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  Sunday, July 11, 2004

Jef Raskin has an opinion piece in the July/August issue of ACM Queue (not yet online), in which he respectfully disagrees with punctuation celebrity Lynn Truss on some points from her Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Raskin, bemoaning "the totally wretched state of most software documentation," agrees that punctuation, in the interest of clarity, is essential, but disagrees with a few of Truss' pet peeves, including the use of the ellipsis, and her stance on serial commas. (I agree: it should be Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.)

His insistence that the American practice of placing puncuation inside closing quotes is absurd ignores the fact that we can use typographical cues to indicate what part of an instruction is to be typed literally, without resorting to quotation marks: To stop printing, press Control + . .  I had endless arguments with my boss at my first tech writing job about this -- and there would have been nothing to argue about if the help authoring tool we used wasn't limited to plain text. (Well, the arguments weren't endless; they ended when he fired me.)

It is nice to see a respected developer and designer taking an interest in the quality of our writing, isn't it?

6:52:44 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

 "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy."
I wonder who Woody was talking about.

1:28:06 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Do you think we should give Bush the power to postpone the election? [Scripting News]

I have become cynical and mistrustful enough of this administration to believe that Bush and his cronies want, and are inviting, a terrorist attack in order to justify postponing the election, to foster additional fear and support, and thereby ensure Bush's reelection when (if) they finally allow us to vote. And I believe that it is only the united voice of the American people, who will stand up and say, "No, Mr. Bush, you cannot take away my democracy," that can stop him. Only if we don't speak up will he have the power.

1:20:46 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

You saw this coming, didn't you?

Homeland Security figuring out how to suspend election in case of terrorist attack. The upcoming issue of Newsweek reports that Homeland Security's Tom Ridge is looking into how he can call off the election in the event of a terrorist attack.
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge warned last week that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network may attack within the United States to try to disrupt the election.

The magazine cited unnamed sources who told it that the Department of Homeland Security asked the Justice Department last week to review what legal steps would be needed to delay the election if an attack occurred on the day before or the day of the election.

Link (Thanks, Todd!) [Boing Boing]

11:51:49 AM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

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