Where Tunes is going.

shapj@us.ibm.com shapj@us.ibm.com
Thu, 28 Oct 1999 10:06:53 -0400


I have been subjected to your whining for several months now.  On the one
hand, this note is a negative response to your childish behavior on this
list.  However, it includes some concrete suggestions for things you might
do that would simulataneously reduce your frustration and improve your
effectiveness.  These are not suggestions about Tunes.  They are
suggestions about interacting with people.  I think they may help Tunes go

> At the same time that I do apologize for the insult, I at the same time
> must re-iterate my frustrations.

Nonsense. There is no such requirement.  Rather, you have made a personal
and purely self indulgent decision to reiterate your frustration because
you don't want to admit that your rudeness to Laurent was improper, and by
engaging in this self-indulgent behavior you can distract attention from
the fact that your so-called "apology" was totally inadequate.  In the
process, you compound your rudeness to Laurent.

How about trying again.  Apologize like a grown-up this time. Without
distraction.  The practice will serve you well, as you cannot reasonably
expect to overcome your frustrations overnight and will surely make such
outbursts again as a result.

> It's not my fault that I am so frustrated.

Then whose fault is it, exactly?

It is possible that you suffer from one of the rare mental diseases that
would deprive you of self control or the capacity for responsibility.  If
you truly believe this to be the case, I urge you to seek medical care for
your own safety.  Otherwise, I'm afraid that your frustration is entirely
your fault.  Whatever the circumstances may be that resulted in your
frustration. Nobody else can make you frustrated, just as nobody else can
make you happy.  They can only contrive conditions in which you conspire to
make yourself frustrated. It is therefore *you* who has decided to be
frustrated, and you are taking it out on others. [As someone else who tilts
at windmills, I speak from a great deal of experience on this issue.]

I strongly recommend a book entitled "When I Say 'No', I Feel Guilty", by
Manuel J. Smith, ISBN # 0553263900, $6 in paperback from Amazon.  The book
explores the interpersonal dynamics that underly guilt and frustration.  No
book is perfect but some of the things that this book says may enable you
to better manage yourself, your frustrations, and your objectives. They
will also help you respond more effectively to nay-sayers.

> I have appealed to many different groups and professors for feedback
> on my ideas, and have turned up nothing.

Based on your behavior in this list, I conjecture that you have done
something rather different.  I suspect that you have charged in, said "you
folks are all wet and why don't you help me do this thing I don't quite
know how to explain" and gotten the response that such an opening deserves.
The hardest problems are people management, not engineering.

> ... because my ideas are so arcane that they have no merit.

I wouldn't say "arcane."  I might go for "inchoate."

If anything, I think that a lot of the ideas you are pushing have been
subjects of research exploration for a very long time by some very smart
people.  The Tunes ideas range from usability to interfaces to type theory
and language design to systems building.  There is a vast amount of science
needed to bring these ideas together in a coherent way, and a lot of people
have been out there *doing* that science.

The ML community, for example, has spent tremendous amounts of time on
interfaces, pluggability, and abstract types, which lie at the heart of
things like substitutable search engines.  Alan Dearle and I have been
working on persistence for years.  I and others have worked on security,
accountability, and reliability -- topics that haven't arisen here
recently. Folks at Utah are working on making experimenting with this stuff
easier, as has recently been noted here.  Alan Kay and others are working
on user interface issues.  This is just the stuff that came to my mind
without thinking about it.

It is at best inaccurate to say that the research community doesn't care
about these issues.  They may be skeptical that a single individual will,
single handedly, complete all of the work of the computing field in a few

> I assume that you, Prof. Shapiro, believe the same thing
> since I am not going the route of the usual academic researcher.

You may, of course, assume what you like.  Whatever I believe, it has
nothing to do with your decision to pursue a non-academic career.
Suggesting without ANY supporting evidence that this is my reason is
slander. To the extent that there IS any concrete evidence, it's quite
contrary to what you say.  I have remained on this list listening and
trying to get a feel for the direction to see if there is something useful
that I can add.  A few small things I have offered already.

> I have had many people from the cs community blatantly
> claim that i'm foolish for pursuing such an impossible goal...

You are. Just as I have been foolish for starting three companies and
building various new organizations within existing companies.  That means
only that you have not been able to effectively communicate your idea(s).
It may or may not follow that you are wrong.

I'ld add, however, that you remind me of a small child who goes to the zoo
that he loves, is denied a lollipop at the food stand by his parents,
cries, and demands in retribution to be taken home from the zoo. You
haven't figured out how to present clearly what you wish to achieve, and
instead of taking responsibility and working on a clearer articulation of
the goals you complain that nobody loves you.

> , yet I have never found formal proof [that the idea
> is not impossible]

And you never will.  It is impossible to prove the absence of a thing.

> (let alone any formal work in the same genre).

> At the same time, please don't hold me to professional standards when we
> all know that such standards were dropped long ago as important Tunes
> issues were discussed for a time and then dropped without any sort of
> formal resolution.

I'ld suggest that there is a causal relationship between these, and that
you have it backwards. Professional standards exist because they allow
people to collaborate.  God knows the standards could be improved, and that
they sometimes get in the way, but for the present they are the best we
have. Throwing away your tools is foolish.

You will find, I think, that adults interact more readily with people who
act like adults.  You surely have nothing to lose by giving it a try.

Jonathan S. Shapiro, Ph. D.
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
Email: shapj@us.ibm.com
Phone: +1 914 784 7085  (Tieline: 863)
Fax: +1 914 784 7595