Sunday, February 18, 2007

Dreaming in Code - Andy Hertzfeld Quotes

There are some great quotes from Mac hacker, Andy Hertzfeld in Scott Rosenberg's book Dreaming in Code.
  • "My style is to get something going really quick and then turn it into the great thing that is the reason you're doing it. You're not working to have it be run-of-the-mill. You're working on it to do something great. But you need to get it started! The key is getting exciting work going; the rest of it will take care of itself. You're sparking off each other - a virtuous cycle - once you're doing the thing you're there to do."
  • "There's no such thing as a typical software project. Every project is different."
  • "And in this meeting, we kill the snake - we don't just make plans to kill the snake."
  • "I'm the kind of developer who likes to throw lightning rods around. To make a great program there's got to be at least one person at the center who is breathing life into it. In a ferocious way."
  • "My way of writing code is, you sculpt it, you get something as good as you can, and everything is subject to change, always, as you learn. But you climb this ladder of learning about your problem. Every problem's unique, so you have to learn about each problem, and you do something and get a better vantage point. And from that vantage point you can decide to throw it out."
  • "Code is cheap. But often it tells you what to do next."
  • "We all need more glory as designers - to show we can design another great thing. Everybody who has a first success, especially when it's young, wonders: Was it luck, or was it skill ? Well, it's a little of both. If you can do another really great one, it shows the world something."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Mary Lou Jepsen - Inspiring

At age 29, Jepsen found herself suffering from blistering headaches, confined to a wheelchair, and sleeping 20 hours a day. She was just about to drop out of school when an MRI revealed a tumor on her pituitary, a small gland at the base of the brain central to hormone production. She underwent surgery to have the tumor removed and emerged from the ordeal ready to move on with her life. “There’s a stigma when you undergo brain surgery: are you still smart or not? So afterwards I tried to challenge myself to find out.” She finished her Ph.D. in the next six months and then cofounded MicroDisplay, a Fremont, Calif.–based company that manufactures liquid-­crystal-on-silicon chips for high-definition TV displays. She left MicroDisplay in 2003, citing “creative differences” with its chief executive, but within days Intel was recruiting her.

Her health problems weren’t quite over, though. As a result of the operation, Jepsen’s body now makes no hormones, requiring a rigid schedule of twice-daily hormone supplements to keep her alive. Now that she’s a globe-trotting computer executive for the OLPC venture, the regimen can be tough to follow; last March she went into adrenal shock on board a plane, forcing it to make an emergency landing. (On the bright side, Jepsen reports that as a result of her hormone deficiency, she is unaffected by jet lag.)

That's Mary Lou Jepson, CTO of the 'One Laptop Per Child' (OLPC) project.

Writing vs. 'A Real Programming Job'

Financially, writing science fiction is to writing technical books as writing technical books is to having a "real" programming job.
- Leonard Richardson, co-author of Ruby Cookbook and Beginning Python,
in an interview

How Come ZeroConf is Not Yet Wildly Popular

I have always wondered why Zeroconf adoption has been so poor. Stuart Cheshire of Apple who pioneered this technology, briefly explains one of the reasons in a presentation introducing zeroconf(6:16-7:30) at the 2006 Emerging Telephony Conference.

I imagine a number of people are thinking, well, if it's so great, how come I haven't heard of it ? And, that's an unfortunate history of marketing mistakes - I called it Zeroconf, but Steve Jobs thought that was a dull name. So he called it Rendezvous which is a really good name. But, some other company thought so too and they had registered the trademark.

Then we had a couple of Years of the marketing people and the lawyers doing their stuff. And meanwhile we had a technology without a name. So, in that two years every single printer vendor adopted it. But they didn't have a name to call it, which is why you won't see it on the box. But if you have a printer on your network, an ethernet printer, or a 802.11 wirless printer that you bought in the last couple of years, then it has bonjour in it. And, on the Mac you go File->Print and it's right there in the print dialog; No setup assistant, no wizard. On Windows we can't make it quite that easy. But you can download from and just run the setup assistant and it will find all those printers on the network, and configure them for windows for you.