Wednesday, September 30, 2015

weekday update

1. I've finished compiling the index to this book. I'd burble about the process, but I've done that before and you're not already caught up on where I started.

2. Article on what Playboy thought was hip back in 1953. Before its self-declared suave bachelor seduced a woman, he'd invite her up for "a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex." And I thought, how terminally unhip am I? I don't like Picasso (for painters active in 1953, try me on Wyeth or Magritte), I've never read Nietzsche who sounds repulsive (I don't read much philosophy, and the only canonical modern philosophers I've read extensively in are Bertrand Russell and John Stuart Mill), and I basically don't do jazz. I do classical, of course, and had I been around in 1953 with the level of knowledge of that era's music I have today, I would have named the three greatest living composers as Sibelius, Vaughan Williams, and Shostakovich, a list which would have earned me looks of withering condescension by the cognoscenti of the time. But wait 30 or 40 years and I would have been vindicated, as their reputations all rebounded.

3. Here's a challenging quiz I did pretty well at: Can you identify these world cities from their street plans alone?

4. Article about airline mergers, focusing on the difficulty of retraining agents from the merged airline on the acquirer's computer systems. And I thought, I've been there. Throughout my career as a library cataloger, every couple of years I had to learn a new program as I'd go to a new employer or my old one would switch vendors or the vendor would make a massive upgrade. All these programs dealt with exactly the same kind of data with the same coding - the equivalent of "find this passenger an aisle seat" in the airline biz - but they all handled it completely differently and made the user jump through entirely different sets of hoops.

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