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  Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Hugh Kenner, Commentator on Literary Modernism, Dies at 80. Hugh Kenner was the critic regarded as America's foremost commentator on literary modernism, especially the work of Ezra Pound and James Joyce. By Christopher Lehmann-haupt. [New York Times: Books]

I read and enjoyed and learned from Hugh Kenner's work as a college student; The Pound Era was the text for a graduate seminar on Ezra Pound that I took from my favorite Chinese poet/professor, Wai-Lim Yip, at UC San Diego. And most everything I know about Buckminster Fuller comes from Kenner's guided tour. Kenner had an astounding talent for weaving both clever and dense prose, pulling together ideas that might otherwise appear unrelated--somewhat like Pound's poetry. To me, he was the most readable and lively and inspiring of literary critics.

4:11:37 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

IBM DeveloperWorks: The importance of documentation. As documentation decreases in quality, users stop turning to it. As users stop turning to it, companies stop trying to maintain it -- why bother, if the users won't read it? This line of reasoning is dooming the future of documentation to failure. Documentation is important and needs to be taken seriously. [Tomalak's Realm]

Nothing really new here, just another cranky user complaining about what our employers are doing to their customers.

3:43:56 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

LA Bans Use Of Master/Slave Terminology For Computing Suppliers. . .  According to the folks at Snopes, they've confirmed that some less-than-tech-savvy (consider them one of the 69%) took offense to the very common designation of "Master/Slave" to describe computing process where one device controls another. LA County has actually sent out a memo to all their suppliers asking them to "remove or change any identification or labeling of equipment or components thereof" that contain the phrase.  [Techdirt]

The Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications, Second Edition (1998) recommends against using "master/slave" terminology because it might be offensive--but fails to provide any alternative terms. That's the problem, isn't it: master/slave is descriptive of the arrangement, and is common among developers. They know what it means. If there was a less-offensive equally-descriptive phrase, we'd already be using it, wouldn't we?

3:36:20 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

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