Visited good old Miskatonic U (also known as Brooklyn College) today. I needed to beg for a stupid requirement waiver. I hate organized education.
Some professor at the CS department threw out a bunch of old computer books from the departmental library. I picked up some, among them “System/360-370 Assembler Language (DOS)” by Kevin McQuillen. Among other coolness, every chapter in the book was illuminated by a photograph of a programmer or a group of programmers.
See, in 1978 programmers always looked cool.
Even just repairing perforated tape, Tom Jennings’ favorite medium.
Or sitting at a terminal and not even looking at the blinkenlights.
Whoa, caught amazon.com while it was down.
They are showing a page with Rufus, the Amazon dog.
By the way, I was meaning to write about that for some time now. Did you ever notice enigmatic word “obidos” in Amazon url?
Some theories from usenet:
Castle near Lisbon
OBI (Wan Kenobi) + DOS (Disk Operating System)
‘OBI’ = Object Broker Interface
This seems to be the correct answer though: Obidos is is a major port on the Amazon river.
Livejournal user hallerlake had this to add:
“I worked at Amazon for a couple of years, and can mostly answer that.
Obidos is the area where the Amazon is “concentrated” – it narrows to a point about a mile wide and a couple hundred feet deep. It’s the chokepoint of the Amazon. A wry sense of humor turned that to the naming scheme.
The Amazon Marketplace (auctions+zshops+third party) code was called Varzea for similar reasons – it’s the delta point of the amazon river, where the river fans out.
Amazon wrote their own web serving environment because the selection of scripting/webcontrol languages when they got started was so lousy. They had to call it something, so obidos it was. :) ”
Obidos is huge, it might be over a gig by now. I don’t think it’s that bad, though. I haven’t been at Amazon for a few years. For a long time Amazon ran on the Netscape web server environment, then eventually moved to a specially tuned Apache. But yeah, the webservers had a lot of RAM in them so that we could fork a bunch of different processes… and a garbage collector got added to take care of some of the memory leaks. Even still we had a service that killed and restarted processes every hundred accesses or so. It wasn’t pretty.
I don’t know who came up with the name… I’d bet on Shel Kaphan or possibly Joel Spiegel. Shel set the direction for the company’s software development and architecture, including standardization on C (instead of C++) due to easier debugging. Certainly for the first few years he was The Guy for software architecture; these days I would imagine Al Vermeulen has that task.
dmierkin posted a link to a dictionary of US prison slang. Well, I thought. There must be some books geared toward people who are going to prison, right? And surely there are. There is a somewhat outdated You Are Going to Prison
the ever popular DownTime : A Guide to Federal Incarceration, and informative Behind Bars: Surviving Prison.
What’s the audience for these books? Corrections officers, criminology students, and even some convicted felons. And me, I guess.
From an excerpt from a review:
I am on the way to FEDERAL prison and thought that this book would be helpful. Instead I found the book to concentrate on MAXIMUM security prisons. More akin to the Shawshank Redemption than information about what white-collar types will experience. […] White collar types will find that book much more helpful. […]
I half expected a “For DummiesÂ®” title to be available, but alas. Either they won’t touch such a topic, or they just did not think of it yet.
If I had more room for books, I’d probably collect the entire “For DummiesÂ®” series. They have fine titles like “Judaism For DummiesÂ®”, AOLTVâ„¢ For DummiesÂ® and Sex For DummiesÂ®, 2nd Edition. Some books are pretty interesting, some are funny and some will become rarities. Gotta research them some more. There must be a lot of interesting trivia about “DummiesÂ®”, like what was their first book, how they became so successful, etc.
Hmm, they started in 1991, and “Dos for DummiesÂ®” was the first book. Interesting.