Gainesville Ramblings

This is a blog, and thus it barely qualifies as writing, let alone formal writing, so I'd not let it bother you.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Two Articles

Nothing exciting to report today, so once again, I fall upon the old blog standby - a series of links.

Only two things I found today. The first is a blog entry from Science Fiction writer Charles Stross. This guy writes some truly mind-fuck quality books, all about how with the increasing power of computer, eventually we'll reach the technological Singularity, a concept that is so mind blowing, I'm not going to try to explain it. Just click that link if you really want to know.

Anyway, Charlie talks about how the early designers of technologies determine the rules of them. So the people who created the internet determined what the internet would be. His example is the ability to add pictures to a website was the one thing that pushed the internet over the edge into mainstream acceptance (and the main vehicle of acceptance? Porn, of course).

But Stross then tries to pull this into emerging virtual reality technologies. What will determine how virtual reality is run? And then he strikes on something that sends my nerd senses all a-flutter.

Since the most popular use of virtual reality, originally, is probably going to be for games, and the most popular internet games are role-playing, then the person responsible for determining any future virtual reality rules is Gary Gygax, the man who created making Dungeons & Dragons. How awesome is that?

The second article is less nerdtastic, unless you're really into selling cars. Basically, a journalist goes undercover and sells cars for a few months, learning the ins and outs of the car dealership industry. I found it interesting for two reasons.

The first is that I always like to learn about any segment of the population about which I knew next to nothing. And before this article, all I knew about car salesmen was that they're intimidating and out to screw you. But knowing their tricks and their motivations makes them more human, as well as easier to deal with.

Plus, the article backs up a long standing theory of mine: Employees are not evil, its the mid-level managers. The article portrays most of the salesmen in the industry as people just trying to get by, while its the manager who are trying to constantly screw the customer in order to up profit. One more reason I really don't want to get into the corporate world: Somewhere along the line, you'll have to be one of those middle managers. Then you're evil, and there’s no going back.

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