May 17th, 2004



I'm expecting to show up in Oberlin no later than (and possibly earlier than) next Wednesday. How do I find you? I'm presuming if I find one of you, I can find all of you pretty easily, but it's that first step that's tricky. Someone give me contact info - ideally many someones in case the first someone isn't there. :P

author writing styles

I'm dumping a bunch of ebooks on my PDA right now. Some ebooks are annoyingly formatted - the person who did them decided to cleverly chop off every line at a certain width and continue it on the next line. Generally this is 75 characters or so. Unfortunately, my PDA's screen only gets about 55 characters wide - so any ebook formatted this way is basically unreadable.

Solution: write a program to undo it.

As part of my early debug output, I'm getting information on the longest lines in each book. Now, a lot of these books are formatted correctly (I'm designing my program to compensate automatically) so the "longest line" is actually 'longest paragraph".

I've basically got a ton of Heinlein, Eddings, and Zelazny on here right now.

Heinlein keeps his paragraphs small - 1100 characters usually.
Eddings goes on quite a bit longer, hitting 1800 regularly.
Zelazny, on the other hand, is completely insane, often breaking 3500.

I find this interesting. Maybe I'll run it on a bunch more ebooks later.

Back to coding.

(no subject)

The great thing about being a programmer is that it just gives you so much *power*.

Take that last utility program, for example. I realize I have a problem with formatting - my files are just formatted badly, that's all. I could go through and change them by hand but that would take aeons, and I don't know of any utility that would do something like that.

So I write one.

Half an hour later, I have a program that blitzes through 50 full-length novels in about ten seconds. Now the badly-formatted ones are great, and the ones I used to consider "well-formatted" are even better-formatted.

And that's just cool.

(no subject)

Intelligence is spending fifteen minutes carefully arranging items in a box so they'll lock against each other firmly, yet have no chance of damaging each other . . . then going to close it and realizing you accidentally packed the packing tape.