Saturday, October 23, 1971

Numbers Claim Their First "Comput-er Hacking" Victim!

Long have I warned my readers about the dangers of comput-er use in our working lives. Computers are governed by numbers. And, as we all know, numbers are not to be trusted.

And now, it seems, the numbers and their tools of corruption - comput-ers - have put an innocent man on trial for the alleged "hacking" crime of so-called "code theft."

29-year-old comput-er whiz Hugh Jeffery Ward of Palo Alto, California, stands accused of so-called "comput-er piracy" for allegedly "stealing" a computer program from Oakland-based Information Systems Design (ISD). Allegedly, Mr. Ward used a telephone and a special code to allegedly gain access to ISD's memory-banks and allegedly "pirate" a $25,000 program.

This accusation is, of course, complete balderwash. Nothing has been stolen from ISD, as examplified by the face that ISD still has their comput-er program!

I will try to explain this using an analogy.

If, hypothetically, someone were to break into my house and steal my sofa, then I would no longer have a sofa. The alleged crime allegedly committed by the alleged Mr. Ward is the equivalent of someone breaking into my house and writing down my sofa. That is not what I or any sane language-speaker would consider theft.

But, of course, there is more to this. I fear the draw-strings of this case pull far beneath the surface, hinting at a behemoth of numerist corruption lurking in the murky depths of our comput-er age. It is completely obvious that Mr. Ward was obviously under the influence of the numbers when he allegedly committed his alleged crimes: using a telephone (numbers) and a special code (numeric) to obtain a comput-er program (containing numbers).

This, I fear, is but the first of many such cases we will soon see as the numbers and auto-mation and comput-erization take over our businesses and our lives. These incidents of comput-er "hacking" will increase as more of us fall under the influence of these tools of numerist hegemony.

I have hereby predicted!

Sunday, October 17, 1971

I Have Literally Coined A New Phrase!

Earlier today I found myself in a heated (some would say "heated") discussion about the data-base my team is putting together for our project at D.A.R.P.A. This discussion hinged upon the data to be based in our data-base, and specifically the data about the data being based in the data-base.

This "meta-data," as it is called, is critical to proper data basage, and there is indeed a growing body of terms that need to be invented just to describe this meta-data. My colleagues and I were quibbling over these terms when our project manager, Lance "Dude" Dudowski intervened.

"Gentlemen," he said, looking at us over the rims of his tortoise-shell glasses and adjusting his pocket protector, "it would appear that we need a meta-language for our meta-data."

"Dude," I replied, "that's so meta."

We all laughed, of course, as the turn of phrase and my dead-pan delivery was indeed quite humor-ous. But as the snorts and chuckles died down I found myself thinking about this newly-minted turn-of-phrase and its potential applications in other fields. "That's so meta" could just as easily refer to songs about songwriting, or movies about the film industry, or books about books.

Thus I present this phrase to the world. Literally decades before the invention of hipsters, the phrase "that's so meta" is now here-to-fore a part of the linguistic lexicon, and I am literally its inventor.

And now I bestow it unto you. Use it wisely and widely, my dear readers, for "that's so meta" is going places!