Saturday, May 30, 2009

Heard on Car Talk

Congressmen should wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers so that constituents can see their corporate sponsorships.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thew and Fro

Spell checkers allow users to add words to their dictionaries. It would be nice if they would also allow users to subtract words. Two frequent typos of mine are 'thew' for 'the' and 'fro' for 'for'. Unfortunately, both typos are English words, though neither is a word I use at all often. Almost always when either occurs in my writing it's a typo. So why can't I tell ispell or Open Office or Firefox or Thunderbird that these are words that should be flagged as misspellings? Actually, I could write a postprocessor for LaTeX documents that flags likely typos, but it would be harder to do this for a clumsier tool, like the WYSIWYG tools. Also this points out a problem with non-text-based tools for text-based applications. A postprocessor would work fine for text files, which means it would be more widely applicable than to just LaTeX, but every GUI has its own spell checker, with its own dictionary, and so they don't integrate well with each other, with simple tools, etc. Going back to elm or mutt for e-mail would solve part of this problem, by raising my productivity for basic e-mail by allowing the editing of e-mail in emacs, but they make multimedia e-mail a bit more of a challenge. OTOH, perhaps they've improved attachment handling in the past few years--worth a look.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

American Film Institute Member Benefits

I belong to the AFI, and like being a member. The AFI Silver, in Silver Spring, MD, is perhaps the best place in the Washington/Baltimore area to see a film. However, one annoying thing keeps cropping up, and more, it seems, this year than in the past.

When a member renews, the AFI sends a few member passes for free admission to a show. The problem is every time, or so it seems, that I try to use one of these free passes, I'm told passes are not being accepted for this particular show. Last night I couldn't use a member pass to see "Limits of Control." The theatre was not remotely close to full. What's the problem? Why do they bother to give member benefits that cannot be used?

In '07 and '08 I don't recall this problem cropping up nearly as frequently. Something's changed in the theatre management, and not for the better.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

LaTeX Blog

Looking for advice on including source code within a LaTeX document, I stumbled across a wonderful, though not terribly active, blog on LaTeX. It's been 7 months since the last post, but there's a lot of useful information there. The URL: