Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Proud to be a Geek

21st Century, this is more like it!

Monday, January 30, 2012

I Hate Google Plus. I Really Hate Google Plus

Now when one gives a friend a link to Picasa albums, it redirects instead to Google+ and as a result, long captions are cut off, album descriptions are not shown, album maps and photo locations are not shown, etc. We already know Google+ is a load of dog crap, but why does Google have to destroy Picasa as well?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Eternal September

The Wikipedia page on Eternal September, or the dumbing down of the Internet, is interesting in that it doesn't mention the Web. In summary, AOL allowed it's users access to Usenet starting September 2003 meaning there was a steady stream of neophytes on the 'net rather than just the "traditional" surge each September as a new school year began. I'm not going to dispute the date, but rather the suggestion that it was entirely a Usenet phenomenon. AOL opened the floodgates about the same time as Mosaic became available. Wikipedia puts the availability of Mosaic as April-October 1993, depending on client OS. So two things happened that year: AOL began a steady stream of newbies for the 'net, and the WWW started to gather momentum.

I disagree with those who think Eternal September is over simply because Usenet is now seldom-used. Rather, as society dumbs itself down more and more, Eternal September worsens.

Conference Spam

I keep getting spam claiming to be CFPs for obscure conferences, usually in India, but sometimes in east Asia. I assume that the conferences are bogus since (a) they resort to spam for publicity, rather than using legitimate channels such as professional societies, (b) their URLs are bogus, and I've never heard any of them.

Here's one of the current batch:

*The Fifth International Conference on Network Security & Applications (CNSA-2012)*

Why does the domain name refer to a 2009 conference? Click the link? I don't think so.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Wikipedia Can't Spell Mate, No, Wait, the Gnome Project Can't Spell Mate

All along I've been spelling mate as mate, which is the spelling that seems to prevail within the Linux Mint 12 Documentation. I was annoyed that Wikipedia spells it  maté, an example of hypercorrection. Mate is an herb or a tea made from the herb. This is what the project is named after, and is the correct spelling. Someone decided that Americans would be more likely to pronounce correctly if it is misspelled as maté. The problem here is threefold:

  1. the misspelling maté puts the emphasis on the wrong syllable,
  2. the misspelling maté is a different word, and
  3. maté is first  person preterit form, I killed. Okay, two and three are arguably the same objection.
The discussion at the Wikipedia maté page saved me from making a change to the page that someone would have to back out of later. Someone pointed out that the spelling is incorrect, but someone else pointed out that the spelling is the one used by the gnome project, and it's not Wikipedia's place to correct the spelling of a project name, but rather to use it as-is. I agree, but I will not be using the misspelling.

Emacs 23: But Text is Text, Right?

I've lately been annoyed that emacs no longer seems to understand the structure of a text file. When editing a long line that wraps, the down arrow and ^n will often take one to a later portion on the same line rather than the current column in the next line. The idea is to consider lines as seen on the screen as more fundamental than lines in the file, even though in almost every application it's the file contents that matter.

It didn't take long to find the workaround--thanks to Nilesh Kapadia who commented at http://emacs-fu.blogspot.com/2009/07/emacs-23-is-very-near.html.

Insert the following into the .emacs startup file:

(setq line-move-visual nil)

This seems to be yet another case of someone wanting emacs to act less like a text editor and more like a word processor. People that want emacs to act like a word processor should use a word processor, and not lobby to cripple emacs' ability to treat text like text.

Saturday, January 7, 2012