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Mark Leighton Fisher (4252)

Mark Leighton Fisher
  (email not shown publicly)

I am a Systems Engineer at Regenstrief Institute []. I also own Fisher's Creek Consulting [].
Friday July 28, 2006
11:36 AM

BYTE and Jerry Pournelle: Passing of an Era

[ #30464 ]

Since 1979, Jerry Pournelle had written the Chaos Manor column for BYTE magazine, even making the transition from print to electronic-only editions. Those days are no more. For reasons known only to CMP Media LLC editorial staff, CMP Media decided to drastically reduce the amount they were willing to pay Dr. Pournelle for his column, so he has started Chaos Manor Reviews as the outlet for his computer columns.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Pournelle (Jerry), he has been at various times:

  • Writer of the longest-lived computer column (Chaos Manor in BYTE magazine);
  • One of the most successful science fiction writers, both on his own and with Larry Niven and Steven Barnes;
  • Co-author of several defense policy books with Dr. Stefan Possony (one of Condelezza Rice's mentors);
  • Earner of multiple doctorates and advanced degrees (a genuinely smart guy); and
  • Deputy mayor of Los Angeles.

Jerry has lived the computer revolution (his first computer, Ezekiel, is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution), so even when you disagree with him (as I do occasionally), he is always worth listening to.

Chaos Manor Reviews is an experiment in running a column much like BYTE's Chaos Manor on-line in the subscriber model like U.S. Public Radio stations. IMHO, it will be well worth your time to check out Chaos Manor Reviews, and to subscribe if you like what you see (as I suspect many of you will).

I'm just a subscriber at Chaos Manor Reviews (not an FoJ (friend of Jerry's) or a shill), but Jerry's column has been a part of my professional life since I got out of college in 1979. From what I can tell, the guy knows what he is talking about, which makes him worth your time to read.

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  • ..really. The only thing that made his articles readable was the huge drop in quality of the rest of the content in BYTE Magazine. I don't see what was so great about him basically blogging his experiences with the otherwise expensive freebies vendors sent him, what 4 year old computer game he liked and what novels he read. I've always thought his columns were a waste of space, I think he made a better technical editor than columnist. At least verity stobbs made me laugh even if I didn't take anything v

    @JAPH = qw(Hacker Perl Another Just);
    print reverse @JAPH;
  • I've always found Dr. Pournelle a good source on computer topics that I was not an expert about – subjects I do know about, I am particular about their details, so when I disagree with Jerry, I (think) I have very good reason to. (This is significant on a Perl forum, as I agree with Dr. Pournelle that Perl is not a language for the once-a-month programmer.)