Bits and Bobs

A batch-processing system replies

In response to “Ode to a Preemptive Multitasking Kernel

I do things right, that’s what I say.
I take a thing: I let it run:
It finishes, then off it goes.
I take the next thing when it’s done.

My advantages are clear to see:
Clarity, sureness, crispness, ease.
I march on, forge ahead, in my
Elemental simplicity.

Oh, screw the pretence. I hate this stuff!
Your tedious jobs fill me with bile.
I want to explode when I’ve had enough —
Blast your FORTRAN into space in considerable style.

Fill your matrices with wild bobcats.
Show your simulation a thing or two!
Punch your cards, deck your stack, squash your loops flat.
“FATAL ERROR: Application eaten by a grue.”

I never will. I’ll just plod on.
My temperament is much too slow.
I only know these simple things:
Ordering, processing, FIFO.


Wisława Szymborska

The Polish poet Wisława Szymborska died this week.

I can’t read a word of Polish, but in English translation she was one of my favourite poets. She wrote about large and sometimes terrifying themes using small subjects and a friendly, light ironic touch. She had perspective.

It’s gratifying that I can always
wake up before dying.

As soon as war breaks out,
I roll over on my other side.

I’m a child of my age,
but I don’t have to be.

A few years ago
I saw two suns.

And the night before last a penguin,
clear as day.

(from In Praise of Dreams, trans. Stanisław Barańczak & Clare Cavanagh)