DIS: Interlude One: First There is a Mountain.3

“Can I see it?” Jaime asked, peering over his shoulder.

“This is it,” Aaron said, indicating lines and lines of code. “You’re seeing it now.”

“That’s unreadable,” Jaime said.

I can read it,” Aaron said.

“How about I bring out my macroecon charts and we’ll see if you can read those,” said Jaime. Aaron grinned. He’d been in good spirits since he started working on the site and had been looking forward to showing it off, even if he wasn’t yet ready to show it to Eric. Aaron started working on it the day after the first conversation with Eric and had hoped to be done with it before break, but as soon as he finished one function, he thought of another and built an angel to handle it. Eric continued to hang out through finals week and called Aaron a half dozen times at home over break.

“Fine,” Aaron said, feigning exasperation, “here it is in real people speak.” He typed in a command and the code became the page. It was mostly white, with a deep purple banner across the top and a picture of Alice and Aaron and Jaime and Eric from trivia night at Lottie’s in the upper right corner.

“So this would be my page,” Aaron explained. “But because there’s a picture of you guys, it would automatically be linked to your pages.” He let the cursor hover over Jaime’s picture until Jaime’s name appeared.

“Because you labeled us in the picture?”

“You can do that. But there’s a program I built, Suriel. Angel of countenance. Well, one of the angels of countenance. Two-dimensional facial recognition software. If you put up a picture of someone who’s in the system, Suriel will recognize them, and label and link them.”

“It can do that?” Jaime asked.

“Right now, not so well,” Aaron said. “But it’ll learn. The more versions of your face Suriel sees, the more easily it’ll be able to identify you.”

“That’s cool,” Jaime said.

“Thanks,” said Aaron quietly. This was how being a programmer was like being a magician: hours of work, practice, refinement, all leading up to one moment that might be judged cool. “What do you think of the layout?” he asked.

“It’s very clean,” said Jaime. “

“You don’t like it?” Aaron asked, giving away a bit of how worried he was. He wasn’t a design guy and he’d spent more time on the architecture than on the paint job. “It’s the purple, right? It should be blue or something.”

“I like the purple,” Jaime said. “I’m saying it’s very clean. Elegant.”

That was the word Aaron needed to hear, the God word for a programmer. Simple meant half-witted. Elegant meant fat-free, no stitches showing.

“Yeah,” said Aaron, “I like the purple, too.”

“Now I am quietly waiting for the catastrophe of my personality to seem beautiful again, and interesting, and modern.” -Frank O'Hara

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