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Make a Mess, Clean it Up (folklore.org)
158 points by snprbob86 2677 days ago | hide | past | web | 20 comments | favorite



This story is (was?) taped to the side of the defender cabinet in a small arcade at the Googleplex. Something reminded me of it and made me smile, so I decided to share the smile with all of you :-)


Heh. I was just over there, but it's between other machines and the sides aren't visible.

I just told the guy who runs the site (my officemate) that he's at the top of HN though.


It has been over two years since I was last in that arcade, so that piece of paper may be long gone. Maybe you would be so kind to print out and post another copy for Googlers who visit the arcade in the future :-)

I really should spend some time reading the other top articles on your officemate's site. It appears that there may be many other gems on there.


I shall do it when I get back.


Awesome. This Xoogler thanks you on behalf of future Googlers!


So you are office-mates with Andy Hertzfeld? Man, that dude is my hero. Didn't know he was at Google now.


I would've said the same thing about being officemates with Joshua Schacter, the guy you're replying to. ;-)

BTW, they're in my old office, the one I was in from Feb-May. The Googleplex is not really all that big. (Andy Hertzfeld was two doors down when I joined in January, before they reshuffled evereyone.)


Yeah, I know who he is. I was avidly following the brouhaha when that offhand remark he made a few months ago wound up on the front page of Mashable.

Not to denigrate Joshua's achievements, but I'm not really into web stuff like most of you guys. The big topics around here are python, ruby, erlang, myssql, rails, et al. If I were to learn a new language today, I'd pick something like Z80 assembler. That makes me less marketable, but that's what appeals to me.

Andy Hertzfeld did his best work in the severely constrained environment of the early Macintosh. I'm equally impressed by guys who were able to write games for the Atari 2600 and the Intellivision in 2K of ROM and a couple hundred bytes of RAM. That's the kind of stories I like to hear, for better or worse. Not surprisingly, I've read every story on folklore.org several times.


Have you read The Soul of a New Machine? It sounds like something you'd really like.


yes, i've read it. i found it unremarkable. the tale of the creation of a new computer sounds good in theory, but i couldn't get very involved.

i've read most of the other entries in this genre as well. my favorite is "hackers" by steven levy.


Okay. Personally, I couldn't put it down. Then again, I tend to idolize that period of computer history, since I missed it...

I haven't read "Hackers," I'll check it out.


You may also like the story of LEO then: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Computer-Called-LEO-Worlds-Office/dp...


Everyone talks about their hero. Mine is playing defender, there in the image :)


This is one of my favourite stories about how to get really good at something. I frequently say it to myself when I discover I have thrown myself in at the deep end of a technical problem :-)


My second blog post last spring (http://williambswift.blogspot.com/2009/03/value-of-mistakes-...) was about the value of making mistakes for learning. I see I missed the "making mistakes on purpose" bit, and am going to add a new post now about that. The general idea was referred to several times in older Whole Earth Catalogs, I should have remembered it earlier.


Or you could just grow a moustache (http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=Moustache.txt)


Sounds like this means you can get successful by failing? OK by me.


In folklore FAQ

`Q: Can I run my own site, using the Folklore software?`

`Yes, once the software is initially released (perhaps in March 2004), you will be able to download it and install it on your own server to run your own version of the site.`

Where I can find the software?


Thanks, you've addicted me to Folklore.org

Now I have to read it all...


After reading a few more stories, I really wish that the same kind of documentation was available for the development of modern projects (OS X? iPhone?).

I was born in 1982, so the original Mac is more an abstract milestone to me.

Too bad it probably won't happen because the teams are so much bigger now and there's a lot more secrecy surrounding things that are still on the market.




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