How to get a job after the Singularity comes

That young man with the waxed mustache and gallic countenance is my son Cole, age seven. We’ve been studying division, going on long walks with Sadie the dog, and thinking about walking together all the way across the USA, which would require by our calculation 138 days of walking with no days off. This has made Cole very sad because he’s done a further calculation and concluded that he is unlikely to have 138 consecutive days available until he’s well into his 20’s and by that time he figures I’ll be dead.

Kids have a thousand ways of breaking your heart.

Sentiment aside, Cole might well be correct. He’s a busy kid and I’m an older father. […]

By |October 30th, 2011|2011|173 Comments

Apple gets Siri-ous about TV

Walter Isaacson, in his new biography of Steve Jobs, reveals that Apple is planning to introduce its own televisions, attempting to revolutionize that space in the same way it did mobile phones with the iPhone. He quotes Jobs as having said that he had finally cracked the technical issues of controlling such a TV, though giving no details. This has led to a lot of speculation, but it seems obvious to me that Jobs was referring to IOS 5’s new Siri personal assistance capability. We’ll control our Apple TVs by telling them what to do.

Apple has tried to do TVs before. A few years ago, inspired by the TV success of Gateway and then Dell, […]

By |October 29th, 2011|2011|119 Comments

Meg's Revenge

There is no joy in Round Rock.

Early this morning the database servers at Dell Computer went down hard. The company is unable to accept orders on its web site and almost 5000 Dell sales reps trying to meet their quotas in the last week of the quarter are unable to book sales. Today’s loss for the company is already over $50 million and rising.

The database system in question is Oracle running atop NonStop Unix on a Tandem NonStop (now stopped — what an irony) system made, of course, by Hewlett Packard. So Michael Dell is pulling his hair out at this moment while he waits to be saved by HP.

It could be a long wait.

I […]

By |October 27th, 2011|2011|87 Comments

The Steve Jobs Interview

If you watch the 60 Minutes segment this Sunday with Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs’ biographer, on the eve of his book being published, you are likely to see up to three clips from my show Triumph of the Nerds. My 1995 interview with Steve for that series is famous for his trashing of Microsoft and has been played over and over on TV for the last 16 years. But that’s not the case with the interview from which that clip came… until now.

The interview we shot that day at NeXT headquarters in Redwood City ran about an hour but we used only 10 minutes in the TV series. It was our second try to meet with […]

By |October 21st, 2011|2011|300 Comments

Remembering Dennis Ritchie

I’ve been catching some flak from readers for having not written a column on the recent passing of Dennis Ritchie, father of the C programming language and co-author (with Ken Thompson) of UNIX. Ritchie also wrote with Brian Kernighan The C programming Language, which we all have on our bookshelves and some of us have even read. Ritchie was easily a greater contributor to computer science (as opposed to the computer business) than Steve Jobs, yet I wrote about Jobs’s passing and not Ritchie’s.  What’s with that?

The simple fact is that I didn’t know Dennis Ritchie. I did know Steve Jobs for 34 years and felt I could write about him.  When I wrote about […]

By |October 18th, 2011|2011|67 Comments