TITLE: OOPSLA This and That AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: October 18, 2005 5:20 PM DESC: In addition to whole thoughts, many partial and inchoate thoughts arise when stimulated at a conference. That doesn't mean they aren't worthy of saying. ----- BODY: Some miscellaneous thoughts I have had over the last few days...
  • My student Sergei is posting pictures from OOPSLA at http://www.lordofthewebs.com/oopsla/. I'm in there...
  • I made a revealing typo in my entry on the software development apprenticeship demo from yesterday's Educators' Symposium. I was writing about CS professors and the idea of a studio-based curriculum. Here is the final quote:
    For example, I think that the biggest adjustment most professors need to make in order to move to the sort of studio approach advocated by West and Rostal is from highly-scripted lectures and controlled instructional episodes to extemporaneous lecturing in response to student needs in real-time.
    In my first draft, I said highly-scriptured, not highly-scripted. This, I believe, was a Freudian slip that exposes the religious fervor with which we professors regard our lectures.

    I keep hearing educated people say the word 'processes' with a long second "e" -- processEs -- rather than the soft-e schwa sound -- processes --that I regard as correct. The long-e is a phonetic characteristic of plurals of words that end in -is, for example, 'emphasis' and 'emphases'. But 'process' doesn't end in -is... So it's just 'process-us'. An interesting convergence: I link to Wikipedia on the concept of schwa above, and Wikipedia creator Jimmy Wales's (mis)pronunciation this morning was the proverbial final straw for me that led to this rant. After having this grate in my ears for years, I finally checked the pronunciation in the dictionary. It seems that my so-called mispronunciation is listed as the 3rd pronunciation for the word. I do not know whether this means that this pronunciation is correct as an alternate, or if our dictionaries are yet again acceding to the downward swirl of linguistic evolution. I know, I know -- language is alive, blah, blah, blah. That doesn't mean that we have to give up on perfectly good words, definitions, and pronunciations without a fight! Besides -- three acceptable definitions? That seems excessive. Maybe I should just get over it. Or maybe not.

  • For the second time in two days, someone has just said that Maxwell's equations constitute the most beautiful set of equations one can fit on a single page of text. Today it was Gerry Sussman. Yesterday, it was Ward Cunningham. Last year, it was Alan Kay. I really need to go study these equations so that I can appreciate their deep beauty as well as these folks. Any suggested reading? (Should I be embarrassed by my need to study this now?)
  • And speaking of Alan Kay last year, please permit me a little rant deja vu: Turn off the cell phones, people! -----