The assorted finds of Artefact Publishing

October 16, 2005

Free culture

This presentation on free culture by Lawrence Lessig is well worth watching (mostly it’s audio with occasionally cute ‘slides’).

Posted by jamie at 21:35+13:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

October 12, 2005

Ah, progress

Having done the bulk of the major refactoring work I wanted to do on IPA Zounds, I can now say that it is slower and has (temporarily) less functionality than it did before I started. Oops. The functionality will be restored, in a much nicer and useful form, soon, and with the new code I should be able to build the reverse applier without much hassle. The speed issue is proving intractable — I haven’t managed to figure out what exactly is causing the 30% slowdown, and I suspect that in part I just have to live with it. The code now does a bunch more work (yes, yes, none of it actually changes how the program behaves now, but it allows for future goodness, as well as being easier to maintain), and that takes time.

That said, I shall now see whether I can get anything more useful out of the Python profiler.

Posted by jamie at 10:25+13:00 | Comments (3) | Permalink

October 10, 2005

Almost by definition

Woman to husband, while looking in antique shop’s window: “I wonder if antiques have had their day?”

Posted by jamie at 16:18+13:00 | Comments (5) | Permalink

October 09, 2005

Just the excuse I needed

On a conlang discussion forum, someone mentioned the potential usefulness of a reverse sound change applier. Such a thing would take a word and a set of sound change rules, and return a list of all the words which, if they underwent the specified sound changes, would end up as the specified word. This is a good deal more tricky than going the other way!

I immediately figured that I should add such a thing to IPA Zounds. This has necessitated a refactoring of the existing code, which I am still engaged in. In the course of this, I have realised two things:

Once this refactoring is done, I shall add in some form of reverse engine, and then update the GUI. Aside from getting a whizzier looking About page automatically, I can’t see this last part being much fun. I am currently stalled on the dictionary project because of the GUI.

Posted by jamie at 13:17+13:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

October 07, 2005

End of geekiness

Yesterday I gave my last tutorial for the Tolkien course. It was more mad than usual (!) given interruptions for cake. At one point I removed myself to a corner to conduct the tut from there. I’ve really enjoyed these tutorials, and the people in them, to the extent that I would show up early in order to listen to the crazy stories that certain students reliably had. What was really nice was being thanked at the end for informative and entertaining tutorials. It’s all about being funny.

In thematically related news, today I checked in changes to our harvesting and display of names that have an authoritative form in a non-Latin script. This means that relatively soon you won’t have to be able to read Cyrillic or Gujarati (and if I’d been quicker on the draw, Arabic, Simplified Chinese and Ethiopic) to get the most from our site. A pity.

Posted by jamie at 21:08+13:00 | Comments (7) | Permalink

October 01, 2005

Too much to say

After worrying that I might not have enough well-prepared material for my lecture (as opposed to enough material, of which there was never doubt), I ended up going a little over time and skipping chunks of the last two sections (of four). I don’t feel that I handled the material I did cover that well, but others think differently — I think I was deceived by the fact that people for the most part stared back at me in what looked remarkably like slack-jawed boredom. I suppose that that lack of response is actually usual in circumstances where the individual members of the audience feel themselves part of an anonymous group, where the group is being talked to and not the individuals. I wish it were otherwise.

Posted by jamie at 16:51+12:00 | Comments (3) | Permalink