[linux-elitists] random questions

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Sun Dec 9 21:20:01 PST 2001

on Sun, Dec 09, 2001 at 06:49:11PM -0800, Jason Whittle (jason@well.com) wrote:
> On Sat, 8 Dec 2001, Rick Moen wrote:
> >>> I highly recommend his small but deft volume of memoirs, _My Secret
> >>> War_.  Much more interesting and worthwhile than, say, Wright's
> >>> _Spycatcher_, which came out about the same time.
> >>
> >> Hmmm... A book presented a non-fiction, written by a man who was
> >> arguably one of the great manipulators of the century. I sense that
> >> you have a greater desire to be deceived than even a devout Mormon.
> >>
> >> Seriously though, _My Secret War_ contains a great deal what is
> >> presented as factual information that other members of the spy trade
> >> have deemed apocryphal. I don't know about _Spycatcher._
> >
> > I can't help noticing that these judgements you allude to fail to
> > address the question of whether Philby's book is interesting and
> > worthwhile -- while gratuitously attributing to me (in your first
> > paragraph) views I nowhere stated.
> >
> > I don't believe I've met you, sir.  Do you have some particular reason
> > for this sort of behaviour, or were you just having a bad day and
> > determined to share?
> I don't believe we've met, either; I have no particular pedigree to
> recommend me to this group. 

A WELL address.  That used to stand for something.  You'll demonstrate
your cred or lack on the list.

> I've been attempting to work up a request to this list for advice
> regarding the generals of web design. Having acquired some knowledge
> of the specifics, I find myself frustrated to discover that the only
> way to guarantee that I'm not excluding anyone is to use pure text,
> and that by using pure text I will probably not endear myself to the
> people in charge of hiring at the engineering firms I'm currently
> applying to.

This is flatly untrue.

There are designs which are both useful and asthetic.  Though these are
slightly different axes, there's some level of correspondence.  Truly
ugly sites are neither pretty nor usable.  Well designed sites are both.
It's possible to create utilitarian sites which are, well, utilitarian
in appearance.  You can also create asthetic sites, which don't provide
utility, are inaccessable across platforms, and which break when viewed
in non-target environments.

The ne plus ultra is a design that's useful, that's flexible (when the
site junks its current look'n'feel in six months, the content doesn't
have to be regiggered), and which works across a range of environments.

There's plenty of material on this topic.  I like to point to Jakob
Nielsen for the usability side.  As someone mentioned off-list, his
designs aren't the most asthetic, but then, that's not his baliwick.
The designs he criticises in general *are* far less attractive for the
most part, however.

CSS will help isolate the functionality / content, and presentation.
It can be abused.  Do so at your own peril.

> I'm additionally frustrated that just by asking questions of this list
> I may get badly burned.

Deal with it.  Rick's got a brusque manner.  I've been known to cut into
someone.  I've been told I'm an idiot.  If you think you're being
wronged, present supporting evidence (but don't whine, it's unseemly).
If you _are_ wrong, admit it.  It saves time.

> At the same time, I find much of the discourse here to be
> enlightening, in a rather Socratic way, and so don't want to
> intentionally exclude myself by getting pegged as a luker.

The only person who knows your lurking as a matter of course is Don.
That's why they call them lurkers.

By all means step on in, just don't make an ass of yourself.

Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>       http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?             Home of the brave
  http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/                   Land of the free
   Free Dmitry! Boycott Adobe! Repeal the DMCA! http://www.freesklyarov.org
Geek for Hire                     http://kmself.home.netcom.com/resume.html
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