2008-10-28: Hey, Jude

Yesterday was an awfully rainy and blustery day, reminiscent of the one that sent Owl to live in Piglet’s house. When I woke up there was no milk and I had to go out and get some; then I went to the Y for the first time, but I couldn’t think what to do other than track, so I did that for a mile. (Today, my legs ache, which means I should do it more often.)

Later, my body kept wishing it was back in bed and my mind wouldn’t co-operate in sympathy. But after a while suddenly things came together beautifully. In the evening Fin and Alex went instead, but when Fin and Alex left Rio in the childcare room which was always free before, the childcare people sent her away to look for them because apparently there’d been a charge of $1/hr imposed. Rio turned up crying. I am not impressed.

And I also wrote Fin a triolet:

As the drawing shall tell
and the paper responds,
some enchantment just fell,
as the drawing shall tell…
in a paper for spell
with your pencils as wands,
as the drawing shall tell
and the paper responds.

Fin made chilli for dinner. (I’ve always seen chilli in the UK and chili in the US. Isn’t it a Spanish word? Is one of them more like the Spanish?)

Someone told me I should record my day posts and post the audio file along with the text post. Maybe I should.

There will be a post about last weekend soon.

GNOME Latin update

There is now a mailing list for the GNOME Latin translation. Please join it if you’re interested.

There has been a fairly impressive amount of work done already. One school has contacted the team about translating applications as a co-operation between their Latin and CS departments, so the students get to discover the details of the localisation process and sharpen their Latin skills at the same time. I’d like to see more of this kind of thing.

I know almost nothing about how KDE runs things, but their Latin translation page contains the strange note “Last update : 2004-02-27 23:40:37– Active Team.” It might be worthwhile using one team to work on both.

Monday, Tuesday, cats, the Smithsonian, etc

ymca cardOn Monday evening we went to the YMCA and signed up. We haven’t actually done anything there yet, but it does mean I can go swimming again. (I used to swim like a fish and I had a lifesaving qualification, but I’ve hardly been in water in five years.) To the right is the photo they took of me for my ID card. I think the moral is that I need to lose the beard after Halloween.

Later we went to the diner. Fin asked for soup. The soup had a maggot in it. The manager told her it was just a piece of cracker. This is the same diner which once served one of our party a plate of stir-fry with a fly half-fried in and struggling to get free. I think we should stop going to that diner.

O’Keeffe and Rothko have disappeared twice since I last wrote, and both times we found them hidden in a different part of the house, once under the bed in the spare room, once under a chest of drawers. Apparently this is a cat thing to move your nest every so often in case of predators, but I was really rather worried when I couldn’t find Rothko anywhere around. He’s walking around independently now, but he’s not weaned yet.

The Metacity blog is now appearing on news.gnome.org, a planet for projects. (I know some of you are going to comment saying you want it on p.g.o, but it’s not up to me.)

And I’ve saved the most interesting piece of news for last: three pieces of Fin’s art are going to be in a show between noon and 5 p.m. this coming Saturday in the Director’s Conference Room in the Luce Foundation Center at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, D.C. 20004. Fin will be there, and so will the rest of us, so drop by and say hello.

GNOME Latine loquitur

Paul Norton has asked on the i18n list about translation of GNOME into Latin. I think this is an interesting idea, and raises a number of good questions about neoLatin vocabulary.

For example, has anyone ever discussed XML in Latin before? Surely they must have; then how do you say tag and element and attribute? I can more readily imagine that nobody’s ever had to discuss X in Latin; there are many good words in neoLatin vocabularies for screen (scrinium or quadrum or album or even monitorium have all been suggested), but nobody may have had to make the technical distinction between a screen and a display before now.  (Someone has suggested that the concept of a display, with its multiple separated viewing-places, could be suggested by a colonnade; this would allow us to use the obscure but beautifully appropriate noun xystus.)  How about workspaces?  There is no prior art in the lexicons.  From the classical period I could suggest tablinum, an office, or from the Middle Ages we could go for cella, a monk’s cell.  Either seems appropriate.  The desktop itself is clearly a tabula, and it made me very happy to discover that compositor is an attested Latin noun, in Cicero no less, meaning “one who arranges”.

But I’m no classicist, and I’m very glad that other people who know much more than I do are wanting to get involved.  Helping out in translations in other languages has taught me a lot about how to write for translators as a programmer, and has helped me recently in making Metacity more translator-friendly.  (I’ll be posting about that in a few days over on the Metacity blog.)  Anyway, in the meantime I’d like to do what I can as a facilitator.  Here’s a Wiki page if you want to help, and if not, and you know any free software classicists, point them over here.

(Adaptation of GNOME logo by me, and used by permission. Title correction from Rafael– thank you.)

Calculus is fun! Let’s go shopping!

For those of you who don’t read news.gnome.org, here’s a new Metacity post: should double-clicking the menu button close the window?

Rio’s teacher claimed, when she spelt a word with a “zed”, that “zed” wasn’t “proper English” (though it wasn’t unreasonable to ask her to use the same terminology as the other kids) and when Rio apologised but said she’d been brought up speaking British English, her teacher told her she wasn’t British.  She was a bit upset about that, so we went over.  Her teacher said that she’d never noticed that I was British, and that she loved my accent and that I look like Paul McCartney.  I wonder whether she thinks all British people look like Paul McCartney.

I went to the bank.  They claimed that SWIFT is only a European thing and that they had no SWIFT number.  This is obviously untrue, since I’d sent money from England to that very branch myself.  I think I may find another bank.

Rio says there should be a Barbie doll which says “Calculus is fun!  Let’s go shopping!”

We interrupt this travelogue for some actual Metacity questions

There are two things I’d like some help with in Metacity at the moment. Perhaps someone here can throw me a clue.

  1. Is it easy in autotools, during the install step, instead of copying one of the binaries you just built anywhere, to filter one of the other files you’re about to install through it?  This would be the only use of this binary.  Is this going to require writing copious m4?
  2. I was asked to provide nightly binaries in Launchpad PPA for Metacity.  My .deb packaging skills are fairly basic; here is what I’ve made, but it doesn’t work.  The problem is that Metacity exists in about three different packages in Ubuntu.  Either the nightly could have a new package name like “metacity-nightly-trunk”, and use some kind of control line to replace the other packages (but what?), or (as I’m currently trying) it could have the same name as one of the existing packages.  But that doesn’t work, because it would want to replace files from the other packages too, unless we split it into three packages, and that would be problematic because I want to keep it as close to a fresh install from trunk as possible.  Which of these is a better idea, and how can I overcome the problems with each?  The script which created these is here; I hope to run it from a cronjob.

Unrelatedly, here is something worth knowing:

Nebraska and Maine are the only two states
Where electors divide in proportional rates,
Where more get the great share, and fewer the small;
The forty-eight others are winner-takes-all.