Future Tense: Kindness Day



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Insula Gilliganis


David, you are totally correct in that back before wide scale use of the Internet BYTE was the magazine people read for serious computer articles.  I always read it even though I couldn't and didn't understand 99% of it but the 1% I could understand was always Jerry's Choas Manor column.  I shouldn't even write that it was a "column".. it was a multi-page, sprawling, very detailed article about his trials and tribulations usually with the computer equipment and software he was using. If I remember correctly it usually ran on the top half of a page (bottom half had ads) and it would go on for several page. something like 5 or 6...and usually  took a good 15-20 minutes to read.  Choas Manor was always highly accessible as he wrote about the "everyman's" struggle to try and use these new high tech machines for practical everyday uses.. and for Jerry that usually meant how it helped him and those he worked with write his novels.

Jerry has had some health issues of late but was feeling well enough to be on Leo LaPorte's TWIT show less than 2 weeks ago (#282) http://twit.tv/282  Jerry told a story on that show about why the hand recognition of OneNote works great for him but no one else.. because his handwriting sample was used as the basis for OneNote's hand writing recognition system.. and apparently Jerry has really bad penmenship so it doesn't work as well for everyone else!! http://wiki.twit.tv/wiki/TWiT_282/Transcript

Thanks again David for timing time to write about Jerry.




Thank you Dave for a well written tribute to a man for whom I have the greatest respect and admiration. I first heard of Jerry Pournelle when I bought a copy of "The Mote In God's Eye" while attending college in 1974. I read it several times over the years and when the sequel "The Gripping Hand" was finally published in 1991 I grabbed a copy of that as well. As a long time subscriber to Byte magazine through the 80's and early 90's the columns Jerry wrote were always the first article I read each month. Always informative and entertaining, they were much more than the typical fanboy allocades found in many tech magazines at the time. Jerry did not hesitate to state his opinions (usually spot on) about the products he reviewed and it didn't matter whether it was Microsoft, Intel or Basement Shop Electronics.

Kindness Day would be a welcomed alternative to the typical consumer driven Christmas holiday. But we could also return the celebration of Christmas to its intended purpose, and while doing that also do what Jesus Christ did during His ministry here on earth.



Fantastic idea. i particularly like the part about planning out the act thoughtfully. I already am a big supporter of "buy nothing" day (day after thanksgiving no less). sort of the same vein as you mentioned, the intention is to enjoy what you already have with freinds and relatives.

i must say i can fully understand why people would disagree with you politicaly, myself included, but as you brought up it should never be with malice. there is far too much of that in the states as the latest news reports can attest.

Time to show kindness to those we most disagree with and prove to ourselves we are not the lowest common denominator.





If only the entire planet could read this article...

Kindness Day should be every day and maybe August 17th should be Pournelle Day or People-that-Made-a-Difference Day.  

Just a thought. 

PS. My hat goes off to anyone that makes a difference in this World.  



Good read here. I found alot of myself in this article :)



"International Capitalist Feeding Frenzy"

I would agree with you if you replaced Capitalist with Consumerism.  Most of the companies that pander to consumers are not capitalist in any fashion.  Most of the people out there shopping are consumers, not capitalists.  While it might sound minor to anyone who doesn't know the difference, and it is popular to attack capitalism today, lets not be like the comfortable lemmings running over the cliff in unison, all bent out of shape at capitalism when it is really consuermism that is at fault.  Remember: France and Europe attacked capitalism after WWI, and their economies sloughed along for decades, unprepared for the arrival of Hitler and a reinvigorated Germany.

re: Genghis Khan.  I admire that man.  When a son-in-law complained he wasn't getting enough of the spoils of war, he had his son prove it to him by designing and implementing an accounting system that Ghengis used to manage his empire.  It is said to rival anything that had been invented yet in Europe.  When a shaman became very powerful (due to Genghis' requirement that newly conquered individuals adopt mongol religion) and threatened to overthrow Genghis, he was presented with two option: kill the shaman and risk a revolt, or do nothing and risk being overthrown.  Genghis saw, and took, a thrid option: he declared freedom of religion.  Everyone fragmented, went back to their personal and cultural religions, and this shaman's sway over the population quickly deflated and was no longer a problem.

I'm curious what Jerry meant by "slightly to the right of Genghis."

And as for Chaos Manor - I remember that long running column.  I also remember The Hard Edge in Computer Shopper.  Oh, today's content is not what it used to be, is it.  I have always found these 'humanizations of computer' formats more helpful than anything else.  I remember reading an entire issue of PC Gaming or something like that and none of the articles gave me any kind of impression of how a game played.  The articles were so long winded about the author's impressions of the game's visuals I learned nothing about how the game played.  However, the occassional vs. articles impart so much knowledge.  You've probably read them before: two authors spar over the pros and cons of an app or challenge each other to a pvp game and write about how the game unfolded.  Those articles are awesome because you get to read about the game or program in the hands of a user.



Absolutely bonkers.

And why won't Jerry P. ever go to Bellingham again?

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