inessential by Brent Simmons


My grandparents are in town for a day, prior to going on an Alaskan cruise.

Like almost all of my family, they live back East, in southern New Jersey.

My grandmom is proof that some things run in families. She was a librarian for a local public school before retiring. She was a pioneer in the early '80s in bringing computers into the school and teaching kids to use them. She knew way back then that it was important, even when most everybody else around her thought they were just expensive toys.

In recent years she worked with the library in her small town. When they moved into a new building, she was especially careful to make sure they had a good Internet connection and computers so people could surf the Web. Whenever I see her we talk about the thick bundle of cables coming into the library and how they're networked and all the cool stuff going on. (It's easily possible she knows more about the physical side of setting up a high-speed network than I do.)

Alot of maintaining Web sites is like librarian's work. At UserLand we have many thousands of pages of documentation. But how do people find what they're looking for? How are the pages organized? That's librarian stuff, the job of a Web librarian.

Further in the past, my grandparents were squab farmers. We used to eat squab all the time. I haven't had any in at least 20 years now, and I miss it. Unless you've had it, you have no idea how good it is.