Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It may sound a bit absurd

Translated quote-of-quote from Anders Behring Breivik in today's court proceedings in Oslo:
"All unique peoples and cultures have an obligation to defend their existence against extinction".
So... questions of the day:
  • Is this fundamentally true?, and
  • where goes the limit of granularity?
Regarding this utmost consequence of violent ethnic and cultural protectionism, Breivik himself reportedly then went on to admit: "It may sound a bit absurd".

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What's it for? (Part 1)

Question: Why are computer keyboards still manufactured with a Caps Lock key? Who needs it? For me, and 99.9% of modern computer users, it seems like something you would only touch by accident and generally regret it. Even when I type a headline in all-caps, I keep the Shift key pressed in with one finger rather than enabling Caps Lock.
Does anyone know the answer?


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Rolf Jacobsen day

Well, an almost completely non-technical item this time.

Last summer I renewed my acquaintance with the poems of one of Norway's finest modernist poets, Rolf Jacobsen (1907-1994). I remember him quoted as saying, "I like best the words that I can leave out". This statement would strike a chord with every software programmer!

I believe he has been sparingly translated, probably due to the difficulty of transferring the qualities that makes his poems so special: the conciseness, the word rhymes, and some Norwegian language idioms that simply translate poorly, if at all. I found one reference to a collection of translations here, I'll try to chase that one down later.

Nevertheless, I wanted to give it a try of my own, feeling foolishly confident in my ability to translate from my mother tongue to English. So here's my first serious shot at translating Rolf Jacobsen's beautiful "Skytsengelen":


I am the bird that knocks on your window in the morning,
and your companion, whom you cannot know of,
the flowers that shine for the blind.

I am the blinding crown of glaciers above the forests,
and the ringing voices from the cathedral tower.
The thought that suddenly dawns on you in the middle of the day,
and fills you with strange happiness.

I am someone you have loved, long ago.
I walk next to you in the daytime and watch you incessantly
and lay my mouth on your heart,
but you don't know it.

I am your third arm and your second
shadow, the white one,
the one you cannot bear,
and which cannot forget you.

- from Hemmelig Liv (Secret Life) , (1954)

(I translated it to Dutch as well).

Addendum: Some more research taught me that Rolf Jacobsen is translated more than I had initially thought! After first publishing this, I found Roger Greenwald's translation of the same poem, which seems to confirm that I'm not too far off the mark here.


I guess I've invented a new word: Softwarcheology (no hits in Google, anyway). That would be the study of "fossiles" in long-legacy software. The "find of the week" comes from MS Word 2003 (some editing was needed to fit it into this blog's column width - ):

Replace the what disk? Haven't held one of those since, gee, the previous millennium!
Ah well, my machine hosts a plethora of stone age storage devices such as a ZIP drive, CD-ROM etc. So why not... anyway, it's kind of fun to be reminded of old times. :-)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Uhm, err, okay

... so I let Steve Yegge convince me that I ought to be writing a blog. I have no hopes of writing nearly as prolifically or as entertaining as he does, but that's not the point; I accept his concept of publicly thinking aloud. So we'll just have to see how this works out in the long run. I have a variety of stuff to talk about, but just setting this blog up has eaten up all my blog time for today. I'll try again later!