Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   disgruntled reader
Monday, December 6 1999
Today was my first day at the new office in downtown San Diego. Someone responsible for the moving project had thoughtfully/condescendingly printed out a MapQuest map showing me the best way to go from my home address in Ocean Beach. I forgot to bring this with me when I set out this morning, of course, so I could only use a memory of its overall plot as a guide.
Thus, I started out pedalling my bicycle southeastward, directly into the rising late autumnal sun. This took me orthogonally into the dual ridges that form the backbone of Point Loma. These weren't difficult to climb by bicycle, even though my gear shifting mechanism has been unshiftably broken for months. Though I missed the serenity of the San Diego River, the scenery wasn't bad going this way. There was a good view from the tops of the ridges, especially of the airplanes rising from the airport. Unfortunately, there were no bike lanes going this way. But cars weren't moving too quickly either, at least not until I'd made it down the other side. There I found myself trapped behind a military base and the airport on my route to reach the harbour. The mass of these large obstacles of real estate kept me over towards Old Town on unfamiliar surface streets. The downtown rushed towards me fairly quickly from there, though I had no idea where I was going other than a vague memory of the gilded facade of the building and knowledge that it was in the core of downtown.
Inside the building, I still wasn't completely sure I was in the right place until I stumbled upon one of the many VPs of Marketing (if we had half as many ASP developers as VPs of Marketing, our company would definitely be on easy street!). At the top of the elevator, there I was, in the new digs.
It was a big undivided room with dozens and dozens of cubicles, each containing wide curved desks and separated from one another by low ineffectual dividers. My desk was in a fairly good spot: back to the wall between two of the new channel manager guys whose names I don't even know. Absolutely all the furniture was brand spanking new, including the chairs. But despite at least a dozen separate adjusters, they just weren't as comfortable as the simple blue swivel chairs from our former Mission Valley location.
Everything was going nicely and I was loving life until Scott, one of the E-commerce guys with whom I occasionally socialize, tipped me off about an email he and various others in the company successfully received from a disgruntled reader out to cause trouble:

Sent: Thursday, December 02, 1999 9:51 PM
Subject: Piracy of Music and possibly Software on your INTRANET!

I have become aware of a piracy problem within your company. The owner of the website is a employee of yours and as you can see from the following quotes from a page of his site, piracy is taking place.

"Amongst the engineers in my company, it's common courtesy to rip all the songs of personal CDs and put them on the intranet for the enjoyment of all."

Also the following may indicate that your Intranet contains Pirated software.

"While I'm on the subject of Microsoft, let me just say that I really enjoy my pirated copy of Office 2000."

"I'm pretty sure that Windows hasn't made word processors backwards-compatible since Word 5.0. I never upgraded the pirated copy of Word 5 on my mother's Macintosh specifically for this reason;"

The site that I retrieved this from is Which is run by Gus Mueller. You can find the above quotes in the November 08 1999 posting (I may have the day wrong but is within a few days of it).

I considered contacting the SPA and RIAA but decided to inform you first with my thinking being that you may not be aware of these actions and would be unfairly penalized for the actions of your employee.

I request that you do not share my name or any other personal info with the offending employee. I do not wish to be harassed by this person. His postings on his site indicate tendencies to do this. I think that management of may find some very interesting reading on "The Gus" website.

Please reply to this E-mail so I can be assured that it was received.

That kind of ruined my ability to enjoy the day; I suddenly felt compelled to remove from publication everything that might get me in trouble with the management of my increasingly humourless company. What's more, I'd said some fairly unkind things about the E-commerce team and I was embarrassed to think they'd been reading. Later in the day, though, I had a wicked sense of satisfaction that maybe I'd succeeded in telling them something. There were no repercussions; aside from Scott, no one else in the company mentioned a word about this. (I do know that there are a fairly sizable number of readers in the company, and most of them seem to prefer that I don't know that they know. More than a few are in management positions.)
I have to figure that the guy who composed this email wants to get me fired from my job so I'll write about something more interesting, or else he'd like me to quit my journal altogether and not clutter the web with my writing. Then again, he might be a self-righteous anti-piracy crusader, and as such, will hopefully experience a grand mal seizure in front of a runaway steam roller. Whoever this character is, he's corresponded with me in the past; that's the only way he could have gotten the domain name he needed to successfully bulk-mail whole swaths of my co-workers. I have to be more careful about corresponding with wingnuts in the future.
By the way, the domain from which that email came is the Traverse City, Michigan, public library. The return email address is almost certainly not that of the actual sender.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

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