When
· 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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