16 Sep 2014
05 Sep 2014


"I could watch for hours," he said. "Every time a train ran by I'd watch the grass get pushed around." He paused and moved his finger across the table slowly and down the engraved leg. "We had picnics out there between the tracks-- there was this spot," here he licked his finger and let it wander through the air, "where you could see the track and the grass and behind it the sugar factory and its boarded up windows." He took a deep breath. "There were so many windows. Seemed like the building had just given up cause not one of those windows was whole!"
04 Sep 2014

No Faberge Eggs, Just Brass Balls

Aw snap!

An account in which Doug McIlroy displays his "old Unix hands" (you may need to refresh a few times to load):


It's a story about Donald Knuth, a pioneer of many many things, who writes a beautiful, yet simple program in (something like) Pascal. The source code of this program is absolutely breathtaking. Seriously: it's like reading bad Shakespeare (which is pretty dang good for Pascal). Anyway, McIlroy is asked to review Knuth's code and, after giving a few nice remarks, he unloads on Knuth and presents a six line Unix shell script to replace all 10+ pages of Knuth's Pascal. Brilliant.Read more...

03 Sep 2014
30 Aug 2014

Potato Salad

My mother is really no good with recipes.

I have saved an email with the subject “RE: Potato Salad?” in which my mother has typed up a rather normal looking recipe for potato salad (no mustard or peas, that would be cruel). However, after the rather normal looking recipe, there is a paragraph in which she explains which items from the above recipe she doubles, triples, or leaves out entirely. It’s a very roundabout method for recipe writing. Read more...

28 Aug 2014
28 Jul 2014

The Junior Ranger Badge

Just a few weeks ago I made my way across the country from San Francisco to Chicago with one of my good friends from high school.

We spent 53% of a five day trip (that is, 65 hours) confined in a plastic box too short to stand in, to small to lay in, and too uncomfortable to sit in. My wife claims it’s a car called a Chevy Cobalt, but it didn’t appear to posses any of the typical qualities of a car. No cruise control, the seats couldn’t lean back, and there was a high pitched whiiiiiiiiiiiiiir sound that made you envy the dead.


26 Jun 2014
27 Apr 2014

Ten Dollars Well Spent

I gave ten dollars today to each of two of my friend’s kids and why I did it goes back to seven dollars that have stuck in my mind for almost twenty years (I was, of course, adjusting for inflation).

It was a hot day and the moving van was packed out front of our house. I have no idea which house, we lived in so many, so the memory fluctuates between a few different ones.