Ellen Ullman

I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TIME IT IS. There are no windows in this office and no clock, only the blinking red LED display of a microwave, which flashes 12:00, 12:00, 12:00, 12:00. Joel and I have been programming for days. We have a bug, a stubborn demon of a bug. So the red pulse no-time feels right, like a read-out of our brains, which have somehow synchronized themselves at the same blink rate.

But what if they select all the text and / hit Delete. / Damn! The NULL case! / And if not were out of the text field and they hit space / yeah, like for / no parameter / Hell! / So what if we space-pad? / I dont know . Wait a minute! / Yeah, we could space-pad / and do space as numeric. / Yes! Well call SendKey(space) to? / the numeric object. / My God! That fixes it! / Yeah! That’ll work if / space is numeric! / if space is numeric!

We lock eyes. We barely breathe. For a slim moment, we are together in a universe where two human beings can simultaneously understand the statement if space is numeric!

One thought on “Ellen Ullman

  1. shinichi Post author

    9781250002488CLOSE TO THE MACHINE

    Technophilia and Its Discontents

    by Ellen Ullman


    In 1997, the computer was still a relatively new tool—a sleek and unforgiving machine that was beyond the grasp of most users. With intimate and unflinching detail, software engineer Ellen Ullman examines the strange ecstasy of being at the forefront of the predominantly male technological revolution, and the difficulty of translating the inherent messiness of human life into artful and efficient code. Close to the Machine is an elegant and revelatory mediation on the dawn of the digital era.


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