Where’s Bob? Changing WordPress hosts.

WomenAtWorkIn case you’ve been wondering what’s up with this blog, we’re in the midst of moving it from one host to another. Truth be told, Jennie is in the midst of moving it. This will be my last post from Media Temple. My next post (a real one — it’s already written) should come later tonight from WP Engine.

When I left PBS at the end of 2008, Media Temple was state of the art, but that was then. After five years on essentially the same server platform with only a couple memory increases along the way, things were getting a little brittle as many of you have noticed. The hardware is old, some of the software […]

What Intel and AMD clean rooms could teach hospitals

buttonIn 19th century Europe (and probably in America, too) women were less likely to die in childbirth if their babies were born at home or even on the street rather than in hospitals. The reason was simple: street and home births almost always involved the doctor or midwife washing their hands, thus minimizing the risk of infection. Doctors of the time rarely bothered to wash between hospital patients. Yum. Ignaz Semmelweiss first noticed this in Austria before 1850. Then Louis Pasteur came up with his germ theory of disease in 1864. Finally Joseph Lister in England (he of Listerine fame) pioneered the use of carbolic acid (phenol) antiseptics and the fight against germs took off […]

The nose knows

pew!We call it The Red Devil — a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee V-8 I bought online earlier this year mainly to pull a trailer filled with airplane parts. But perhaps we should have named it Stinky, because that’s what this column is all about. When buying something on the Internet, how can you make sure it doesn’t smell terrible?

You can’t.

I should have known. The price was too low, the pictures too good, but the seller had sold hundreds of cars online and boasted a 100 percent satisfaction rating. So did I, but my 82 transactions had taken 13 years to accumulate.

When the car arrived it looked great but it smalled like a thousand mice had been camping […]

Where have you gone, Engine Charlie?

first-corvette-1953Charles Erwin Wilson, known as “Engine Charlie,” was president of General Motors and later Secretary of Defense under President Dwight Eisenhower. He is broadly — and incorrectly — quoted as having said during his Senate confirmation hearing “what’s good for General Motors is good for America.” His actual quote is more nuanced: “For years I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors and vice versa.”

This is a fascinating bit of history because we aren’t talking about today’s General Motors or even today’s United States of America but the GM and the USA of 1953 — a time when both were leading the world. Yet look at the equivocation in […]

Cole Cringely on his ninth birthday


I am Cole Cringely

I am an ambitious boy who likes to code Java.

I wonder how to code Mojang applications.

I hear water splashing on the seashore.

I see happiness in the air.

I want superpowers.

I am an ambitious boy who likes to code Java.

I pretend I am flying on the swing.

I feel scared of bridges.

I touch the center of the Earth.

I worry about earthquakes.

I cry when I get insulted.

I am an ambitious boy who likes to code Java.

I understand the meaning of life.