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Comment Re:I could be missing something (Score 1) 96

Perhaps a little OT, but: "Then comes the list of problems. It says, 'John and his father go out to look at the stars. John sees two blue stars and a red star. His father sees a green star, a violet star, and two yellow stars. What is the total temperature of the stars seen by John and his father?' -- and I would explode in horror." (Richard Feynman, on a "new math" textbook he was reading)

Comment Re:Linguistically unsound (Score 1) 32

American Sign Language (ASL) has a syntax and morphology as different from English as that of Chinese or Arabic. There are some examples here: http://files.start-american-si.... (I'm sure that's true of other sign languages as well.) It may be that these researchers do some kind of grammatical analysis (the links don't say), but it's highly unlikely that it uses the same statistically based MT approach that Google MT and other modern MT systems use, for a simple reason: statistical MT works off of bilingual parallel corpora (texts written in the two languages), but there's next to no written corpus of ASL. So they're probably translating word-for-word.

Comment Re:Relevance? (Score 1) 461

I'll agree with a lot of what you say, but I draw the line at replacing text with icons "Because text takes longer for the brain to process!" I doubt that, and at least in my case it's almost certainly not true. I've puzzled over a lot of odd icons, and even the ones that I can recognize I ignore for the text labels. (Heaven help me if they stop putting labels on the icons.) Also, as someone pointed out above what icons make sense has changed with newer generations. My generation (Old Fogies) would recognize file cabinets and file folders; not sure that makes sense to the latest generation. But "Files" and "Folders" probably does, if for no other reason than the fact that those are still the terms used by computer geeks (or "Directories").

Comment Re:Not Sure (Score 1) 461

Microsoft Office since the 2010 version has had an analogous problem. It used to be that the bar at the top of an app's pane would change color (dark blue to gray, for instance) when it lost keyboard focus. But now there's no such clue; many a time I've started typing (or worse, hit the key) when I thought the focus was somewhere else.

Comment Re:Not Sure (Score 1) 461

You're probably right about the shape of icons (I'm one of those old fogies, nearly old enough to remember a gramophone). But the flat icons don't help any with that. I noticed the other day that Outlook has yellow folder icons with no borders. The old icons were more or less the same color, but had borders. The new ones make me squint. There's a reason for that: human vision is sharp for black and white, but blurry for color. That's why ink-and-watercolor drawings work, even when the water colors go outside the black lines; our eyes (and brain) more or less ignore colored boundaries. Of course menus don't have that problem. But don't get me started about the awful R_i_b_b_o_n.

Comment Now that's a name I've not heard in a long time. (Score 4, Funny) 220

Slide rules are indeed a very old technology. In fact, the underlying principle goes all the way back to Noah.

After Noah got off the Ark, he sent the animals to go forth and multiply. And each month he went out to see how they were doing. As you might guess, after the first month or so there were baby rabbits, then baby cats and dogs soon after, and even a baby elephant after the first year. But month after month, Noah could find no baby snakes.

Finally it dawned on him that the snakes were cold blooded, and needed to sun themselves in order to get active. But the wet ground, and the lack of trees, had been perfect for bushes, weeds, and all kinds of plants, and the snakes were getting shaded out as it were. So Noah went back to the Ark, collected some timbers he'd used to strengthen the decks, and used them to build a table. And sure enough, the next month there were baby snakes! (scroll down...)

Which just shows to go, even an adder can multiply if you give him a log table.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"