Apr. 29th, 2009 06:43 pm
prog: (Default)
This is a curious image of a reporter writing in shorthand, found by [ profile] dougo.

My whole life I understood the word "shorthand" as a synonym for "abbreviation", not a complete and formal writing system that looks like alien script to the uninitiated. But the commenters on that photograph say it's so, and Wikipedia agrees, with yet more graphic evidence. Very interesting!
prog: (Default)
I hereby nominate "Obamacon" at the Word of the Election.

I saw Andrew Sullivan use it a lot to describe self-identifying conservatives who, like himself, support Obama. But now I'm seeing a lot of people using it, and often regarding themselves, as well. Good.
prog: (Default)
Opening my Gmail spamtrap these days is like, "Here, let's test your browser's Unicode compatibility."

(Sorry if that says something horribly insulting in a language I apparently don't even have a full font-set for.)

Word UIs

Feb. 11th, 2008 10:28 am
prog: (Default)
I used the word "disinterested" in a blog comment last night, and despite its tiny probable readership I find myself worried that people who do read it will read it incorrectly, that I meant it to mean "uninterested" instead of "taking a neutral stance". I bet dollars to donuts that most users of the English language think it has only the former definition, when they encounter it.

Certain people like to get angry that other people are stupid and English is doomed when they encounter evidence of readers taking the wrong meaning from words like this. And they remind me of nothing so much as hardcore Unix geeks belittling everyday computer users for getting something wrong in a command-line invocation and erasing half their hard disk.

That's right: I'm saying that that "disinterested" is an example of a word with a terrible UI.
prog: (Default)
Has the phrase "freedom fighters" been used non-ironically anywhere in the western world at any time in the last 25 years?


OK, then stop implying that your political opponents are using the term in order to equivocate their positions. Thank you.
prog: (Default)
There's a cleaning lady in my house, at the invitation of my landlady. After a few moments of working around her and even helping a little with my own messes, like taking out the trash, it seemed wisest to just withdraw into my room and her do what she likes. I kind of hope she gives my room a pass; it's been a sty since I stopped using it as a workspace two years ago. It's been a little better lately but I am not proud of it yet.

The rough part is that my landlady is there with her, ordering her around. Neither are native English speakers but they're using it as a lingua franca, which I think is always kinda cool to see, but my landlady adds the extra stumbling block of being batty and cranky, so they're both getting frustrated with each other. Cleanlady is a consummate pro with her own system, and landlady is at her heels telling her that it's all out of order. Gah. I didn't want to be witness to that either.

On the subject of housing: can any of y'all give me an idea of what I should have in the bank in order to obtain, let us say, a two-bedroom condo in the vicinity of my current location? Is doing this sort of thing as simple as paying a mortgage every month - just like I do now with rent - after dropping a single phat down payment? I don't know, I'm asking.

I passed the magic barrier not too long ago of wondering why I'd ever want to own property to wondering how one goes about this.


Dec. 19th, 2006 11:35 am
prog: (monkey)
I just heard this exchange on an NPR program:

Speaker A (a think-tanker): You want to surrender to every country in the region.
Speaker B (a general): It's not a surrender, it's a strategic withdrawal.
Speaker A: [Derisive laughter.] Oh, I apologize then.

Who just lost the argument? I'm not sure.

In reality I'm peeved at A for callously dismissing the distinction between the two terms, which have a world of difference to a military man like B.

But if B had said what he said in, say, a movie, it would definitely be used to show how foolish he is, willing to niggle semantically around the plain fact of his army's defeat, and A's laughter would have echoed the audience's.

I suppose that you could say "Well, jmac, this isn't a movie." And I would say, "Isn't it?" Then there'd be a beat where we looked at each other in silence, and then you'd slap me. And I'd go Ooooh! like Curly and start crying.
prog: (Default)
James Baker has the same accent as Wichita Rutherford('s assumedly exaggerated stage accent). I do not know what this accent is called.


Sep. 12th, 2006 02:16 pm
prog: (Bizarro Kirk)
[NOOK-yoo-lur] is a perfectly fine way to pronounce the word. It is a legitimate variant and in fact how I learned to say it, growing up. If you think that getting snarky over this is the way to fight a culture war, then you personify everything that's wrong with this side. Shape up and focus


Jul. 24th, 2006 04:32 pm
prog: (Bizarro Kirk)
I have to laugh at the recent wave of of spams from exotic lands proclaiming "I want to fuck with you!" I get enough of that at work, lady, thanks anyway

What the

Jul. 20th, 2006 02:48 pm
prog: (Default)
Name or describe for me an example of post-WTF thinking.
prog: (Default)
CNN rushes to press with OMG THE PRESIDENT SWORED.

See, the thing is, I am actually impressed that Bush apparently professed a candid political opinion in (what he thought was) a private conversation. It goes against his grotesque caricature of pure, cynical ignorance to world affairs that I have internalized, and gives me a modicum more respect for him, if you can believe it.
prog: (ambrose)
"Hopefully, she will arrive on time."

[Poll #757225]
prog: (coffee)
Listening to a particular Tori Amos song for the first time in a while, and it strikes me that the image evoked by the lyric "Greg he writes letters and burns his CDs" managed to completely reverse sometime between its publication in 1994 and today. Our moody friend Greg was originally destroying all his music, but now he's making more copies of it instead!

FWIW, discussion of this and other bits of the song here. From now on it's really quite impossible for me to hear those words and not think of this emo kid cranking away with iTunes while writing his emo fan letters, anachronism or not.
prog: (coffee)
You know, I'm actually rather uncomfortable with the current popular usage among the Daily Show-watching set of using "[has] balls" and "[is a] pussy" as slang for possessing admirable bravado and contemptible cowardliness or passivity, respectively.

Since the people employing the phrase are the furthest thing from ripsnorting redstaters, I suppose that there's a sense of ironic fun to be had by stepping briefly into George Liquor's shoes for a moment, passing an indictment as one who believes that men primarily validate themselves by going in there and changing the world, and women do it by quietly submitting to authority.

It's a little shocking to hear it coming from you, and so we all laugh. But when I hear you say it over and over again, I do start to wonder.
prog: (Default)
I've actually been doing it for a while, now, but I'm going to go ahead and state it for the record:

Henceforth I will use the pronoun they (them, their) when I wish to refer to a person in the singular without specifying their gender. ← See? I just did it. That wasn't too awful, right?

Ten years ago I hated this usage. Now? It's like a warm bath.
prog: (Default)
To an American, I think, ending a sentence expressing a simple, emphatic point with the phrase "full stop" sounds somehow more intelligent than ending it with the word "period", even though they mean exactly the same thing both idiomatically and literally.

I caught myself using the longer term to explain my change to a Wikipedia page last night. The page sees a fair amount of daily activity and I am rather surprised that it hasn't been reverted yet (even though I think my change is justified). I wonder if the "full stop" has tricked people into thinking I am British and therefore superhumanly correct.

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