Trying to build some kind of a narrative #4 (Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007)

Stevan Riley’s documentary from 2012 has been playing from time to time on BBC America and is a fascinating look at the legacy of the James Bond movie franchise.

For the record, I am an avid fan of both the books and the movies, and even the continuing novels. I am by no means a Hollywood insider, so I therefore consider anything I know to be something that anyone might know.

It’s done quite cleverly, by using facts available to pretty much every single person who read the books and especially who watched the movies. From the opening montage of every single EON Productions Bond actor

to the early free press coverage after the Bay of Pigs flap with JFK himself wishing we had 007 on our side to the feud between Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman to the feud between Sean Connery and Cubby that we all got to see on The Tonight Show

with Johnny Carson asking Sean Connery who was the first Bond villain and him answering Cubby Broccoli to Ronald Reagan

quipping that “some people complain that Bond is just an actor but we all have to start somewhere!” like heY did to everyone being mad at Kevin McClory

who sued Ian and Cubby and remade Thunderball. Plus George Lazenby and so on and so on, ad infinitum.

But we all knew that; we know some or all of those stories.

The untold or at least undertold story is actually in the Ian Fleming novels, from

• The Spy Who Loved Me which he wrote unhappy that his novels were being read by younger readers so he experimented with trying to prove them wrong and later tried to keep it from ever being republished;

• You Only Live Twice, where the hero is left at the end of the book missing and presumed dead while we get to see him as a man with amnesia, looking at the word Vladivostok thinking he can go to the USSR to be helped;

• The Man With The Golden Gun, which starts off with the brainwashed James Bond trying to assassinate his boss Admiral Sir Miles Messervy KCMG and ends with a successful mission and him being offered his own knighthood which he politely refuses through his secretary Mary Goodnight.

to other random issues beyond the scope of the books or the movies themselves like British television series The Avengers that was a practice area for Cathy Gale and Emma Peele as future Bond girls to be and which brought Patrick Macnee into A View To A Kill as an ultimate inside joke about titles that almost no one got to Honor Blackman aka Pussy Galore refusing her own CME and later going public about her disapproval of tax exile SIR Sean Connery not paying taxes yet claiming the title anyway, and many other tales that I would have loved to have seen in an untold story but which did not fit the narrative that was actually more accurately best thought of as The Ballad of Cubby and Barbara Broccoli…..

She said ‘I am going to tell you something a lot of guys don’t know’

pretty damn offtopic beyond corny ‘cunning linguist’ puns….

The question that Dana asked me the other day was:

Is there a connection between your Alphabet Soup’ blog post and the episode of Friends where Monica talked about the seven erogenous zones that all women have?

Well, connection is a tricky word to use here.

Chronologically, the blog post While vacationing, idle random thoughts on the potential influence of Unicode on Alphabet Soup’ was first posted on December 25, 2007. The episode of Friends titled ‘The One With Phoebe’s Uterus’ first aired as the eleventh episode of the fourth season. So with the entire series over before the Blog itself even started (let alone the one episode and blog post in question), there can be no claim on the basis of chronology.

Topically, there is clearly some relationship, though clearly these are two entirely different philosophical approaches to roughly the same basic issue, both of which may have some merit, as teaching techniques if nothing else. Although I can unofficially claim the validity of the former, I have no way to judge the validity of the latter since Monica Gellar’s diagram was never seen on camera and seemed more specifically geared toward her, which worked out well in their fictional universe since Chandler Bing ended up marrying Monica Gellar so they would have a fun piece of their dating mythology if their characters actually existed.

But beyond that, it is difficult to believe that there is some secret easy way to solve the whole issue of giving someone pleasure. It always takes effort and caring about the effort (not to mention the person!), and hoping for some kind of simple technique is unlikely to ever get anywhere.

The two approaches also seem aimed at different targets, with one more focused on paying attention to a relatively small area and the other aimed at targeting seven different areas in sequence:

But I will leave it for the reader to decide, in any case….

Trying to build some kind of a narrative #3 (doing a Passover seder for the local Gesù class)

When I was a junior in high school, I performed a Passover Seder for the kids @ the local Gesù

because apparently I had kind of a reputation as a somewhat ornery truth teller of sorts, and the Jesuits (aka The Society of Jesus) were interested in exploring what they believed to be the more Jewish reasons for The Last Supper (as a Passover Seder).

1987 was a great year for making the point that Easter has to come after Passover, because it was a year when it comes almost as close as possible without messing it all a, what with one of them on April 14th and the other a few days later on April 19th.

So I explained to the local Gesù kids on how we were dealing with two or more technically three different calendars (Hebrew, Julian, and Gregorian), the first and second of which required an independent reason for not being dependent on each other for pragmatic religious reasons and the third of which was mainly developed to stop the drift of the second calendar over time.

My lesson plan ran about fifteen minutes long, but I was providing matzoh and all of the other pieces of the seder plate, hd led to other unrelated questions like how it was so similar to yet so different from the Eucharist and why that also needed its own independent reasons for each to stand on its own.

A fascinating little class on calendars, calendar reform, comparative religion, tolerance, and how hard it can be to keep matzoh interesting for eight days!

On saying God Damn Clippy like a Japanese user might

The Japanese Office Assistant Kairu the Dolphin:

If you don’t know Japanese, the question/answer box has a question of “What are you looking for?” and a typed answer of “How to get rid of you”. Kinda says it all. You can find gems like this all over the Internet just by Googling Kairu the  dolphin.

It solves the same problem as I described years ago in my blog post She typed in ‘God Damn Clippy’

In both cases, the advanced features of user assistance and user education are powered by an advanced technology known best as

Realizing when we have annoyed the hell out of the user and making sure to give him or her options to either change it or turn it off entirely

No idea whether the methodology was patented, but if not then it should have been because it was an entirely brilliant way to help the user, more than almost any other feature ever produced. A way to detect that we are annoying a customer and offering real solutions on how to stop doing it is pretty close to top of the line delighting the customer. In fact the only way to improve upon it would be to:

• apologize to the user, and

• reverse the order so that removing came before changing the character of the Office Assistant.

Of course the deeper problem being batted around now is the charge that it simply ignored the fact that it was more annoying and offensive to women than men and that they didn’t pay attention to feedback that it was happening. Hell, the fact that they didn’t dig deeper on the issue in the first place is an entirely reasonable idea to suggest.

The article in The Atlantic kind of explains what its coverage was intended to summarize:

What made Clippy, the Microsoft Office Assistant, so detestable?

They basically showed the gender biased process flaws in Microsoft’s attempts to delight the Office 97 first time user by creating something that annoys the user every other time and maybe even that first time too.

Kind of a misogynistic thing, almost. Except not exactly. It’s more like an ignorant version of misogyny. In a sense, it recognizes that for some quite substantive reasons (including many of the inappropriate character ‘gestures’), it is a feature more likely to annoy women than men.

They should have never traded trying to delight the initial user over trying to not annoy the crap out of the user after the theoretical initial delight.

Especially given how doubleplusundelighted people ended up feeling.

How soon is… WTF?

Following the bold inspiration of blog posts like How soon was then? and How soon is now?, both of which are meant to allude to the song by The Smiths and covered by Love Spit Love titled How Soon Is Now? which is itself inspired by George Eliot (alias of Mary Ann Evans) and a small piece of her seminal work Middlemarch, I was particularly unhappy about the way that the song itself was butchered beyond recognition by the television series Charmed (especially as seen on reruns on the basic cable network TNT).

Well over the past few weeks, TNT has topped their previous song shaming at least 33% of time by replacing the lines

I am the son

and the heir

with the lines

I am the sun

and the air

and I was dumbfounded about how to react exactly.

For example, it was in the 7:00am rerun yesterday, but not the 6:00am or 8:00am.

WTF? By which I mean What The F**k ? By which I mean THE FUCK?

But then I stopped and wondered whether the TNT rerun had managed to (accidentally?) backformation its way into topical relevance for the supernatural show’s theme song.

I doubt that it has ever been intentional, but as changes go it is kinda really cool as a form of redemption for the [formerly?] butchered theme song for the show’s beginning title credits.

Maybe I am the only one with captions on who even noticed how it has been selectively happening….;-)

Cyanopsia revisited aka having the cool [MS] symptom without the usual cause

allusion to The Rocky Horror Picture Show in the title kinda on purpose….

Colleague developer λarsw (@Larsw) tweeted the following picture yesterday with the comment “Oooh, so tempting.” :

It reminded me of a blog post of mine that was not about Viagra, except that it kinda was. it was actually about cyanopsia, a not uncommon side effect of too much Viagra….

The author of Viagra and vision (n.d.) attributes cyanopsia after taking sildenafil to diminished enzyme activity, etc etc etc:

Who is most likely to get ocular side effects?
Viagra is available in three prescribed doses – 25, 50 and 100 mg pills. Side effects are usually dose-related, meaning the greater the dosage, the greater the risk. According to reports by Pfizer and subsequent studies, ocular side effects occur in:

About 3 percent of men taking doses of 25-50 mg
About 11 percent taking 100 mg doses
About 50 percent of men taking 200 mg
Nearly all men taking 600 to 800 mg.

Now it reminded me about my old blog post No one knows what it’s like to be the sad man, to be the bad man, behind blue filtered sight!

That blog post raises some fundamental doubts about how both the medical and the pharmaceutical industries handle the truth about reporting how medication is actually being both used and misused. And this problem is something that they are not reporting in either the press or the medical journals.

Now in their defense it’s a hard problem to address, but that hardly seems like an excuse for them to do a bad job and profit from it as well.

Maybe men overdosing on “penis pills” is the cost of selling solutions for erectile dysfunction to the insecure.

The fact that it takes me longer to describe my symptoms to doctors and nurses and residents and insurance companies is just the cost of having a cool multiple sclerosis symptom….

Updating MSKLC (part 9) for the sake of wondering if MSKLC + CLDR == keyboards Über Alles?

pardon the Germanesque title

For previous parts of this series a search on the keywords

MSKLC part for the sake of

should prove useful. But for the real inspiration behind today’s blog post, you may want to look another one.

It’s kinda funny, but this series of blog posts was pretty much a collection of the various facets of my vision of MSKLC, the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator. That approach made me resist adding this final piece of the puzzle since the ideas in it came up in a Q&A after my IUC talk The Story of MSKLC and some subsequent emails.

However, the nature of keeping the vision specifically Microsoft internal kinda ignores the open source/open sources idea, so I decided to rethink this plan a bit….

The inspiration for the final blog post in the series is

Could MSKLC build keyboards for other platforms?

The premise has several important facets to it:

• the CLDR has within it a process designed to convert the keyboard layout source of many different platforms and specifically either to or from the.KLC format used by MSKLC;

• the various platforms, while each having different features and limitations, are each capable of expressing the majority of the same basic keyboard layouts;

• MSKLC, for whatever limitations it may have, is at least acknowledged (sometimes begrudgingly!) to be superior to the other user interfaces for keyboard layout authoring;

• given all of this, using MSKLC to author keyboard layouts just makes good sense in general.

Now I did present this specific idea both before and after Microsoft started getting all open source-y, and people were openly skeptical about adding such a functionality to MSKLC itself to compile the binaries for other platforms (a point on which I do agree), and most were openly skeptical about even trying to spit out the CLDR generated source for other platforms (a point on which I not agree!).

But in true Glinda the Good Witch/Wizard of Oz movie fashion

you the keyboard layout author has and will continue to have the power to do that right now. Just use either MSKLC and the CLDR to author keyboard layouts for other platforms OR use the CLDR to create.KLC source files for MSKLC — whichever makes the most sense for your particular scenario!

I ♥ Unicode, but sometimes I’d like to ♣ em. And when I think of Emoji, I’d like to ♠ em!

I’d like to start this blog post by giving the full Unicode code points of the title so you’ll know that I am using the playing card symbols and not the emoji or the emoticons that I am going to rant about for a bit. For the record, they are:

I ♥ (heart aka U+2665) Unicode, but sometimes I’d like to ♣ (club aka U+2663) Unicode. And when I think of Emoji, I’d like to ♠ (spade aka U+2660) Unicode.

(pardon the obscure Gallagher reference!)

This is how I feel about what the folks in the Unicode Technical Committee have done with the support of non interoperable symbols bolted on top of an industrial standard like Unicode entirely based upon text interoperability that the emoji and emoticons represent.

The official piece of Unicode authored by Mark Davis of Google (owner of Android) and Peter Edberg of Apple (owner of iPhone) is Unicode Technical Report #51: Unicode Emoji and that document that does its best to put the toothpaste back into the tube while making it clear that conformance to it is not required to conform to Unicode itself is a virtual guarantee that Google, Apple, and everyone else now gets to choose between trying to be interoperable with themselves and what they do now, or trying to be interoperable with each other.

It’s only the customers that will lose here, unfortunately. Ever so much more than I have blogged about in the past.

It reminds me of the story of King Canute and the waves where he embarrassed his advisors who were claiming he had the power to sweep back the tide, when in fact he didn’t.

I don’t claim the wisdom of King Canute but to be perfectly honest neither can they, especially with measures that will just increase the confusion between all of the different platforms, not to mention the keyboard and phone and PC and tablet and accessibility and font issues….

Meeting Erin Gray (@RealErinGray) at ECCC back in March 2010

I remember my second last aka penultimate Comic-Con, the Seattle area Emerald City Comic-Con in March of 2010, and I get wistful.

Not wistful about the fact that Leonard Nimoy was there, although he was obviously quite popular to folks. He is not here anymore.

And not wistful about the attention that I was attracting with my iBOT 4000, and how much fun it was to creatively answer questions about it. Obviously, it’s not here anymore either.

Next to where folks lined up to get autographs from Nimoy, was the person that I wanted to see. The one before Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Veronica Mars. My first image of a strong female character.

Colonel Wilma Deering, played by Erin Gray. I wasn’t looking for her autograph; I just wanted to thank her for being a good strong female character who could order around and outshoot pretty much all of the other characters, male and female.

I don’t think that she really remembers:me, the geek who looked cool sitting atop $26,100 of Microsoft’s money in a wheelchair like the iBOT. But I will always remember her, whether in an episode of the show like The Crystals:

Or a picture someone took of her at that ECCC:

Or in a stock photo of her in her flight suit:

I probably won’t be back at a comic-con now that I am sans iBOT. But I will never forget that penultimate visit to ECCC….

Keyboards hardware vs software – IME edition

If you search this Blog with the keywords keyboards hardware vs software to see the many differences between these two things that are supposed to be kinda the same but the recent blog post about the Chinese keyboard

puts it all into perspective for me. Several have suggested that the Cangjie input method is what it seems to resemble most closely.

It is easy to see how far Windows has moved away from this dedicated hardware model with its IMEs in the Text Services Framework that I doubt that the Cangjie TSF Text Input Profile could ever hope to connect to seamlessly.

How far has Windows and Microsoft moved away from this input model exactly? Pretty far, I would imagine!

A blog about all the things that the old Blog was about!