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Slashback: Pronouns, Acronyms, Abbreviations

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the Aloha-`auinalŠ dept.

Privacy 132

Slashback tonight brings you updates on: that silly plastic barcode scanner by that company, what's-it-called ... oh yeah, "Digital Convergence;" how to spread your genetic code the polite way; and why you won't be voting on an MS-Dell-Unisys machine unless things change from vapor to reality, soon.

Aren't you ever gonna get that thing declawed? AnonymousCowhand pointed to this NYTimes story on the CueCat. The article is a nice overview of the way the little-bar-code-reader-that-could (that could track users by serial number, that is) came to be mailed out to hundreds of thousands of people, and how successful it's been. A hint: " After partners like Forbes, Wired and other publishers distributed the CueCat device to several million subscribers, the technology was criticized by reviewers and consumers for being impractical and of limited benefit."

I'd be nearly as willing to vote with a fake machine ... Anonymous Coward writes "Forbes reports that the Microsoft, Unisys, & Dell plan to build a new voting solution is 'phony'. A Microsoft spokesman denies that the company is part of such a partnership."

My favorite line in a long time is this one: "When Unisys says it's "offering a fully integrated approach to election management," it does not mean it has something specific to offer." Well, then, just so that's clear.

Like, OMG! Chuck Borromeo wrote in response to the story that hemos posted the other day about XML, bioinformatics, and markup languages for genetic information.

He says: "I noticed your posting on Slashdot. You're right, XML will be very helpful in the Bioinformatics field. However, there is another gene expression XML DTD in the works. It's being proposed by an OMG group called MGED (www.mged.org). GEML is proprietary and is being supported by its creator Rosetta Pharmaceuticals. MGED is going to become an OMG standard and already enjoys support and contributions from a wide variety of academic and industrial leaders."


Another installment in the reprint of Jon Katz' series of columns, emails and comments is online for your perusal.

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Re:XML is not an acronym. (1)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 13 years ago | (#503467)

IBM: Intellectual Balding Men. XML: Xylaphone Music Lovers OED: Oregon's Ephereal Demons I think these initialism fools should check into more creative acronyms and whatnot.

::c:u:e:c:a:t:: voting (4)

micahjd (54824) | more than 13 years ago | (#503468)

We could make everybody happy and just use cuecats for electronic voting!

Re:Pencil and paper (1)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 13 years ago | (#503469)

We need politicians with backbones that can actually do the right thing, even if it is unpopular. Instead of the current bunch that are swayed by the whim of polls. Just having a referendum on every damn issue makes it worse - nobody thinks of the BIG picture, every little minutia is debated on it's own merits ONLY.

Even worse, experience shows that referenda are at least as succeptible to influence as politicians are. In California, at least, businesses that don't get their way in the Legislature can try to put the issue on the ballot for a referendum, and big money advertizing is surprisingly effective at swaying the public.

The best example I can think of was a recent one sponsored by the insurance industry. The Legislature passed a law that would have allowed victims of an accident to sue the perpetrator's insurance company when the company tried to stiff the victim (the old system required the victim to sue the perpetrator, who would then have to sue his own insurance company to recover what they were supposed to pay). The insurance industry didn't like this, so they hired ballot circulators to put the bill up for a vote, claiming truthfully but disingenously that the initiative would legalize suits against insurance companies. They then launched a multi million dollar campaign to defeat the referendum that they themselves had paid to get on the ballot. It's a corruption of a system that was intended to take the power out of the hands of moneyed interests and put it back in the hands of the people.

Re:You see... (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#503470)

Even Microshaft people are insulted to be associated with politics. They're not _completely_ immoral.

actually, maybe there isn't enough money in it for them. It would be too hard to get a monopoly.

now that we have the obligatory bashing done, I can imagine the hassles of using a MS system for voting. Can you imagine the legal fights because of a blue screen or two on election day in Florida?

Microsoft Electonic Chads leave no unsightly mess on your counting room floor!

I can see it now . . .

Re:Forget XML DTD, XML Schema is where it's at (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 13 years ago | (#503471)

It's not a standard yet, but it is a candidate (as of 10/24)

Re:XML - Slashdot.xml, that is :( (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 13 years ago | (#503472)

IMHO, it's a bug in the XML.

The encoding should be specifically stated if it's not straight ASCII.

It looks fine in a text editor that handles the extended characters (notepad, from "View Source").

Re:Good grammar nitpick deserves spelling nitpick (1)

alienmole (15522) | more than 13 years ago | (#503473)

Closing the sentence before the parentheses would have made things incorrectly nested.

If only there were a BNF grammar for English somewhere, and I could rely on this sort of thing always being true. But really, it's just another arbitrary rule - just like the inconsistent ones about punctuation within quotes which you have such a problem with - that happens in this case to conform to what one might expect.

Re:Hochrechnungen translation (1)

-brazil- (111867) | more than 13 years ago | (#503474)

You are not even close, it hasn't got anything with experts. Basically, it means a prediction of the final result, based on a partial one and the assumption that the votes yet to be counted will be divided similar to the ones already counted. "hoch" (high) doesn't mean people with much knowledge, it refers to "calculating (rechnen) up" from a partial result to a complete one.

Re:Voting solution. (1)

Jagasian (129329) | more than 13 years ago | (#503475)

Who needs pencil and paper? I say we go even more primitive and use rocks. Primitive means more simple, right?

Its not like it is possible to create a simple computer based system. Computers must be complicated, otherwise they aren't computers or something or whatever nevermind....

Re:Voting solution. (2)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 13 years ago | (#503476)

The problem with the voting system at the last election was that it was too technical already.

I don't know... "Use this stick to poke a hole in this piece of paper" doesn't seem all that "technical" to me...

Functionally, it's pretty much the same as "fill in the appropriate circle with a #2 pencil" in complexity, in my opinion.


A vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for Evil.

Wired has stop using CueCat (3)

Fervent (178271) | more than 13 years ago | (#503477)

If anyone read Wired's last Rants and Raves (letter) section, they have stopped using CueCat and will no longer publish barcodes next to any advertiser's print. Apparently the sheer volume of subscribers mail (some of which was published in the magazine -- nice job guys), got the CueCat axed.

First time in a long time: Capitalism wins.

-
-Be a man. Insult me without using an AC.

Re:XML is not an acronym. (1)

Tom7 (102298) | more than 13 years ago | (#503478)


But wait: it stands for eXtensible Markup Language. What does that make it now?

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

1nt3lx (124618) | more than 13 years ago | (#503479)

I was told thousands and thousands of times, "Punctuation then quotation."

I am not an English professor, but as far as I can tell my many English courses were taught by at least one.

I may also point out that your signature is: "If that wasn't enough, it's actually based on an implementation of a Turing machine."

Looks like Punctuation before Quotation to me.

recounts prevent fraud (2)

Gorimek (61128) | more than 13 years ago | (#503480)

The problem with the pencil and paper is that it is expensive. You can only hire so many people to count, and if you hire them at too low of a salary they could conceivably be susceptible to election fraud.

That is easily solved by having the votes counted at least twice by independent groups of counters. I've worked as a vote counter in Sweden, and that's how it's done there. And I'm pretty sure they get the numbers exactly right most of the time.

I don't like pencils though. They're erasable, you know.

I offered them your colon... (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 13 years ago | (#503481)

...but they didn't seem interested. Something about the mileage...

Re:Hochrechnungen translation (2)

sheldon (2322) | more than 13 years ago | (#503482)

We call that statistical sampling.

Re:If it were the "old" Wired... (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 13 years ago | (#503483)

I still have issue 1:1 where they explain (briefly) how to hack a cell phone to turn it into a scanner and monitoring device. Now, Phrack it ain't and never was, but the rag was at least slightly more readable than it is today.

Re:XML is not an acronym. (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 13 years ago | (#503484)

You've forgotten about the penchant of hardcore unix freaks to prounce initialisms, for example: etc - "et-see", tcsh - "teesh", vi - "vie", fsck - "f-suck" and so on. So, the hardcore are saying:

IBM - "ib-em"
XML - "zimel"
SGI - "siggy"
HPUX - "H-PUCKS"
AIX - "aches"
...

To the truly hardcore, anything can be pronounced.

Re:Good grammar nitpick deserves spelling nitpick (1)

alienmole (15522) | more than 13 years ago | (#503485)

> Gotchya!

Well, I was being serious about looking forward to a lesson. I don't recall ever having heard or read the rule about this. Just about all I know about written English I learned from reading fiction, my schoolteachers certainly weren't any help.

Re:Elegance. (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 13 years ago | (#503486)

Cost of :cue:cat: free
Cost of Cross :convergence pen: $89.95

You want a $90 pen that can save 300 web addresses (only from companies who have :cue:cat cues embedded in their ads)? I'll stick to writing them down with a pen when I need them (when do I need to remember 300 URLs?) or jotting them in my palm pilot. Also, most of these companies have their own domain names (if they can afford to put :cues in their ads, they can afford $35/year), so they are hella easy to find anyway..... Like I need a $90 pen to remember ibm.com or smuckers.com....

Re:grammar nitpick (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#503487)

> I was told thousands and thousands of times, "Punctuation then quotation."

That's how I learned it as well. But somewhere along the way I decided to "rationalize" it, and started putting punctuation inside the quotes only when I was quoting the punctuation too. So these would mean different things to me:
  • He said "me?"
  • He said "me"?
(Actually, I would probably also put a period after the first one.)

I've noticed that papers published by CS researchers tend to use rationalized punctuation as well. For geeks, the rationalized method surely arises from the drilled-in requirement of parenthesizing expressions properly. For us, the parentheses in (2+3)*3 have semantic implementations, and thus we have to be concerned with "correct" (= "right") rather than with "correct" (= "approved tradition"). I suspect we have just generalized the concept to apply to text as well as to code and mathematical expressions.

You could probably go to a university and map the campus to show regions that punctuate the traditional way and regions that punctuate the rationalized way.

--

You see... (1)

11thangel (103409) | more than 13 years ago | (#503488)

Even Microshaft people are insulted to be associated with politics. They're not _completely_ immoral.

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

Magic5Ball (188725) | more than 13 years ago | (#503489)

They invented the language. I think they know how it works.

English was invented much like the cat was, in that it wasn't. No one sat down umpteen years ago and decided that there would be one English with properties [x..z], it evolved through hundreds of years of additions, modifications, and deletions through use. Trying to find a proper English, if there is such a thing, would be like trying to find a proper C++: some individuals/groups may establish standards as to how they think it should be written but as long as it is mostly compatable with how the rest of the world uses English, it's all good.

Re:You see... (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 13 years ago | (#503490)

They're not _completely_ immoral.

Just so isolated inside the Redmond campus that they'd rather not divulge any other secrets/vulnerabilities/etc.

Re:Pencil and paper (1)

wjr (157747) | more than 13 years ago | (#503491)

Furthermore, a simple vote procedure should be backed up by a strong computerized system, in order to ensure the rapid tabulation of results. Or would you have us go back to the time when it took weeks to figure out the election, every election?
The top priority in an election is to have an accurate, fair count (on top of fair, open voting procedures). A fast count is a nice thing, but it's certainly WAY down on the list of priorities. Is the election for the benefit of the public or the media?

Also, a fast count is not incompatible with pencil and paper voting. Remember, the Canadian general election held in November was counted quickly enough that the outcome was known before most people went to bed.

Another thing to note is that the Canadian election cycle, from announcement through campaigning to institution of the new government took SIX WEEKS. Compare that with the perpetual campaigning in the US, caused by the rigid election cycle - and remember that these drawn-out campaigns are a primary reason that politicians place so much emphasis on fund-raising, and thus contribute to the domination of the government by special interests.

Re:If it were the "old" Wired... (2)

The NT Christ (305898) | more than 13 years ago | (#503492)

I must have missed that issue of Wired 6 years ago where they said something interesting.

Pencils? Paper ballots? (2)

Interrobang (245315) | more than 13 years ago | (#503493)

Hey, it works just fine in Canada! 32 million people, about a zillion ha of uninhabited land, four and a half time zones (half an hour later in da Rock, doncha know, bye)--and cheap Chinese pencils!!--and our recent election still came off without a hitch! ...that is, unless you're one of those full of CRAP types...*

*Uh, that's "Canadian Reform Alliance Party," and don't you forget it!

Re:Wired has stop using CueCat (1)

outlier (64928) | more than 13 years ago | (#503494)

they have stopped using CueCat and will no longer publish barcodes next to any advertiser's print

As I recall, they won't stop advertisers from publishing their ads with cues, they just won't do it on their own. The wired statement pointed out that they are waiting for the market to choose a solution (which, in their view could very well be cuecat).

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

The NT Christ (305898) | more than 13 years ago | (#503495)

Look, fools, it's like this:

Comma goes inside quotations. Always.

Period goes inside quotations only if the entire sentence is in quotations. Otherwise, outside.

Semicolon goes outside quotations. Always.

This is from someone who actually lives in the country whose language you claim to be able to speak, *and* whose Dad is an English teacher.

So you're both wrong.

Re:XML is not an acronym. (1)

jknoe (81110) | more than 13 years ago | (#503496)

While I agree with Joseph Elwell, M-W doesn't!

http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dicti on ary&va=initialism

Main Entry: initialism
Pronunciation: i-'ni-sh&-"li-z&m
Function: noun
Date: 1899
an acronym formed from initial letters

An initialism is simply a form of an acronym,
at least according to Merriam Webster, so XML is both at the same time.

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

Nightpaw (18207) | more than 13 years ago | (#503497)

Well my dad is a Math teacher and he can kick your dad's ass.

Re:XML (1)

Ribo99 (71160) | more than 13 years ago | (#503498)

Lots of Irritating Sets of Parenthesis

Apart from that I don't think you can really compare a programming language to a data representation.
It's like comparing oranges and orangutans.

---

Re:Voting solution. (2)

charon.de (56210) | more than 13 years ago | (#503504)

One truly hopes that that is sarcasm. As a good little minion of the US media, I followed the shenanigans in Florida rather cloesly, and it took a loooong time to hadncount all those votes. There has to be something mechanical in that along the way.This is a big country.

Size doesn't really matter, here in the EU we have an roughly/somewhat equal number of people who can vote (EU vote).(My expirience is limited to elections in Germany, but as the EU election takes place in all countries, I asume their handling of those events isn't that different)

6-7 people can easily count the votes of 1000-3000 people, they mostly come from a different political party, cheating is impossible this way. As for the time we have knowledge people & computers they get data from some small selected districts and who knows what else. We get forecasts and "Hochrechnungen" (sorry no english word available) starting a few minutes after the election is closed and getting very close to the real end result, after ~45 min...:-)Of course you get those data in nice grapics on TV.

I don't know much about the US system but using something like machines, who ever created the OS doesn't really matter in this case, is really not the right respect we should have...

Michael

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 13 years ago | (#503505)

Period goes inside quotations only if the entire sentence is in quotations. Otherwise, outside.

This may be correct for "real" English, but in US English, periods go inside the quotes unconditionally. No, it doesn't make sense, no I don't follow that rule, but there you have it.

Re:XML is not an acronym. (2)

jelwell (2152) | more than 13 years ago | (#503506)

:) I actually used m-w.com for their definition of acronym; but indeed their definition of initialism is wrong. I got my information from "A Way With Words" [kpbs.org] a KPBS radio show.
Joseph Elwell.

Re:XML (1)

ENOENT (25325) | more than 13 years ago | (#503507)

Bah! There is no Ultimate Weapon! XML is big today, but SOMETHING shinier, spiffier, and slicker, with a much longer acronym (or initialism) will make it passe.

what did you do that for? (1)

pnatural (59329) | more than 13 years ago | (#503508)

i think i speak for all of we at slashdot when i say that us really likes bad grammer. the worst the better, if you catch my drifts.

for examples, we talk about NIC cards and ATM machines. those are a good starts.

for another examples, we try to end sentances in prepositions of.

and yet another in examples, we spell w0rdz a11 fux0r3d.

and final, slashdot wouldn't be slashdot if the average poster didn't mispell a word or too.

Re:Security through Obscurity. (2)

samoverton (253101) | more than 13 years ago | (#503509)

Saying that it never fails but only ceases to be applicable isn't really a good pro-obscurity argument. If i was selling you a burglar alarm and said it will always always work and never fail, but it might just cease to exist.. would you buy it?

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 13 years ago | (#503517)

Punctuation goes outside the quotes. I don't care who told you otherwise; they're wrong and it's stupid.
Only if your a Brit (or still have warm feelings for the Queen).

Re:: don't forget the ::tail method (2)

IdeaMan (216340) | more than 13 years ago | (#503518)

I don't think the : goes in front, it's supposed to be Cue::cat method of Cue. Now wait a minute, isn't that supposed to be queue?

Ok, so the proper terms are:
class Queue
{
Queue();
~Queue();
void cat(long);
void tail(short);
};

So they really need to promote the re-usability and extensibility of the new queue::cat interface.

Re:Pencil and paper (2)

interiot (50685) | more than 13 years ago | (#503519)

nobody thinks of the BIG picture, every little minutia is debated on it's own merits ONLY

The same thing happens with politicians. If there's pre-existing laws that aren't being enforced, congress will happily create new legislation that does the same thing, just so they can tell their constituents that they're working hard.
--

Forget XML DTD, XML Schema is where it's at (2)

WillSeattle (239206) | more than 13 years ago | (#503520)

I mean, really, why spend 90 percent of the message transferring the DTD description of the data and validation when you can use XML Schema like everyone else and ship the schema only when it changes in header and footer segments.

Doesn't anyone else go to Sun Tech Days around here?

If you did, you might get a cool alien t-shirt or alien baby like I did ...

Or maybe you'd understand HOW to implement XML. Heck, even the MSFT methods are a reasonable implementation, and a lot better than XML DTD would be.

Re:Voting solution. (1)

platos_beard (213740) | more than 13 years ago | (#503521)

Bollocks!

This was my first election using a punch card system and they are soooo much worse that what I've used previously.

The machines hold the ballot about half an inch below the sheets with the candidates name. Unless you're looking straight down, it is not at all difficult to line up and punch the wrong hole.

Then, it's next to impossible to tell what hole you just punched while the ballot is in the machine. Once out of the machine, it's hard to tell what candidates the holes belongs to.

I've previously voted in booths where you can step back and scan what you've done before pulling the lever to place the vote. No such option with punch cards. I had to take the card out, then go through the ballot candidate by candidate, checking by number to confirm my vote.

Booths also prevent you from double voting. Not so punch cards.

To rectify any mistakes (if you happen to notice them), you've got to request a new ballot from personnel and then redo the entire vote. Most people like admitting mistakes even less than doing the same task twice.

Punch card voting machines combine the "features" of being difficult to use; difficult to identify errors; and difficult to fix any errors. If I designed a user interface that bad for ANY project I was working on, I certainly hope I would be fired, and we're using it for VOTING

first? (1)

juuri (7678) | more than 13 years ago | (#503522)

one of many...

how quickly everyone forgets the horror that was DIVX.

Re:Wired has stop using CueCat (1)

indiigo (121714) | more than 13 years ago | (#503523)

The solution is:
Print is dead?

Re:::c:u:e:c:a:t:: voting (1)

CrosseyedPainless (27978) | more than 13 years ago | (#503524)

Only if we can make them emit biometric voter ID data via XML. GPL'd, of course.

Re:XML (1)

ism (180693) | more than 13 years ago | (#503525)

XML is an improvement on SGML, so the acronym might actually get shorter. =)

SGML, by the way, is now 15 years old (1986).

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

thex23 (206256) | more than 13 years ago | (#503526)

*deep breath*... okay, now:

You are correct that semicolons should always go outside of quotation marks, but contrary to what others may tell you, there is no general rule about puntuation going inside or outside. Your use should depend on a couple of factors: whether you use "American style" or British, and whether the material in quotation marks is, in fact, a quote of some sort.

If the material is being quoted from an original source, and that source contains punctuation, then the Brits would put it inside (unless its a colon or semicolon, in which case it is supressed). Otherwise, it goes outside.

The Yanks ALWAYS put periods and commas before terminal quotation marks, and other punctuation after, unless they are part of a quote. (You can see how the American style is simply the British style with a special case for "." and ",".)

So to reiterate: NOBODY puts ":" or ";" inside quotation marks. Except us anarchists in Canada, and especially writers from B.C..) ;P

IAAE. (I am an editor.) Our next lesson will review the use of punctuation in parentheses.

Re::Cuecat just hasn't found its market yet (2)

OverCode@work (196386) | more than 13 years ago | (#503532)

Look around Dallas, TX some time (:::Digital::Convergence:::'s home). They've put :Cue's (oh, it hurts to say it) in the Dallas Morning News ("swipe here for more info about this article"), and they advertise all over the place. So they're trying.

My CueCat has been idle on my desk for a long time, offering a mild red glow of CueCat warmth to its surroundings. Maybe I'll open it and remove the ID code some day. Hmmm. Or not.

-John

Re:Pencil and paper (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 13 years ago | (#503533)

We have touch screen voting in my home town (suburb of Philadelphia). Very nice- easy to use, no acrobatic chads, no waiting till 4AM just to be told "we still don't know what the heck we're talking about, but by God, we're gonna keep on talking!"

And for the Florida voters it can be customized- large print and/or photos for the elderly, multiple confirmation for each choice ("you have picked bob as dog catcher- is this correct? [YES] Are you sure?")

What would have Happened (1)

Raffi Spock (128916) | more than 13 years ago | (#503534)

Hmmm...Bush supports Microsoft, and I don't really feel like voting for a 3rd party (after all, who knows how much difference 937 votes could make), so I think I'll vote Gore.

(Voting official reboots machine)
Let's try...Nader this time.

I'm beginning to see a pattern here...

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

vsync64 (155958) | more than 13 years ago | (#503535)

Your use should depend on a couple of factors: whether you use "American style" or British, and whether the material in quotation marks is, in fact, a quote of some sort.

American style is wrong.

If the material is being quoted from an original source, and that source contains punctuation

Well, duh.

The point is, if you add punctuation, then it's part of your sentence, not the quote. Therefore, it should not go inside the scope of the quotes. Duh.

--

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#503536)

Look, there's only one simple rule that makes sense: things go in quotes if you're quoting them. This isn't the way it's taught in English class, but it is simple to remember and unambiguous to interpret. It does look a little uglier on the page, though, so I can understand why the English teachers of the world would prefer '"This,"' to '"This",'.

Re:If it were the "old" Wired... (1)

hyacinthus (225989) | more than 13 years ago | (#503537)

What "old" Wired? So far as I can remember, Wired, at least as far back as when I first learned about it six or seven years ago, was only as good as its guest writers. If Bruce Sterling or William Gibson wrote, you got something interesting, maybe. Otherwise, it was worthless.

And of course it was typeset by people who seemed to think that "typesetting" meant using every possible font setting on the Font menu of their word processor.

hyacinthus.

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

The NT Christ (305898) | more than 13 years ago | (#503538)

Well, you learn a new thing every day!

Re:XML is not an acronym. (1)

prizog (42097) | more than 13 years ago | (#503539)

>>Check your OED<<

Remember how the OED was created: thousands of people went through existing literature, and found actual word usages.

In this country, the meaning of acronym is changing to contain the set of what you call acronym and initialism. Now, because nobody except the ultra-elite uses initialism, it will maintain its meaning.

Words aren't created by the dictionary, the dictionary merely records them. So, every day the above post becomes more wrong.

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

vsync64 (155958) | more than 13 years ago | (#503540)

Yay! Someone with common sense!

As far as the aesthetics of the thing go, once I started to quote things the correct way (which took about 5 minutes from the time my teacher told me the "rule") it was more aesthetically pleasing to me. That was because it wasn't stupid.

Stupid things are ugly; smart things are beautiful. That's why the Athena scrollbars are so beautiful, and Windows's are so ugly.

Plus I think it's just a matter of what you're used to.

--

Philly touch screen system (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 13 years ago | (#503541)

We have touch screen voting in my home town (suburb of Philadelphia). Very nice- easy to use

Is there a paper backup system? If so, I think this is the ideal voting system. A touch screen makes for a very easy to use interface and if the device then prints a human readable ballot then all of your recount needs are covered. The system can automatically tally the results, but the paper ballots are the final word in disputed elections. The paper ballots could also be made available to anyone who wanted to verify the accuracy of the machine counts.

Bing!!! Right answer. (1)

alienmole (15522) | more than 13 years ago | (#503542)

Except that it isn't "the ultra-elite" that use initialism, it's those who like to think of themselves as ultra-elite. Which are really the same sort as those who like to think of themselves as 1337, only they spell better.

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

The NT Christ (305898) | more than 13 years ago | (#503543)

Man, you know, I often wondered about that.

Voting solution. (5)

Lover's Arrival, The (267435) | more than 13 years ago | (#503544)

The problem with the voting system at the last election was that it was too technical already. Why does America have a penchant for complicating the simple? All that is needed is a simple pencil, piece of paper and a bunch of people to count the votes.

I am so glad the the rumours of Microsoft and Dell developing a new voting machine are false. It would doubtless have been even more of a disaster than the present one.

Voting procedures should be as simple as possible, like the UKian model, in order to make it as resistant to fraud as possible.

Complexity breeds error and fraud. Technical types tend to forget that.

If it were the "old" Wired... (2)

boinger (4618) | more than 13 years ago | (#503545)

...I would be holding my breath for an article on how to hack the CueCat scanner and make it more useful.

It's not like what we (the geek community) are proposing you do with the thing is illegal at all (though DC obviously wishes it were), but, we all know Wired isn't going to stick their neck out like that. I like to believe they might have 6 years ago...

But, alas, the days of old are gone.

:Cuecat just hasn't found its market yet (5)

Chuck Flynn (265247) | more than 13 years ago | (#503546)

Just give them some time. They spent two years researching and designing one of the more innovative products out there, and so they've run into a few snags. Nothing big, really. They'll bounce back, sooner than you can say ":Cuecat". Why have they failed so far? Not enough punctuation.

My advice to :cue:cat is to increase the number of colons (":"). One thing you learn in business school is that when you're going for an angle with a marketing campaign, you can't hammer home your main point enough. You have to try harder. Most people don't even notice the colons when they first look at ":CueCat", and far fewer remember to include them when discussing the product among friends. It's a losing proposition, I'm afraid.

That's why they need to have more colons. They shouldn't stop until their name at least looks like ":::c:u:e:c:a:t::". They should also get a trademark on "cuecat" without the colons and start harassing people who misuse it instead of ":CueCat". They also have to dump cuecat.com [cuecat.com] as their homepage, because it unfortunately reinforces the "no colon" mistake. Problems like these aren't often solved so easily. :CRQ should consider themselves lucky.

grammar nitpick (1)

vsync64 (155958) | more than 13 years ago | (#503548)

Slashback tonight brings you updates on: that silly plastic barcode scanner by that company, what's-it-called ... oh yeah, "Digital Convergence;" how to spread your genetic code the polite way; and why you won't be voting on an MS-Dell-Unisys machine unless things change from vapor to reality, soon.

Does the company's name really have a semicolon in it? No! Hint... Punctuation goes outside the quotes. I don't care who told you otherwise; they're wrong and it's stupid.

Oh, and it's "Digital:Convergence". I:think.

--

Re:Voting solution. (2)

fluffhead (32589) | more than 13 years ago | (#503550)

I don't know if pencil is such a hot idea (unless you pat everyone down for erasers).

#include "disclaim.h"
"All the best people in life seem to like LINUX." - Steve Wozniak

XML (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#503553)

XML XML XML.. great to see another buzzword compliant solution. Give it five years, we'll be trying to migrate stuff in XML to some other new fangled solution.

Cuerat (3)

Nidhogg (161640) | more than 13 years ago | (#503558)

During the height of the whole DC/:Cue:cat controversy I explained it and discussed it with our company president. Who, admittedly, is not a bad businessman IMHO.

He said afterwards and I quote: "That has got to be the most DUMBASS idea I've ever heard." He went and searched all his business journals, found all the related articles and gave them six months before they folded.

They've got 2 months left. :)

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

The NT Christ (305898) | more than 13 years ago | (#503559)

Math teachers are wusses.

Hochrechnungen translation (1)

QuasEye (98125) | more than 13 years ago | (#503560)

Sorry if I'm off - my three years of H.S. German were a long time ago.

Literally, "hochrechnungen" translates to "high reckonings." I'm guessing this would translate idiomatically to something like, "expert opinions."

Again, if I'm not even close or something, just ignore me. Thanks.

"If I removed everything here that I thought was pointless, there would be like two messages here."

What I'm afraid of... (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 13 years ago | (#503561)

is a cuecat-like device that will run over your hand and read your DNA.
========================
63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,

Re:Pencil and paper (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 13 years ago | (#503562)

You forgot your attribution for that quote.

"We need politicians with backbones that can do the right thing even if it is unpopular."

-Henry VIII

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

vsync64 (155958) | more than 13 years ago | (#503563)

I was told thousands and thousands of times, "Punctuation then quotation."

I am not an English professor, but as far as I can tell my many English courses were taught by at least one.

Weren't you listening? They're wrong, and it's stupid.

I may also point out that your signature is: "If that wasn't enough, it's actually based on an implementation of a Turing machine."

What the other guy said.

--

Re:XML (1)

vsync64 (155958) | more than 13 years ago | (#503564)

A generic and standard way of representing any sort of data is fantastic. Any data you have can be parsed in some way with a generic parser.

Like Lisp has been able to do forever? They laugh at Lisp now and call it names.

Which is sad, because ANSI Common Lisp is orders of magnitude more advanced than pretty much everything I've seen churned out by the "industry" in years.

--

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

vsync64 (155958) | more than 13 years ago | (#503565)

They invented the language. I think they know how it works.

--

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

thex23 (206256) | more than 13 years ago | (#503566)

okay, i suck. "its" != "it is" i should be spanked...

i'll give a lollipop to the first person who can tell me the correct reason why "I" is the only pronoun that is always capitalized.

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

The NT Christ (305898) | more than 13 years ago | (#503567)

Your use of the term "correct," to describe incorrect grammar, is interesting.

But you're right - it is just a matter of what you're used to. These stupid publishers with their rules of typographic layout - if only they had the common sense you do!

Re:XML is not an acronym. (1)

mybecq (131456) | more than 13 years ago | (#503568)

So TLA = TLI? Still doesn't help the inherent 17,576 limit.

Re:Voting solution... CueCat! (2)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 13 years ago | (#503569)

Maybe we can use some of the 100,000,000 surplus unused cuecats to do our voting!

On second thought, maybe the chads are better...


- - - - -

Don't give the voting computers to Florida (1)

Fast Ben (241758) | more than 13 years ago | (#503570)

Don't put these MS-Dell-Unisys voting machines in Florida!
If you thought they couldn't count, you should see 'em trying to run a Win2000 box...

Re:grammar nitpick (1)

vsync64 (155958) | more than 13 years ago | (#503571)

You also misspelled "punctuation".

:-)

--

Re:Philly touch screen system (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 13 years ago | (#503572)

Good point. No paper output that I can see, but maybe an internal printer and collection bin. Definently need paper backup- lightning strike > voltage surge > boom!

Good grammar nitpick deserves spelling nitpick (1)

alienmole (15522) | more than 13 years ago | (#503573)

> ...in which case it is supressed).

Supressed? I don't think that's a word, even in Canada! Only goes to show, even editors need editors...

> Our next lesson will review the use of punctuation in parentheses.

I'm looking forward to it, because I was surprised (alternate tense of "supressed"?) by the period after your closing paren above. I would have put it inside.

Re:XML is not an acronym. (1)

Agthorr (135998) | more than 13 years ago | (#503574)

The Merriam Webster dictionary says that an initialism is a special type of acronym.

You can see for yourself here [m-w.com] .

Don't pick nits until you check your facts in multiple places!

Re::Cuecat just hasn't found its market yet (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 13 years ago | (#503575)

That's why they need to have more colons.

I honestly can't think of a company with more colons than Digital Convergence.

-Legion

Security through Obscurity. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#503576)

Works. Period.
.
By definition.
If a software flaw is 'obscure' (not understood) then it cannot be exploited. Therefore, it remains secure.
Once the flaw is discovered, it is no longer obscure. Security through Obscurity has not failed, it has ceased to be applicable.

Also, all software (yes, even the Open Source Free Software Bender code) uses Security through Obscurity. Bugs and security holes are fixed when found, until they are found they are obscure. And secure.

Security through Obscurity - works everytime.

Pencil and paper (3)

perdida (251676) | more than 13 years ago | (#503577)


The problem with the pencil and paper is that it is expensive. You can only hire so many people to count, and if you hire them at too low of a salary they could conceivably be susceptible to election fraud. [granma.cu]

Furthermore, a simple vote procedure should be backed up by a strong computerized system, in order to ensure the rapid tabulation of results. Or would you have us go back to the time when it took weeks to figure out the election, every election?

Furthermore, electronic voting, if it can be perfected, is a good way to extend the direct initiative and referendum on more issues to citizens. Technologies like the internet enable us to expand the realm of direct democracy and shrink the role of government.

In other words, they're useless (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 13 years ago | (#503578)

Cross pen company makes fantastic pens. But in case you can't write down that URL you see, now you can scan it [cross.com] with one of their pens.

How does this product make sense??

Re:If it were the "old" Wired... (3)

rw2 (17419) | more than 13 years ago | (#503579)

I would be holding my breath for an article on how to hack the CueCat scanner and make it more useful.

Sure, but you wouldn't be able to read it because they would have used lime green ink on a yellow background to show how 1337 they are!

--

Re:Voting solution. (1)

Ravagin (100668) | more than 13 years ago | (#503580)

All that is needed is a simple pencil, piece of paper and a bunch of people to count the votes.

One truly hopes that that is sarcasm. As a good little minion of the US media, I followed the shenanigans in Florida rather cloesly, and it took a loooong time to hadncount all those votes. There has to be something mechanical in that along the way. This is a big country.

I concur that a Microsoft+Dell+Whomever solution would be a bad idea; aside from Microsoft's renowned apparent disregard for quality control, I don't think that cutting edge technology is the best thing to apply here. Simplicity, but mechanical simplicity.

What we need is something that is reliable, efficient, simple, and which raises no questions about voter intent.

-J

XML is not an acronym. (5)

jelwell (2152) | more than 13 years ago | (#503581)

XML is an initialism.

An acronym is a word formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term.

An initialism is not a word at all, but the intial letter or letters of a compound term.

The easiest way to remember this is:
radar is an acronym, you say "ray-dar" you don't prounounce out the letters "r-ay-dee-ay-r".

If you pronounce out all the letters, it's an initialism, not a acronym. like IBM is an initialism - although I don't think IBM stands for International Business Machine anymore...

OK - is both!! Check your OED. :)
Joseph Elwell.

Re:Good grammar nitpick deserves spelling nitpick (2)

thex23 (206256) | more than 13 years ago | (#503587)

Gotchya!

Periods go outside of parens if what is inside is not a complete sentence (not an extra comment). (This, for example is a complete sentence in parentheses.)

And as for "supressed", I should also have said "I am a writer": my own mistakes are often invisible to me. Which is what gives me the sense of shame and guilt I need to edit.

Re:Good grammar nitpick deserves spelling nitpick (1)

vsync64 (155958) | more than 13 years ago | (#503588)

I'm looking forward to it, because I was surprised (alternate tense of "supressed"?) by the period after your closing paren above. I would have put it inside.

No, because that would have been wrong. The parentheses began while inside the sentence. Closing the sentence before the parentheses would have made things incorrectly nested.

Duh.

--

Re:::c:u:e:c:a:t:: voting (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 13 years ago | (#503590)

Sure, but "fixing your cuecat" would take on an entirely new meaning.

Elegance. (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 13 years ago | (#503592)

It makes sense because you can store 300 web addresses (or other bar codes) in it. It's a data collector that you can *take with you* as opposed to *tying you down* to your computer to scan cc bar codes. The cuecat, as it is right now, is an abomination of design. It's downright inconvenient.

However, the Cross version is *completely* cordless, smaller, and looks neat, and actually fits in a shirt pocket without making the user look like a complete moron.

It's simply a more elegant design than the cuecat ever was.

XML - Slashdot.xml, that is :( (3)

Pinball Wizard (161942) | more than 13 years ago | (#503593)

Funny how you should mention XML, Timothy. Alright, anyone with IE5, just try to open slashdot.xml [slashdot.org] . Notice the error? Its on this very story.

Now Timothy, I know you are fond of using(apparently Linux/Unix only) umlauts, but this is at least the 2nd time a story of yours has make the slashdot.xml page not work with an industry-standard XML parser.

What's the deal here? Anyone? Are you doing this on purpose to fuck with people using MS software?

Re:Forget XML DTD, XML Schema is where it's at (1)

buysse (5473) | more than 13 years ago | (#503594)

I've been not-quite-involved in a large project to define a DTD. It took years. XML Schema hasn't been around that long, and I don't think that it's a standard yet. DTDs still work.


Digital Convergence? Dumb name! (2)

Monty Worm (7264) | more than 13 years ago | (#503595)

It just struck me how impossible it is for Digital Convergence is to do anything new - it's in their very name to be otherwise.

Convergence is the coming together of existing objects - not really anything new.

Still, if there's nothing new, at least it isn't patentable :-)

Re:LINUX? (2)

fluffhead (32589) | more than 13 years ago | (#503596)

Sorry, it was a direct cut-n-paste quote from his website, www.woz.org. [woz.org]

#include "disclaim.h"
"All the best people in life seem to like LINUX." - Steve Wozniak

Re:XML (1)

Ribo99 (71160) | more than 13 years ago | (#503597)

You've obviously never used XML. It's much more then a buzzword.
A generic and standard way of representing any sort of data is fantastic. Any data you have can be parsed in some way with a generic parser. This makes it wonderfully portable and easy to work with.

---

Re:Pencil and paper (3)

furiousgeorge (30912) | more than 13 years ago | (#503598)

>Or would you have us go back to the time when
>it took weeks to figure out the election, every
>election?

BAH! That shows how screwed up the US system is. How long did it take them do to a recount in florida for 2-3million ballots? The canadians count ALL their ballots BY HAND within about 4 hours of the polls closing (if memory servers it was 13+ million votes cast).

>Furthermore, electronic voting, if it can be
>perfected, is a good way to extend the direct
>initiative and referendum on more issues to
>citizens.

Bollocks. If something is contested, what do you do? You can't do anything but have a total revote. If you have all those pieces of paper in a box u just count them again.

>and referendum on more issues to
>citizens.

ugh. That is the LAST thing that we need. We need politicians with backbones that can actually do the right thing, even if it is unpopular. Instead of the current bunch that are swayed by the whim of polls. Just having a referendum on every damn issue makes it worse - nobody thinks of the BIG picture, every little minutia is debated on it's own merits ONLY. Issues don't exist in vacuums.

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