Thursday, October 25, 2001


My Blog title is taken from the 1992 book “Accidental Empires” by the pseudonymous Robert X. Cringely – that is, the original "proper" Cringely, not the phony who later appropriated the disputed nom de plume in a bitter custody battle with InfoWorld magazine, which still claims it as their intellectual property.

The “real” Cringely -- in describing the limitations of early low-resolution laser printers -- relates the story of how the computer pioneer Donald Knuth invented a new kind of algorithm to describe the beautiful curves and shapes of typographical letterforms. When Knuth saw his typefaces printed on a low-resolution laser printer for the first time, he apparently didn't perceive that the “jaggies” spoiled the quality of the images. He was looking “far beyond the actual letters and words to the mathematical concepts that underlay them. Had a good enough laser printer been available, the printing would have been beautiful, so that's what Knuth saw.”

The art of “mind over what matters” is one which comes to me with considerable difficulty. I selected that title as a reminder that, sometimes, to keep my priorities in their proper perspective, I have to really discipline myself – hunker down and put my mind to it – to accomplish the things that really matter.

Meanwhile, Cringely effortlessly spews out a few hundred words about Microsoft and Windows XP in this morning's New York Times Op Ed: Windows of Opportunity

Here's an archive of Cringely's recent, lengthier columns for PBS.


Post a Comment

<< Home