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Use It or Lose It

The ghost of Cyril Northcote Parkinson is the god of the conspiracy. Their most sacred operating principle is to let no resource go unused. For every off-ramp there must be an overpass. For every obscure API call there must be a use, and a truly good program uses them all. A system that does not ship compressed on at least 10 high-density disks or, better yet, CD-ROM, can hardly be worth what you paid for it. The installed footprint must be at least 25 megabytes. Installation should create numerous new directories, at least some of which are subdirectories to \WINDOWS, into which various obscurely named files will also be plunked along with the new product's own .INI files. And, of course, installation can hardly be said to be robust unless WIN.INI, CONFIG.SYS, AUTOEXEC.BAT, and even SYSTEM.INI are extensively doctored. Otherwise some unhappy user might be able to remove the software just by deleting a few files and directories.

The Contrarion Conspiracy has roots in civil engineering and municipal contracting, where the name of the game is to use as much brick and mortar as possible, since cousin Bert owns the kiln and nephew Phineas has the cement works. In programming, someone has to find a way to use up all those megabytes of RAM and gigabytes of hard disk. We would hate to see the power of the Pentium go unused.


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