Only about 20% of the American people showed up three weeks ago to vote for a Republican. That's it. Just 20%. And about 19% voted for a Democrat (an amazing number considering how few fights the Democrats put up around the country).And 61% said, "To hell with all of them!" and refused to show up and vote.... Of course, those in charge are thrilled that 61% of the country has given up. That's right where they want us-out of the way! And it is for that reason alone why we must not now throw in the towel. If we sink into a collective state of despair, disgust and disinterest, we are truly doomed. Bush & Company (and this includes the Democrats) are all-too-happy to be left alone to run amok in the candy store... [Michael Moore.com]
A Shallow Introduction to the K Programming Language
About two years ago I was introduced to a programming language that I really didn't like: it didn't have continuations, I didn't see any objects, it had too many operators, it didn't have a large community around it, it was strange and different, and it looked like line noise, like Perl, and I don't like Perl. However, I gave it a try. I had to learn that continuations may not be there, but first-class functions are; it may not have a normal object system, but that is because the language doesn't need it and gets it power by cutting across objects; all the operators are the functions that make up its standard library; it's community may not be large, but it is incredibly intelligent; it only looks strange until you understand its concepts; and well, it will always look like line noise, but you will stop caring because this also make the concise code easier to read. K has since become my language of choice. [Kuro5hin]
Glenn Gould: "Goldberg Variations"
A new box set offers the ingenious 1955 interpretation of Bach's odes to God that turned Gould into a star, and the remarkably different version he recorded in 1981 out of contempt for the former. [Salon]
One response to the "When Interfaces Go Crufty" article is this one by John Gruber. Some of Johns responses are in the same area as mine, so I'll quote liberally.First, Matthew Thomas writes:
We have the power, in today's computers, to pick a sensible name for a document, and to save it to a person's desktop as soon as she begins typing, just like a piece of paper in real life. We also have the ability to save changes to that document every couple of minutes (or, perhaps, every paragraph) without any user intervention.
And Mr. Gruber responds (after mentioning dislike for automatic behavior in applications):
Even if you don't default to the actual desktop, there's no other default folder location that would be suitable for all new files. I don't save my Perl scripts to the same folder as my grocery list. Nor do I want applications choosing file names for me. If you don't choose the names for your own files, how do you identify them when you try to reopen them later on?
Since reading Mr. Thomas's article, I've examined my own behavior and application usage more closely. And I'm somewhere in the middle of the two viewpoints. And it's not just because I'm a developer and have Python classes that I definitely want to keep separate from my Quicken files, but because there really is room for both.
The reason for so much variety could, however, be due to interface cruft. We're running on heavy old operating systems with shiny new interfaces (and sometimes ugly new interfaces). The handhelds, particularly the Newton, had a chance to be actually new, and to approach how the operating system and applications performed in a very different way than the desktop operating systems. On the Newton, you just entered in data in the Notebook and then - optionally - filed it into Folders. You could also route the data (mail/print/fax/beam), or combine it with other Newton applications (entering "dinner with Kate" and clicking "Assist" would make the Newton go "oh! Shedule! Tonight, 8:30, Dinner" and find entries in the address book that match "Kate". Contrast this with a five step "Create New Calendar Entry" wizard.
But again - this is generally in the PIM category of data. It's a curious breed of data.
I'm not sure I want to get involved in the "there should be no 'Quit' command". There are so many applications of varying sizes and purposes out there that I doubt it will go away any time soon. The big case-in-points are the professional applications, from the Office type of applications to the Adobe and Macromedia product families, which are often very large applications, and also the Pro Tools / Final Cut Pro type applications. These applications offer a lot of functionality and people tend to stay in them longer. Adobe GoLive 6.0.x is a very large application, and when I'm using it, I keep it open even if I have no open documents at the moment, just to make it easier to switch to. I'd be very frustrated if I closed a particular window and it caused the whole application to unload itself. In the case of Quicken, there are so many windows that open up and use for control, which one would be the reigning "close this and the whole thing goes" window?
On the other hand, there are the utility applications. Apple's iCal and Address Book both go away when you close the main window. Other smaller apps do the same. This effect is probably completely unnoticed on Windows since the global X app killer button is so ubiquitous, and multi-document apps and single document ones are harder to distinguish.
And naturally, rearranging items in this menu is a little bit less obvious than moving around the programs themselves. So, in Windows 98 and later, Microsoft lets you drag and drop items in the menu itself — thereby again breaking the general guideline about being able to cancel a click action by dragging away from it.This Programs menu is the ultimate in cruft. It is an entire system for categorizing programs, on top of a Windows filesystem hierarchy which theoretically exists for exactly the same purpose. Gnome and KDE, on top of a Unix filesystem hierarchy which is even more obtuse than that of Windows, naturally copy this cruft with great enthusiasm.So, while "Mac OS X" has made a lot of compromises in order to be friendly with long-running expectations of a user interface, and to be friendly with Unix expectations of file system layout, it does do a lot of things right. There are plenty of sore spots (including interface irregularities between different Apple produced iApps), but there is a pleasant clean feeling to it all. Generally, there are few alarms and few surprises. As "Mac OS X" continues to grow, I imagine that the situation will improve. And, for all of its cruft, the future of Windows has some interesting developments as well.My next post on this subject will deal with some individual applications on Mac OS X that are taking the right steps away from interface cruft.
Which is a pretty fair summation of the Democrats' 2002 campaign. They had no message. They were an opposition party that drew no lines of opposition. They had nothing to say. And on Tuesday, their base responded by staying home in droves.and
From one end of the country to the other, the Democrats had nothing to say. And the nation will suffer for their silence.Well, this last statement is a bit extreme. But it does drive the point home. I've been saying for weeks now that "the democrats are dead to me" and "they're spineless". There was no powerful leadership, no powerful rallies (outside of the Wellstone memorial, which which made me proud to camp out on the left...for an evening), nothing. What was there to get excited about? What reason was there to get out and vote if the choice was dumbass v. dumbass? Well, there were the third parties and other independants who sometimes DID offer a good alternative. But overall, in the so-called "key" races, the GOP massively out-campaigned the Democrats by rallying behind a solid (often gut-wrenching) message.Ugh. Well, the talking heads on the television have caught on, the writers (esp. in the progressive rags) have caught on. Now - will the party?(TAP article quoted written by Harold Meyerson).
We'll meet again,This is for you, Red.
don't know where,
don't know when;
but I know we'll meet again
some sunny day.