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He was a thin fellow with a perpetually hungry look to him, with a hairline that was prematurely receding. He was far younger than I was expecting — not much older than I was. Ben blinked and looked confused.

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That was par for the course with Dan — he was dead certain that he was the best there was, period. The back office was where most of our engineering work would be hammered out in days and months to come. It had two desks which nominally belonged to Ben and Linda James, but which really belonged to whoever could get there first. At the time, it was covered in UML sketches, outlines of Java classes, specifications and data transformations. If the idea is sound, then an implementation can be created; but if the idea is unsound, no implementation will succeed.

Hence, never worry about implementation until you have a good grasp on the idea. The whiteboard indicated that their minimum target market was a Palm III handheld. Could we realistically expect to have enough room to store an ebook, a Java virtual machine, and ebook reader software, within the very limited storage space of a Palm III?

Second, even if we had enough room, did we have enough logic? The Palm III was not known for having a hefty processor, and Java was enough to bring even desktop machines to their knees. Third, even assuming we could make it fit, people still wanted to use their Palm IIIs to write memoranda, keep track of schedules and appointments, phone numbers, and so on.

Every other color had been used so far, and I wanted my notes to stand out some. I wrote out the problems that I saw with the design, and my own recommendations for solutions. Deb voiced her opinion at this point. This is how progress is made in engineering. Deb waited about three seconds before answering, as if she had to choose her words carefully. A few strokes later and my comments were totally erased. You just go on to the Pierre and get yourself settled in some.

Oh, by the way, are you a white or a red guy? Ben looked a little crestfallen. Ben tried very hard to give himself an air of sophistication. I found out later that he came from a poor family and had no higher education to speak of. All I thought was, what kind of moron orders a Riesling for pasta?

Ben looked over at me, at Deb and Disco, then left the office again. This time he was muttering something about having to track down a check. I sighed, closed my eyes for a moment, and tried to make sense of things. Those with the gold make the rules. Look, go on, get out of here, get to your place and try to relax some.

See you tomorrow morning. When I got to the Crocker Garage, it had a sign out announcing it was full up. I returned to my corporate housing at the Pierre and ordered an extra—large pepperoni. The corporate housing was nice, if claustrophobically small. One room, equipped with a Murphy bed, a couple of tables and chairs, an antique wooden dresser and a small television set.

There was an attached kitchen and bathroom, but all in all, it was about the same size as an efficiency apartment. It was a nice place to stay for the first week or so, but after the first month I began to go mad being hemmed in by those four walls. I tried the door of Astound! Dolores was the next person to arrive at the office, somewhere around nine—thirty. Dolores gave me a look which was one part trepidation and one part incredulousness.

I was supposed to have seven grand in relocation expenses. Then it was that he got some account numbers mixed up. Dolores gave a mute nod. The door to the front office opened and a pale young woman with extremely short hair stepped in. I headed into the back room and got a network connection with my email server back home. Katherine and I bounced emails back and forth that morning as I tried to get some research done on the subject of digital rights management.

Around noon, we finally got things settled and I was about to turn myself back fully to work, with only the occasional thought of my own mortality, when Ben finally got into the office. Ben finally agreed that, in theory, we might have some problems with Palm III performance, memory and logic. I decided against it when I realized that would just make the conversation go on even longer and more tediously than it already was. The next issue was that somehow Jen wound up thinking that I was going to go Columbine in the office. Well, Cornell and I have a disagreement over one foreign language credit, [1] but… yeah, I do.

Bachelor of Arts, Computer Science. Liberal—arts degree. At this point, my only thought was what the fuck? I just stood and walked out of the back office, into the front office.

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No apology was offered, and no apology was required. Problem solved. People had been paid part of their back pay in December, but money was tight all over. I stepped out of the office for a while to think long and hard about some things.

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Mike and Mary Jones had invested basically their whole life savings in this firm. Now that I was here, in Silicon Valley, with a ground—floor view of the place, I could see it was horribly mismanaged, spectacularly short on real funds, housed in borrowed office space. Try and give them a return on their investment.

On December 31, I moved out to San Francisco without seeing a dime of relocation funds because I wanted to honor the spirit of the employment agreement. They told me the truth, as best they knew it. I walked back into the office and had a conference with Ben. Ben immediately shot this idea down. Ben pulled out a handful of twenties and underhanded them to me.

I walked out of the back office in a state of absolute shock. If there had been, Ben would have paid me with a payroll check — not with cash out of his own pocket. Shortly after this, I started telling myself that I was sticking around out of loyalty to Mike and Mary. When you wake up and find yourself in a Kafka story, self—delusion is as sane a coping mechanism as any. I spent a lot of nights at the office.

4840.ru/components/handy/zaru-iphone-8-fotos.php I spent a week doing research on digital—rights management solutions. First Sale and Fair Use are well—entrenched in the law. Writing security software is a demanding task and utterly intolerant of even the slightest failing. All it takes is for one person to figure out how to tweak that one percent, and that one person will tell other people.

Every drm system has an irreversibility problem.

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I spent many a sleepless night slaving over the problem. After a week, I had the germ of an idea. Cortana was the legendary sword of Ogier the Dane, and is the Danish equivalent to Durandal or Excalibur.

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If we could somehow make sure that cortana was never reverse—engineered, we could have a good claim at having the best DRM system on the market. If it can be engineered, it can be reverse—engineered. The next day, I was told to start looking into ways to make it impossible to reverse—engineer. I began to wonder who these investors were — after all, investors implies we have money, right? Or was Ben making outrageous promises to potential investors in order to get them to put money into us…?

When the light bulb went on over my head, it almost blinded me. How could they? Instead, Ben was telling potential investors what they wanted to hear, and was then telling us that we had to do it — regardless of whether or not it was possible.


It all made sense. I began to have a feeling of creeping, impending doom. Many Friday—morning pep rallies later, all of us were ready to tell Ben to shut up and kiss off every time he tried to tell us there was light at the end of the tunnel. Ben kept us on board with combinations of pep talks, appeals to vanity, Mafia—style pressure and force of personality. Some people believed in him just because Ben was a very believable fellow.

Some people disbelieved everything about him, but believed in the vision of the company. Some people stayed because they had too much invested financially to leave. Some people said that it was a technical matter involving intricacies of Malaysian banking; some people said it was more a matter of Malaysian money—laundering; and some people said it was more a matter of a Malaysian heroin cartel. Personally, I believe the Malaysian heroin cartel story.