Allow Them To Stay!!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Sital and Usha Rand have been living in New Zealand for 11 years, and have 3 children. If they go back to India, they will have to live in a slum as they are in the Dalit (untouchable) caste.

Their children are all NZ citizens and cannot have Indian citizenship.

They are being deported.

If they are not allowed to stay, I will never vote for John Key again. If our immigration system can allow this, it is fucked up.

Stack Exchange - English Language and Usage

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

I have recently joined a new site named just as the title of this post. It is in private beta for 60 days, so I will post a link to it (in this post, and another) when it comes out of private beta.

This site is much like a forum in that people ask questions, and they get answered. The main differences are that people get reputation points for good answers and good questions, and questions are displayed in order of how good they are, not chronologically. This leads to some very interesting dynamics in the way questions are answered and discussions are formed.

Thus far, the top points seem to be dominated by linguists, developers and an English teacher. The very top person is a French programmer, as of course, the French speak better English than the English do.

I was dragged (well voluntarily), into a discussion about whether it was acceptable to use the word "that" when beginning an adjective clause when talking about people. E.g. "There were 5 people who were on the plane" opposed to "There were 5 people that were on the plane". Most people tended to stay out of it, but a prescriptive grammar book came to the rescue, mentioning that "that" should never be used in reference to people, and only that who(m) should be used.

Of course, I had to disagree, after all, what are people, if not things! (I kid, I kid). The fact is, I very often say "that" when I could say "who", and I often hear other people do the same thing. In fact, I see that construct in newspapers, books, and magazines. I could not accept that I was to be prescribed into using "who" all the time.

My original post was despised, shot down, neglected, and scorned (I exaggerate, it simply had one comment saying that I hadn't proven anything). So after doing some programming, I spent an hour looking for a good source. Found two books that agreed with me, quoted them, and now, over six hours later, my post has one up-vote.

Such is life :-)

I enjoy life.

Spelling Mistakes that Can't Be Fixed

Thursday, 15 July 2010

In all programming languages, the basic commands are always in English. Any library that is distributed internationally (for instance, the windows libraries which allow programs to create text boxes, buttons, windows, menus, etc.), has all its functions written in English.

So every programmer in the world, has to use English commands whether or not they actually know any English. Many companies around the world even enforce rules that their programmers should write their own functions with English names and comments. Though this is not always the case.

Well, when you're programming, anyway.

But for any large international company, they have no choice but to have this rule. Therefore, you'll have Korean programmers in Korea writing code with English comments, English function names, English variable names, etc.

For the uninitiated, a "variable" is, simply a value which can change, and this value must be given a name. For instance: BillGatesAge = 10. This will change on his 11th birthday, and so on. This is similar to a variable in mathematics.

So, if a Chinese programmer is writing a program, that says "hello" in Chinese, they would have to write something like this (C#):
OR in C

There probably will come a time, where one can choose a programming language, and a symbol language. But this time has not come, so everyone must use English. Whiteness - the gift that just keeps giving.

And because most native English speakers can't seem to be able to spell anymore, and because a lot of things are written by non-English speakers, there is a high chance that somewhere, a library name, or a command will be misspelt, and used by millions around the world before it has a chance to be fixed. At which point it cannot be fixed. Well, not completely.

Of course! A dictionary!

In the Microsoft dot Net libraries, there is a list of values called Keys. This gives a name to each key. On Korean keyboards, there is a key which switches between Hangeul (Korean writing) and Latin (English writing). In the enumeration, this key is called both HangulMode and HanguelMode. This is because the "correct" English spelling of the word is "Hangul", but when writing Korean in Latin, it should be written as "Hanguel". I personally always go with "Hangeul".

Anyhow, from the looks of it, when that was originally written, it must have been a Korean, or at least someone that knew a bit of Korean, who named it "HanguelMode", which is actually a misspelling of "HangeulMode". Later on, after it has been released, someone must have said "Hey! Wayddaminute! It should be 'HangulMode'", and, because it was already in use, they just added the extra name. So it's got two names, and neither of them is the official - revised - Korean spelling of Hangeul. In Hangeul, Hangeul is spelt: 한글. ㅎ=h, ㅏ=a, ㄴ=n, ㄱ=g, ㅡ=eu, ㄹ=l or r.

And to add insult to insult (no injury here, move along!), the same enumeration (list of values) has the value for the key which is used to accept an IME input named "IMEAceept". Yes, I can aceept that, but it is not a very easy thing to aceept. Every single time I ever need to know that the accept IME key has been pressed, I have to aceept the fact that it is spelt incorrectly. Likewise, this has been fixed at a later date, so I actually see two available names for that key: IMEAceept, IMEAccept. Luckily, that is not the alphabetical order, so auto-complete will usually get the one spelt correctly. There must be quite a lot of code out there using this name, so Microsoft can't just remove the misspelling. It will stay there for a very long time.

The misspellings will be deprecated eventually, I'm sure.

Opening Doors - Body Language

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The 1940s - when men could be nice to women without having their heads bitten off.

It used to be that opening the door for a female was what any self-respecting (and woman-respecting) gentleman would naturally do. Not only would he do this, but it was required of him. If a man were to ignore this little piece of social protocol, people, especially "ladies", would think him rude, uncouth, and obnoxious. It was also quite common for anyone to simply open the door for anyone that was following him/her, whether or not the other person was male or female.

However, opening a door for a woman in this day and age, at least in New Zealand, tends to send mixed messages to women. Personally I quite often open doors for people who are behind me, whether or not they are female. Whenever I open it for a man, or a child, they will go through, and most of the time they will thank me. However with females, it quite often occurs that the woman will refuse to go through the door.

On Tuesday 1(yesterday), I was catching the elevator to my office, just as the door was closing, I saw a woman walking into the lobby, so I stuck my foot into the closing doors, which caused them to automatically reopen - one day this trick will clobber my foot, I'm sure; this is a lot easier than hunting for the open door button, which seems to be in a different location on every elevator, and I have failed to open the door by hunting for it in the past. This woman (probably about 40) was very grateful and said "thank-you" quite profusely when she entered, and when she left the elevator on her floor.

In contrast to this; about two weeks ago, I did the exact same thing at the same time of day in the same place, but with a different 40 something year old woman. This woman just stared at me as if I were committing some crime and did not enter the elevator. So I let the doors close. She then pressed the up button which caused the doors of the lift to open again, and then she entered. I thought she was being very, very immature.

The funny thing is I have only ever been thanked when I have held the lift open for a man, but women often don't say anything, and sometimes will refuse to enter at all. What can I say? Men are more respondent to kindness than women?

Of course, many women are probably thinking, "oh, he opened the door for me because I'm a woman. That means that he is obviously a male-chauvinist pig. How DARE he do that!!! I will refuse to enter through that door while he is holding it open."2 Well, at least that is all I can assume. She could have been thinking "Ha! I'm gonna waste his time by letting the doors close and then opening them again!! Haha, he will be annoyed!". But it is much more likely to be along the lines of the former example. Either way, it just seems like stupidity to me.

Victoria University - where you go to get your head bitten off by women if you happen to be a polite male.

When I was at University I ended up giving up on opening doors for white girls altogether. It was so common for me to receive a harsh word, or have them stop in their tracks, that I just found it wasn't worthwhile at all. I ended up opening doors for males, or for girls who were not white (e.g. Asians, Africans, Middle-Eastern, etc.) I found that opening the door for Africans and Polynesians usually got me a quite nice expression of gratitude, whereas Asians and Middle Easterners would tend to go through, sometimes with a smile or a "thank you", sometimes not. But never, except from a white girl, have I ever been treated like some kind of devil just because I held a door open for them.

These days, I tend to not worry about it anymore. If a white woman so chooses to be upset about me opening a door, I don't care. Let her think what she will. At least for everyone else, it is a sign of respect and kindness towards fellow humans.

1 Notice how I have the comma outside of the brackets (parentheses), as I mentioned in a previous post.
2 Note how I have the full-stop (period) inside the quotes. This is because the full-stop belongs to that sentence.

Punctuation Inside Quotes

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

There is a general style rule when using quotes, that punctuation such as commas should always go inside the quote. Searching on Google, I found the following at Grammar Book:

Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks, even inside single quotes.

So I immediately went to a random article on Stuff, which happened to be about a free trade deal with South Korea. I searched for ," which was found 6 times, then I searched for ", which wasn't used at all.

In the article, quoting John Key, a section read:
"... we've got a plan to go forward," Mr Key said.

Personally, I think it is a very silly rule to put punctuation inside quotes when it does not belong to the quote (which it never does). So if I were to own my own newspaper, or blog, I would have written it like this:
"... we've got a plan to go forward", Mr Key said.
Which I think is much more logical.

This follows the rule:
The man said "hi." Then we talked for a bit, before he said "bye."
And this follows the way that I think it should be written:
The man said "hi". Then we talked for a bit, before he said "bye".
If I had it my way (which I do on my blog, ha!), I would only put punctuation inside quotations if it really did belong, for instance, if the quotation was a sentence. If I said "I am going to do things any way I like." while standing up, I would put a period inside the quotes. But if I quoted the first half of the sentence, I would put the quote outside because whenever I want to, I can "do things".

The fact is, a lot of copy writing rules seem to be a bit silly, and it doesn't make things any easier to read by putting punctuation together with quotes when it doesn't really belong. With that said, if I were to write an article for a newspaper, I would go ahead and put all that non-belonging punctuation inside quotes, because, as a writer for that newspaper, it would be my job to follow their style guide.

I just checked Jared's blog, Along The Lion, and he had used ," in every conceivable place, except one, where he must have slipped up and written ", when he wrote “I intend to complete the planning for the light rail system in my first term as mayor, to begin laying rails in my second term, and to see the system complete by 2020”, said Celia Wade-Brown. This slip-up is perfectly excusable in my book, because I think that is the logical way to do it.

If anyone actually reads this, I would like to hear your opinion on the matter.

Decline of the swear word

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

It used to be that if someone uttered the F word, or the B word in good company, people would gasp and be shocked. If someone had said "You're a f***ing idiot" to someone in NZ 25 years ago, they could expect to be either punched in the face or receive a heavy back-hand slap. Now they're more likely to have that person ignore it or simply repeat the insult, or return with some other foul-mouthed reply.

If one had uttered the S word or the B word at school, they could probably expect a caning from the teacher. Now they'd likely receive a "watch your mouth!" or simply be ignored by the teacher.

If you did something to really annoy someone, or offend them deeply, they could let you know very easily. A simple "fu** off" would get the message across that whatever you had done or said was simply not to be done or said ever again. Now you could expect to receive a "fu** off" in good cheer, for instance if you bought something especially cheap:
"Man! I got this Louis Vuitton bag for $5!!!"
"Fuck off!"
"Naa! Honest!"

This same conversation 25 years ago (in general middle class society, I think in lower classes, swearing has had a pretty mundane effect for quite a while:
"Man! I got this Louis Vuitton bag for $5!!!"
"Fuck off!"
*WHAM* (replier gets whacked in the face)

We simply have to face the facts. The overuse of swearing has lead to a great fall in the effectiveness of swearing. A simple F word no longer carries the hate and anger that it once did. It is no longer possible to offend a large number of people simply by uttering a few common phrases. Now swear words exist in the every day speech of many societies, it is simply not shocking anymore. Most people no longer get offended, unless you let of a whole stream of them, and even then, many people would simply think one a little unintelligent, rather than getting angry or upset.

Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is up to you to decide. But in my personal opinion it is a bad thing, because swearing used to play a very effective role, and now most swearwords have simply become common adjectives/adverbs in the common lexicon.

Google indexes fastest at 11 days

Monday, 26 April 2010

After putting up the website for my new company, Kiwiware, it has taken 11 days for the website to be listed in Google search. It is however second ranked when searching for "Kiwiware", and the first ranked is, which is not even a proper website.

I find it interesting that a website which says "this domain is for sale" would be the top result. I guess there are still some hickups in the ranking algorithms :-)

Anyway, a little about the new company. We are doing development at the moment which will be presented to potential customers once prototypes are completed. I cannot say at the moment what we are developing, but I should be able to say before the end of the year. Anyway, it involves electronics, PCs and networking. It is also a niche industry, where thus far there aren't any visible competitors with products developed solely for what we are developing for. Sorry to be so cryptic...

Update - 27 April 2010

As of 10:41 (NZST), now ranks #1 on a search for "Kiwiware" on Google. Having just checked Bing and Yahoo, I see that it is indexed on neither.

Update - 1 May 2010

Just checked Bing and Yahoo at 9pm today, and Kiwiware is now indexed as #1 on Yahoo. Bing still does not have it in their index.

Update - 10 May 2010

Bing still does not have Kiwiware indexed. This does not bode well for my impression of Bing!!