How to Write An E-mail

I guess there are a lot of unspoken rules of netiquette which pertain to writing email. Perhaps it’s simply too much for many people to pick up in casual correspondence with their grandmother, but for those of us who use email regularly, our experience has lead to a set of guidelines for how emails should be formatted. My intention is to impart the most important of these rules to those who may not have yet discovered them.

I Never Believe Anything Until I Hear it in Words

I never believe anything until I hear it in words. Not the latest news story or an outlandish business claim, but every emotion I feel. Every thought I think about the value of an action. Every evaluation of a person or an experience. I don’t feel, save through words. I experience an event literally, then I relate it to myself literarily, and finally I experience it emotionally. It’s like a translation from a language I can’t comprehend into my native tongue.

First Post (PyBlosxom)

This is my first post in my new PyBlosxom blog. Anything prior to this was imported from a different journal of mine and was backdated.

USB Form-Factor

Whomever designed the physical shape of the USB (type a) connector clearly was not thinking. You don’t make a plug which is symmetrical but yet can only be inserted one way. Half the time you try to plug a USB device in, you end of flipping it over because you had it backwards. Actually more than half the time since the plugs can be hard to slide in, so you think you have it backwards.

Buddy Icons

Buddy icons are an interesting feature. I’ve never really bothered to question why they exist. But I guess there are two legitimate reasons: (1) personal expression (for the icon picker), and (2) rapid identification (for the icon viewer). The first one is simple, the second just relates to the fact that humans can distinguish a variety of pictures more rapidly than they can discern text. So it makes sense, I suppose, to allow us to associate images with the people we choose to talk to.

Language Pet Peeves #2

Wow. Since I actually managed to post about language without having my ass chewed off by anti-grammar guerrillas, I have to point out one more which irks me: “out loud” When I was a kid many of my teachers would tell us students to read “out loud”. Later I learned the word ‘aloud’ and almost immediately realized that “out loud” was a lazy, colloquial bastardization of the word ‘aloud’. Now this one is a tougher fight than the others I have complained about because you can find some dictionary support for the incorrect version (namely Merriam-Webster, which is complete trendwhore of a dictionary, IMHO).

Windows Vista The Wave of the...Present

As all my GNU/Linux friends probably know, Windows Vista (formerly ‘Longhorn’) Beta 1 has been released. Many sites are posting screenshots of the new features. Some of the new things are cool: virtual folders, in-file searches, etc. I was a bit impressed at first, but then I realized that every new feature in Vista is available on Linux systems already, although many are not standardly deployed yet. So my respect for the new features was reduced to a respect for their ability to get these features out the door and widely available at a faster rate.

Language Pet Peeves

I have to bitch about this because nearly everyone does this now and then—including many writing professionals—and it’s just sloppy. “for free” ‘Free’ is an adjective or an adverb (or a verb under the other definition), but never a noun. That said, you can get something free, you can get something free of charge, you can get something gratis, you can get something for nothing, but you cannot get something for free.

Songs for Slayk

Slayk asked me to do this approximately 1,000,000 years ago, so I figure it’s about damn time. List your current six favorite songs, then pick six more people to do that, too. Now, I generally don’t really have favorite songs. My favorite songs when I am in one mood are likely different from my favorite songs when I am feeling a different way. But instead of refusing to pick, I’m going to give you six of the songs that have the greatest emotional effect on me.

The Tamagotchi Dream

You guys remember the Tamagotchi (たまごっち), right? The Tamagotchi was a virtual pet you could feed, clean-up after, play with, etc. It sounds kind of lame, but the cool part is that the Tamagotchi has a persistent idea of state. It’s never really off, it “lives”, even when you are not playing with it. And it has some simple evolutionary capabilities. This has really been interesting me for a while. I’m convinced something (the primary thing?