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JULY, 2006 → ← SEPTEMBER, 2006

Riddley Walker … The Time of Our Singing … Jeder kann Musik lesen, oder? 28th of August, 2006 POST·MERIDIEM 02:11

Riddley Walker,  Russell Hoban. Ein Geburtstagsgeschenk von meinen Schwestern, Sheila das ich endlich geschafft habe zu lesen. Die Geschichte findet sich in einem postapokalyptischen England statt — der Erzähler ist ein Junge, der in einem kleinen Dorf wohnt und der schreiben kann, was eine Ausnahme in dieser Gesellschaft ist. Es fängt mit dem Sterben seines Vaters an, und da die Rechtschreibung dem Mangel von Bildung der Gesellschaft entspricht, ist das Nachvollziehen zuerst schwierig. Weniger schwierig als wenn man Niederländisch nur mit Kenntnisse von Deutsch zu verstehen versucht, und auch weniger schwierig als wenn man gesprochenes schottisches Gälisch mit Irisch zu verstehen versucht, aber trotzdem habe ich einen schwachen Kopfschmerz davon gekriegt.

Mir gefällt das Buch, ehrlich gesagt. „Science-Fiction“ aber dem Autor sind offensichtlich sprachwissenschaftliche Fragen wichtig, das kommt mir ganz erfrischend vor. Kleinigkeiten: da er kein Engländer ist, scheint mir der Urteil des Autors der hypothetischen Entwicklung von der Sprache Englands ein wenig falsch zu sein; der Erzähler schreibt noch immer „R“ nach Vokalen, was nichts mit der heutigen englischen Aussprache zu tun hat, seine Auswahl aktueller Wendungen für semantische Weiterentwicklungen sind die eines englischsprachigen Ausländers.

Richard Powers, The Time of Our Singing.  Von Sheila; ein gut geschriebenes Buch, aber ich versammele kaum die Energie um es zu Lesen. Über eine Familie der Vereinigten Staaten, der Vater ein deutschsprachiger Physiker jüdischer Herkunft, die Mutter eine schwarze klassische Sängerin, die Geschichte fängt Mitte des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts an. Die Probleme die die Kinder begegnen sind zum Teil Ergebnisse eines entsetzlichen Rassismus, zum Teil die Folge selbstzerstörender sozialer Tendenzen der schwarzen Gesellschaft des Landes. Die beide Aspekte finde ich wirklich deprimierend und, noch, ohne Beziehung mit meinem täglichen Leben, also das Lesen darüber hilft mir nicht, andere Menschen meines Lebens zu verstehen.

Einige Veränderungen sind auf der Seite zu sehen; am Wichtigsten ist die Frage, die man beantworten muss, um einen Kommentar loszuschicken. Für die wenige die keine Musik lesen können, erkläre ich dass G♯ und A ♭ identisch sind, und dass die Reihenfolge des Violinschlüssel E G B D F (zeilen) und F A C E (leere) lautet.

Wort des Tages: абр bedeutet „Wind“ auf Tadschikisch.

Last comment from Aidan Kehoe on the 6th of September at 20:47
Ste: I haven’t. I’ve read Great Apes, Cock and Bull and Doctor Mukti and Other Tales of Woe. The nice thing about him is that he writes so much that there’s always something to catch up. Quite the work ethic for an occasional junkie!

[Five older comments for this entry.]

A skewed test (no, I’ve no idea what the DE for “skewed” is) … der wahre Jakob 23rd of August, 2006 POST·MERIDIEM 04:13

An der Arbeit überlegt man die Idee, Englischkurse im Haus anzubieten, mit der Absicht allgemeine Englischkenntnisse hier zu verbessern. Deswegen habe ich gerade gelernt dass mein Deutsch 2% schlechter ist als mein Englisch. Hätte ich gar nicht gedacht …

Mein Mittagessen war herrvorragend—einfache Nudeln, perfekte Soße, ein kleines Efes, und alle für 3,80 €, in einem normalen Dönerladen! Wenn die Türken so gute Gerichte überall hier anbieten können, das könnte echt gefährlich sein für die meisten Restaurants.

Wort des Tages: „der wahre Jakob“ bedeutet auf Deutsch „die ganze Geschichte, das komplette Ding“. Wie im Sätze Einsteins: „Die Quantenmechanik ist sehr Achtung gebietend. Aber eine innere Stimme sagt mir, dass das noch nicht der wahre Jakob ist.“

Automatic redirection for del.icio.us 10th of August, 2006 POST·MERIDIEM 02:16

If you, like me, have often thought to yourself “bah, loading del.icio.us and clicking on the first link for a given tag combination is taking six seconds longer and 150% more attention than I’d like”, you’ll have realised that setting up automatic 302 redirection is not really an option for them, since automatic redirectors have become a tool for spammers to disguise dodgy URIs, and the service has open signups; there’s nothing to stop spammers abusing their accounts.

However, it is not trivially possible for a spammer to abuse my  del.icio.us account: that’s what the password is there for. So I’ve implemented automatic redirection based on tags for a single account, reading the data from an index made of a daily backup. http://​www.​parhasard.​net/​b/​dwb will redirect to the newest entry under del.icio.us/aidan with the tag DWB(in this case, the search page of the Grimms’ etymological dictionary at Universität Trier; note that in this implementation, ASCII in tags is case-insensitive, non-ASCII is case-sensitive); http://​www.​parhasard.​net/​b/​greek+language+καθαρεύουσα gives a synopsis of the current language situation in Greece, and so on.

To do this for your own del.icio.us account, you need shell access to a web server, several Perl modules, and DB4 support in PHP. To check for the Perl modules on the server, run this one-liner from a shell:

perl -e 'use DB_File; use Date::Parse; use Encode; use File::Temp; use HTTP::Request; use LWP::UserAgent; use XML::Parser'
If it completes without an error, you’re good. To check for the DB4 support, run this from a shell:
echo '<?php dba_open("/tmp/my-db-test", "c", "db4"); ?>' | php
Again, it needs to complete without an error for the scripts to work.

Source code for the backup script (which you need to create the index of tag => URI mappings) is here; source code for the redirect script is here. There are a few constants at the top of each file which you’ll need to modify; those with the same name need to be identical in the two files. You’ll also need to add a crontab(5) entry to keep the backup up-to-date; mine looks like:

23 5 * cd /www/parhasard.net/www/ && ./backup-del.icio.us.pl
and runs at 23 minutes past five every morning.

If your web server allows it, try adding the line AcceptPathInfo On to your .htaccess; without it, you’ll need to say http://​server-address/​b.​php?query=tag1+tag2+tag3 , which is much less comfortable.

Word of the day: inminente is Spanish for “imminent”; I love that the language community is scrupulously regularising enough that they abandoned the Latin orthographic change of <inm> -> <imm>.

Last comment from Aidan Kehoe on the 13th of June at 20:39
It occurred to me ages ago, and it’s worth documenting here, that this can work for del.icio.us without being hi-jacked by spammers; it’s a matter of adding a check for the login cookie of the user whose bookmarks are being checked for the redirect.

[No older comments for this entry.]

I thought he was an economist … Thinking with a Lisp 7th of August, 2006 POST·MERIDIEM 02:51

Milton Keynes was not, despite what I suspected, thought up by that British Tory government that included a former director of a major road-construction company; instead it was started under the stewardship of Harold Wilson’s Labour. Of course, that was exactly the same Labour government that implemented the evisceration of the UK’s rail service, so they were a pretty pro-road-transport bunch too.

Anyway, I make that remark by way of leading to the point that Milton Keynes is a distinctly car-oriented part of the world. They have things called “redways” that people can cycle and walk on, which were a relatively good idea, but a lot of people perceive them as dangerous and they’re not used as much as they could be. Otherwise, it’s a question of getting ferried everywhere, through roundabout after roundabout after roundabout. They have a huge indoor ski slope in the city centre, which is interesting in the abstract, and chains. Lots of chains.

Weekend spent hacking, I am surprised I am still able to communicate with other human beings in German or anything after it. Need to stop living like a fuсking hermit coder.

Word of the day: „aufmachen“ is German for show, present, and is usable to describe making a window visible on a computer ; „ausmachen“ means turn off, extinguish or in a windowing system context, close. Careful with that fricative.

Last comment from Ste on the 10th of August at 15:51
Cambridge does have the feel of a low stress kinda place to live, very much a bicycle city, you see people of varied social backgrounds and of all ages cycling around the city, and there are bicycles parked everywhere. Which may be symptomatic of it being a college town with a lot of poor students who can’t afford cars, or maybe it’s just that everything is within cycling distance of everything else. Either was it does give the place a more relaxed feel. I was also impressed by the automated bollards that close off some streets, but which obediantly drop into the road when a bus or taxi approaches.

Birmingham is an interesting place, bleak and industrial in a lot of ways, with a lot of 20th century concrete spoiling the view. But like most English cities has some architectural jewels lurking around unexpected corners. The area we stayed, around Broad Street is a bit sort of Temple Bar, in that it’s been cleaned up to look nice, but is basically a strip of bars and restaurants which was lovely on a Tuesday night, but felt like it might get a bit dodgy of a weekend. I’d always slagged it off, based on the grim outskirts visible from the Motorway as you drive past on the way to London.

[Two older comments for this entry.]

You need to read this: 5th of August, 2006 POST·MERIDIEM 08:25


“There comes a moment in the back of any police van when your thoughts turn to the chain of events that has brought you to this moment in your life, and with perhaps more urgency, to any potential chains of events that may help lead you someplace else.”

2500 words of awesomeness.