Corporate schlock, king-size egos
So, I'm down in Cambridge, MA at an internet cafe in Central Square, where there is a time limit of exactly one hour for free access, at which point the cafe blocks your machine. And I'm almost ready to go, and I'm almost at the end of the hour, and I've got the map to my destination in one tab, and the invitation in the other, when....
... without even asking me, Windows Vista Home (I know, I know) closes everything to update itself. Just seizes control of my machine and does what it thinks best. My favorite part is the stalled progress bar and the message "Do not reboot."
* * *
Then, the venue was MIT's Stata Center, which ran a few hundred millions over budget, leaks (bad for the computer science department's equipment), has no freight elevator that goes to all floors (bad for an engineering school), has two fourth floors (bad for anybody trying to find their way in the building), and also has offices whose strange geometries make engineers (who do tend to be rectilinear in outlook) physically ill from vertigo -- all of which I heard from an MIT student in the course of our walk to the Kendall Square subway stop. "So how did it happen?" I asked. "Ego," came the answer.
Now, to be fair, the public space of the building was wonderful, even if I couldn't find the bathroom -- lots of nooks to study, and a generally pleasurable place to hang out. But one can't help but think that the only real value in the building could have been achieved with classical methods.
NOTE And speaking of corporate schlock: Google Groups.