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Comment Re:WTF (Score 1) 496

Did you say 'news'?, and then.................say 'cnn', in the same sentence? I suppose once upon a time they covered the news but it's been awhile I'm sad to say. I'd have to agree with the person who says he listens to NPR instead. I read a newspaper, or two.

I do not expect to find the news on the web however.

Comment Re:ah yes, anti-perl tirades are refreshing (Score 1) 207

Not trying to be sarcastic here but let me try to get straight what you are saying:

1)Application standpoint -> Perl's bad
2)Programming language -> Perl's bad
3)Advanced scripting language -> Perl does that really, really well.

So I assume that 1 and 2 are more or less the same. Programming languages are used for applications and Perl is not a real programming language and thus bad for building applications. Not trying to put words in your mouth here but just making sure I understand you.

On the other hand Perl is great at advanced scripting.

Don't you think that the line between advanced scripting and an 'application' can sometimes be very thin? Do you see them always as very far apart?

What do you think about what seems to be the rising popularity of scripting languages? Is it possible that some users think that programming languages for applications might be beautiful but aren't always as practical as advanced scripting languages? I realize I could be wrong about the 'rising popularity' of scripting languages. It's based more on what I read than on actual experience. Still it does at least look like there is a trend towards dynamic scripting languages.

Comment Re:ah yes, anti-perl tirades are refreshing (Score 1) 207

I was looking forward to reading this book based on the thread above. But you're right, Peter Deutsch's comment about perl is less refeshing than asinine. I'd love to see a thoughtful analysis of perl compared to other languages, because sometimes, even though it's the language I use most frequently, it drives me nuts. But calling it 'an abomination' doesn't quite qualify as thoughtful analysis. And it certainly doesn't consider that it must be doing something right to still be used in so much functioning code.

As essay or two on elegance and reductionism versus practicality would be nice to see in the book.

Comment As silly as Twitter is (Score 1) 99

don't you think it's the Opera Company that looks dumb here? This seems like the most desperate, and obvious, attempt in the world to widen its audience. You can't go anywhere or do anything anymore without being invited to 'follow us on Twitter.' When I'm bombarded that often by the same advertising I have to think that the product being peddled is hopelessly out of date. Everyone seems to want to get on the Twitter bandwagon regardless of whether it has anything to do with them or their business.

There was a time in the arts where it might have been somewhat bold and refreshing to engage the audience in some way. But that was about 40 years ago. To suggest that tweets from the public will be used for a libretto seems, to me anyway, to be far more about getting on a bandwagon and hoping for the best, than it does about art. Sometimes I wonder if the world can get any sillier. Then I have my answer.........

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 3, Insightful) 369

I'm in complete agreement. I can't stand reading anything on an electronic device. Not only is it unpleasant but it's actually harder to focus on what you read. As far as I'm concerned I know that I don't concentrate as well when reading anything online. It's just not conducive to focusing.

Even worse newspapers, who once wrote lengthy explanatory articles, are now writing shorter ones because that's the style of the web: short. So now it's getting harder and harder to find, and read, an in-depth explanation of anything. I'm sometimes wonder if future generations are just not going to know what in-depth means. I'm sure every generation criticizes younger generations and I realize I'm part of that tradition. Still I really do think that we're becoming a society that no longer knows how to explore anything in depth. That's what books excel at.

As Anonymous Coward says: take a book and read it next time you're in the library.

Comment Re:In other news... (Score 1) 226

I'm not quite sure how the desk calendars work but I got one a couple of years ago. Dullsville! But I've also been subscribing to the New Yorker for last three years or so. The cartoons in the magazine are much funnier. Maybe these calendars have this in small print:
'Rejects from', and in large print 'The New Yorker.'

As far as the drawing I'd be willing to bet that cover wouldn't have been published if it had not been drawn on an iphone. And I'd be willing to bet the 2nd, 3rd, ...400th drawings done on iphones probably won't get published anywhere. Their interest is their novelty. This is quite different from New Yorker articles which often are substantial.

Comment Re:So what's the news? Something subtle. (Score 1, Troll) 226

Oh you mean like the 'real' artists who have been copying Marcel Duchamps' urinal for over 100 years, tingling all over at just how radical and unconventional they are? Give me a break. This is nothing more than marketing for both Apple and the artist. I'd be embarrassed to both have made the art and to be the magazine that is displaying it. Sad to say I subscribe to the New Yorker. If their writing had as little so show for it as this art I'd drop my subscription tomorrow.

There has been a great deal of technological hype in the news over the last 10 years (and maybe 100 years if I really investigated). Newspapers, magazines, tv and other media often don't understand a topic well. But they do see a 'hook' they can use to latch onto something they don't understand. So the media see a new Kindle and think it will save newspapers. Or twitter will save just about anything. 'Everyone knows: Live Goes Better with Twitter!'. Or in this case: 'Look at this: if you wanted to you could make a drawing on your teeny little iphone'. You wouldn't have any control over line because the screen is too small to allow any subtlety of hand movement, the way you can with a pen or pencil on a sheet of paper. And it's so small you can't see any detail, so you don't know how it will look when it's printed much larger. And the color is probably off and won't look like what it will when it's printed. But you can say you did it on a phone. That's all that counts. We've got a hook! Print it.

Something similar happened recently with birding and The World Series of Birding. Most media will ignore birding for an entire year or more. Then along comes the World Series of Birding, which has a familiar, measurable, sportlike aspect to it. That's a hook. So everybody covers The World Series of Birding. There's nothing wrong with that. It's just that it misses what birding is to most people. But normal birding doesn't have that hook.

Comment Re:tl;dr and some style notes (Score 1) 105

You say that there is a limit to what can be parsed easily. But there is no such objective limit. Why do people continue to read such writers as James Joyce and Henry James? Obviously some readers do parse them and enjoy doing so. Of course fiction is not the same as non-fiction.

Nonetheless not all readers want or enjoy non-fiction writing that sacrifices nuance for simplicity. Sometimes, in fact most times from what I can tell, writing is so pared down, so simple, as to not have much substance to it. Obviously this is partially subjective. What is richly complex and rewarding to one reader is muddled and confusing to another. Every author needs to make a choice as to just who their audience is.

But there is no reason that an author needs to write for the lowest common denominator. That may be your suggestion but there's no reason that anyone else need agree with it.
I realize that you said you were writing with the good intention of helping the author be more effective in reaching his audience and I don't want to question that.

My argument is that I think that you are wrong in being so uncompromising in your idea of what is good and clear writing. Entangled clauses can be both better for explaining a subject and more enjoyable reading for the right audience.

I've spent a lot of time over the last month reading legal documents. They are incredibly complex and I'm only reading them because they refer to the company I work for. It is difficult reading. But as I've read them I've understood that their seeming complexity is really just an attempt to put very complex thoughts into precise, language. When I was done I admired the language used even though it had been a pain to understand it. But that's the value of language: it can help explain complicated subjects.

Comment Re:tl;dr and some style notes (Score 1, Insightful) 105

Your writing is just fine. If you read actual legal notes, as I've been doing recently, you realize how convoluted writing really can be. It's sad that most readers can no longer read a sentence with more than one clause in it. That's the reader's problem, not yours. God forbid that writing should sink to the level of the lowest common denominator.

This is one reason I can't see the internet ever replacing newspapers or magazines. The latter are designed for slower, more thoughtful reading. The former is better for quick news bytes and shorter bits of information. They both have their place. But many problems are complex and can only be explained in a complex way. Of course the best writers still manage to make their complex explanations seem simple. But none do it without multiple clauses. That's just part of explaining something in terms more simple than black and white.

Comment Re:Standardization (Score 1) 289

Worse than that there are too many people at newspapers wasting time, energy and hope on tech solutions. They most likely will not work because: 1, they don't address the problem of greatly declining PRINT(read costly enough to support a reporting staff) advertising; and 2, some loyal readers, myself included, hate to read the news digitally. I have to say I've never tried reading from an apparition in the sky, though.............

Obviously newspapers are in real trouble and they have to consider all solutions. My fear is that they'll put too much time, energy and hope with something this and then be in even sadder shape when they realize it wasn't the answer. I wish I knew the answer.

As a sidelight it's interesting that both Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger said the loss of newspapers would be a tragedy while at the same time saying that there is no way in the world they would invest additional money in them.

Comment Re:It's always the same story (Score 1) 126

I'm replying to a number of people here who asked why I say that selling ads doesn't work. It's strictly financial. How much are advertisers willing to pay to place advertisements on web pages? Not nearly enough numerous recent studies have shown. It has little to do with what users do with the ads - block them, click them or whatever. Web sites make money by selling ads to advertisers. If advertisers won't pay enough for them then sites don't make money. In particular they make little money in comparison to what they get in payment for print advertising, even though print advertising is in a tremendous decline. In addition, and I have to say I've read various articles saying that they do/don't make enough money from online advertising to pay for the online staff.

That in fact goes back to the original article. The people who were going to fund the online paper said that 3,000 subscribers was just not anywhere near enough money to support a staff of 30. My guess is that they also found a severe lack of advertising income.

Comment Re:It's always the same story (Score 5, Insightful) 126

Except 'selling ads' doesn't work and it doesn't come close to the amount of money made from print ads. That, and the tremendous problems that the current recession has brought to newspapers, is why they're considering charging for access. This venture is a bit different in that it's trying to replace a failed print paper not augment one.

Opinions go back and forth on this and most of them are not unbiased. Tell certain people that you have to charge for online news and they'll call you a Luddite who lives in the past, chases already failed dreams, etc. But I think most people who know anything about the industry and its economics know that online news is not a winning economic proposition, particularly if it is funded by ads. Those who believe that it is a winning model have to assume that things will change drastically after the recession. No one really knows but I suspect that they won't and this has been a foolish business strategy.

Nor is news free. In fact there is talk now of getting most print based web sites to coordinate the change to subscription. Thus you go from 'all the news is free' to 'no news is free.' People who say the news is free are idiots. It takes a tremendous amount of work and money to cover the news in a substantive way. And this has nothing to do with ideology. It costs the same for both left and right leaning papers. So news may seem free but it isn't. There is a large cost and for it to continue someone has to pay for it. In any case print papers are finally realizing that they are losing readers, and perhaps advertisers, because there is this thought that news is free and that it doesn't make sense to pay for a print newspaper.

They thought they might counter this with online sites and make up the lost money in online advertising. That didn't happen. So in this recession, with many papers filing for bankruptcy protection they have to consider all options, including pay sites. This would make little sense if people can get the news they want free elsewhere. But if all newspapers institute the same policy things might change. Newspapers know it is a huge gamble. But so is bankruptcy.

Sun Microsystems

Sun Announces New MySQL, Michael Widenius Forks 306

viktor.91 writes "Sun Microsystems announced three new MySQL products: MySQL 5.4, MySQL Cluster 7.0 and MySQL Enterprise Partner Program for 'Remote DBA' service providers." which showed up in the firehose today next to Glyn Moody's submission where he writes "Michael Widenius, founder and original developer of MySQL, says that most of the leading coders for that project have either left Sun or will be leaving in the wake of Oracle's takeover. To ensure MySQL's survival, he wants to fork from the official version — using his company Monty Program Ab to create what he calls a MySQL "Fedora" project. This raises the larger question of who really owns a commercial open software application: the corporate copyright holders, or the community?"

Comment Re:Mostly unrelated.. but No Banners/Web Advertism (Score 3, Interesting) 193

Well maybe,just maybe, that's the very reason that they're so popular! They give users what they want, not what someone in marketing/advertising thinks users ought to want, or what will give them a few more ad dollars but drive users off. They're old cliches but it seems silly to argue with success or fix what's not broken.

I'm going to make a very broad statement here: the most successful parts of the internet give users content, not advertising. Advertising revenue is a byproduct and it's a mistake to make it the priority as many sites have done, all the while arguing of course that they haven't.

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