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September 10th, 2007

Computer Fields

"Computers" is just as loaded as any other field, like "nursing".  My biggest gripe is people conflating branches of a field.  My sister is a nurse, for example, and although she can tell you lots about necrosis and oncology, she says little about neonatal or cardiac care.  That's because cancer and death is what she does.  This sub-fielding probably pops up in every occupation, so why are computer geeks lumped together?!  Let me think ... there's:

  1. computer programmers ... and somewhere here is the dreaded sub-sub-field of web developers
  2. the ubiquitous computer technician, often seen as technical support and help desk
  3. computer operators, network administrators, and various hardware geeks walking around data centers
  4. database administrators versus database analyst ( -- both seem more like managers)
  5. and of course da best!: systems administrators.  (They RULE! ... did I say how awesome they are?)
  6. last but not least, the computer scientists working on cool, theoretical stuff like artificial intelligence

We're all computer geeks, but we don't necessarily know what that other actually does.  Just because I've compiled kernels doesn't mean I know whether Intel's Mega-Quad-Phat-Processor is better than AMD's DoublyBig-Octa-Processor.  :P  But I do know a thing or two  :)  (tighter instruction sets, more registers, wider bandwidths, higher frequencies, larger caches ... actually just buy enough memory = disk space.  It's mad expensive but I bet it'd be faster than the other kid on the block.  That's what you're after anyways.  Fast and furious.)

Harmonium: John Adams & Arvo Part

John Adams and Arvo Part's music has been immeasurably supportive lately.  It is comforting to be grounded in the sublime when uncertainty seems to determine what's ahead in life.  And spontaneous coincidence rewards the impulsive purchase of things we've craved for some time, so I bought CDs of the Part's Berliner Messe and the Adam's Harmonium.  Unused CDs. Evidently people do not listen to minimalism (; and evidently consumers don't merely steal music on Napster).  Regardless, both have changed a few annoying or anxious moods into a beautifully lucid moments.  Moments where I smile and say, "Oh John; yes, that was a perfect."  John conjured up lyrics from John Donne's poetry -- lots of Johns -- and Part lifted from the Apostle Matthew's canon.  Hear some words about their music:

I crave to hear this music performed.  It draws up the intensely divine moment I felt while seeing the National Symphony perform Jefferson Friedman's The Throne of the Third Heaven.1  Raleigh's News & Observer called this piece:

  • "transcendent majesty"
Precisely.  Chicago's Symphony will be performing it next year ... hmmm, I know someone from Chicago ... :)

1. Excerpts.
The soundtrack to The Matrix was undeniably influenced by Adams.