again. He was a pioneer in the fitness field, and continued to do feats of strength until just before his death.
Jack, I’ll exercise tomorrow in your memory.