Cron Job Frequently Asked Questions

(With answers)

What the heck is Cron Job?

Cron Job started out as my way of releasing some creative energy. It began when I was working at Oracle, which is a very nice company, but it does business software. And in the world of business, things are much less funny. This basically meant that I was not allowed to stick jokes in my documentation (yes, I tried). So I had all this pent-up humor building in my brain, and needed some sort of outlet. Thus came Cron Job.

Anyway, since then, I got a job making games for Broderbund software, and can use my creative in energies in more productive ways (read: "Doing something I'll actually get paid for"). But since I've got a fiercely loyal following who probably will send me hate mail for the next year or two if I stop writing these articles, I keep it up.

Do you realize you used the word "Thus" in that first paragraph?

Yeah. Sorry. Won't happen again.

Do you know you sound a lot like Dave Barry?

Yes. And it's not really a conscious decision of mine. When I was growing up, I read a lot of Dave Barry, and I'm sure it influenced me. When I go out and write something, though, I don't say to myself, "Hey! I think I'll write like Dave Barry!" It just kind of happens.

Luckily, I'm writing a humor column, so things work out pretty well. It would me much harder writing a humor column if my writing sounded like, say, Tom Clancy. ("I felt like a Z426-236 R-9 pilot who had just malschawed the aerolater housing connections!")

How exactly do you plan on making money from this?

I don't. I have a job already. This is just something I do for fun. I mean, okay, if a major newspaper syndicate came up to me and said, "Hey, Todd, we'd like to give you these suitcases full of money to reprint your articles!" I might be persuaded to accept. But really, this is just a hobby.

What exactly does "Cron Job" mean, anyway?

It's got a pretty nerdy meaning, actually. In the UNIX operating system, you can set up something called a cron job, which is a program that runs at regular intervals. I figured since this was something I would be writing on regular intervals, I'd call it Cron Job.

Yeah, that is pretty nerdy.

Shut up.

Actually, the other benefit is that I can say to people around here, "Man, I've got to go write my Cron Job this week." and they think I'm writing for the San Francisco Chronicle.

How often does it really come out?

I usually write something once every two weeks. It might be sooner or later, depending on what's going on in my life.

Is there any pay I can reward you for your efforts? (Short of actually giving you money, I mean...)

Tell all your friends about Cron Job. I love the attention.

Can I reprint your stuff?

If you want to send copies to your friends, sure! Feel free to Email copies of Cron Job to wherever the heck you want. I mean, it would be kind of silly for me to put this thing on the Web and then not want people to Email issues around. The only thing I ask is that you not alter the article in any way, and you include the little text at the bottom that says I wrote it. (I'm not getting any money from this, but I at least want the fame.) However, you might just want to give your friends the Cron Job URL, that way they can see new issues for themselves.

If you are a real honest-to-goodness publication, then write me at and we can work something out. In general, unless you're a commercial magazine or newspaper, I'll let you reprint it for free, as long as you don't modify it (except for maybe correcting the occasional typo).

Can I include a link to your page from my home page?

By all means! I love the publicity.

Copyright stuff in slightly more legalease: Everything on my web page is Copyright 1995, 1996 by Todd Kerpelman (that's me). I grant permission for people to redistribute copies of Cron Job, as long as a) They reprint it in unmodified form, including the by-line at the bottom, and b) They do not charge any fee for it. I reserve the right to rescind that permission at any time, because I'm mean and nasty that way. All other publications must have my consent to reprint my material. Cron Job is in no way associated with the SF Chronicle, KRON, those annoying Schwa aliens, the CIA, or the Illuminati (at least, not that you know about...). Have a super-licious day!

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