Computers

It Looks Like You’re Reading The Newsstand Sophisticate. Would You Like Help?

If you’ve used Microsoft Word in the past ten years or so, you’ve probably been annoyed by “Clippy,” the little talking paper clip who recognizes that you’re writing a letter and then offers you some “help.” If you’ve ever wondered where Clippy (or the talking dog that also offered his unwanted assistance) came from and how Microsoft could have thought they were good ideas, wonder no more: The Secret Origins of Clippy have been revealed.

Computers
Design

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More Grist for the Mill

Daniel Dennett, Colin McGinn, and Massimo Pigliucci have a new blog, Secular Philosophy, which unsurprisingly will cover “all things secular with an emphasis on philosophy.” They’ll also stream a weekly podcast from the Center for Inquiry, “Point of Inquiry,” which will have “live interviews with Nobel Prize-winning scientists, social critics and theorists, as well as renowned artists and entertainers.” Sounds good, though I might have to cut back on my Fark reading time to fit it in.

(Via Norm via Andrew Sullivan.)

Computers
Culture
Philosophy

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Mea Culpa

I apologize for not posting much lately. I was working two jobs for nearly a month, and then I went camping at Lost Maples State Natural Area. Now I’m on a much more humane work schedule and have a sleeping arrangement that doesn’t involve being bitten by ants, so I think I’ll start posting more.

It was a shock to come back to this site and find hundreds—yes, hundreds!—of spam comments. They were obviously a punishment for my neglect of the site (as if the ant bites weren’t punishment enough!).

I’ve added a plug-in to the site, reCAPTCHA, which should keep the comment spam down. It requires commenters to enter text, which is always a bit tedious, but if you follow the link you’ll learn that by entering the little distorted words, you’ll be helping to digitize books from the Internet Archive. It’s quite an ingenious way of turning an annoying task into something worthwhile.

Books
Computers
Meta

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Banned In China!

The Newsstand Sophisticate is unavailable in China, according to greatfirewallofchina.org, which allows you to test any Web site in real time to see if it’s been blocked by Chinese government servers. (Via One+One=Thr33, which is also unavailable in China.)

Censorship
Computers
Politics

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