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Slashback: Pronouns, Acronyms, Abbreviations 132

Posted by timothy
from the Aloha-`auinalá dept.
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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Slashback: Pronouns, Acronyms, Abbreviations

Comments Filter:
  • 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.

  • by micahjd (54824) <micahjd@users.sourceforge.net> on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @02:30PM (#503468) Homepage
    We could make everybody happy and just use cuecats for electronic voting!

  • 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.

  • 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 . . .

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

  • 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.
  • 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....
  • 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.
  • by Fervent (178271) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @02:41PM (#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.


  • But wait: it stands for eXtensible Markup Language. What does that make it now?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • ...but they didn't seem interested. Something about the mileage...

  • We call that statistical sampling.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • > 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.

  • 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....

  • > 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.

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

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Well my dad is a Math teacher and he can kick your dad's ass.
  • by Ribo99 (71160)
    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.

    ---
  • ...in order to ensure the rapid tabulation of results.

    Don't be fooled by the media. It's not a race. The media is about the only one to benifit from quick results. You don't win prizes because your electorate was counted quickly. Also postal ballots take about a week before the results from them become known.

  • Sorry to be pedantic, but ...

    If it's going to be reusable and extensible, it'll
    have to be

    virtual void cat(long);

    ;-)
    --
  • ...Have been used for years over here. The counting is done by _unpaid_ sitizens. If you are elected (by the government) to go counting and/or sit in an election bureau, not showing up is a severe crime punished by inprisonment. Election fraude is avoided thrue the fact that every party (and there are more than 2 big ones over here) can send controllers to the counting offices. There are 10 million inhabitants here. From the age of 18 you _MUST_ vote (not voting is punishable by inprisonment!) So I guess that makes about 5 million votes (I have no idea really) Counting the votes takes one evening/night. Plain and simple. Oh BTW since a few years thare are some communities using voting computers to replace the paper and pencil. Those things seem to work fine and the result is instantanious after the closing of the polling station (really!)
  • People are having a hard enough time matching the name to the hole, if you throw a barcode in there all hell will break loose.
  • I'm from the Philly suburbs as well. What town has this? Nobody I know of voted that way? I actually used lever machines. (Doylestown.)

    --
    "Don't trolls get tired?"
  • 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
  • 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.
  • :) 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.
  • by ENOENT (25325)
    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.

  • 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.
  • 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?

  • Yep, just like ASCII has died out. New fangled thing, can't see how anybody bothered using it.

    XML is to data as ASCII is to plain text.

    Still, I guess if you're still programming in assembler (which obviously you must be, if you consider XML to be just another buzzword) then you probably haven't come across ASCII yet either.

    ~Cederic
  • This will doom XML. Everyone thinks that they can define a standard on the internet but it's already killed SGML.
  • Hochrechnugen: N. The act of spitting that last bit of puke out of your VW window.
  • I wouldn't be so hasty to brag about our superior Canadian electoral procedures. We have nothing to brag about. The government in the US and many European countries are far more democratic and accountable than our system (your comments Sound like typical Liberal arrogance to me ;-)

    First of all, I agree that nothing beats marking an X on a piece of paper for clarity at this point. If it ain't broke don't fix it. However, we Canadians have this "permanent electors list" we have to register on. Since 1996 electoral officers no longer do full enumerations--they simply scrape the data from income tax, vehicle registration and so on to do yearly updates and the onus is on each person to be sure the info is accurate.

    In the last election (a snap election nobody was really prepared for--not even the winning Liberals) the Permanent Electors List proved to be a complete disaster. Working on an election campaign I discovered that OVER 60 PERCENT of eligable voters were NOT registered only days before the election in some polls. I live in a new neighbourhood in the suburbs and NOBODY came around to do a selective enumeration. Elections Canada couldn't even figure out what riding I was in until two weeks into the campaign (eventually they split my neighbourhood in half--arbitrarily--by postal code)! On election day, some polls opened late and there were lineups at others. Post-election analysis revealed that an estimated 1 MILLION people never registered at all (and thus never voted). There were thousands of dead people and non-citizens registered to vote as well!

    Furthermore, electoral boundaries are not adjusted often enough and the rules are complicated. As a result, some areas are extremely under-represented due to large population growth since the last census (Metro Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver drastically so). The make-up of parliament is thus not properly rep-by-pop.

    Combine this confusion with voter apathy and a vicious and negative campaign and you get the lowest voter turnout in 100 years! By most estimates (accounting for unregistered voters) only 59% to 62% voted--not so long ago (before the permanent List) it was over 70%. Canada also uses the British-style "first past the post" system, where the candidate with the most votes wins even if there are more than two and the winner gets less than 50%--and there are four major parties (each with a differnet regional base as well as different ideology). Therefore the Liberals won a majority government with just over 40% of the vote. With 60% participation that means because 24% to 25%--LESS THAN 1 IN 4 VOTERS--determined which party would govern and who would be PM (and the PM has WAY more power and influence in Canada than the president has in the US). In my opinion it is no exaggeration that Mexico is now more democratic than Canada. It is sad to see such an advanced, peaceful and proud nation slide into a political oligarchy.

    I'm not a luddite--I think that when thought through and applied propely that modern technology must be into the electoral process. More important than that however is to introduce reforms to the process to make people's votes count more (preferrential voting or proportional representation perhaps) and to encourage people to get out and vote (both in Canada and the US)--preferrably without resorting to forcing them to by law and harsh penalties.
  • See right now parser people are rolling their eyes. I sat with a parser guy at a conference as we were repeatable bombarded with the words "generic parser", it's not a generic parser, it's a generic XML parser. A generic parser is a very different thing all together. Should someone actually figure out a way to efficently parse arbitary grammars and write a parser to do so, then you will have a generic parser and it will supercede XML because it will be able to parse anything efficently, not just XML. So yes, in the not too distant future you can expect to see the next bit of snake oil that claims to be a "generic parser" without even looking up the definition and everyone will run to it. They will only at that point downplay the importance of XML saying it was the worst thing since LISP and list all the virtues of the new technology and its many three letter acronyms.
  • Here in Vancouver, BC, we use pencil and paper. The Civic election is the most complicated with 4 position sets (1 mayor, 12 councillors, 9 school board and 7 parks board) being voted on. The entire city votes on all of the positions, so it's not uncommon to have to pick (for example) 12 councilors out of 40 or more. (I'm not going to bother with a detailed complaint about this part of the setup).

    As I remember the ballot is counted by optical scanner with human backup.

    Federal elections are done with pencil and paper, with the counting done in parallel. Each poll counts it's own votes, and there's already one person available per balot box. The result is that few people are responsible for counting more than a few hundred ballots. The results are then tabulated and forwarded. Few, if any, ballots are uncounted within a couple of hours.

    To prevent/minimize the probability of fraud, each candidate is allowed to have scrutineers at each ballot location to make sure that the count goes properly (I've been one). If questions are raised, a judical recount can be asked for (with a worst case not unlike the Gore-Bush standoff, but with lower stakes).

    For a Judicial recount, pencil and paper allow an actual accounting. If there was a problem (including fraud) with a pure electronic system, I don't see how you could have an audit trail that had much hope of finding the problem. One option is that the system then prints a human-verifiable ballot for each vote -- in which case, you end up with something pretty close to pencil and paper.

    Even so, there is a forensic value to pencil and paper: If one person marks dozens/hundreds of ballots, the similarity of the marks might get the attention of the people doing a recount and looking for signs of such fraud. With computer-printed output, they're all printed by the same machine.

    BTW: I think that "the time when it took weeks to figure out the election, every election?" was back before the telegraph/telephone days -- when it took weeks to get the results from California to Washington, and then the tabulation back to California.
    `ø,,ø!

  • by AndrewD (202050) on Wednesday January 17, 2001 @01:01AM (#503516) Homepage

    That's not really so big an issue. In the UK we manage hand-counts of 20-30 million votes at general elections, and the first results are in in two hours after the polls close (usually Chris Mullen's constituency, up Geordie way, who make it a point of pride to be fast, and since Mullen's had a majority to die for for twenty years, inaccuracies don't matter much).

    Vote-counters aren't hired at a salary anyway: elections are too infrequent an event for anyone to make a living at it. Usually it's local government civil servants getting a spot of overtime payment here in the UK, and a dozen or so vote-counters can easily handle the votes of a constituency in which 30-40,000 votes are cast.

    Election fraud is actually less of an issue with human counting: you've got to bribe or threaten every single counter in a voting district to make a difference, whereas with a machine count you only have to nobble the guy who oerhauls the machine on the night.

    Single points of failure are a Bad Thing.

  • 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).
  • 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.

  • 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.
    --

  • 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.

  • 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

  • by juuri (7678)
    one of many...

    how quickly everyone forgets the horror that was DIVX.
  • The solution is:
    Print is dead?
  • Only if we can make them emit biometric voter ID data via XML. GPL'd, of course.
  • by ism (180693)
    XML is an improvement on SGML, so the acronym might actually get shorter. =)

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

  • *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.

  • Ignore everything in bold italics

    I Just got hit by the "lameness filter". (Is it supposed to refer to the lameness of the filter, or what it's supposed to be filtering for?). I don't mind something that stops lame posts, but this filter seems to hit with a randomness that eludes my logic.

    What is this filter supposed to do?

    Do filter hits get logged, so that /. admins can verify that it's actually getting true lame posts? Is it DESIGNED to discourage putting URLs in your post? Does it actually help? Will the answer to these questions be posted by someone in the know?

    In the hopes that this rant has mollified the lameness filter, I now return you to the regularly scheduled feature.

    Ignore everything above this line

    You're mostly complaining about our electoral system, not our voting system.

    I have two pointers here. The first [npsnet.com] and The second [official-documents.co.uk]. Excuse the brevity. I'm trying to avoid the lameness filter.

    Remainder of post deleted to mollify the lameness filter
    `ø,,ø!

  • 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).

    The Canadians aren't counting chad. They're counting ballots designed to be counted by hand.

    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.

    Not if you use a scanner. To my mind, the best system would be one in which you mark your choices, feed it in and the system displays on screen "You voted for Roblimo for president, Hemos for Senator and YES on Proposition 51, the Slashdot Initiative. Is this correct?" Push the YES button and your vote is recorded and your ballot stored in a lock-box. Push NO and your ballot is spit back out to you for you to change.

  • ...and electronic votes are simply too suscepitble to some type of fraud. We need one that you fill out electronically, It punches the ballot for you, and then spits it out to you so you can see and verify the ballot, and them turn it in to the lockbox. The machine gives good punches 100% of the time, you get to physically verify your vote, and there is a physical record available if needed.
  • Babelfisch reckons it's "Computer forecasts"

    Your straight throughput of "High Reckonings" is good, but most volken worse than Yoda English speak.

    If you take Hoch to be Upwards, and you make it a bit latinisch, you get nearer to what is called "extrapolation"

  • I wrote a wrapper class for the CueCat barcode scanner to decode the output into something useful. It's easy to use and documented. Version 1.0 is available at http://ian.sitenation.com/cuecat/ [sitenation.com] if you want it.
  • 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
  • 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?")
  • 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...
  • 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.

    --

  • 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",'.

  • 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.
  • Well, you learn a new thing every day!
  • >>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.

  • 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.

    --

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Man, you know, I often wondered about that.
  • by Lover's Arrival, The (267435) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @02:08PM (#503544) Homepage
    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.

  • ...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.

  • by Chuck Flynn (265247) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @02:10PM (#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.
  • 1) "Forbes reports that the Microsoft, Unisys, & Dell plan to build a new voting solution is 'phony'." 2)"...a company called Hart Intercivic which creates electronic voting devices. The devices are real and are already being used." 3) Not trolling and NOT offtopic. If you mighty moderators would actually bother to read the posts then you wouldn't make dumbass mistakes.
  • 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.

    --

  • >I'm from the Philly suburbs as well. What town has this? Nobody I know of voted that way? I actually used lever machines. (Doylestown.)

    Same here. Lever machines in Warwick (Jamison). Wonder what town that was?

    John
  • 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
  • "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."

    [I am quoting the full stop from the previous poster here]

    "I" is in the upper case because other wise it looks like it's pronounced like "i" in "kick", and is too difficult to read. Other pronouns don't need it so they don't get it.

    ---

    So, do I get a lollipop?

    --
    Tristan WibberleyZZ
    --
  • "I" is in the upper case because other wise it looks like it's pronounced like "i" in "kick", and is too difficult to read. Other pronouns don't need it so they don't get it.

    You're warm. It *does* have something to do with it being harder to read...

    In olden days, when English was emerging from its Germanic roots, the first person pronoun "ich" was shortened to "i". But this was a problem, since people spelled words in a really weird way: they seperated syllables with a space. So "i" was just left there in this stream of short letter groups, and could easily be mistaken for part of another word. They adopted the capitalization rule so it would stand out more.

  • by QuantumG (50515)
    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.
  • I was just talking to my boss about implementing HIPPA, and the new XML layer for HL7, and the working groups have already deep-sixed XML DTD for XML Schema.

    Geesh, get with the program, it's the 21st Century. XML DTD is so last millenium ...

  • XML is an initialism.

    You're realy spplitting hairs here. But, for those of you who are interested, check out this web site:
    English errors page [wordorigins.org] from wordorigins.org [wordorigins.org]. They talk about acronyms, their origins, and some misconceptions about common acronyms.

  • 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!

    Not sure if that was sarcasm or not, but I heartily agree - why should we be bound by 19th-century rules of typesetting in an era when unambiguous communication is becoming more and more important? Especially since with modern typesetting technology we could easily set up print that both looks nice and is simple to interpret.

  • by Nidhogg (161640) <shr.thanatos@ g m a il.com> on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @03:36PM (#503558) Journal
    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. :)

  • 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...


    - - - - -
  • by perdida (251676) <thethreatproject AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @02:14PM (#503577) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by rw2 (17419) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @02:18PM (#503579) Homepage
    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!

    --

  • by jelwell (2152) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @02:18PM (#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.
  • 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.

  • by Pinball Wizard (161942) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @05:13PM (#503593) Homepage Journal
    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?

  • 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 :-)

  • 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
  • by furiousgeorge (30912) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @02:25PM (#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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