[rc5] Re: [off topic] programmers' Porsches

Wes Shull wshull at scicom.com
Thu Nov 13 00:13:34 EST 1997


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Ah, gotta love off-topic discussions.

For all the whiners, use your delete key.  'Nuff said.

Where's the AIX client, anyway?  ;^D

Now on to business:

At 08:51 PM 11/12/97 -0500, Seth Dillingham wrote:

>Could all of the programmers on this list, who have porsches, please 

>stand up?

Yes, seriously, I'd like to see this.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

>(To the gentleman in the back of the room who just stood up... how 
old is 
>your Porsche? ... Oh, I'm sorry, the bathroom's down the hall to 
your 
>left.)

I'd imagine it's likely there's quite a few.  The 911 is expensive, 
because it's developed a reputation as an excellent car, as well as a 
cult following.

However, the other members of the past Porsche line are excellent 
cars, better than the 911 in many ways.

You can get a good, used 914 (small convertible roadster) for far 
less than even a used Miata.

You can pick up a healthy 944, which is one of the best-steering cars 
ever built (puts the tail-heavy 911 to shame), for $6k to $8k.  $12k 
if you want the turbo version that will let you drag with the pony 
cars.

Consider the 928, which was Porsche's luxury Autobahn cruiser and its 
flagship throughout its 17-year production run.  For less than the 
cost of a new base-model Eclipse/Talon, you can pick up an 
*automatic* '85-'89 928 which will pull past most any rice rocket all 
the way through its 150+ mph top cruising speed, and do so 
comfortably and stylishly (a nice engine rumble, no huge T04/03 whine 
keeping you from hearing your CDs)

I don't have a Porsche yet, but I'm planning on buying a used 928 in 
the next few days.  I'm 23 years old, just got out of college in May. 
 I'm paying for the car myself out of my unexceptional $40k salary 
from my job as a programmer.  (I got a B.S. in Math from the U of 
Idaho; it's not like I'm Super CS Student from MIT who landed the 
perfect job or anything.)

Now I'm not disagreeing about your point--just your choice of car 
example.  Used non-911 Porsches are some of the best performance 
deals out there.

Didn't somebody mention Doom?  I think I read in the latest issue of 
_Turbo_ that John Carmack drives a heavily modified, 900+ hp Ferrari 
Testarossa.  I wonder how much that cost.  I wonder whose money paid 
for it.

I'm a mostly retired software pirate myself.  (Is there anyone who 
owned a C64 that didn't pirate software heavily?)  Now that I 
actually have a job and make money, I buy most all of my software.  
However, some of the pipe-dream pricing just makes me laugh, and so I 
find other means.

Software pricing really is driven by greed.  If these companies are 
claiming significant losses from piracy, then there is obviously a 
significant market for their products that they're not tapping.  If 
they'd lower their prices, they'd be able to capture enough of this 
market to more than offset their reduced per unit profits.

Imagine how many people would own PCs today if IBM still set the 
pricing on their own.

As I said, I'm a programmer by profession--it's what pays my rent, 
buys me food, and will pay for my Porsche.  Nonetheless, I have no 
pity for those who whine about profits lost to piracy.

All the "information wants to be free" rhetoric aside, I find the 
whole idea of copyright/patent ludicrous.  I mean, how can you own 
information or an idea?  Someone can copy it, and you still have it.  
What copyright/patent law really protects is *competitive advantage*, 
which if you look at it logically is entirely anti-progress--it 
removes motivation to improve.  No sir, don't much like it.

I think programming is about *providing a service*.  Somebody needs 
something written, and it's not available, so they contract with you 
for your services to craft a program.  You could then give that 
program to everyone else on the planet, and the original contractor 
still got what they paid for.  

>Ok, now, could all of the programmers who don't like hearing that 
someone 
>is using a pirated copy of software you wrote because it makes it 
harder 
>to pay your bills, and who never really liked Porsches anyway, 
please say 
>"AYE!".

Hey, make sure you're paid a fix amount for your services, and you 
don't have a problem.  Take a gamble on a royalty, and while you 
stand the chance of making more, you're at the mercy of others.  
Don't try to make *me* responsible for the security of your gamble.

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-- 
Wes Shull * wes at kuoi.asui.uidaho.edu * Prince William County, Virginia, USA
Radio Amateur (KC7QCY) * Porsche 928 Fan * Ford Festiva Owner * cat lover
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