October 12th, 2005

Semiformalishmaybe

Dispensing with Potable Shadow

King David Concorde wine is the sweetest red wine I have ever had, and the fact that it's a red wine is all the more surprising. Last night, a friend and I finished the bottle -- in the future on the rare occasions I drink alcohol (which will almost always be wine), I will be certain not to use a corker on the bottle before I check to see that it is not a screw-cap.

Recently, I was talking with another friend (oddly, I can't remember who it was) about New Orleans, and they suggested that it was a dumb place to build a city in the first place. Their suggestion is to not rebuild New Orleans, leaving only the french quarter (the only part of the city that was not built below sea level). There's a certain appeal to the idea -- should we continue to extend ourselves into parts of the earth where we're tempting nature? How does this compare to the Netherlands or possibly even space? I think with space, although we're tempting circumstance with the idea of settling space in air-contained units, it's something where the benefits are sufficiently compelling that we need to forge ahead. It is, I think, our destiny, once the technology we need to make them self-sustaining is ready. Back to underwarer cities on Terra, it is unnecessarily risky to tempt circumstance by building in such naturally unstable areas.

Two random peeves with vim, my favourite editor -- first, it's too easy for me to accidentally associate a count with an insert, causing me to, when I switch modes and type a bit, insert multiple copies of what I type in the document. *Very occasionally* it's handy, but usually it ends up repeating a few sentences 50 times, a mess that I get to manually clean up. I would like to have the insert mode marker use some of the massive empty space it has to warn me that I am using a multiplier. A la:

Secondly, it's easy for me to get into recording mode accidentally, and I never remember how to get out of it. I typically quit whatever I'm editing when I accidentally do this, and restart my editor. I would .. hmm.. actually, I can remap the activation key to nothing ... .. actually, I already have on my laptop, but I forgot to update my preferences on my server. Yeah, forget that gripe :) Ahh, the joys of a highly customizable editor.

Thinking about it, gui applications like Microsoft word are also very customizable, but because those customizations live in the registry, people can't easily move them from machine to machine or otherwise manage them, and because of that, it's simply not worth customizing them in most cases. The registry is a bad design decision because it makes managing preferences/settings too hard. It's one of those design decisions that's only evident when you use the system for awhile. One of the original design philosophies of Unix continues to serve us to this day -- when everything is a file, everything is easy to manage.

From the "that's not how it works" department, an environmental activist refuses to go to jail until some other guy does. I feel for her, think she's doing the right thing, and wish her well, but .. "refusing to go to jail"? How does that work exactly? I don't think the police would care very much that one refuses to go as they cart one off to prison. Can she "refuse to be there" once she arrives?

Some random dude happens to have a nice account of his stay in capsule hotels, with pictures. I've always been curious about them -- someday I'll have to stay in one.

Finally, as a random blurb, according to Alexa, for Wikipedia the most commonly used language versions are in order:

  1. English with 65 percent
  2. Japanese with 10
  3. German with 7
  4. Mandarin with 4
  5. Spanish with 3
Surprisingly, the Brazilians, who are otherwise swarming the internet, have not yet managed to make a significant dent on Wikipedia -- on most other sites I'm on, they outnumber USA citizens.

I have been starting to do more writing recently. I will probably order a Sitar or a Balalaika next month if I don't need to get a new laptop by then.