In which I’m just having a hard time keeping up with it all


Again, I’m sorry. It’s just that WordPress has decided to force me to use some new, “Bad” model editor to enter these posts instead of letting me carry on using the Classic or “good” editor. And if that weren’t enough strain, TCM went and changed their web site so now it shows much less information, but is also slower about it. I haven’t wanted the new version of any web site since 2004 and I have never met anyone who did.

I Just Want To Check That I Understand A Technology Thing Right


Check my work on this. The reason every web site nowadays, including the ones that just show you what the Linotype keyboard layout looked like and reprint old tips for how to get proficient at mechanical typesetting, ask for permission to send you notifications is because they’re run by vampires, right? And they need you to say they’re allowed in before they can come and vampire out all over you? Because I can’t think of another answer that fits the available facts.

Mind, Some Of The 90s Are Still With Us


So here I’ve gone and learned that WebRing.org is still up and even running. I’m delighted. I only hope that it’s formed partnerships with five similar discover-the-web sites, and that three of those are down. This is wonderful.

Where I Should Be And Where I Am


So what I should be doing is working out some messes with web site APIs. An API is a thing which is supposed to let your web site do a thing, but that doesn’t work. Then you search for explanations of why it doesn’t work, and you find people who’ve had a problem that seems like it might be the same one you have. It has some answer that the original poster says worked, but when you read it, there’s somehow just enough words missing that you can’t be sure quite what you were supposed to have set up already and what was supposed to change and what’s a completely different conceptual framework from your traditional ideas of “working” and “not working”. It’s all good fun.

What I am doing is watching a bunch of low-effort gangster movies from the 1930s with ever-growing fascination at the intense nasal twang with which actors of this era would say, “HEL-lo, in-SPECT-or”.

I believe history will vindicate my choice.

Statistics Saturday: What Web Site Designers Hope You Think About The New Design


  • Well, that helps things!
  • Suddenly I can find the stuff I’ve been coming here for!
  • The elements flow together so much more logically now!
  • Those are some great typefaces!
  • Gosh I hope it has that infinite-scrolling thing where you never find the bottom of any page ever.
  • I’m glad it doesn’t do that thing where it just loads the entire page, and instead I have to scroll around and look at stuff before it displays.
  • Okay, but can they send me notifications now?
  • Maybe it is designed to be read on the phone but it looks so nice and spacious on a computer!
  • Wait, it isn’t part of a web ring anymore?
  • I hope someone gave the designers a hug after they were told to make all these changes.

Reference: The Lure Of The Integers, Joe Roberts.

Some Unwise Resolutions


To allow a web site to send notifications. Something’s gotten into web sites recently that they want to notify you of things. There’s no good reason for that. The only legitimate thing a web site might want to send you is a notice that they have something for you to look at. But you knew that. What more can it have to tell you? So any attempt to notify you of things is a bluff. The site might start out with things of actual slight interest, like “there is no English word for [ and here a big blank space exists ]”, or “The Wrinkle In Time movie was one of the fifty highest-grossing motion pictures of 2018”, or, “there was a Wrinkle In Time movie in 2018”.

After about four days they’ll run out of stuff to talk about. “Bobby London was the only Popeye comic strip artist born after the character Popeye was created.” You’ll get ever-more-marginal items, like, “you mean about the same thing if you say `that’s nothing to laugh at’ or `that’s nothing to sneeze at’ but if you mix up laughing and sneezing in other contexts it’s awkward”. Carry on another two weeks and it’ll be asking things like, “remember that jingle for Bon-Bons candy in the 80s? If you don’t, here it is!” Two weeks after that the web site notifications author will have run out entirely of content and will just be sending you their fanfic from high school. Maybe their poetry. And then they’ll ask you to have opinions and to be honest and then where are you going to be?

To not be eaten by a bear. This is a traditional resolution, dating back to the days when people had good reason to worry about bears getting into them. Its earliest known appearance in a pamphlet published during the English Civil War, where it was taken to be some kind of satire about the Cavaliers or some fool thing because everything was back then. The flaw with this as a resolution is obvious to even the most basic trainee genie: even if you manage to avoid being eaten by a bear there’s nothing keeping you from being eaten by that other bear who’s also hanging around. And trying to tighten it up by resolving “to not be eaten by every bear”? Then if every bear that ever existed except one were to dine on and using you, your resolution would be satisfied, while you would not be. The resolution needs a lot of logical tightening-up before it’ll do what you want.

To reach inbox zero. Never, never attempt this. Just attempting will leave you becalmed in a world of feeling guilty about not answering that friend who sent that sweet just-thinking-of-you note two Februaries ago. And if you succeed? If you reach inbox zero you die for keeps. Whereas if you die with a decent heap of miscellaneous e-mails? Your ghost continues to walk the earth, trying to sort e-mails into their key categories:

  • Things which may be deleted.
  • Things which belong in an archive where they will never be read.
  • Things which are the pants vendor at the outlet mall near the city where you used to live six years ago hoping to reestablish some kind of relationship with you.
  • Things which need an answer.

As things stand I’ve got, like, forty years after my death sorting all this out and I’m going to use all that time.

To not grow taller. Most of us adopt this resolution without thinking about it. We start out growing just fine and after maybe two decades of life just let it taper out. And it’s understandable. By the time we’ve reached our early twenties we’re usually large enough for most of the good amusement park rides. Growing any bigger yet would upset the delicate ecosystem of our wardrobe. And who needs the bother? So it’s natural we all drift to about the same decision.

But! It’s a different thing when you resolve not to grow any taller, no matter what. That’s just closing off potential adventure. And yeah, you reach a point in life where adventure is too much work. You get more into activities like sitting and having knee pain. If someone came to you right this minute and asked you to be eighty feet tall and maybe tromping around downtown if the National Guard promised to be ineffective against you, would you say yes? Why not?

To label all the wires behind the home entertainment system. The only reason to do this is to learn how many of the wires in that tangle connect to nothing on either end, but you can’t remove them because if you do there’s no picture, no sound, and a local news anchor comes over to slap your wrists. There are 32 such.

Some Things I Unironically Love About Glue Web Site ThisToThat.Com.


“Because people have a need to glue things to other things”

  1. It had a “Glue of the Month” sequence going for three years before it started to lose the monthly aspect and finally in August 2003 admitting they just don’t have that many different glues.
  2. It had an April Fools Glue of the Month.
  3. I’m still not quite sure if it’s possible to glue PVC to wood. Like, does it count as vinyl? Isn’t vinyl more, like, shower curtains? But why would I glue a shower curtain to a piece of wood? What project am I working on anyway?
  4. This Glue News diptych:
    • April 14, 2005 Thistothat.com updates its “look” !
    • May 14, 2005 Fixed the feedback page that we accidentally broke a month ago. Sorry about that.
  5. The Statement of Impartiality promises their glue recommendations are unaffected by their advertisers, which do seem to be glue-affiliated products and companies like Poligrip and 3M, so at least somebody is advertising something somewhere to people who might plausibly need the thing.
  6. Three of its Frequently Asked Questions are by its own admission not frequently asked.
  7. It does tell you how to get that bit of glue you can peel off and roll into a ball that’s used for magazine inserts.
  8. Depending on whether you look at the results of a glue match or some inside pages the copyright date is 1999-2007 or 1999-2016.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose two points in trading today. Analysts credit this to the trading floor having pressed the “up” button and everyone standing on their tip-toes hoping this will make the elevator come faster.

84

The Modern Moral Crisis


So it started a normal enough morning, checking my social media to see what everybody on my Friends lists is upset about that I never heard of before while the e-mail gets around to loading. Before I could even form an opinion about whatever the Twitter-storm was (I still don’t know, because I’m one of those people so far back I still write e-mail with a hyphen) was the e-mail: if I didn’t send money to the below address soon, they’d have someone come in and redesign all my usual web sites.

I don’t want to give in to a protection racket, but, it’s a credible threat. There are so many weenie fonts and watery-pastel color choices with excessive whitespace that they could use to make sure I can’t find anything anymore, and I just know the next redesign is going to involve replacing all the nouns out there with blobby, circuit-board-style squiggles inside rounded squares because of the modern fad against having things like “words” look like real things such as “words”. Can I take the chance?