Cosmic interrupt

The stars are signaling a "stop and listen" message -- but you'll need your horoscope for proper decoding tips.

Published February 19, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

Feb. 19, 2000

February -- March 2000

There's plenty of reason for confidence and optimism lately: Y2K was a nonevent; the NASDAQ keeps motoring upward; even continues to pair record losses with a burgeoning stock price. Still, many of us have this unrelenting suspicion that all may not be well in Net-ville. Could fiscal reality be encroaching into our economic never-never land? IPO's are tightening up, genomics are stealing the spotlight and mysterious denial-of-service attacks from the Resistance have everybody -- especially investors -- feeling more skittish than usual. Roiling waters ahead? Hey, who can tell? -- despite the predictive infallibility of celestial bodies, even astrologers hedge their bets from time to time.

Pisces (Feb 19-March 20)

Happy birthday, Pisces! Something sure smells fishy. Could it be a whiff of your decaying self-esteem? While maturity may count for something in some professions, it's just more bad news in your business. For you it just means desperately keeping up with all those new young whippersnappers with their Java Serverlets, Python scripts and XML. In fact, all this rapid technology drift contributes mightily to psychic buffer overflow on the 8th, when massively parallel emergencies cause a number of unforeseen ripple effects -- including your own personal core meltdown. Cosmic Interrupt: Beware self-reference; this horoscope is a lie.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Rapid staff-up leads to plummeting productivity as clue-to-meat ratio approaches zero. Mythical man-month? You wish. If only you could recompile the entire team with a #INCLUDE <clue.h>. Promising new hire's nose elongates visibly as you discover his risumi contains more compressed air than previously supposed. He only wanted to make a good impression. Now you do, too -- in his backside. Cosmic Interrupt: Your planet stubs its toe passing through the eighth house  Ow!

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

You spend mega-nights on giga-heroic coding binge, only to find that you've reinvented the wheel. Repetitive stress injuries follow from whacking your head against the keyboard for hours. We all hope you learn something from this unfortunate episode in your career. But you probably won't. Cosmic Interrupt: "People who think truly random numbers can be generated algorithmically are, of course, in a state of sin." -- Von Neumann

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

What a rocket ride you had last year! You were a Net.god -- or at least a minor digital deity, anyway. But now that some of the air has been let out of your high-flying dot-com, maybe it's time to allocate blame and sabotage a few careers. After all, why should the MBAs have all the fun? Cosmic Interrupt: Lube that squeaky wheel -- nobody's paying any attention right now. Concentrate on issues within your sphere of control.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Information concerning your future encroaches on your attention during working hours, courtesy of pesky Instant Messenger. You log on and respond (like, way against your better judgment? Hellooo!) only to experience unfortunate emotional phase-change -- from solid to superheated plasmid. This techie-snit persists until the next full moon precipitates a "brief unemployment event" that lasts long enough for you to do your stack of aging laundry. Not to worry; the Next Big Thing is stalking you. Cosmic Interrupt: Inexplicable!

Leo (July 23-Aug 22)

Your project manager glibly delivers oblique product requirements that give you a queasy feeling -- as if they were the product of a game of "telephone" between nonengineers. Is that a patronizing smile on your face, or are you biting your tongue to keep from screaming? No matter -- your objectives were always 180 degrees out of phase with management's, anyway; you will skip lunch and write a business plan. By next week, you'll have venture funding and you'll be kissing your current start-up goodbye. It was time to leave, anyway -- you've been there almost four months. Cosmic Interrupt: Gambling may be a regressive tax on people who don't understand statistics -- but even dice are better than indecision when you're standing in the headlights.

Virgo (Aug 23-Sept 22)

Satanic Saturn forces you into a struggle between Visual Basic and what you know is right. Don't be shaken; the path of righteousness is narrow, and assailed on all sides by pernicious DLLs. Look for an earthshaking return on a technical skill you nearly threw away years ago. Cosmic interrupt: A picture of a double latti will not wake you up in the morning. But a picture of Bill Gates naked sure will.

Libra (Sept 23-Oct 22)

Relentless commercial disappointments drive you deep into the heart of open-source territory, where you find comfort in the arms of Linus. Bathing in pure source, you wonder dreamily why you ever signed anybody's NDA in the first place. Harsh economic realities may eventually intrude, but that shouldn't stop you from having a good time right now. Savor the experience while you can; it's still springtime in Net-land. Cosmic Interrupt: Trying to get noticed by management? Turn heads by rolling out your raving narcissism.

Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 21)

Nagging Taurus coerces you into performing some thankless nontechnical task -- like cleaning up the conference room after the Friday pizza bash. When his powers slip on the 28th -- thanks to a completely unforeseen reorganization -- you attack his position, sending him ass-over-teakettle down the org chart. You don't experience a micron of regret, of course. Why would you? He's an MBA, for god's sake. Cosmic Interrupt: Infinite perversity and genius are often indistinguishable.

Sagitarius (Nov 22-Dec 21)

An attempt to install new paramour is thwarted by previous girlfriend/boyfriend application. Remember: Concurrent, preemptive multitasking may not be such a great idea for romantic system architectures -- and can result in catastrophic hardware failure. Aries puts your technical prowess to the test on the 11th, when she inadvertently overwrites mission-critical company database with "hamster dance" mirror site. Cosmic Interrupt: Psychic triple-A! Third-eye sidewinders have already been launched! Eject!

Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 19)

Human resource issues paramount; your elderly and obsolete CFO is about to blow a vacuum tube or two. No hope of retrofit or upgrade, either; his contacts are too corroded. Be proactive by beginning executive search immediately. Meanwhile, engineering manpower crunch demands that you pioneer innovative new tech recruiting techniques. You set up shop as a day care center for precocious adolescents with hard-coding skills. Cosmic Interrupt: In a world of infinite connections, serendipity is clichi.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Circus comes to town! Your extraordinary efforts to monitor, benchmark and baseline your position on the raggedy edge of complexity has caused all sorts of quantum hell to bust loose. Newtonian mechanics receive a thorough shredding by Schroedinger's ferocious kitty. But all is not lost; bad pointer arithmetic leads to unlikely discoveries. Hysterically minded Gemini goes postal on the 25th, leaving development team in shambles. Cosmic Interrupt: New opportunity comes with hidden strings -- and a booby-trap.

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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