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Fourth Quarter

Started: 2005-10-25 22:06:56

Submitted: 2005-10-25 22:47:53

Visibility: World-readable

When I was in school, time was neatly split: classes were time-limited, and classes and all of their projects had to be done by the end of the quarter. In some bizarre way, the Real World isn't entirely different; management sometimes demands that products be finished by quarter's end so we can bill for it and book revenue for the quarter.

I learned something important while I worked for x13: I need to learn about and pay attention to business stuff, because no matter how much I wish the business people around me will understand engineering stuff they never do. Someone has to understand both business and engineering, so it might as well be me. That's why I subscribed to The Wall Street Journal for a year, and why I listen to Marketplace on my way home from work, and why I'm fascinated by economics and Alan Greenspan. So I listened with interest yesterday when Ben Bernanke was nominated to succeed Greenspan. I learned that Bernanke taught economics at Stanford when my father was there; it turns out my father knew who Bernanke was.

I take it none of my readers watch television, since no one happened to respond to my query about your viewing habits. After canceling cable, I finally figured out what I can do with my Mac Mini: I bought a US$20 DVI to Video adapter, installed my Mini in my entertainment center, bought the upgrade to Quicktime, transcoded episodes I download into mpegs, and I have a fully-functioning commercial-free television-style entertainment unit. I still have some streamlining to do in the system (and a wired Ethernet cable to string into my living room), but it's doing pretty well for itself. As long as I can remember to check which aspect ratio my programs were encoded using.

(Another advantage of my system is that I don't have to wait for moronic American networks to show programs I like, especially if they happened to show the first few episodes and put the show on hiatus, only to broadcast the rest of the series in New Zealand. I love the Internet.)