Archive for December, 2011

Noël diaeresis neglect yet again

December 12th, 2011 No comments

A penis called Noel?

OK I realise I’m flogging a dead horse here. But here is photographic proof of the sort of diaeresis abuse that we see around Xmas. Now I’m sorry this isn’t just a matter of poor grammar but in terms of aesthetics; why would you put it on your house? It looks like a red and green penis! So clearly this is a large red and green house penis that they have named Noel. It certainly only represents Noël in the mind of those whose mind is muddled by the Xmas spirit.

Categories: Grammar Tags: , ,

GNOME Shell – I like you but the family says no

December 10th, 2011 No comments

I’m sorry GNOME 3 I tried, I really did but the family has voted and they don’t like GNOME Shell, I have argued for you but my wife and son want Unity back. On our desktop running Ubuntu 11.10 the family were shocked when I gave them Unity as the default install but with a bit of time they came around to the Unity launcher lurking on the left.

But when I decided the family should try GNOME shell I had high hopes. I want GNOME Shell to work, I like supporting GNOME. With Unity it appears Ubuntu is going it alone, I’m not sure that’s a good thing so I want to support the more mainstream GNOME interface, hence GNOME Shell for me. But to my wife and son the lack of of an obvious window bar/dock call it what you want was a deal breaker.

I think GNOME Shell is quite cool but it reminds me a bit of a phone OS like Android with no obvious switcher for multitasking. Sure the apps are there but at first glance it isn’t obvious what is running. Click Activities and there they are – that cool animation reveals them. But that is a long journey each time with the mouse, almost seems like double handling. But just use the Super L (Windows) key I hear you say. Great for me, nightmare for the rest of the family, they don’t use the keyboard for navigation. So to them GNOME Shell is an epic failure. To me it is a clean and innovate re-imagining of a desktop environment. To them it is poorly designed.

I tried to show them Alt-Tab and Super Key for Activities but they think that is silly. I even tried to point out it’s quicker using the keyboard, but to no avail. And maybe this is the problem with GNOME Shell, it is great for a power user or a tinkerer, but to the average user it’s a revolutionary step too far. Now this is a concern because I’m all for wide Linux adoption, but it makes it hard to recommend GNOME Shell to anyone who just wants their computer to work like it used to. By their very nature computing environments change rapidly, I’m cool with that. But to some GNOME Shell is a too much change at once. I would like to see them make the Favourites (yes GNOME that is spelled incorrectly in the Shell) bar able to be made permanently visible, like the Unity launcher. Then at least the newcomer could be eased off their reliance on a panel showing running apps.

I’m still your fan GNOME Shell, I like you, but the family are going to make me wait a while before we can be friends again.

Categories: Linux Tags: , , ,

Xmas and the Diaeresis

December 10th, 2011 No comments

The other night a mate is driving me home and we drive past a house. It was one of those houses where the totally individualistic owner had done the entirely original thing of covering their house in idiotic Christmas lights. Now Christmas is a fun time but those lights really annoy me. Besides the obvious waste of electricity and the waste of time, they simply show a high level of both decadence and banality in my not so humble opinion.

But even worse this buffoon committed a grammatical error. You see emblazoned on his house, in red and green glory, was NOEL. So the assumption is that this is Noel’s house because that word certainly isn’t the Christmas word Noël. Now the two dots over the e form a diaeresis. This looks the same as the umlaut but has a slightly different role. It tells you to say the vowel pair as separate sounds. We could write co-operate with a diaeresis as follows: coöperate; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did, and the New Yorker magazine recently did too.  So back to the Xmas word. Noel is pronounced as no-ll, but Noël is pronounced as no-ell. The diaeresis also appears in Citroën, so we should say (when anglicised)  sit-ro-en, not sit-ron.

Yet another annoyance of Christmas: Diaeresis abuse!

Scrooge Copeland discussing the big issues here at the Soapbox!

Categories: Grammar Tags: , ,

A Bad Year for Rhinos

December 4th, 2011 No comments

This has indubitably been a bad year for rhinos, particularly if you are a rhino subspecies. As many would know the rarest rhino subspecies is the Northern White Rhino, with only 8 individuals. But a year ago we correctly should have said it was the Vietnamese subspecies of the Javan rhino. There are only around 50-60 Javan Rhinos, 3 of these were the Vietnamese Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus), in Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam. Sadly a month or so ago this subspecies was declared extinct. Sad on so many levels, but particularly when the rarest rhino species loses another bit of diversity. Now the Javan Rhino only exists in Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, a stable population that is well protected but highly prone to disease and unlikely to expand due to a lack of land. The Javan Rhino used to be the most widespread of all Asian rhinos, with three subspecies, sadly they now rank as one of the rarest animals in the world.

When I was a young boy the Black Rhino was the most plentiful of all rhinos, but sadly this year the West African Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) subspecies became extinct. This subspecies used to live in Cameroon but sadly no longer does. It is indeed sad that in this day and age we are seeing the continued killing of these large herbivores to fuel a moronic and unsubstantiated belief that rhino horn (made of Keratin – the same stuff as your fingernails) had medicinal value in Traditional Chinese medicine. Through this misguided value these beautiful creatures are hunted mercifully.

A sad indictment on our species if you ask me.

Categories: Rhino Tags: , , ,