Archive: March 31, 2024

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Happy Easter

Sunday,  03/31/24  11:32 AM

Hi all and Happy Easter!  Hope you have a great day with your family and/or friends. 

This year it happens to land on the last day of the quarter, too; that time when we emerge from Winter and charge into Spring.  By around September I'm ready for cooler weather and by October I usually get it, and then by February I'm ready for some warmer weather and by April I get it.  Yay, seasons.

As always, weird that the Catholic church managed to conflate the story of a Jewish man with pagan rites of Spring, but so be it.  For me it's a chance to eat jellybeans, and of course participate in TEFEH (The Eichhorn Family Egg Hunt, special rules in effect).

Not sure why but this morning was screwing around with Korn Shell scripts (as one does) and decided to see if my blog archive still worked.  It did.  And then I wondered if I could still post.  I can.

Over the years I've ponged between blogging, Facebook-ing, and [recently] Twitter X-ing, as well as nothing-ing; who knows what will come next.  There's always a new way to transmit random thoughts into the Ether.

Am just rereading Cryptonomicon (which is gradually replacing Godel, Escher, Bach as my favorite book ever), and a returned WWII hero can't describe what he experienced so he makes stuff up.  And people are amazed.  And he's thinking this is not nearly as wild as what actually happened.  That's what you get when you blog.

Cryptonomicon is now 25 years old, published in 1999 (yeah, the "turn of the century"!), and feels fresh as a daisy.  It has that near-future-ness, the beautiful anticipation of woke-ness and ironic contrast with actual wake-ness.

GEB is older, published in 1979, and the themes there are timeless, much less of the near-future and more of the far-future as foretold by the distant-past.

What recent work has this quality?  None that I've read.  But then I didn't read GEB when it was published, nor Cryptonomicon, they both took time to get intellectual traction and climb onto my radar.

Anyway hope you have a great day!, and please stay tuned...



Sunday,  03/31/24  05:21 PM

[I guess Happy Easter broke the dam ...]

Waay back in 1999, I worked for Intuit.  (At that time, the big challenge for leading software companies was moving from desktop to web, my team were building "Web Quicken"... but thaat's a story for another day.)  We occupied ten buildings in Mountain View which were formerly the Sun Microsystems campus.  (Sun outgrew that campus and built a spiffy new one, which they soon undergrew as computing moved from minicomputers to desktops... but thaat's another story too.) 

Across our parking lot was a small building housing a cute little company with a funny name: Google.  They were trying to build a better web search than Alta Vista ... ha ha!  We did notice that they seemed to be there all the time, and threw a lot of parties.

At that time Netscape Navigator was the leading browser, with Microsoft Internet Explorer a distant second.  Google became the default search engine in Navigator, which morphed into Mozilla.  (Yahoo was the default search engine in Internet Explorer, but that's yet another story.)  Of course, the rest is history.  From that point on Google was THE Internet search engine, everyone else was a distant second, despite there being many "everyone else"s over those years.

Which brings us to today.  Google have clearly jumped the shark, their politics have people like me looking for alternatives.  And AI-based chat is a lot better than mere search for answering many questions.  As I found myself using ChatGPT more and more in lieu of the default search in my browser, I found myself wondering if I could have an AI/chat experience as the default search.  And then I found Perplexity.  And so after 20 years of hegemony, Google search has serious challengers.

Of course, there are still times when you want a "pure" web search.  And you can do that easily, just type " <search terms>" and poof you can have it.  (For that matter, you can type " <search terms>" too...)


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