Wednesday, February 25, 2004

I suspect/think the average bizguy has a lot more in common with the average hacker than we might think. Both enjoy figuring out and playing with rules systems. The problem is the direction we take it in.

Hackers like to figure out rules systems and play with them, andmanipulate them to achieve elegant solutions. For hackers, the groove is in elegance. It becomes part of our nature (sometimes to a fault), like water to a fish. The more systematic and elegant the rules system, the more easily we comprehend it and manipulate it. But we get obsessed with it, to some degree of “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” The classic story is the hacker preferring the elegant solution tomorrow over the keeps-the-company-in-business solution today.

Bizguys like to figure out rules systems and work them to advantage. For bizguys, the groove is in winning. This, too, becomes part of their nature (sometimes to a fault), like water to a fish. Systematic and elegant is not necessarily beneficial; it makes the rules easier to understand and figure out, and it leaves fewer points of leverage for them to exploit. Plus, systematic and elegant is not often (or maybe often not) relevant; the world is a messy place, and the underlying elegance and symmetry are hard to see, hard to apply directly to problem solving.

— Steven J. Owens, on the XP mailing list

And now, we return to the VR story, already in progress.

“You Thomas Aznable?” asked the man on the left in a low, slurred voice.

Thomas gulped. He was pushing his brain to think of a response, and it kept replying, “Pistols! Pistols!”

The man on the right grunted. Thomas’ lack of an immediate denial was all the answer they needed. “Nothing personal,” said the man on the right.

black-clad figure flashed like a ferret into the room and punched both men as they were turning towards the intruder. They both stiffened, grimaced, then fell like oak trees to the ground.

The intruder held a tazer in each hand, which she quickly slipped into what looked like holsters underneath her black vest. She was dressed like Trinity’s punk younger sister — sleek black pants and a black pullover shirt hugged her body, plus a black leather vest that hung loosely from her rather thin frame. From black roots sprung short purple hair. She looked at Thomas and grinned a crazy grin.

His brain was just now managing to get off the subject of pistols, but unfortunately was mostly distracted by this girl’s body. She was probably sixteen or so, and Thomas couldn’t help noticing that she had an amazing figure, which her outfit only accentuated. He wasn’t undressing her with his eyes, exactly, but it was a bit like glancing at a t-shirt that has something undeniably rude on the front; you can’t help staring at it for a moment to verify what you saw.

She leaned forward and grabbed Thomas by the arm. “C’mon,” she said. “We can’t stay here.”

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