Quiet. Too quiet.

January 4, 2002

The Macintosh rumor industry is kicking into high gear as the next expo—complete with Steve Jobs keynote—approaches. Thankfully, Crazy Apple Rumors Site is here to point out how silly it is. (via Invisible City) #

Software vs Construction

Doc Searls has long argued that the software industry is like the construction industry, which is a multi-billion dollar business where most of the intellectual property is shared. This, he argues, indicates the strength of the Open Source model, where source code for software is made freely available. Programmers (and software companies) can make money by charging to create software for specific purposes or repair/extend old programs.

The problem with that argument is that much of construction involves doing things which have been done elsewhere previously, except in rare cases. In contrast, many software projects involve new elements that have never been done before. Software is like what construction would be like if someone invented a matter duplicator and people could copy useful parts of old buildings when creating new ones. (via Doc Searls) #

The Pit

The Wednesday after Christmas, my friends Tim, Dan, and Ken Regewitz and I visited the World Trade Center site in New York City. We took the train to Penn Station and the subway down to the site itself. There was some uncertainty about what stop to get off at, since there’s a whole section of the subway system that’s inaccessible thanks to the disaster, but we managed without much difficulty.

As usual, I paid for the US$1.50 subway token with a five, since the machines return dollar coins, which are still fairly uncommon. It was the first time I’d tried it since the launch of the Sacagawea dollar coin, though, and I was gratified to actually receive one as part of a commercial exchange. (The experience was almost as cool as receiving a US$2 bill as part of my change at Otakon this summer. Pity I had to spend it the next day.)

It’s been a few months since the disaster, and the cleanup crews have been hard at work. (It’s a tough job: there were still fires underneath the surface until about a week before we visited.) There wasn’t actually much left to see in terms of the wreckage itself. My previous trip to the World Trade Center had been just under a year previous, and I remembered just how big the center had seemed—not just in terms of height, but in terms of land area. For some reason, the lot seemed smaller without the buildings there.

It’s strange. When I’m actually in New York, I can recognize it. “This is New York,” I think to myself. From a distance, though, I can’t see it. In the past, I recognized New York because of the twin towers. Without them, I can’t tell which cluster of buildings is which. It’s quite possibly the least important loss caused by the tragedy, but it’s the one that most directly affects me (the economic factors are less direct). I’m pretty lucky in that sense. A lot of people got far worse.

The four of us started walking counterclockwise around the site, at first looking for a better view (the platform had not yet opened). After a certain point, we decided to make a complete circuit of the site. It took about forty-five minutes, and in the end we were back where we started from, but it felt right. It gave a sense of a completed ritual.

Afterwards, we had lunch at a local pizzeria and confirmed that Manhattan truly is the best place for New York–style pizza. #