The Erin Rose Murphy Project

See how the Erin project has grown and flourished

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Humble Beginnings

This was the original project concept, Erin-v0.001, May 10, 1990. An alpha version that suffered regular core dumps and the occasional segmentation violation. Still, the concept was obviously a good one ; funding and the project are continued.
Seemed to prefer DOS, I vowed to continue working on the project until I corrected this deficiency. Born in May, this leads to my very trying DOS days of summer.


Progress

Ah, progress is made. Version 0.5 is much more stable. We're up to a beta release. After several all nighters we have successfully installed both sense of wonder and initial humor/happiness routines. Sense of wonder was easier to code, but happiness routines required much more effort due to the object oriented nature of those problems. Still have to look at the "Warning bell" routine, it seems to go off too frequently. Might try installing a partial "Visual bell" option.

Now seems to prefer Windows, a step in the right direction, but I still think I can do a little better.


Initial Release

Voila! Erin-v1.0 is ready for release! Through diligence and the embedded AI routines, the first exposure to UNIX has taken hold. Early versions definitely opted for the keyboard, disdainful of the mouse for now. "Real hackers don't need mice" are her first words. (60K audio) (During testing her actual first words were "I'm a baked bean" but it was out of context).
She goes straight for the kernel code, unfortunately I wasn't paying attention and she was working with a root shell. She introduces bugs that last to this day.


First Review

Was informed by Dot, the project leader, that in my efforts to introduce functionality I must not lose site of the original requirements. Thus Erin-v2.0 comes packaged in new Dress-wrap and routines "Lady-like", "Manners", and "Icky" are introduced. This leads to some unexpected backlash bugs, such as an unintended backlash against bugs. Her exposure to UNIX pays off unexpectedly as she is able to build her name from smaller functional tools: E, R, I, and N.


Polished Product

Erin-v4.0 is a major release. The AI routines have matured to the point of producing full sentences, sometimes relating to the conversation at hand. Has developed to the point where she prefers Linux, IP networks, Coke, and Twinkies; a hacker/father's dream come true. Version 3 isn't released to the public as a bug in the "Opinions" routine leads to a brief yet loud use of Emacs. After a long controversy, vi and emacs are both dropped and the Crayola editor is used as the default. Must have made a typo somewhere during the transitional Erin-v3.0 release, as the shyness-factor appears to be too high.


Ready for Product Launch

Erin-v5.0 is out. Code named "Kindergarten Erin", she plays to rave reviews.

At this point, project leader Dot decides that networking functionality needs to be introduced. I love the idea and spend several late nights introducing basic web functionality and Netscape compatibility. Dot kills the effort after a routine status report, indicating that she intended connections to SocialNet, not the Internet.

I'm put in Quality Control for the remainder of this development, as I've never heard of such a Net, even though Dot claims its larger and even more complicated than the Internet. I review modules PlayDate, SleepOver, and BirthdayParty. I'm perplexed by this new style of networking. From my perspective, PlayDate seems to involve a lot more work than play. There is something wrong in SleepOver as the Sleep function seems optional. I find a bug in BirthdayParty that causes the volume to be way too loud if the parameter list is too long or too many arguments are passed in. My "bugs" are classified as "features" and Erin is easily certified as First Grade Quality.


Enhancements

Erin-v6.0 brings about an attempt to incorporate multi-media offerings. A pitch is made for Erin to become Batgirl, but for some inexplicable reason the producers decide to go with that Silverstone twit.
We decide that we should double the classical programming effort so Erin now goes to school for a full day instead of the previous versions half day of input.

I make a pitch to Project Leader Dot to reconsider this SocialNet connection. Erin brings home several viruses (treatable) and Knock-Knock jokes (no known fix). She has even picked up a really annoying Eye-Rolling function that gets executed when I try to overlay the Knock-Knock jokes with better forms of humor.
Dot is still convinced that it is in the best long-term interests of the project to keep the SocialNet up and going and actually suggests increasing the connectivity.


New 1998 Beacon Development Center


Due to the increasing size and complexity of the project, it is decided to relocate the entire effort to a totally new development center in Beacon, NY. The new facility opens at the start of 1998. The government helps subsidize this move through their "Itemized Deduction" grant and our new non-profit status will allow us to devote even more resources to the project.

The new center has a new Multi-Modal Development Lab that comes complete with audio, video, computing, and dress-up facilities. It even has exercise equipment readily available.

Initial results after the move indicate we did the right thing. The Happiness routines start producing their best results yet. Erin-v6.5 quickly utilizes all the new options available.


Development Team Changes

Ms. Kitty Willie Abbey

Since the beginning we have used Cats for the core development team. They have helped code some difficult parts of the Erin Project, including the Napping function. Hard workers that they are, they've been known to do this 24 hours a day. They also have protected the project from invisible monsters; sometimes they will interrupt their napping demonstration to stalk, chase down, and pummel an invisible beast (even though Dot and I could not discern any threat at all). We thought this a useful function as we've heard tale of similar project suffering "fear" from these imaginary threats.

Ralphie Rosie

Now with the increased size of our facility we decide its time to increase the development team. A salesman convinces us that we should use "Microsoft Cats". We're told that even though they don't look like the Cats we use now, they are furry and have 4 legs just like regular cats. The salesman goes on to tell us how they must be good Cats, otherwise they wouldn't be so popular and that all our neighbors have Cats just like them and besides they're so cute. I'm suspicious, but we go ahead anyway.

Should have trusted my instincts. While they are indeed furry and have 4 legs, they require infinitely more administration and oversight. Once they were actually running we found out they consume more resources (water, food, bed space) than any standard Cat I've worked with. For the life of me I can't figure out why these come with a Slobber function standard, yet lack a decent Garbage Collection routine. I find that several other owners complain of Microsoft products and frequently refer to them as dogs.
I try to correct their behavior by applying a Eunuchs patch, which does some good, but they still have some bad habits.
They required a great deal of training and customization. They arrived with the notion that it was ok to leave their .PDL files laying about anywhere. They also had trouble with local policy which indicated that "PARTS_OF_THE_DEVELOPMENT_CENTER_THAT_ARE_EDIBLE = NONE". We even had to install Food Quotas. We acquire several specialized Chewy Objects libraries to occupy their idle cycles.

The original Development team members are not impressed by the new hires. They act distant and aloof.


Successful Transition

Erin-v7.0 is released. Even with the tight deadlines, the move to the new Development Center, and the additions of the new team members, the release is on time and all scheduled milestones have been reached. Initial print drivers have been installed, future enhancements should also include the script font.
This latest version is immediately given an A rating. After the successful half year experiment, the local school plans on deploying this latest version in their 2nd grade.


Features, Features, and more Features

Erin-v8.0 is released. Major new enhancements include amphibious options, multiple forms of 2 wheel drive, and a new transportation model scramble that is capable of moutain climbing. Bicycle and Roller Blade transportation modes may necessitate a change in my daily routine if I expect to keep tracking the project as closely as I have.

External reviews are still very positive. Another 4 star, A rating. She has even been given full Brownie certification. After the full year success, the local school plans on upgrading the entire 3rd grade class with the inclusion of the ERMP.


New Developments


Due to the overwhelming success of the Erin Rose Project, consideration is being given to launching a sister or sibling project. We think that using the feedback from the Erin Project could lead to a new and interesting endeavor. While the prototype pictured above would involve an entire rewrite, we would be starting from the same code base. We think that the Erin Project could actually help later stages of the development process.

While still in the early planning stages, some minor disagreements have already surfaced. Dot is leaning towards a Megan Paige Page, whereas I'm leaning towards more of a Junior Project. We've been told that the Gender Bit, needs to be choosen carefully as it can greatly affect later stages of the project. I'm skeptical that one little bit can make that much difference.

After much discussion we decide that whereas Erin is part of the worldwide Generation XX program, the new Junior Project will be part of the Generation XY program. After some initial reservations Erin gives the go ahead to the new effort. We still have to figure out how to properly allocate the limited amount of cache available to both projects.
As with any modern corporate project, the most important phase is the selection of a good name. Erin's early entries, ErinsServant and ErinsToy, are rejected, leading me to think that she may not fully comprehend what this project is all about. I'm given final discretion as to name selection if I really want a Junior project, but the early compromise is that Kevin John would make a fine project name.

Dot has also raised for discussion the Wide Area Bandwidth problem. My comments on the ever increasing number of SocialNet connections being the cause of the problem are rebuffed. The current Hyundai modem solution is lacking in many areas including payload capacity, packet size, speed, and sufficient cooling. Dot thinks an upgrade to a Voyager, Caravan, Villager, or Windstar router may fit the bill. I'll have to investigate, as our new non-profit status may impact the upgrade options.


Prior Art

I am advised that to protect future profits I should consider patenting the projects. Even though I am absolutely against software patents, I am a fan of profits. The first part of the patent process is a search for prior art. They turn up a 19th century version that they claim "invalidates" our application. We deny any similarity pointing out that the "look and feel" of our current project is entirely different. They don't buy it, thus reducing the future profit potential. We regroup and start adding comments to the project code about "Community College".


Time Passes


Beta PROM

For V16.0 the Marketing Department advises that eye-catching, brightly colored packaging enhances the overall allure. I'm against it, hoping that the features and functions of the project will be all that's necessary for acceptance.

We have a trial where an early version of the PROM is tried. I'm against the test, but am assured that it's a Read-Only experiment.

On other technical matters, the project has reached the maturity level where a new Driver module is requested. I agree that this needs to be installed eventually so I Permit a debug-version of the Driver code to be installed that allows for close inspection of all activity and interrupts.