Prior Quotes of the Week

First Quarter, 2001

(Titles that are linked may be ordered online.)

The Dancer
& The Dance
Paul De Palma, "http://when_is_enough_enough?.com",
as published in
The Best American Science and Nature Writin 2000
David Quammen (Editor),
pp. 46 - 47, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000.

...The microcomputer industry has been with us for a decade and a half. We have poured staggering sums down its insatiable maw. It is time to face an unpleasant fact: the so-called microcomputer revolution has cost much more than it has returned. One problem is that microcomputers are vastly more complex that the tasks ordinarily asked of them. To write a report on a machine with a Pentium II processor, sixty-four megabytes of memory, and an eight-gigabyte hard disk is like leasing the space shuttle to fly from New York to Boston to catch a Celtics game. Though there are those who wouldn't hesitate to do such a thing if the could afford it (or get it subsidized, which is more to the point), we follow their lead to great peril....

Please don't misunderstand. This is not a neo-Luddite plea to toss computers out the window. I am, after all, a computer science professor, and I am certainly not ready (as the militias in my part of the country put it) to get off the grid. Further, the social benefits of computing – from telecommunications to business transactions to medicine to science – are well known....

Putting microcomputers in their place will also have a salutary effect on my discipline. We in computer science could then begin to claim that our field – like mathematics, like English literature, like philosophy – is a marvelous human creation whose study is its own reward. To study computer science calls for concentration, discipline, even some amount of deferred gratification, but it requires neither Windows 98, nor a four-hundred-megahertz Pentium II processor, nor a graphical Web browser. Though I am tempted, I will not go so far as to say that the introductory study of computer science requires no computing equipment at all (though Alan Turing did some pretty impressive work without a microcomputer budget). We do seem, however, to have confused the violin with the concerto, the pencil with the theorem, and the dancer with the dance.

I am afraid that we in computing have made a Faustian bargain. In exchange for riches, we are condemned to a lifetime of conversations about the World Wide Web. An eternity in hell with Dr. Faustus, suffering the torments of demons, would be an afternoon in the park by comparison.

Quote #202: 2001.01.10

Dreaming to Greatness
Barbara Waugh with Margot Silk Forrest,
Garage for the World: Story of a Corporate Revolutionary,
pp. 107, Hewlett Packard, 2000.

 How I thought the world worked was, if you were great, like Martin Luther King Jr., you had a dream. Since I wasn't great, I figured I had no dream and the best I could do was follow someone else's. Now I believe it works like this: It's having the dream that makes you great. It's the dream that produces the greatness. It's the dream that draws others around us and attracts the resources it takes to accomplish the dream.

Quote #201: 2001.01.05

Other Prior Quotes:

Fourth Quarter, 2000

Third Quarter, 2000

Second Quarter, 2000

First Quarter, 2000

Fourth Quarter, 1999

Third Quarter, 1999

Second Quarter, 1999

First Quarter, 1999

Fourth Quarter, 1998

Third Quarter, 1998

Second Quarter, 1998

First Quarter, 1998

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