Saturday, February 27, 2010

Center. Margin. Villain. Hero.

I thought this article was fascinating: "Shylock, My Students, and Me". What's most interesting to me is how the students' mass reaction to The Merchant of Venice has changed over the years, from sympathy with the dominant, majority culture within the play to sympathy with the oppressed, minority culture. Now everyone identifies with Shylock--everyone has been oppressed in some way, they've been made to feel different, like an outsider to the dominant culture.

Cohen (the author of the article) points out that the new generation of students are the ones who have been sensitized to diversity and oppression in school. I don't remember getting much of that training in high school, but it was a huge part of my college orientation. If I remember right, the closing session of orientation was a cringe-inducing small group discussion where each person was asked to share some way in which they had been marginalized. At least, it was cringe-inducing at the time; having passed through the system now, I could probably handle it. Even find it meaningful. But oh, how I wanted to jump out the window at the time.

Like Cohen, I don't want to say that this impulse to identify with the oppressed is a bad development, but it feels incomplete. The move from hiding your victimization and dehumanizing the outsiders to cherishing your victimization and dehumanizing "the insiders" (whoever they are nowadays) represents less progress than could be desired.

Simply put, we haven't learned that your position in the center or on the margin does not determine whether you're a hero or a villain.

Or does it? You tell me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Reading in Dreams

I remember a post by Chaka a while back about dreaming a word game he didn't know the rules to, and this made me think of that on some level or another. Your guess is as good as mine.

Last night I had a dream that I was taking a test, and the second question on the test was asking something along the lines of "A man named Nathaniel Bohr used an atom with 5 ... to describe ... blah blah blah ... What is the name of this atom?" (that is all I remember of the question from waking up).

When I first read the question, I had no idea what it was talking about. My first thought was that BORON is the 5th element in the periodic table. Then I looked through the test to see if it contained a periodic table I could reference. When I did not find one I decided to read the question again. The name "Nathaniel Bohr" instantly clued me in on the answer of Bohr's Atom.

Obviously, the facts in the question are all wrong, I have no idea what his first name was, almost definitely not Nathaniel. Secondly, it was not a specific atom but a model for describing atoms. Thirdly, it did not have 5 specifically of anything, it could be used to describe any number of atoms with any number of proton/neutron/electron combinations. etc, etc. But that is NOT the point.

After I realized the answer I started writing it in my answer booklet. I had finished writing the letters "BOHR" (which I specifically remember seeing in big block letters) when I realized I had written on the line for the NEXT question's answer. So I crossed it out and wrote it again "Bohr's Atom" on the correct line. Then I decided to quit taking the test and the dream took a turn for the weird, but that's a different story.

The reasons I posted this dream are
1) I remember specifically reading the question and having NO idea what the answer was at first. I find this interesting, because some part of my own brain had to create this question from scratch, yet another part of my own brain was not able to answer it right away.
2) Second, I remember specifically READING the name "Nathaniel Bohr" along with READING the rest of the question a second time. Do you ever remember READING in a dream? For some reason I thought READING was impossible in a dream. Usually what happens to me is I see some scribble of jumbled text-like drawings and just KNOW what it's trying to say. In this case, I actually remember READING the english words, not a jumble of text.
3) I very distinctly remember the big block letters spelling "BOHR" which, like part 2, is something I've never remembered in a dream before. Maybe I'm just not thinking back enough or remembering enough other dreams, but there were actual letters representing an actual word which actually stood for something in the real world. And not only did I READ it, but I was also WROTE that word "BOHR" letter-by-letter on the wrong line in the answer booklet. And then I crossed it out and wrote again: "Bohr's Atom" on the correct line.

I don't know about you folks, but I found it all interesting enough to post here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Alafraganza and Alfraganus

I've been listening to episodes of the Gunsmoke radio show here. It's funny how you get used to the same two or three actors voicing all the bit parts. For principals, you've got Matt, Chester, Kitty, and Doc (who is Floyd the Barber from the Andy Griffith Show, btw). But this week's down-and-out sodbuster sounds suspiciously like last week's shifty gambler.

Given the fact that sets are no object on a radio show, it's surprising how the same places figure in almost every episode: Matt's office, Doc's office upstairs, Front Street, the Texas Trail, where the first thing you hear is always Kitty's "Hello, Matt!" . . .

Sometimes they venture into one of the other saloons in town: the Long Branch (which happened to be the name of the bar in my hometown) or the Alafraganza.

That last one is a bit of a mystery to me. It's a fitting name for a saloon--a bit of exoticism to set the brand apart--but where does the name come from? How do you even spell it?

The only google hits for the word relate to the Gunsmoke show. There are no suggestions for alternative spellings.

It's possible the show's creators made the name up out of thin air, but today I read in a commentary to the Inferno that Dante's knowledge of Ptolemaic cosmology probably came via a work by the Persian astronomer Alfraganus. There's a pretty strong correspondence between those names, but can a connection between them be established?

On the other hand, that -ganza ending looks like the ending of extravaganza--also a good theme for a saloon. Is this a blend of some kind? If your bookstore was offering 70% off ancient Persian astronomy texts, would it be an alafraganza?

Update: Is there an expert on Italian out there who has an opinion on this word? Google Translate offers "going between wings" for "ala fra ganza."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More Thoughts on Libraries

If you liked my last post on my personal library, you'll like this much better one by Ben Myers even more. (HT: Addenda & Errata, Evangelical Textual Criticism)

(Come to think of it, I suppose that if you hated my last post, you'd also like Myers's post more. So it's a sure bet.)

Myers gives twelve theses about libraries and librarians. Some of them are downright Chestertonian: drawing the poetry out of the most commonplace things, among other delightful inversions.

My favorite thesis is number 8, which contains a great quote from one Giorgio Agamben: “Like a true maze, the library [leads] the reader to his goal by leading him astray.”

One idle afternoon I was wandering the stacks at the University of Edinburgh's library when I found yards of books bearing the name G. K. Chesterton. I've heard of him, I thought. He's got something to do with C. S. Lewis, doesn't he? And I picked up All Is Grist.

There are echoes of Umberto among Myers's theses as well. The twelfth thesis reminds us that the librarian is a mistress of hidden knowledge. It plays on the fantasy that animates The Name of the Rose, The Thirteenth Tale, and countless other novels: finding the lost book. It may be forbidden or forgotten, rumored or restricted; what's actually in the book varies from novel to novel and is ultimately irrelevant. What matters is getting your hands on that book that no one else has held.

This story arc is the book lover's erogenous zone. Work it into your next novel, and librarians and book reviewers will melt into a puddle for you.

Other novels with a lost book theme include: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell; the Harry Potter series; others?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Burning through my books

Moving house is to libraries as fires are to forests. Burn out the dead wood and make room for new growth. It's part of the natural life cycle.

The first part of packing is easy--you box up the "absolutely yes" books and set aside the "absolutely no" ones. These two categories make up perhaps 40% of my collection.

Then it starts getting hard. That set of thirteen volumes about twentieth-century theologians? It does pad out the theology section nicely, but will I ever read them? My little section of Mormonalia? Those copies of Faust and Crime and Punishment from the Nobles County Public Library book sale?

The danger at this point is that weighing a certain book's fate (holding it in your hand, checking out the publisher, reading the back cover copy) can lead to sitting down on a pile of boxes and reading the text itself. Sometimes this can be instructive: after finally giving Velvet Elvis a go, I couldn't make it past the first page. So that's a no, then.

At other times, though, you sit down with Dante's Inferno and end up having to read the whole thing. And then, because you understood so little of it, you need to consult the separate commentary volume. Hours can be lost this way.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Leadership Lessons from a Shirtless Dancer

Do either of these guys (the shirtless dancer or the narrator) have a book deal yet?

HT: Kouya Chronicle

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sad Songs

I've been playing Bob Dylan's "North Country Blues" for the last week or so. It's relentlessly melancholy. Two chords and despair.

It got me thinking about the saddest songs I know. Here's my very short list.

(Okay, I was going to link to songza here, but it looks like they grew discontent with their niche in the Internet and are trying to be Pandora and/or Grooveshark. Grooveshark's embedded songs take too long to load. So . . . the links go to YouTube.)

"North Country Blues" by Bob Dylan
"The Snowy Downs" by The Roe Family Singers (sorry, I couldn't find this one online)
"Last Kiss" by Pearl Jam et al.
"Top of the World" by the Dixie Chicks

These are different kinds of sad song. Some are sentimental, some are horrific, some are just bleak.

What's the saddest song you know?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Regular Expression for Bible Cross References

I've been working on this bit-by-bit for weeks. It's a regular expression (see here for a tutorial) that recognizes Bible cross references (e.g., 1 Sam 1:1; Matt 2:1) in a variety of formats. The hardest thing about it was dealing with book names that contain numbers (1 Kings, 2 Corinthians, etc). Even now I'm not thrilled with the way it handles those, but I'm satisfied.

The "flavor" of reg-ex that this was developed in is VBScript. Other flavors might be able to handle things more elegantly. For example, I wish that I could just use \w for whitespace (including non-breaking spaces), but that shorthand character class doesn't seem to work. The only thing I've found that works for the space between a number and a word in a book name is ([^A-Za-z0-9]| | ), where the final character is a non-breaking space.

Anyway, here it is:

"\b((G(e(nesis)|e?n)|Ex(o(d(us)?)?)?|L(eviticus|e?v)|N(u(mbers)?|u?m)|D(euteronomy|(eu)?t)|J(os(hua)?|o?sh)|J(udg(es)?|gs|d)|Ru(th?)?|Ezra?|Ne(h(emiah)?)?|Est(h(er)?)?|Jo?b|Ps(alm)?s?|Pr(ov(erbs)?)?|Ec(c(les(iastes)?)?)?|S(o(ng( of (Songs|Solomon))?)?|g)|Is(a(iah)?)?|J(e(remiah)?|e?r)|L(a(mentations)?|a?m)|Ez(e(kiel)?|e?k)|D(a(niel)?|a?n)|Ho(s(ea)?)?|J(oe)?l|Am(os)?|Ob(a(d(iah)?)?)?|Jon(ah)?|M(i(c(ah)?)?|c)|N(a(h(um)?)?|h)|Hab(akkuk)?|Z(ep(h(aniah)?)?|p)|H(ag(g(ai)?)?|g)|Z(ec(h(ariah)?)?|c)|M(al(a(chi)?)?|l)|M(at(thew)?|(at)?t)|M(ar)?k|L(uke|[uk])|J(oh)?n|Ac(ts)?|R(o(mans)?|o?m)|G(al(atians)?|l)|Ep(h(esians)?)?|Ph(il(ippians)?|p)|C(o(l(ossians)?)?|l)|Ti(t(us)?)?|Ph(ile(m(on)?)?|l?m)|H(e(b(rews)?)?|b)|Ja((me)?s|m)|J(ude?|d)|R(e(velation)?|e?v)|Bar(uch)?|Add([^A-Za-z0-9]| | )?Dan|Pr(ayer)?[^A-Za-z0-9]?(of )?Azar(iah)?|Bel( and the Dragon)?|S(on)?g( of the |([^A-Za-z0-9]| | )?)Three( Children)?|Sus(anna)?|Add(itions to |([^A-Za-z0-9]| | )?)Esth(er)?|Ep(istle of |([^A-Za-z0-9]| | )?)Jer(emiah)?|J(udith|dt)|Pr(ayer of([^A-Za-z0-9]| | )?)Man(asseh)?|Sir(ach)?|Tob(it)?|Wis(dom of Solomon)?)|(([1-4]|First|Second|Third|Fourth|I{1,3}|IV)([^A-Za-z0-9]| | )?(S(amuel|a?m)|K((in)?gs)?|Ch(r(on(icles)?)?)?|Co(r(inthians)?)?|Th(ess?(alonians)?)?|T(i(mothy)?|i?m)|P(eter|e?t)?|J((oh)?n)?|Esdr(as)?|Macc(abees)?)|(SAM|KGS|CHR|COR|THE|TIM|PET|JOH)[1-3]))(\.?)([^A-Za-z0-9]| | )?([0-9]{1,3})(([:\.,]([0-9]{1,3})(f{1,2}|[a-z])?[-–]([0-9]{1,3})[:\.,]([0-9]{1,3})(f{1,2}|[a-z])?|[:\.,]([0-9]{1,3})(f{1,2}|[a-z])?[-–]([0-9]{1,3})(f{1,2}|[a-z])?|[:\.,]([0-9]{1,3})(f{1,2}|[a-z])?|[-–]([0-9]{1,3}))?)([,;]([^A-Za-z0-9]| | )?(((([1-4]|First|Second|Third|Fourth|I{1,3}|IV)([^A-Za-z0-9]| | )?(S(amuel|a?m)|K((in)?gs)?|Ch(r(on(icles)?)?)?|Co(r(inthians)?)?|Th(ess?(alonians)?)?|T(i(mothy)?|i?m)|P(eter|e?t)?|J((oh)?n)?|Esdr(as)?|Macc(abees)?)|(SAM|KGS|CHR|COR|THE|TIM|PET|JOH)[1-3])(\.?)([^A-Za-z0-9]| | )?([0-9]{1,3})([:\.,]([0-9]{1,3})(f{1,2}|[a-z])?[-–]([0-9]{1,3})[:\.,]([0-9]{1,3})(f{1,2}|[a-z])?|[:\.,]([0-9]{1,3})(f{1,2}|[a-z])?[-–]([0-9]{1,3})(f{1,2}|[a-z])?|[:\.,]([0-9]{1,3})(f{1,2}|[a-z])?|[-–]([0-9]{1,3}))?)|([0-9]{1,3})([:\.,]([0-9]{1,3})(f{1,2}|[a-z])?[-–]([0-9]{1,3})[:\.,]([0-9]{1,3})(f{1,2}|[a-z])?|[:\.,]([0-9]{1,3})(f{1,2}|[a-z])?[-–]([0-9]{1,3})(f{1,2}|[a-z])?|[:\.,]([0-9]{1,3})(f{1,2}|[a-z])?|[-–]([0-9]{1,3}))?))*\b"

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Budget Planning with Excel: The Expense Form

The biggest time-saver in my hack of Excel is the expense form I created:

You can design forms like these in the Visual Basic Editor. (Here's a tutorial.)

When I enter a receipt into the budget (yes, we save all our receipts; I know it sounds like a pain, but it's helpful), I select the column of the account that I paid with and the row that shows the date. Then I launch the expense form (I assigned it to Ctrl + E).

The picture above reflects a Target receipt from February 1. We bought items in three budget categories: A supplement that falls under health expenses ("Out-of-pocket"), conditioner ("Toiletries") and soy milk ("Groceries"). I enter the total bill in the first box, assign the expense to at least one budget category in the "Budget" frame, and add a comment (usually the name of the store where the purchase was made).

The form is particularly helpful for split checks like this one. When I add second and third budget categories, the form calculates how much of the bill remains in the first category. This means I can just enter the retail prices for the soy milk ($2.59) and conditioner ($3.14), and the form will deduct the remainder of the bill from Out-of-pocket. (This ends up sticking one category with all the tax, but I'm content with that level of imprecision.)

When I hit OK, my Visual Basic code takes the information from the form and writes it to the proper spots on the spreadsheet: the expense is taken out of the account, the proper budget categories are docked, and the comment is created. Before 2010, I was doing each of these actions separately. Splitting a receipt like this one into multiple budget categories required redundant comments on each cell involved.

So, what does this code look like? Something like this:

Dim expense, c2, c3, c4, c5 As Currency

Private Sub cbOK_Click()
'Write the textbox contents to their correct cell.
   Dim r, i As Long
   Dim cExpense, cCat1, cCat2, cCat3, cCat4, cCat5 As Long
   Dim s As Worksheet
   Dim txtArr(3)
   Dim cbArr(3)
   Dim colArr(3)

   Set s = ActiveSheet
   r = ActiveCell.Row
   cExpense = ActiveCell.Column

'Choose column based on combobox contents.
'If there's an amount for the category, write the amount to the correct column.
   If Me.cbCategory1.Value = vbNullString Then
      MsgBox "Specify a budget category"
      Exit Sub
      cCat1 = ReturnColumnNumber(Me.cbCategory1.Text)
      If s.Cells(r, CInt(cCat1)).Value <> vbNullString Then
         MsgBox "Please create a new line for this transaction."
         Exit Sub
      End If
      s.Cells(r, CInt(cCat1)).Value = CCur(-1 * Me.txtCategory1.Value)
   End If
'Try using arrays of controls to cut down on code for categories 2-5
   Set txtArr(0) = Me.txtCategory2
   Set txtArr(1) = Me.txtCategory3
   Set txtArr(2) = Me.txtCategory4
   Set txtArr(3) = Me.txtCategory5

   Set cbArr(0) = Me.cbCategory2
   Set cbArr(1) = Me.cbCategory3
   Set cbArr(2) = Me.cbCategory4
   Set cbArr(3) = Me.cbCategory5

   For i = 0 To UBound(txtArr)
      If txtArr(i).Value <> vbNullString Then
         If cbArr(i).Value = vbNullString Then
            MsgBox "Specify a budget category."
            Exit Sub
            colArr(i) = ReturnColumnNumber(cbArr(i).Text)
            If s.Cells(r, CInt(colArr(i))).Value <> vbNullString Then
               MsgBox "Please create a new line for this transaction."
               Exit Sub
            End If
            s.Cells(r, CInt(colArr(i))).Value = CCur(-1 * txtArr(i).Value)
         End If
      End If
   Next i

'Write the expense
   s.Cells(r, cExpense).Value = CCur(-1 * Me.txtExpense.Value)

   If Me.cbComment.Value <> vbNullString Then
      ActiveCell.AddComment (Me.cbComment.Value)
   End If

   Unload Me
End Sub

Private Sub cbCancel_Click()
   Unload Me
End Sub

Private Sub txtExpense_Change()
   Me.txtCategory1.Value = expense - c2 - c3 - c4 - c5
End Sub

Private Sub txtCategory2_Change()
   Me.txtCategory1.Value = expense - c2 - c3 - c4 - c5
End Sub
'There's an identical subroutine for the text boxes for categories 3, 4, and 5. Not shown in this post.

Private Sub UserForm_Initialize()
   Dim i As Integer
   Dim catList As String
   Dim catArr As Variant
'Fill in date
   Me.txtDate.Text = ActiveSheet.Range("A" & ActiveCell.Row & ":A" & ActiveCell.Row).Text
'Populate budget category comboboxes
   catList = ListBudgetCategories
   catArr = Split(catList, "|")
   For i = 0 To UBound(catArr)
      Me.cbCategory1.AddItem (catArr(i))
      Me.cbCategory2.AddItem (catArr(i))
      Me.cbCategory3.AddItem (catArr(i))
      Me.cbCategory4.AddItem (catArr(i))
      Me.cbCategory5.AddItem (catArr(i))
   Next i
'Populate comment combobox
   catList = ListComments
   catArr = Split(catList, "|")
   For i = 0 To UBound(catArr)
      Me.cbComment.AddItem (catArr(i))
   Next i
End Sub

Private Function ConvertToCurrency()
   Dim txtArr(4)
   Dim valArr(4)
   Dim i As Long
'Validate numeric entry and set variables equal to box contents.
   If TypeName(Me.ActiveControl) = "TextBox" Then
      With Me.ActiveControl
         If Not IsNumeric(.Value) And .Value <> vbNullString Then
            .Value = vbNullString
         End If
      End With
   End If
'For things in Budget frame, need to refer to the control within the frame control.
   If TypeName(Me.ActiveControl) = "Frame" Then
      With Me.ActiveControl.ActiveControl
         If Not IsNumeric(.Value) And .Value <> vbNullString Then
            .Value = vbNullString
         End If
      End With
   End If

'Cycle through array of textboxes
   Set txtArr(0) = Me.txtExpense
   Set txtArr(1) = Me.txtCategory2
   Set txtArr(2) = Me.txtCategory3
   Set txtArr(3) = Me.txtCategory4
   Set txtArr(4) = Me.txtCategory5

   For i = 0 To UBound(txtArr)
      If txtArr(i).Value = vbNullString Then
         valArr(i) = 0
         Else: valArr(i) = txtArr(i).Value
      End If
   Next i
   expense = CCur(txtArr(0))
   c2 = valArr(1)
   c3 = valArr(2)
   c4 = valArr(3)
   c5 = valArr(4)
End Function

Function ListBudgetCategories() As String
   Dim i As Long
   Dim catList As String
'If a column is green in row 4, that means it's a budget category, so add it to the combobox.
   For i = 1 To 55
      If ActiveSheet.Cells(4, i).Interior.Color = 14545386 Then
         catList = catList & "|" & ActiveSheet.Cells(2, i).Value
      End If
   Next i
   catList = Replace(catList, "|", "", , 1)
   ListBudgetCategories = catList
End Function

Function ListComments() As String
'Populate the Comment combobox with the comments that already exist on the page.
   Dim comList As String
   Dim com As Comment

   For Each com In ActiveSheet.Comments
      comList = comList & "|" & com.Text
   comList = Replace(comList, "|", "", , 1)
   comList = Replace(comList, Chr(10), "")
   ListComments = comList
End Function

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Justifying My Media Consumption

While laid up with a hurting back this weekend, I watched a great deal of media.

I also read a great book, How Fiction Works by James Wood. Great writing, beautiful typesetting. I just read a quip about Wood that he seems "to want to be his own grandfather." The throwback design of the book supports that notion, with it's wide margins, section numbers, and running heads that summarize the contents of the spread. I love that stuff, and yes, I've been trying to be my own grandfather for some time now.

But if I go on about literary criticism, I'll be misrepresenting the weekend. What I really did this weekend was consume TV and movies. Specifically:

Several episodes of Parks and Recreation: Great concept and characters. I particularly like the setting and the character of Ron Swanson, who may have the most earnest (= least ironic) mustache on television in the last twenty years.

Several episodes of Family Guy: So, is Peter raped in every other episode now? I think I'm finally writing this show off for good. Then again, they made a joke about Picard's flute from the episode "The Inner Light." So it kind of evens out.

Benny and Joon: This continues our series of watching VHS tapes we got for free at rummage sales. Can't say I was impressed. Johnny Depp's physical comedy was about 10% of the movie. If it had been 90% . . .

Sixteen Candles: The VHS series again. I don't care if you think this is a classic; it just plain stinks. Unintelligible, unfunny dreck.

Moral of the story: recommended books are better than recommended movies.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

What's Wrong with Muscular Christianity?

The New York Times reports "More Churches Promote Martial Arts to Reach Young Men."

As the article points out, this isn't the first time that America has seen a movement to inject more masculinity into a church (and a Jesus) perceived as feminine. The most famous legacy of this earlier iteration of "muscular Christianity" is the YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association).

I suppose I could resent the movement for that. Some of the most hateful hours of my adolescence were spent in my hometown Y, compelled by my dad to work out when I'd rather have been a few blocks down at the library. For years afterward, the smell of that place, the smell of rubber mats and disinfectant, made me queasy and anxious.

For the most part, I've gotten over my hatred of weights and workouts. I attempt a CrossFit workout two to four times a week (and brag endlessly about my accomplishments). I've come to appreciate the joy that the pursuit of fitness can give (sore muscles and creaking joints included). I've come to see the struggle for fitness (the αγων, if you will) as virtuous.

I use that word virtuous intentionally, with an etymological implication. Virtue (the word, not the concept) originates in Latin virtus, "strength, manliness." A man who tests his strength against an opponent, in a footrace or in a fight, does what is fitting for a man.

I hasten to add that none of this should be taken as disparaging women athletes or men who are not athletes. My wife, now 21 weeks pregnant, is still a better athlete than I. It is possible to revel in a quality of manliness without saying that that quality is all there is to manliness; or that men alone own that quality.

In short, it is possible to thank God for being a man without adding "And thank God I'm not a woman."

(Along the same lines, it's possible to say, "I'm proud to be an American" without implying "I'd be ashamed to be one of those poor slobs who's not." But that's another post.)

Which brings us, belatedly, to my problem with muscular Christianity. Its always accompanied by unmanly whining about feminization, ungentlemanly scorn of women and "feminine" men, and unvirtuous assertions of a man's right to lead. For example:

“The man should be the overall leader of the household,” said Ryan Dobson, 39, a pastor and fan of mixed martial arts who is the son of James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, a prominent evangelical group. “We’ve raised a generation of little boys.”

Even if you believe that every man has a God-given right to lead his household, surely it's unmanly to go on about it so. It makes it sound as though the problem is these darn women who refuse to follow. Is there anything less manly than blaming a woman for your failures?

Let men not be taught to shift blame; let them not be given excuses to demand their own way; let them not learn to despise those considered weak.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Brave New World Computers

An interesting post about what the future of computers might look like, once the desktop goes the way of the floppy disk (HT: Lileks). Particularly, how will hackers (in the non-pejorative sense) cope with losing the flexibility and openness of current file systems.

Personally, I hate the idea of hacking going away so soon after discovering it. The stuff about Excel I've been posting is all about getting under the hood of a program to make it more efficient for you. I'm not very good at it, and what I'm doing is rudimentary, but I was hoping to keep at it for awhile. I was hoping that learning this stuff meant I was catching up, but now stevenf tells me it's just turning me into an Old World computer user. Sad.