Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Cult of Middle Aged White Guys and Aging Hippies

On a whim I put Welcome to Macintosh on my NetFlix queue, and I watched it the other night. It was a bunch of interviews with middle-aged white guys (most of them somewhat doughy) who seemed like they really need to get a life. To the best of my recollection, the only interviewee who was not a middle-aged white guy was Guy Kawasaki. You could summarize the entire film as: "You do realize that John Hodgman is the one who owns a Mac in real life, right?"

In a similar vein, my computer science class has been assigned to read The Art of Unix Programming, which so far seems to be much the same thing. Only it's a book instead of a movie. And instead of Woz it has RMS. And Unix lacks the sort of cutesy interface that let Welcome to Macintosh make a token mention of Susan Kare.

As part of the reading assignment, we're all supposed to come up with questions about the chapter and put forth our questions on Tuesdays. The professor then chooses two of our questions for the quiz. One of my classmates came up with a question/answer pair that completely captures the style of The Art of Unix Programming:

Q: When was Unix invented?
A: Unix has always existed. It was discovered in 1969.