The assorted finds of Artefact Publishing

August 24, 2004

Fundamentally flawed

Rather than rant about Brian Tamaki and the Destiny Church, I’m going to.... Well, actually, let me say first that I’m not sure whether to credit Mr Tamaki with enough intelligence to be intellectually dishonest, or whether he’s simply a dangerous idiot. Having not been brought up a Christian, having never been a Christian, and not having read all of the Bible, I still know that Jesus is reported to have said “μὴ κρίνετε, ̔ίνα μὴ κριθῆτε” (“Judge not, that ye be not judged”, Matthew 7:1), and I know that interpretation of the Bible has been going on for as long as there has been a Bible, and God hasn’t declared a winner yet.

But there is a worse problem, for being more insidious, than fundamentalist wackos: according to a segment on Nightline last night, the principal of Wellington High School, Prue Kelly, said in response to the majority of students protesting the leasing of school buildings to Destiny Church that it was a business decision, and not the students’ concern. Excuse me, Ms Kelly, but you are running a school, not a business, and if your students are concerned about what is going on at school then you should be paying close attention to them. Your role is, first and foremost, to ensure the wellbeing and education of your students. It betrays a complete lack of sensitivity to consider that what happens on school property outside of school hours has no influence on those who use it during school hours, and to hold such a view makes you utterly unfit to act in any educational capacity.

Really, what is wrong with this woman? When teenagers are normally apathetic and uninterested, how can a protest on the part of so many of them be dismissed so brazenly? How can such a sign of budding political and social activity, the core of citizenship, be quashed rather than celebrated? How can money be given a higher place than the care of children? Well, from a look at their (really badly designed) website, money seems to be the primary concern of the administration of the school: at least three of the eight links on the home page (one of the links is broken) go to versions of the story trumpeting their winning of an export award, with no mention of a student anywhere. Time, I think, to write to Ms Kelly (

Posted by jamie at 09:18+12:00 | Comments (4) | Permalink

August 20, 2004

IPA Zounds 1.7 released

I have just released version 1.7 of IPA Zounds. This release fixes a number of serious issues with the GUI (the error handling didn’t work, for a start), discovered thanks to actual feedback from real live users. Well, people who would be users if the software worked, at least. It’s all a bit embarassing, really, though I place some of the blame on the seemingly silly way Python handles a BOM in a UTF-8 string — since I’ve been working with files which don’t have a BOM, I’ve been oblivious to the fact that they are not ignored by Python in string processing.

But anyway, hopefully this release will be usable by more people than just myself, and that all of those who have downloaded it this week in response to my announcement on a conlang bulletin board will get the latest version in order to avoid bitter disappointment.

Posted by jamie at 20:38+12:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

August 17, 2004

What happens next?

That’s the second question that leapt to mind on watching the end credits of the nineteenth and final episode of My so-called life. The first, of course, was “Who was the moron who cancelled this show, and have they been disembowelled yet?” And preceding either of these questions was the opposite of my Buffy the Vampire Slayer season six refrain (“Lame! Lame! That is so lame!”), the awed silence and punctuating whispers of “That is so good”. I mean, we have excellent writing, music and acting (particularly A. J. Langer as Rayanne) — what’s not to like?

Given the demise (with the partial reprieve of at least one movie) of Firefly (see above re morons and disembowelling), I am on the lookout for something equally good. Does anyone have any views on Once and again, or recommendations of other shows (keeping in mind that I have watched relatively little television)?

Posted by jamie at 18:24+12:00 | Comments (4) | Permalink

August 14, 2004

IPA Zounds 1.6 released

I have just released version 1.6 of IPA Zounds. This version adds basic support for syllable breaks (only as marked via ., not via stress markers, for example) and fixes some encoding issues with the error messages.

Those of you following along will have noticed that there hasn’t been a Windows executable available since version 1.4.1. Even though most of the potential users for this program would most appreciate, and quite possibly only use, such an executable, I have no intention of ever using Windows again if I can avoid it, even just for the task of building that one file.

Sadly this current release is untested when it comes to the GUI, since my version of wxPython was compiled against a version of libtiff which has been obsoleted in Debian, and I can’t yet face recompiling it, given the anguish of previous attempts. Of course this is also the release that I am about to announce to the world in a conlang forum, so what’s the bet it doesn’t work, despite my changing almost nothing in it?

Posted by jamie at 13:34+12:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

August 13, 2004

IPA Zounds online demo

Today I built an online demo of IPA Zounds, which allows you to see what the fuss is without downloading anything. If you have the inclination (and you can see results at the click of a button), please have a play and tell me about all the ways you broke it.

Probably the most important result of building the demo is not that it will attract flocks of new users, but rather that it revealed a few bugs in the code, which are now fixed. Mostly it was encoding issues, which I once again hope have been put to bed for the last time.

Posted by jamie at 22:20+12:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

August 08, 2004

Syllables are hard

Today I hacked on IPA Zounds, adding in basic support for syllable break marks (inconveniently the full stop character, which of course needs to be escaped in regular expression contexts). This is quite different from proper support of syllables, of course, but is perhaps a step in that direction.

Of course I realised as I worked on this that as soon as I want to implement stress markers in even the most cosmetic fashion, I will have to completely change how I’ve implemented the syllable break, because stress markers are also used to mark syllable breaks. Still, I was reasonably pleased that the work I had to do today didn’t involve lots of trying to figure out inscrutable code, which bodes well for future refactoring.

In other news Wordhoard, a quick and dirty online vocabulary tester that I wrote, is up and running, with a couple of quizzes for Old English/Modern English. There are a number of shortcomings that I am aware of (God having to be god for one), and probably many others I am not — I would definitely appreciate feedback on it.

Posted by jamie at 21:57+12:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

August 03, 2004

Missing fountain?

What has happened to the fountain in Oriental Bay? It appears to be missing some of its working parts, and has been for some time.

In response to Heather’s question (under the panda’s thumbs-up — silly blog has no archive of individual posts), the Latin plural of dominatrix is indeed dominatrices; if you believe that the English plural of index is indices, then it too is an English word.

Posted by jamie at 21:11+12:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink