• Alex Papadimoulis (unregistered)

    Now I'm inspired ... next time I have to write a manual, Step #51 will read:
    - Click on the Start Button
    - Click Run
    - Type “cmd /c echo reticulate splines”
    - [Note: A window will pop up, and then close]

  • Barry Etter (unregistered)

    Ha, ha! This is like when we used to put delays in programs so the user would think it was actually doing something.

    However, if the faxing process actually DOES stop due to a browser being closed ON THE CLIENT, then I'm impressed!

  • Hexar (unregistered)

    Ahh, is that a reference to the classic game Sim City 2000? I always got a kick out of hearing that woman say "reticulating splines."

  • Mario Goebbels (unregistered)


    Uh, yeah.

  • Alex Papadimoulis (unregistered)

    You better believe it :-D. I have no idea what a spline is. And I don't even know how to reticulate. But damn, they sure sound good together.

  • Randy Glenn (unregistered)

    Given the particular obsessions of SimCity programmers, I'm sure llamas factor into one or both terms somehow.

    Either that, or my lack of knowledge in field of Graphics programming is showing again.

  • Mathew Nolton (unregistered)

    Great blog site.

  • Mike R. (unregistered)

    A slpine is a curved line... ;) Comes in several flavors: Bezier, Cubic, Quadratic, Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla...

    And to make this post somewhat ontopic:

    Perhaps they should have changed the text to read "Do not close this window. Your computer will stop reticulating splines and could cause damage to the space-time continuum. You don't want that to happen, now do you?

  • Doug (unregistered)

    Is it possible that you remember the instructions for the Tandy backward? That you were supposed to turn the MONITOR off first? Or that it was turn the computer ON first?

    In days of old, before multi-sync and Energy Star, the horizontal sweep circuits in many computer monitors would melt down if the monitor ran for more than a few seconds without receiving properly spaced synchronizing signals from the computer's CRT Controller chip.

    Back then the rule was never to have the monitor on unless the computer was on, and if the screen ever went blank suddenly and the monitor started squealing, shut the monitor power off NOW(!!) and ask questions later.

  • Hassan Voyeau (unregistered)

    I sure there is some reason for the Tandy instructions!

  • Ben Hutchings (unregistered)

    Doug: This was why the early PCs always had the monitor power connected to an output from the PC's PSU rather than directly to the mains.

  • cablito (unregistered)

    Given a long enough timeline, someone will say a most erronious piece of code makes perfect sense.

  • foxyshadis (unregistered)

    Which begs the collary: Given a broad enough historical perspective, a crappy coder can always find a 'valid' reason to do something in the least useful way.

    Because you had to do it that way on the PDP-10, you know, and everyone knows backwards compatibility is the most important part of programming.

  • Peter Hancock (unregistered)

    I know when I was at school, people used to switch the monitor off thinking it was the PC. We had the same instruction on ours... and it was just to make sure that people actually turned the computers off, rather than thinking they'd turn the computers off. The instruction made sure that the PC was off, THEN the monitor...

    Strange - but true.

  • woot (unregistered)


  • Simon (unregistered)

    Could be that turning off the monitor sent a spike into the main unit, cos back then no one had heard of capacitors ;-)

  • Ray S (unregistered)

    Hahahaha! Took me a while but I get it now.

    He used non-breaking spaces where he should have used tab characters, right? Man is that ever funny! To make it even worse he used one more than he should have done. That's some funny stuff. ;-)

  • Logan (unregistered)

    Although it has become a SimCity in-joke, "Reticulating Splines" does have a real meaning:

    "Constructing network based functions that are defined by divisible intervals while approximating said network and composing it of pieces of simple functions defined on subintervals and joined at their endpoints with a suitable degree of smoothness."
    -- Will Wright

    Reticulating splines is both the core of SimCity's terrain engine (at least SC2000 and later) and also an integral part of Maxis' complex mathematical simulation junk.

  • Niels (unregistered)

    The guy who programmed this, is a wannabee.
    "Lets display all kinds of fancy notification so it looks like a really complicated programm"

  • Mr.Prakash (unregistered)

    May be the programmer wanted the ads to be seen or read by the user.

  • Mike R. (unregistered)

    Ray: I think you missed the boat... it's a message that simply closes the message after a delay.

    Logan: I didn't know that... interesting SC2K trivia..

  • brooks (unregistered)

    I like the all the non-breaking spaces in the paragraph tag. What the hell does he need all that crap for?

  • Andrew (unregistered)

    Oh my, that mark up is horrid

  • Ray S (unregistered)

    Mike R: Yeah, I kind of noticed that, I was just trying to be funny. I guess it failed. :-P

  • Phil Harvey (unregistered)

    This code has been slightly improved on since the post. The author decided he wasn't too sure what the code did, so the message now says:

    "This page will close automatically upon successfull completion"...(writes some sending process info)..."Fax is sent. You can now close this window."

    It seems the auto window closing was causing problems (faxes not getting sent), so it was turned of and the user is prompted to close the window. However the knobface forgot to remove the original message.
    We had reports that users heads were exploding because they couldn't comprehend this window closing paradox in their simple user brains.

  • Eric Hodel (unregistered)

    This code doesn't close this window, it closes a the parent window of the frameset.

    Some other page in the frameset needed to do some work (sending the fax) which is why this message pops up.

    To fix this, status feedback needs to be sent from the page doing the work to this status page.

    The error here is that 2 seconds will always be enough time to get the fax fully dispatched.

  • Phil Harvey (unregistered)

    the window.top.close() is meant to close the current window. There is no frameset. It should say window.close(). Maybe the developer was worried some other evil frameset would swallow his faxing application. You never know who might link to a fax sending status popup from within their own frameset. Happens all the time where we work.

  • (cs)
    Alex Papadimoulis:

    I love instructions that have absolutely no purpose. I remember back in high school, for the old Tandy 8088 in the library, the Instructions For Use sheet had, in big bold letters, YOU MUST TURN OFF THE COMPUTER BEFORE TURNING OFF THE MONITOR.

    Back in my high school, a librarian was responsible for giving us a crash course on surfing.  I can hardly remember his face, but the way he said this helped me on that.

    With the most pokerly face I've seen, and I doubt that I ever will see again, he goes:  "Before you close Internet Browser, you must GO HOME by clicking on HOME.  Or it'll get lost in the internet."

    So I really can't help it but did the following:  changed the homepage setting from webcrawler to some porno site (yeah, I know, sorry, I was bad back then..)

  • SillyG (unregistered)

    It's possible that the fax may stop.

    In the case where the fax is being sent synchronously as the page is being pushed to the client (pretty common for cgi scripts, actually),

    If the page gets flush()'d after the client browser is closed, the flush() will result in an IO error, and the web server may kill the cgi script which is sending the fax.

    The  's might be used as a filler to encourage the server to send the first chunk of data, and for the browser to render it, so that the user see's the page's text.

    At the end of the faxing process, presumably, the server will send the window close script.

  • eric bloedow (unregistered)

    oh, this made me think of an old TRS-80 i messed with back in school: if you typed "LLIST" it would try to print a listing of the current program...but if there was no printer, it would completely freeze up, forcing you to reboot the entire network! and the school didn't have a printer...

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