rainy Labor Day
Monday, September 1 2003
It was Labor Day, and, as a gesture of support for His vociferous union-busting fans in the Republican party, the Almighty saw fit to drench it with a cold rain all day long. This morning Gretchen was telling me of her four years as a labor organizer, about the wonderful satisfaction it gave her. Every morning she got out of bed feeling as if she was doing something good for the world. She was successfully developing plans of empowerment for workers in entire swaths. Then the AFL-CIO mysteriously dropped her, failing to call her when the next Union Summer needed to be put together. The inexplicable loss of her career was something she mourned like the death of a friend. What had happened? The labor movement has long been in disarray - but could it have gone from bad to worse?
We compared and contrasted the loss of her union organizing career with the loss of my programming career. The big difference is that there is a simple explanation for why people no longer pay me to write programs - the demand for that sort of thing collapsed with the internet bubble. Still, there are parallels. The let-down Gretchen felt when moving on to the one-person-at-a-time-advocacy characterizing the job she eventually took at Women's Rights at Work is analogous to the annoyance I feel when I get the occasional web design gig. In comparison to real programming, it feels repetitive and inconsequential. It is being a human in low gear. In our conversation this morning, I said the difference between programming and web page making is like the difference between playing with magic Legos ("I made something cool... but now I'll snap my fingers and have a hundred of these!") and monotonous text editing.
The rainy weather caused our dog Eleanor to revert to her naughty pre-housetrained ways. In the past she's been known to defecate on the carpet, but we never realized before today that it was because she hates to go out in the rain. This evening I could smell her farting up a storm, so I put her on a leash and made her walk with me in the rain. But she couldn't bring herself to respond to nature's call. I susbequently found a couple more fragrant loaves in the first floor office.
Today I downloaded Firebird, a stripped-down version of the Mozilla web browser which lacks the email client. It's a good modern browser with nice configurability and built-in pop-up suppression, yet it runs well on an old Windows 98 machine having only a 166 MHz processor and 64 megs of RAM. With alternatives like this, you have to be either a moron or a masochist to continue using Internet Explorer. I'm preaching to the choir, I know. I've been watching the proportions of the various browsers used to view Randomly Ever After, and Mozilla now stands at around 10%. I'd like to believe the IE hits I'm still getting are coming from workplace computers. I mean, if someone held a gun to my head and told me I had to surf the web with Internet Explorer, I'd probably do it, for a few pop-ups anyway.
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