The age of Aquarius?

Probably not, but maybe a good time to reboot. Plus: What you'd be if you were an operating system!

Published January 15, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

Jan. 15, 2000

January - February 2000

Brittle networks, missed connections and random timeouts will threaten the status quo this lunar cycle. Try to imagine the horrors unleashed by a widespread IP meltdown: a brief interval of mass panic, followed by hoards of people committing unthinkable acts -- like picking up their dry-cleaning (it's been months!), and going offsite for coffee. Only the nerdly network admin stands between civilization and a chaotic world in which we're all forced to eat our own PDAs.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Burnout has turned the corner and escalated you into a state of ambulatory segfault. Time to reboot and defrag, despite CEO's directive to buck up and concentrate on fundamentals. Virtual circuits will be the major challenge for woozy, disoriented Aquarius. Bad network making you feel like an old stand-alone? Let your clients know you're open to promiscuous connections. Feeling like a swamped Web server? Drop a few packets, or take yourself off the air altogether. E-absence makes the heart grow fonder. Crafty asteroid Ceres plots collision course with your career orbit. Professional mass-extinction event? Look out for: Mysterious relay host promising infinite bandwidth. Route around it, or get ready for packet-switched apocalypse. Look forward to: Sudden abundance of slack time, when management decides to scrap current business model, then fails to contrive a plausible replacement. Surf's up! What you'd be if you were an operating system: FreeBSD -- despite your excellent computational pedigree, you've been unjustly eclipsed by the acclaim heaped on your waddling colleague.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

The main theme of your problematic love life has an oddly familiar ring: "This program has performed an illegal operation, and will be shut down. Contact Cupid if this problem persists." More bad news: Mars signals obsolescence. Are you about to end up on the frag heap of yesterday's protocols? What you'd be if you were an operating system: VMS -- though you're surprisingly effective on the job, your uncommunicative nature and poor people skills ensure you'll be relegated to back-room, legacy operations. No upward mobility in your future.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Bugs! Multiplying source code defects precipitate sky-high freak-out factor as release dates recede arbitrarily far into the future. Will you ship before the sun burns out? Meta-X-Yow! What you'd be if you were an operating system: Linux -- you're the darling of the moment and loved by all, even if only a few people actually understand you. Your inner life is in turmoil due to constant meddling by random strangers.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Job jumping? Unpredictable Uranus causes you to consider an exciting new position -- with no equity. What are you thinking? New moon on the 6th signals regeneration and new prospects. Good thing, too; that product rollout at CES was your very last chance. Innovation, insight and perseverance are no match for dumb luck. What you'd be if you were an operating system: BeOS -- cool, flashy, buzzworthy and completely boxed in by competitors. You haven't got a chance, unless a comet hits Redmond.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

The prying eyes of management examine your every http transmission. In fact, they're watching right now. Burn all your cookies or face wrath of petulant Aries. Furtive recruiter makes lame job offer. Feign interest, and insist she take you to lunch at that spiffy new bistro. Refuse to talk about anything but your pets. What you'd be if you were an operating system: OS/2 -- elegant, relevant, well-integrated and the most conspicuous victim of egregious, 20th century-style monopolism. You could have been a contender on the virtual waterfront. Sic transit gloria, baby.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Flame war with outrageously opinionated Capricorn ruffles virtual feathers all across the WAN. Never wrestle with a pig; you both get dirty and the pig likes it. You'll be hitting on an attractive blond Aquarian. Unfortunately, the only response you'll get will be the romantic equivalent of a 404. What you'd be if you were an operating system: TOPS-20 -- surprisingly effective, given that you're so old and have no relevant platform.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

A big project finally wraps up! Savor the success. Wait until after the roll-out party to check your rearview mirror; you'll see Moore's law bearing down on you like a pack of rabid gorillas on roller-skates. Passive-aggressive project lead escalates fear-and-loathing policies on the 12th. What you'd be if you were an operating system: Windows 3.1 -- you're an uninspiring, beige copycat of others who were copycats themselves.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

A white lie is your ticket to surviving a project meeting blame-fest. "New specs? I never received any new specs ..." Persistent Pluto persuades you to work through the weekend. Look for a spectacular intranet meltdown on the 22nd. What you'd be if you were an operating system: IRIX -- you're powerful, fast, forward-looking and forever doomed by a completely clueless management staff. Jump!

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Excessive Web surfing turns your mind to jelly. Consider hypnosis, meditation or electroshock therapy to recapture awareness of the world outside your cubicle. Mysterious network engineer secretly reassigns your IP address "just for fun." You kill him, of course. Nobody notices. What you'd be if you were an operating system: CP/M -- yesterday's tragedy. You're the Miss Havisham of Silicon Valley -- aged, jilted, forgotten and terminally bitter for want of a killer app.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Bad romantic connection as Cupid frantically attempts to patch the routing table of love. Packets fly as misunderstandings proliferate. Reset! Nasty Neptune gets personal on the 8th; un-speed dial him -- work, home and cell phone. What you'd be if you were an operating system: Windows NT -- though superficially indistinguishable from your bland and mediocre predecessors, you have grand and unattainable fantasies of world domination. It's a bean-and-lithium burrito for you.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Sagittarian manager berates you for going off-site during daylight hours. With options soon to vest, are you going to take it? Annoying Taurus in adjacent cubicle does the unthinkable and takes a vacation. You take the opportunity to rearrange his file system, just for spite. What you'd be if you were an operating system: BSD 4.2 -- you may be forgotten, but your accomplishments will live forever. You have just cause to be smug.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Jupiter cracks the whip: Monumental coding push makes your development group look like a geeky remake of "Night of The Living Dead." Dogged persistence leads to the collapse of competitor's price-point. What you'd be if you were an operating system: Solaris -- though you began your career as a freedom fighter, you've become part of the problem: cynically industrial, charging for what you once gave away and creating pointless roadblocks in service of your own vanity. Expect to be overtaken.

By Thomas Scoville

Thomas Scoville is either an Information Age savant or an ex-Silicon Valley programmer with a bad attitude. He is the author of the Silicon Valley Tarot.

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