Short Stories

This is a collection of short observations that don't merit a post of their own but that some may nevertheless find interesting.

  • Social Science
    Here, in case you were wondering, is why most rational people consider the term “social science” an oxymoron.
  • Apple Maps
    This past weekend I drove up to Orlando to visit with some family members who were taking in Disney World. There's no problem finding Disney World, of course, but they were staying at a hotel I had never been to before so I didn't know how to get there. I used the Maps application on my iPad and was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. The experience was very similar to dedicated GPS systems that come with some cars. You get the map, of course, but also turn by turn directions and verbal instructions as you approach a waypoint. To be sure, this is in the United States and in a very built-up area but the results, at least for this area, were impressive.
  • Tilde as Home
    Last year, I wrote about why vi uses the hjkl keys to move the cursor. That turned out to be because the ADM-3A terminal had arrows on those keys. Now the Unix & Linux StackExchange tells us why the tilde (~) is often used to represent the user's home directory on Unix-like systems. It turns out that the answer is the same: The ADM-3A keyboard had tilde and Home on the same key. If you follow the link, you can see the layout of the keyboard as well as a picture of the actual keys. An interesting bit of arcana.
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