"...we get baptized in Walden pond amongst a searing mob
because the cleansing blood of Jesus couldn't do a Thoreau job..."
When I worked with Alcoholics and Substance Abusers (Hi, my name is Bill...) I would sometimes turn to the 'parable' of the man with a shovel who began to dig a hole...
As anyone who has ever operated a shovel can tell you it is hard work. And unless there is a treasure to be found the act of shoveling is just plain hard work. Often it is thankless work. The prevailing belief is that anyone can do it so what is so great about digging a hole. All that leads me to this, the shovel operator quickly begins to positively reinforce his or her own work.
In very real sense we begin to 'own' the hole. We take great pride in the straight vertical walls. We gain a sense of accomplishment as the depth of the hole increases. Once we have committed a significant amount of time to the digging process we don't feel that we can give up 'all that hard work'. So we continue to dig...and dig...and then a stunning realization befalls us.
We have succeeded in digging a hole so deep that we can't get out. Yet because we have such a vested interest in the hole we cannot stop digging. The elation and euphoria of achievement slowly becomes replaced with frustration. Literally the walls begin to close in upon us. Faint light shows down on us from a small opening high above. Only occasionally do we get to see the sun. Depression soon follows.
But because it is the only thing we know, the only thing that has given us meaning and value, we continue to dig.
In many respects I have dug a Linux hole. And while doing so I have thrown dirt in many different directions. I attempted to heap a large pile on Microsoft. I believed that the Redmond Behemoth was a monopolistic blood sucker intent on depriving me of my right to self determination. I have even gone so far as to suggest that Microsoft decided what was
best right for me.
I was so busy admiring the depth and verticality of my hole that I missed the fact that I was in so deep that I couldn't climb out. Then someone started to throw dirt down on top of me. Dirt from the heaping pile I had tried to bury Microsoft under.
Ok, now watch carefully because this is important...
Being tasked with the responsibility of maintaining and developing Access2003 databases in conjunction with a IIS server offering .ASP pages that contained ActiveX components and VisualBasic code segments means that I now need all the Microsoft assistance I can get.
The wonderful irony of my 'hole' situation is the dirt that is being thrown down on me feels initially like the insult that I originally threw so freely at Microsoft. It is in fact just what I need. I will stop digging. I will allow my hole to be filled back in and I will eventually be able to climb out. True, I may come up covered with dirt but I will emerge into a day full of sunshine.
Hopefully I can leave my pride at the bottom of the hole.
Posted by William Meloney at 7:08 AM
My cardiologist rolls over in his BMW everytime he hears me say it but ...
Breakfast is the luxury meal of the weekend. Fried potatoes, half a rasher of bacon, 2 eggs over easy and ... toast. Hot buttered crunchy toast.
Everything else was happily sizzling away when I went to the 'fridge to secure a couple of slices for toast. After rummaging about for a couple of seconds I pulled the limp bread bag from the back of the lower shelf. There, in the inner cellophane (?) wrapper, was the objects of my desire, the precursor to ... toast.
Slithering my hand forearm deep into the bag I latched on to my objective. Wriggling, twisting and turning I withdrew the treasure. Then my eyes lit up! I not only had in hand the prize but... the best of the best. Not one but 2 crusts, heels if you will. Contrary to the expressed tastes of most everyone I know I covet the crusts. More flavor, more texture, more goodness. And when toasted, more substance than those flat pallets of dried bread. I told you I am a heel and crust-y sorta guy. :)
Posted by William Meloney at 11:28 AM
I ran Lil'BBS, a Wildcat Bulletin Board, for a number of years. That was in 1988 or so and continued until 1992-ish. In that day and age there were the really "big boys" (multi-line boards) or the mega-services of the age (CompuServe). Mostly it was prohibitive long-distance calls or monthly service changes that separated the digerati from the small town folks like me and mine. So I put up a one-line BBS - I was a big fish in a small town pond.
Then along came that "Internet" thing. Where people and companies had previously established their presence at the end of a phone line they now had to build these cumbersome "website" things. So the fearless started in with fancy fonts and graphics and everything - no more ASCII pictures or console text for them. Others simply opened a telnet port on their BBS system and didn't change a thing. No need to fix what ain't broken.
In the heady days that followed the vast and uncharted wilderness of the Internet would be likened to America's Wild West - vast and uncharted and lawless. Soon there would be thousands of sites - offering content about hundreds of things...oh yes, and sex. Then the following week there would be hundreds of thousands of sites offering content on thousands of topics...and sex. Earlier this morning there were millions of sites offering everything all the time everywhere.
Which is my exact point: now there is only one Internet. Sure, it is everything all the time everywhere but it has become one entity.
Let me offer a slightly different perspective of the same phenomena. In the course of about 20 minutes I can read my e-mail, scan my gReader feeds, double check my social sites and I am done. Then I sit in front of my computer and think that there should be more to this Internet experience. Where once I was enamored with the vast complexity of the net I am now sated by the handful of "feeds" that have distinguished themselves as important in my world (net) view.
It should be noted that my shrinking experience is not a case of 'turn-it-on, read for a bit and then turn-it-off. Rather the Internet is an integral part of my computing environment. I no longer differentiate between my computer and the Internet. To that end I find myself doing less real computing with my personal computer. All this brings me to what I think is a logical conclusion. I don't really need all of this Ghz horse power or the HD resolution to do my regularly scheduled digital interfacing. I could just as easily get by with a device specifically designed for the incredible shrinking Internet.
The preceding ramblings have been brought to you with the Palm Foleo in mind. Now before you good folks go all ballistic because I have lead you down the commercial prim rose path please note that I am not touting Palm. Rather I am acknowledging that to be most effective the tool 'must fit the hand'. If the tool doesn't fit the hand - don't pick it up.
Posted by William Meloney at 8:18 AM