It’s kind of a thing

June 25, 2002

(For those of you who read my latest 600 Seconds submission and are completely flummoxed, I’ll note that I had just watched an episode of The Prisoner prior to writing it.) #

I forgot to mention this surprisingly convincing comparison of Perl and Yiddish in my last entry. Yoz Grahame argues that Perl and Yiddish are both very flexible languages able to handle a wide variety of coding and speaking styles, respectively. While no one will doubt Perl’s oft-bewildering flexibility nor its handy usefulness for quick projects, I wonder if its implementation works against it at times. While you can program Perl in a fairly high-level style, its up to you to keep things consistent.

Or perhaps Haskell has spoiled me…. (via Doc Searls) #

Speaking of Yiddish, here’s a warning sign that the web has gone too far, pointed out to me by Bill Griffeth. #

I’ve got no strings

Last weekend they opened an Apple Store at the local Mall at Short Hills, so I checked it out yesterday. It’s an impressive place to visit. Apple’s aesthetic fits in really well with the high-class stores in that mall (this is the mall that sends out 60-page booklets with pictures of cookies and carafes of wine to area residents) and the products themselves just look great. Fortunately, they also work great, as several computer companies have demonstrated the difficulty of selling crappy computers with stylish-looking cases.

While I was there, I picked up an AirPort Wireless Base Station, thereby completing the promise of the laptop computer: with batteries and wireless network connectivity, you can move around and still work. The base station took seconds to configure, and then it was ready to dial into my ISP on my PowerBook’s behalf.

Right now, its in my room, which probably isn’t optimal in terms of coverage (although I can get some reception in the back yard, despite the aluminum siding). Fortunately, the base station just needs power and phone lines to be happy, and there are plenty of places where those are available. #

The beautiful PCs

After reading an article about the uses of time in role-playing games, I followed an interesting-looking link to a rant about standards of beauty for RPG characters and the tendency for both male and female players to make their female characters as attractive as possible. While the author does describe the unpleasant reactions she got from other players when playing an unattractive character, this can probably be attributed to the specific group being jerks. More interesting is some of the less-obvious issues brought up in the reader comments. One reader writes (emphasis mine):

Gandalf is old and wise. Now, he can be sexy old or he can be ugly old. Glenda, the Good Witch of the North [sic], is beautiful and kind. For female characters, appearance matters, appearance is a basic component of their description. This is not the case with male characters.

I’ve seen this many times in books—princesses can be beautiful, plain, or ugly, but you’ll always know—and even in serious news articles. Remember when people went on and on about Katherine Harris’s appearance? (She was Florida’s Secretary of State during the 2001 Presidential Election disaster, if you don’t.) Granted, her makeup was scary, but comments of that nature do not belong in an article on politics.

Pay attention to the way people are described (not all the time, necessarily, but sometimes). Compare how often a news article describe’s a woman’s appearance versus describing a man’s. Different attributes may produce different results. (via WebWord) #

Some metablogging music, please

I’m slowly surrendering to popular usage. While I still avoid “blog” like the plague, I’ve started using terms that incorporate it, such as “blogthread”. (“Blog”, of course, is a contraction of “weblog”, which describes a style of web site organized around short, time-organized news items.) One of the neatest is “blogosphere”, which refers to the “ecosystem” created and inhabited by the world’s weblogs.

A WebWord interview with John Hiler of Microcontent News brings up some interesting points about the usability of various weblog creating tools (all presumably better than the tools used here at ZedneWeb, which are hewn from raw Perl code), the psychology of blogging, and where this may lead in the future.

Back at his own site, Mr Hiler explains what lead to the interview, thereby increasing the self-referentiality of the whole thing to nigh-incomprehensible levels. (It’s a weblog post about an interview about weblogs, which was inspired by an article about weblogs. It comes full circle.) #

Be seeing you.