Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Transcendental, not Transcendent

Today is Pi Day. 3/14 -- and it is celebrated at 1:59:24 this afternoon.

I am marking the occasion by listening to Hard'n'Phirm's song Pi on repeat.

Lyrics:

When ink and pen in hands of men inscribe your form (bipedal P) / they draw an altar on which God has slaughtered all stability / no eyes could soak in all the places you anoint and yet to see you all at once we only need the point / flirting with infinity our geometric progeny that fit inside you oh so tight with triangles that feel so right

Chorus
(many digits of pi, recited)

Your ever-constant homily says flaw is discipline / the patron saint of imperfection frees us from our sin / and if our transcendental lift shall find a final floor / then Man will know the death of God where wonder was before

Monday, March 12, 2007

Middleware and Complexity

I still have an interest in lessconfig as an idea. Sensible defaults, user-centered but system-aware design, all those things are still goals.

But now I work for a telecoms middleware company. Almost my entire working life is now taken up with...configuration. The whole reason for Sigma Systems' product's existence is configuration -- we accept orders as input, and issue network configuration commands as output. And since this is an Enterprisey kind of environment -- you don't become a successful enough telecom to warrant OSS without very very high uptime and you don't get very very high uptime without significant quantities of process -- there's lots of configuration in our application too. Configuration, metaconfiguration, metametaconfiguration -- it's easy to lose sight of what the system's actually going to be used for in the end.

And I'm not sure I can see how any of this could be simplified, in practice, without either ending up with a dangerous monoculture effect in the telecoms industry or a decrease in available services.

Some problems are just hard, I guess.