Sunday, September 18, 2005

A snippet of the running monologue in my head (polished up a bit)

I figured this made more sense here than sitting around in some unsaved window in TextMate.

... I mean, look no further than the English language. It has the reputation for being one of the hardest languages to learn. Not just as a second language, but as a first language. How many people do you know who speak with proper grammar most of the time? How many high school students? How many people actually understand the rules of grammar that they're applying subconsciously? The English language has a Usability rating of "total piece of shit."

On the other hand, the same language has a reputation for being one of the most expressive. Shakespeare, Joyce, _why... The language has an impressive ability to let us cull from the innumerable expanses of thought, and to enable us to distinguish between the slightest differences in inflection. It is an advanced language, horribly difficult to learn, but incredibly powerful for those that master it.

The HCI school of thought that says that says "documentation is a smell, preferences are evil, etc." is bullshit. There's a reason vi and emacs exist today, and it's not nostalgia. These editors fall under the category of "advanced," allowing power users to edit like a mother-fuck. There is room for Notepad, vi, and everything in between in the zoology of text editors...

2 Comments:

At 8:41 AM, Blogger kellyvandersluis said...

I agree. The English language is less than musical, and American English has so many dialects ("ebonics," Southern English, academic writing English...), twists, and origins that one can never fully get the language down. Rhetorical power in the language comes from our finding the right balance of dialect, wording, and tone to truly move a reader or listener. Also, popular opinion of who seems to be a master moves the rest of the herd’s opinions on what is good writing. The English Geek has spoken.

 
At 2:08 PM, Blogger Devin said...

Agreed on the popular opinion thing. That's usually something you'll hear only from people who've nearly failed English class (hypothetically speaking, of course). So, that's very insightful, for an English Geek.

 

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