Older blog entries for duncanm (starting at number 42)


It's interesting that you brought up that list of signs that someone is a science crank. I bought Stephen Wolfram's new book a few days ago (hasn't arrived yet), and it's funny to see how Wolfram work on this book satifies every single rule listed on the page.

It's a massive book, around 1200 pages or so. I dunno if I'll be able to understand all of it, but at least I can look at the cool pictures.

carl: The rules that you claim we break everyday are often rules laid down by prescriptive grammaticians in the past and these rules do not accurately describe the language itself. If you read some of Chomsky's writing on Linguistics, you'll learn that English is not any worse than any other natural human language.
Raph : I got a link to that article a little earlier, but didn't get around to read it. Thanks for bringing it up again, it was a good read.

I noticed you mentioned the mindless Slashdot discussion on "what makes a good programming language" earlier. While reading Graham's article, it seems like he also wrote about the topic. I just started reading the article, but I figured you might be interested.

Paul Graham's list of articles seem like a good site, I feel like reading a lot tonight.

It's oh so cold and windy in Boston tonight.


Anyone got a room to sublet from early August till early September in Boston? It would be best if it's close by the T.

please contact duncanm if you have a room.



Good luck to all the wonderful hackers at Eazel.

13 May 2001 (updated 13 May 2001 at 19:27 UTC) »

"What's validation and parser in Chinese?"

Hmmm, I think:

  • Validation could be hau jing, meaning, to correct by comparing/matching.

  • Parser could be guy dok hey, meaning, a tool for reading/decoding.
    Another possibility is guy ma, but that means "to decode", which is quite different from "to parse".

    guy mean "to explain, to simplify" and dok means "to read", so together, it becomes 'a tool for reading/decoding'. [*]

It's incredibly difficult to come up with good technical terms in Chinese. Most of the terms coined are either really cheesy, or just too convoluted to be used comfortably.

It's also a difficult task because many words' connotation and usage differ slightly depending on where you are. The regional differences between the Chinese used in Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and SE Asia (Singapore, Malaysia) make it impossible to do good 'pan-Chinese' translations. It's not like we don't understand each other, but the style of the language differs from region to region. A lot of Chinese software are geared towards Taiwan users or Mainland Chinese users, and people from Hong Kong -- like me, will find the words vaguely strange-sounding. Ugh.

If I have time, I should help review some of the Chinese translations for GNOME.

[*] I came up with the Cantonese-to-English phonetic transliteration for these words as I'm writing this. I'm too lazy to make sure I can write correct Pinyin. xcyber speaks Cantonese anyways. They're probably not the same as the standard method, but who cares.

1 Apr 2001 (updated 1 Apr 2001 at 21:27 UTC) »

Spent all day setting up my blog site at Dunkie.ManilaSites.com. Wrote a set of uploading scripts in python along the way, using Manila's XML-RPC interface.

I'll be moving my diary posting to there for now. Ciao.


I'm back. It was warm and spring-like yesterday and today it started to snow this afternoon. It's snowing and raining and windy. The sky is spewing down nasty grey stuff. Ugh.


Ugh, my head hurts. and I'm not sleeping right.

Edward Tufte

Went to the first one day course taught by the famous design guru Edward Tufte (the site is not up yet). Most brilliant. Got his three books (he said a fourth one is on its way) and 3 posters (one free from class, one I got as a gift from Peter, the organizer and I also bought the cool annotated Russian cyclotron (sp) poster.)

Professor Tufte's lecture was great. His 12 tips on how to give good presentations point out a lof of common flaws in the common "Bullet points and powerpoint"

presentations. He said he didn't remember saying, "Absolute power corrupts, Absolute Powerpoint corrupts absolutely", but he said it could just be a punchline he made up on the spot during one of his lectures.

Took a photo with him on my new disposible camera. Will scan and post it online when I get the film developed.

Also took some notes during the class, I might put some of them online at some point.

Despite the nasty weather and my headache, all of that made me very happy.


Didn't get into McGill, bummer.

voltron : I'm on my way to Boston. I'll call you when I get to Chicago.

Bye bye.. Hong Kong

14 Mar 2001 (updated 14 Mar 2001 at 13:58 UTC) »

So xcyber, my partner in crime during my summer job at Linux Center (HK) finally showed up here on Advogato. Greetings.

To fork or not to fork

xcyber's entry on the idea of "forking is good" is kinda interesting. Why do we condemn others when people try to fork code? When gtkhtml forked into CSChtml (or some such), it caused quite a stir... why is that?

People were a bit unhappy when GNOME 'forked' (kinda) from KDE, or when xemacs forked from gnuemacs, OpenBSD from NetBSD. But now, these projects (GNOME, xemacs and OpenBSD) are all seen as good, legit projects... why then do we condemn other efforts to fork code (and make the code do whatever they want to do)?

I guess one could argue it is a matter of how appropriate it is. Hmm... Comments?

Something else

I'm now in Hong Kong, enjoying my senior year spring break best I can. It's a bit boring, since everyone else is at school/work. Stuck with Windows at home (only for now, hopefully), I have been testing out some neat Windows programs. I tried Blogger earlier today and was impressed with how easy to use it is. We should have something like this on Linux too, since we're no longer only targeting power users.

AFAIK, ithought is the only blogger-like program avaliable on Linux now. voltron has been working on on ithought2, so it could get really interesting RSN.

Maybe putting this into Evolution could be really nice....

Downloading Groove now, we'll see how it goes.

Un peu plus

I read somewhere (maybe Scripting News?) that someone (maybe Steve Capps) said that "the web has no standard user interface." (paraphrased) I guess things like Blogger or Manila could one day help us organize and present our web content in a clear and standardized way.

The question is: Do we want a standard user interface for the web?

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