15 Jul 2003
(updated 30 Sep 2008 at 23:14 UTC) »
Larry Solum, a law blogger, has begun a series on intellectual property on the divide between
legal theorists and practicing lawyers, the first post
responding to arguments at Scrivener's error that,
irritatingly, he doesn't link
to. I think the series is important: by and large IP theorists
are on the side of weak IP, and practicing IP lawyers are
Postscript: Are two-layer UIs a good thing?
It's a common pattern in
applications that they
are given two interfaces, a deep interface that exposes as
much functionality as possible, and is usually made
available as a library, and a shallow
interface that exposes only a subset of the functionality
needed in most common user interactions, and which is available
as a command-line argument interpreter, or as a GUI.
There are generally good reasons for adopting this pattern,
but I wonder if it is overutilised through familiarity. Two
- Why shouldn't we expose all the functionality in the user
interface? Embedded scripting languages and their LISPish
ancestors make this kind of thing easy, and you can even have
dialog boxes in GUIs if you like.
- I'm also intrigued by what the Mozilla folk are doing with
XUL. They don't see there as being *one* shallow interface
to the Mozilla code base, but a whole family of them. Everyone
can write their own browser-like application through XUL, so
we have an application as domain specific language.
Obviously, flexibility doesn't make good UIs, but I wonder
if we might not get UIs that better balance the needs of
both ordinary and expert users if we go someway down this
Postscript #2: VIPS
The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity caused a bit
of a stir back in April contractadicting claims of there
being a consensus in the intelligence community saying
Saddam Hussein's regime had an active nuclear weapon's development
programme. Now they are calling
for VP Cheney's resignation. Does anyone know anything about this
group, other than the usual boilerplate one hears that they are a bunch of
mostly retired CIA analysts
spread across the USA?
Unbelievable. (In case you think this is just common or
garden stupidity, bear in mind this is the front page story of the UK magazine
that styles itself the magazine of choice for the intelligent conservative).
Felix Salmon linked to PS3 above in his article Pyramid schemes in the