Forward references

I wonder if it’s ever happened before that a movie contained a reference to another movie that had not been made yet.

We bought Monsters, Inc. on Saturday, and I watched it twice yesterday … once with my son, and again with my wife with the directors’ commentary turned on. The directors didn’t say anything about this, but it was obvious both times. Near the end, in the scene where Sulley is finally putting Boo back into her own room, she excitedly shows him a bunch of her toys. One of them is Jessie from Toy Story 2, and the very next one is the orange clownfish that appears in the teaser trailer for Finding Nemo, which won’t hit theaters ‘til early next year, at least.

I wonder if that detail was in the original MI prints that played in theaters nearly a year ago. Nobody would’ve noticed, then, because no information about Finding Nemo had yet been released. But they were probably far enough along with the concept work on FN that they had the little clownfish modeled.

It would be difficult, I suspect, to prove that this is the first “forward reference” in movie history. I strongly suspect that in the early days of Hollywood some props which were prominent parts of movies had previously appeared in insignificant roles in other movies. But this one is certainly intentional, and I was delighted when I saw it.

Thank goodness it wasn’t Slashdot …

Logged in this morning and checked mail, and then the usual news sites that I read. Boy was I surprised to see that Lambda the Ultimate – a collaborative weblog about programming language issueshad pointed to The Tcl War, an archive I maintain of a no-longer-very-famous semi-flamewar that once took place on comp.lang.tcl.

My response on LtU is rather ironic. One of my most pointed criticisms of Lisp during the original debate was the implicit evaluation rules that make macros a necessity, where Tcl can make do with ordinary commands. Now I’m reading a book that is primarily about Lisp macros, trying to understand them better.

TechnoPop: The Secret History of Technology and Pop Music

(via my O’Reilly blog)

This morning, listening to Morning Edition on NPR, I heard a wonderful piece that dealt with the ways early recording technology changed popular music. It’s the first part of a six-part Friday morning series called “TechnoPop: The Secret History of Technology and Pop Music”. After describing the birth of recorded Jazz and the impact it had, the reporter drew some interesting parallels to current events in the music industry.

Part One is online now as a RealAudio stream, and the page for the series gives pretty clear indication that “TechnoPop” will continue in a similar vein. I’m looking forward to hearing the next five segments.


I have a distant cousin named Albert Vanderburg. Online, at least, he goes by the name “Panther”. We’ve never met, although we have exchanged email from time to time. Albert is, shall we say, an “outlier”. (I don’t think he would argue with that assessment.)

Panther lives in Hawaii, and is homeless. Nevertheless, he has maintained a blog since October 8, 1997. That’s a pretty early entry into blogspace! (Dave Winer, who claims to be one of the earliestalthough I don’t know how to judge the accuracy of that claimstarted on April 1, 1997.)

General Magic is shutting its doors

I just read that General Magic is closing down. That makes me sad.

In addition to having one of the best company names around, General Magic pioneered one of the things that has really drawn my interest over the past 10 years: secure mobile code. Their Magic Cap operating system (and the Telescript language it was built on) was designed to change the world, and got a lot of attention for a while. Pavel Curtis slammed their vision of the Internet pretty hard in one of the best conference talks I’ve ever heard (the closing address at the 1995 Winter USENIX), and he was correctbut they nevertheless tried to do a lot of things right.

They had a booth at JavaOne last year. I hadn’t thought about them in a while; I was surprised to learn that they hadn’t already gone out of business. In one sense, it might have been better if they hadreading their material at the booth, they seemed like just another mundane J2EE/XML/enterprise computing/wireless buzzword company. A far cry from the visionary dream of their early days, and certainly not very magical. But you do what you’ve got to do to survive, I guess.

Except that giving up that dream didn’t work, either.

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