2013 — 6 November: Wednesday

What kind of idiotic thug1 sets fire to a museum of musical instruments? (Link.)

The barometer has twitched upwards a smidgen, but it's not exactly warm and welcoming weather out there on this wet and windy Wednesday. No matter. I can always sit and admire my latest small wodge of pension. Last night, by contrast, I sat and admired the entire 44 minutes of Pink Floyd's sublime 1975 "Wish you were here"...

CD of Wish you were here

... playing my relatively recently-acquired 1992 remastered CD. (I've since treated myself to an MP3 download of the so-called "Experience" edition 2011 remastering, too — note the jazz violinist featured on Disc 2 track six!)

Experience edition tracks


... delicious oxymoron? "enlightened Freudian". Source and snippet:

It should be, and probably has been, told to a psychoanalyst, and it has been elaborated into a novel which contains some wonderful writing, but it is overwhelmingly nauseating, even to an enlightened Freudian. To the public, it will be revolting.

Tim Groenland, quoting an unidentified early reader of "Lolita" in Dublin Review of Books

I thought, and hoped...

... I'd seen the last of rubbish like the Flesch index2 after my (several) run-ins in IBM in the early 1980s with a fatuous senior programmer who was convinced (and, far worse, succeeded in convincing my manager at the time) that this nonsense would provide an objective and viable measure of the quality of my writing. (Flipping cheek!) I felt they could both have spent their time (and wasted less of mine) better had they concentrated their intellectual firepower on improving the quality of the product code I was documenting, but that's a whole different war story.

Today, I've just stumbled across Lexile scores.

Books rated

Please don't tell Michael Gove.

Speaking of (IBM) war stories

I was browsing Steven Usselman's "Unbundling IBM" paper again while deciding where to keep it rather than let it continue to fester in my "Downloads" folder. This time I followed one of the footnotes (#64, if it matters) as it purported to explain IBM's then-new mantra "Never again" in the wake of the near-disaster that was the development of the System/360 mainframe:

At an executive conference in May of 1966, after hearing reports from Cary and Opel, Tom Watson identified the "major lesson" of System/360 as "At our size, we can't go 100 percent with anything new again."
Executive Conference Papers, IBM Corporate Secretary's Office, Armonk, New York.
"When we have learned from one experience like the 360," he wrote to top-level staff a few months later, "it is necessary that we confirm our learning by clearly stating we will never do it again and, accordingly, it should be our policy in the future never to announce a new technology which will require us to devote more than 25% of our production to that technology and equipment dependent upon it during the first year of major production of that technology."
Watson to R. H. Bullen, F. T. Cary, W. C. Hume, G. E. Jones, T. V. Learson, A. K. Watson, and A. L. Williams, September 9, 1966, Watson Papers.

Date: 1966


... provided confirmation of the quality of the pie-and-chips with veg now available from "The Wheatsheaf" in Braishfield. And of the relative inaccuracy of the Beeb's feather warcast. The evening meal, therefore, is going to be a very lightweight affair. If I ever get hungry again. (I quite often do.)

On with the show. On with the lights, too, dagnabbit.

Tick tock, clunk! (Link.)



1  Rhetorical question.
2  A supposed measure of the readability of text.