: New: Book Report: The New New Thing

It's a biography of Jim Clark, a high-tech entrepeneur. This book talks about a period of his life after he helped found SGI and Netscape, when he was working on health-service software and designing the world's largest automated sailboat. He likes to found companies, but he doesn't stick with them. He's impossible to get along with, but people chase after him because he keeps founding successful companies. He's working on health software to finance his hobby, the humongous sailboat. He says that the sailboat is actually a business: the software that folks are writing to automate the sailboat will one day automate other things. (And then the book mentioned that this software was SCADA. And I thought OMG he's right that's where SCADA came from? We use that all over. But it turns out that SCADA predates this, and these folks were just writing some SCADA code, not the original SCADA code.) The sailboat sets out across the Atlantic not-yet-debugged. So programmers are trying to keep the systems from ripping the sails to shreds. Oh, and it turns out that the same personality that makes Jim Clark a founder not a stayer also means he's not really well-suited for staying on a sailboat long enough to cross the Atlantic. So he's a jerk, but he's an interesting jerk. I enjoyed this book.

Tags: book programming maritime

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