Monday, March 31, 2008

BOUTS: The Complete Song Parodies

Back when my site UseTheSource was a "blog" (this was late 90s/early naughties) I wrote a number of song parodies. Someone emailed me and asked where they were.

So, here are my complete song parodies from back in 2001:

March 7, 2001: "Candle in the Wind"

Yahoo! was in trouble with banner ad sales falling, profits disappearing and the then CEO, Tim Koogle, was off to spend more time with his family.

Goodbye Tim Koogle
Though I never Yahoo! at all
You had the faith, to sell banners
While those around you failed
They crashed into the deadpool
And they whispered into your brain
You need to begin to charge
For things you give for free

And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never knowing what to add next
To your list of links
And I would have liked to have told you
But I was just a geek
Your web brand burned out long before
Your stock price ever did

Jerry Yang was tough
The toughest boss you ever had
Softbank created a superstar
And pain was the price you paid
As the whole web died
Oh CNET still hounded you
All they had to say
Was that Google was the site to use

[Repeat chorus]

Goodbye Tim Koogle
From the young man on the DSL link
Who sees you as something more successful
More than just our long lost CEO

[Repeat chorus]

March 22, 2001: "Don't Cry for Me Argentina"

Steve Jobs was back at Apple, the blue iMac was out, Microsoft was in big anti-trust trouble and had just invested $100m in Apple, Steve had bought out NeXT. But the future wasn't yet assured:

This won't be easy,
you'll think it's strange.
When we try to explain what we need
that we now need your help
after all that we've said.

You won't believe us.
All you'll see is Apple you once knew,
although we've crashed down in the dumps
begging for Microsoft cash.

It didn't have to happen.
We should have won
Better software and patents than Bill
Looking down on Windows,
staying far from Sun.
So we chose NeXT.
Running aground, trying computers in blue.
But nothing revived us at all.
You never expected it too.

Don't cry for us, William H. Gates.
The truth is we're dead without you.
We need your dollars
We need Mac Office
You need a rival, for your survival.

And as for Fortune,
and as for Time,
We never invited them in
though it appeared, to the world,
they were all Steve desired.
Even Adobe,
they're making solutions for Windows right now
The answer was here all the time.
We need you, and hope you need us.


Have we begged too much?
There's nothing more we can think of to say to you.
But all you have to do,
is look at us to know,
we're through without you.

April 1, 2001: "I Just Called To Say I Love You"

In the midst of the crash, .coms were going out of business like crazy:

No IPO to celebrate
No friends and family stocks and shares to give away
No big opening
No first day ping
In fact here's just another ordinary day

No Aeron chair
No onsite chef
No working Saturday until the site is done
But what it is, is something blue
Made up of these few words that I must say to you

We just failed to get more funding
We just failed to keep our doors open
We just failed to get more funding
And we need it just to avoid bankruptcy

No free massage
No free soda
No caffeine trip to keep us working every night
No dry cleaning
No stock option
Not even time for us to pack our things and leave

No beanbag room
No Maui trip
No giving thanks to all that NASDAQ did for us
But what it is, though old so new
Grab what you can before your jobs right here are through



April 6, 2001: "Uptown Girl"

Ah, to be in love with a marketing .com girl:

.com girl
She's been living in her .com world
I bet she never had a software guy
I bet her mama never told her why
I'm gonna try for a .com girl
She's been living in her wide web world
As long as anyone in marketing can
And now she's looking for a comp. sci. man
That's what I am

And when she knows what
She wants from her time
And when she wakes up
And makes up her mind

She'll see I'm not a nerd
Just because
I'm in love with a .com girl
You know I've seen her in her online world
She's getting tired of her high tech toys
And all her presents from her VC boys
She's got a choice
.com girl
You know I can't afford to buy her a Porsche
But maybe someday when my stock cashes in
She'll understand what kind of guy I've been
And then I'll win

And when she's walking
She's using her Nokia
And when she's talking
She'll say that she's mine

She'll say I'm not a nerd
Just because
I'm in love
With a .com girl
She's been living in her latte world
As long as anyone in marketing can
And now she's looking for a comp. sci. man
That's what I am
.com girl
She's my .com girl
You know I'm in love
With a .com girl

April 13, 2001: "Gangsta's Paradise"

Linus Torvalds was the flavor of the day as one of the thorn's in Microsoft's side:

As I drive through the Valley of the Silicon Dream
I take a look at my life and realize there's nothing left
'Cause I've been coding and debuggin' so long
That even my manager thinks that my mind has gone
But I ain't never crossed a man that didn't deserve it
Linus treated like a punk, ya know that's unheard of
Ya better watch how ya postin'
And what ya codin'
Or you Dr Tanenbaum'll be lined in chalk
I really hate Minix and FreeBSD
As they croak, I see myself in the pistol smoke
Fool, I'm the kinda hacker script kiddies wanna be like
On the Net in the night, writin' layers of the core code

Been spending most our lives living in a Windows paradise
Been spending most our lives living in a Windows paradise
Keep spending most our lives living in Bill Gates' paradise
Keep spending most our lives living in Bill Gates' paradise

Look at the situation they got me facing
I can't live a normal life, I was raised on the PC
So I gotta be down with the kernel team
Too much crazy Usenet posting got me chasing dreams
I'm a educated fool with Posix on my mind
Speak Swedish in my home and English on the phone
I'm a loc'd out hacker, wrote my life story
And my homies is down so don't arouse my anger
Fool, death ain't nothin' but a heart beat away
I'm livin' life, do or die, what can I say?
I'm 28 now, but will I ever see 29?
The way things is going, I don't know

Tell me why are we so blind to see
That Microsoft's a monopoly


Tell me why are we so blind to see
That Microsoft's a monopoly

Tell me why are we so blind to see
That Microsoft's a monopoly

April 18, 2001: "Copacabana"

Carly Fiorina was fighting for her life as she tried to merge HP and Compaq with Walter Hewlett attempting a proxy fight to stop her in the name of the family:

Her name was Carly, she was a VP
With Lucent and AT&T and a degree from MIT
She went to HP and wowed the board room
And while she tried to be a star, sometimes went a bit too far
And then September 4, Compaq became the score
They were failing and needed each other
Leaning drunks galore!

At the HP, HP/Com-pa-q
The merger that upset the family
At the HP, HP/Com-pa-q
David and William were always the fashion
At the HP... they ran the show

His name was Walter, his dad was famous
He wasn't present for the board, but he wouldn't be ignored
And what she pro-posed, "Dad would've hated"
Then Walter went a bit too far, "Carly: time for au revoir!"
And then the insults flew and careers were smashed in two
There were ads and a lot of bankers, but just who screwed who?

At the HP, HP/Com-pa-q
The merger that upset the family
At the HP, HP/Com-pa-q
David and Walter are today the fashion
At the HP... they run the show

Her name is Carly, she was CEO
But that was 30 weeks ago, when she used to run show
Now she's a VC, but that's our Carly
Still in the suit she used to wear, new blonde highlights in her hair
She sits there so refined, and drinks to Walter's health
She lost her job and she lost the proxy, now she enjoy's her wealth!

At the HP, well just the HP
The toughest job belongs to Walter
At the HP, well just the HP
William and David were always the fashion
At the HP, don't buy the stock...

If you find these funny and can sing... feel free to set them to music and give me a laugh.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

BOUTS: Best of UseTheSource

Long, long ago, OK, 1999, I registered the domain name (as in Use the source, Luke!) and used it to start a web site which would these days be called a blog. The site was powered by Slashdot's code Slashcode and featured a mix of my commentary on the news and original articles. You can still read the old site at The site even got me an appearance with Leo Laporte on The Screen Savers.

Most of the articles published are irrelevant today. The commentary is often on start ups that have fizzled out long ago, and I shut down the site in 2004. But some of the articles are worth repeating. So, from time to time, I'll be republishing original pieces from UseTheSource as BOUTS entries in this blog.

To get things rolling here's an article I wrote back in 2002 about calculating the area of an annulus based on the length of a tangent.

Originally published June 12, 2002

Take a look at the following shape. It's an annulus: two concentric circles, something like a simple washer or donut.

Imagine that you know only one fact about this shape, the length of a tangent of the inner circle where it touches the edges of the outer circle. Call that length x. Can you calculate the area of the yellow shaded part?

This problem was presented on the NPR radio show CarTalk a few weeks back and after I solved it I realized that there were a couple of interesting ways of calculating the area. Both require knowledge of the formula for the area of a circle: πr2, where r is the radius of the circle. One requires remembering Pythagoras' Theorem, the other a little logical reasoning.

Solution by logical reasoning

Insight: there must be many such concentric circles where it's possible that the tangent has length x.

In fact if I start with the small circle in the middle it must always be possible to choose the size of the outer circle so that the tangent is x.

So what if I make then inner circle have size zero. Then all I need is an outer circle with diameter x.

Since we know there's only one solution (surely the person posing this question knew that there was only one solution), then we can just calculate the area of the outer circle when the inner circle has zero radius.

The outer circle in that case has diameter x or radius x/2 and so the area is π(x/2)2 or πx2/4.

Solution by Pythagoras

To calculate the area of the annulus we need to calculate the area of the big circle and subtract the area of the small circle. If we name the radius of the big circle r and the radius of the small circle s then we need to calculate πr2 - πs2 or π(r2 - s2). Hmm. That r2 - s2 bit looks a lot like something we might get from Pythagoras' Theorem (the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides).

For Pythagoras we need a right angle triangle. Low and behold we have one. Since we have a tangent we know it's at right angles to a radius of the inner circle. The complete triangle has sides r, s and x/2.

So run through Pythagoras on this triangle and we get r2 = (x/2)2 + s2. Subtract s2 from both sides and you've got r2 - s2 = (x/2)2. Now we know how to calculate r2 - s2, it's (x/2)2 and so the area of the annulus is π(x/2)2 or πx2/4.

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