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Ex-Windows chief (as the shorthand goes) Steven Sinofsky is blogging about the principles and techniques of developing products. Hate Windows and Microsoft? Still worth a read because Sinofsky is a polymath and an omnivorous reader. ( was disappointed when he resigned from Microsoft, because he's one of the smart people it's so stimulating to have conversations with.

Yesterday he blogged about the shock horror response to the fact that his blog is on WordPress, using Google's Feedburner for RSS and that he took photos on the iPhone 5 he's currently trying out. I would be gritting my teeth at how much of a non story that is (let alone he no longer works at Microsoft,Sinofsky has frequently pointed out that if you don't know the ins and outs of competitive products you're not going to know how your own compare and Microsoft is no monoculture internally - and if you wonder why Bill and Melinda Gates don't buy their kids iPhones, ask yourself if Steve Jobs would have bought his kids an Android phone if they asked).

But then he casually name dropped Thucydides. Did I say, omnivore? And I thought about my view of Thucydides; that he wrote up the speeches he'd never heard to include what needed to be said. And I thought about Herodotus; father of history, father of lies. And I thought, there's nothing new under the sun.

Thucydides; history is my version of what they must have said that demonstrates the issues.
I see this a lot in blogs from people who believe they have insight into situations they weren't present at, and in conspiracy theories, and in decent op ed pieces too. It's the acceptable form of plot coupon, the dramatization.

Herodotus: history is this really great story I totally don't believe but you know, clicks!
And I see this, well, far too many places ;( But hey, great shaggy sheep tail story!



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
15th Jan, 2013 09:15 (UTC)
You can take the girl out of the Bodleian, but you cannot take the classicist out of the girl... :-)
15th Jan, 2013 21:03 (UTC)
I should explain the sheep comment
Herodotus was trying to fill in between the mythic period of Homer and the modern age, and to tell the stories (istoria) that people had told him on his travels (primary research). Some of the unlikely stories have been proven true, but he makes no claim for that. Of the sheep with tails so fat the shepherds have to put them on wheeled carts that drag behind the sheep he says "I was told this but I don't believe it".
15th Jan, 2013 21:10 (UTC)
...and as a non-classicist I recognise the Herodotus references from C.S. Lewis's Narnia book's (specifically The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader).
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


full steam ahead
Mary Branscombe
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