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05.29.2003

Friendship

I've arrived in Maine for a long weekend, visiting my mother in the aptly-named town of Friendship. The peepers are croaking up a storm outside, but if you listen carefully, you can hear raindrops.

An indignant letter from the insurance company is on the kitchen table. Apparently, this house has something called 'knob and tube wiring'. In the eyes of the insurance company, this is one step up on the safety scale from lighting the house with flaming bowls of animal fat.

I think I'll pass on spending $10,000 to rewire the entire house, and find an underwriter who is a little less skittish. Knob and tube - who knew?

---

The Microsoft recruiter wrote back, asking for pointers to people who are building search tools with MS products. Apparently most everybody she's come across in the search engine world is working with open source tools. It's very mysterious.

I've been scratching my head over this baffling little datum. Take me, for example. Why did I write my web crawler in Perl, using the excellent Web crawling modules already available for free on the CPAN, instead of paying $2,000 for a MSDN subscription? Why did I download existing GPL'd code for my language identifier, instead of taking three weeks to write a C# text parsing library from scratch? And why did I store the whole thing in a MySQL database on Linux, at a cost of zero dollars, instead of paying a couple of grand for a Window/SQL Server installation that would do the same thing?

That's right, because I'm a religious zealot!

So here's your chance - if you've written a web crawler/search engine in C# or Visual Basic, there is apparently a pod in Redmond all warmed up and waiting for you. Best of all, you'll be able to spend the generous Microsoft salary on much more exotic forms of masochism than just typing your fingers down to short stubs.

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