Stupid: When discussing how the complex analysis lecture I am tutoring for this semester is going to be run, we were told that we're trying out a newly developed website for distributing the notes and exercises as well as managing who's going to be in which group. Oh well I thought, here we are at the university that doesn't even manage to give you a complimentary e-mail address when you sign up, that has different systems for the library, administration, exams etc.... and what do they do? Of course come up with yet another system, err website...
It's called Stud.IP for reasons that are neither apparent nor easy to find out. To make things worse it seems to be an open source project which makes it probably very powerful and even more confusing to use in that it gives you more options than you'd ever want and thereby obfuscating the things you really want to do. They also seem to have made the mistake of going that annoying
there's more than one way to do it way, which completely destroys the predictability of navigation on non-trivial sites.
And while it is full of useful features such as 'chats' for every single item on it and full of useful information à la 'there are 599 more lectures you don't attend', there might even be some kind of merit to systems like this, if the following statements weren't lies: It unifies all my university-related data needs. And that's working now and not theoretically some time in the future. It's focused on usability and people's actual needs. It ties in with whatever other information infrastructure you use: Import/Export timetables (including a neat feature allowing subscription by iCal), Generating RSS feeds for my upcoming events. And as it has an address book, that surely provides a way to synch it with my local one...
And one more thing of the obvious kind: If your software's name is an anagram of stupid, people are going to make fun of it. But what do I know?
John Gruber on NeXT, the Mac, Carbon and Cocoa. An interesting read. Although I don't agree with his assessment of the 'Cocoa faster than Carbon' thing. Everybody who bothered to use a Mac and is aware of the 'little difference' knows that just using the standard methods (i.e. not taking shortcuts to Carbon or CoreFoundation or whatever), non-trivial Cocoa applications are sluggish (remember iCal 1.0?). Comparable Carbon applications will be snappier. (And with a low system load at least, Classic apps will be even faster...) I think speed-wise, Carbon wins.
On the other hand, programming Cocoa keeps you much closer to sanity and gives you many more things 'for free'. Carbon apps seem to struggle harder to provide users with the benefits of all OS X features such as Services, Sheets or a consistent interface.
No Word: Yet another document pointing out that Word files are bad mostly. A nice one, not too patronising and many links to other canonical documents are included.
Nurb-ism in the comments of Erik Barzeski's mini-post on reminding himself via cron scheduled MP3s. Interesting Idea. Wouldn't work for me, I guess, as I often don't listen to my computer (and I like forgetting how cron works...). But I tend to forget things as well, particularly when they're about removing food from appliances. May I recommend the ever excellent Tea Timer for that very purpose. It's less nerd-ish, nurb-ish and geeky than using cron, but has neater graphics instead, including an icon for lefties.
Bah! Hooray, I'm not alone in loving Dogbert. It's an attitude thing. There's also a nice followup to the 'Bah' strip where Dogbert first says
Sometimes I was and sometimes I hold up my paw and say, 'Bah!' with Ratbert responding
Bah! and Dogbert in turn responing
You're not allowed to say Bah. Take it back. –
Racism: Forwarded to me today my Mme Sanson, my former English teacher and favourite cosmopolitan, this allegedly non-fictional dialogue. She also sent this bit on bombing Iraq a while ago. Apparently a few conservative parents were not amused when it was discussed in class.
Received data seems to be invalid. The wanted file does probably not exist or the guys at last.fm changed something.