· Naughties
· · 2005
· · · January
· · · · 09 (3 entries)

Fast (They Say) and Open · There are a lot of people at Sun who are convinced that some sort of binary XML representation is a good idea. I’ve never been convinced, but they’re serious; they’ve drafted a proposal and are working on getting it standardized; informally it’s called the “Fast Infoset” and officially it’s “ITU-T Rec. X.891 | ISO/IEC 24824-1”. I’ve been particularly dubious because it’s built on ASN.1, which I’ve had bad experiences with. But those mostly had to do with broken or unavailable software, and that objection may be moot, because as Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart writes, they’re shipping an Open Source implementation. Eduardo also tells me they’re getting lots of interest from outside of Sun. Hey, as long as whenever someone tells me “I interchange XML” that means they’re willing to interchange streams of Unicode characters with angle brackets, I’m OK.
Jeremy and Keystrokes · I see that Jeremy Zawodny has switched away from Mac, at least partially. One of his reasons is also my #1 gripe with OS X, the primitive keyboard access to application functions. Windows and modern Linuxes both do a much better job of this than OS X. Apple refuses to worry about this because, they say, we’ve done the research and it shows that you pitiful peasants just think keyboarding is faster, mousing is faster and we can prove it. I personally don’t believe it. When I, for example, want to flip a photo 90° right (or left), it is quicker in PaintShop Pro to hit CTL-R, R (or L), Enter (and if I’m flipping it the same way as last time, I can skip the R/L) than it is in PhotoShop to grab the mouse and go through two levels of cascading menus. Since I persist in believing this, am I a jungle-drumming anti-scientific primitive? Well, once I tried to track down the experimental evidence, only it doesn’t seem to be online, and the one time I found an abstract (this morning I looked again and couldn’t find even that), it said something about measuring the responses of “a variety of users across a variety of operations”. Well, I don’t give a flying flapdoodle about a variety of users and a variety of operations; I care about the things that I do all the time, and by definition, I am an expert at the things I do all the time, and every time Apple makes me reach for the mouse, I swear. I work for a company that would really like me to switch to another desktop [Update: or maybe this], and if I do, this persistent stupidity about keystrokes will probably be the #1 cause. [To all the helpful people who’ve written me about OS X’s “Full Keyboard Access”, thank you, I know about it, compared to the state of the art on Windows and Linux it’s a toy.]
Photointegrity Again · Anyone who, like me, worries about the relationship between photography and truth, should take the time to read this New York Times piece on the subject. [Update: What was I thinking? I neglected to mention probably the most thoughtful writing ever on this subject, which was of course by Susan Sontag; some is online here and here.]
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