"Enough of this last-minute, stay-of-execution, midnight-phone-call-from-the-governor stuff. Throw the switch and let's fry this thing."
“First, do you understand the difference between a dissertation and a thesis? A thesis is an idea. A dissertation is a document that supports your thesis. After you write your dissertation explaining why your thesis is a good one, you have to stand up in front of a crowd and defend it -- the thesis defence.
It is best if you can capture your thesis in a single sentence. If you can do this, make it sentence #1 of your dissertation, and repeat this sentence, word for word, wherever you need to drive home the point of your dissertation. This is a tremendous aid in focussing your work. A side benefit is that it provides an unassailable defense to an entire class of attacks on your work. For example, should someone attack your work by pointing out that it does not scale, you simply reply,
You may be correct, but right or wrong, your point is irrelevant. My thesis is that "crossbreeding gerbils with hamsters provides an order of magnitude speedup over standard treadmill technology." I clearly demonstrate factors of 12-17 in my dissertation; I make no claims beyond an order of magnitude.
This is one of the benefits of focus.”
The point is: what are you trying to show? The point is: what is your point? If you can get that straight in your head, and put it up front at the beginning of your document, you will be able to proceed in a straight line. You will know what things are essential, and what things are distractions or detours. You will know when to stop writing: when you have demonstrated your thesis. If your thesis committee makes unreasonable demands of you, you will be able to tell them: "(a) My thesis, as stated, is a solid advancement of the field, and (b) I have supported my thesis. This is all I need to do to graduate; your requests are above and beyond this threshold. Cancel them and give me my degree."
"He just couldn't get it through his head that I didn't
want to hear about Interlisp, and I damn sure didn't want to hear about
9-fucking-millimeter automatics; we were a Zetalisp/.223 project. I finally
gave up on him; that was the first time I'd ever personally encountered the
east coast/west coast split in Lisp style and weapons choice."
I am very fond of Berkeley. I think that while LA represents the dark,
side of California weirdness, Berkeley represents the very best of the pure,
innocent-killer side of it all.
This is very colorful. He should have written thriller novels. Shame he wasted his life doing "something with computers".
Probably the nearest thing that's available off the shelf (no pun intended) is a hardcover copy of Kerrisk http://man7.org/tlpi/ , which actually happens to be on a slightly-higher-than-usual discount this very weekend: https://nostarch.com/tlpi .
I'm not bitter though. Not any more.
Below is roughly as I recall from him telling the story. Olin has a colorful sense of humor (see his usenet posts).
The anti-acknowledgements page was originally intended for his doctoral thesis. It was going to contain everyone who discouraged or otherwise hindered his efforts to degree (e.g. parents, girlfriend). His advisor talked him out of it.
Later when he was at the one of MIT's lab he puts in the SCSH manual. The manual gets printed and distributed. He doesn't hear anything. Later he gets called into the head of the lab's office. Olin comes in and sits down. The director takes out the manual and opens it to the acknowledgements section. The first question is "Who has been stealing your work?", the second one is "do you need to go into rehab?". Olin tells him it's a joke. It ended up being a career limiting move for him.
Proving that that one outburst is a one-off and nothing to worry about is justifiably hard.
Related viewpoint from a contemporary: Greenspun's "Reinventing professionalism for software engineers" https://philip.greenspun.com/ancient-history/professionalism...
... that's the phrasing for sociopaths. For everyone else, you can summarize it as "Don't be an asshole."
I do try to keep the snark to a minimum on hn though, because I firmly believe that I should only be an asshole to someone if I'm also granting them the opportunity to punch me in the face.
My apologies for the few times I've not done so.
I consider it a serious and grave problem that if someone takes issue with your worldview — or if you merely ask the "wrong" questions, or even if you ask completely innocent questions that are misinterpreted — they'll go after your livelihood.
Case in point: http://www.tersbakis.com/news/17661/how-swedish-professors-l...
He saved a few lives
and a nice old house