Minority Opinions

Not everyone can be mainstream, after all.

Archive for March 2011

Semi-Literacy

with 2 comments

I have a problem.  I read quite a bit, but tend to get annoyed by little grammatical errors.  I still make a distinction between “it’s” and “its” in my writing, and for some crazy reason expect others to do the same.  As a TA, I would mark in red every mistake on a pass/fail two-page paper.  I have contributed to Apostrophe Catastrophes.  I spotted the single non-deliberate homophone mix-up in the first issue of our Mental Floss gift subscription.  There’s a wiki I no longer contribute to because my improvements got reverted a few times.  I need help.

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Written by eswald

30 Mar 2011 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Lifestyle

Five things to hate about Python

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Now, to balance out my previous post, and as a little meme following, I present my list of grievances with, arguably, the best language ever.

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Written by eswald

23 Mar 2011 at 10:46 am

Posted in Python

Five reasons to love Python

with 2 comments

I’ve been debating language preferences with a Visual C++ user lately, and it been interesting to see things through the perspective of someone who won’t pick up my favorite programming language, but not for the standard knee-jerk reason. I’ve tried several languages, and have found the one that works best for me, but it might not be for everyone. Intriguingly, my sparring partner’s reasons for avoiding Python mirror some of my favorite features.

These aren’t all of Python’s good points, by any means, but provide a nice overview.

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Written by eswald

21 Mar 2011 at 10:16 pm

Posted in Python

Yielding the Wrong of Way

with 4 comments

After several years of cycling as a primary mode of transportation, you’d think I would be used to the behavior of people who share the road with me.  For the most part, it has helped to act like motor vehicles don’t see me unless I’m solidly in their lane.  Perhaps that’s why it’s so surprising when someone waves me through despite my legal obligation to stop and wait.

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Written by eswald

14 Mar 2011 at 8:28 pm

Posted in Cycling

Signs that you’re storing my password in plaintext

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I recently created an account with a major financial institution, which claimed to use the latest account protection technology. That made it all the more grating when it became patently obvious that they were going to store my password in plaintext, probably in a database field. Granted, there were a few measures to counteract phishing and hammering, but that doesn’t make me feel better about the fact that some employee somewhere has the ability to see my password.

I used to have two types of password: one relatively secure, and one completely insecure.  The first included a few special characters, and would be systematically changed for each place I needed it.  The second was emailed to me when I created an account somewhere, and happened to stick in my head; it rarely changes.  However, the sheer number of passwords I need, frequently with completely incompatible restrictions, combined with a growing fear that someone would figure out my simple pattern, drove me to store all my passwords in KeePassX, changing to new randomly generated passwords wherever possible.

That’s when I discovered just how well-founded that fear had been.

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Written by eswald

9 Mar 2011 at 1:09 pm

Posted in Technology

Legislating morality

with 2 comments

Sometimes it feels like religious questions dominate the political atmosphere.  Not blatantly, most of the time, but pervasively.  Given the history of the country, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised; it can feel like Americans are always crusading about something or other.  Unfortunately, people can forget that both sides have solid backing in Judeo-Christian morality, partly because they prefer  to focus on different aspects.  I have come to think of the major philosophy as Purity vs. Charity.

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Written by eswald

4 Mar 2011 at 4:40 pm

Posted in Politics