April 24 2010

To Me in a Curt Pity

I am pretty. I count.
Court I my patient.
A curt pity—no time.
Put in a time to cry.
Me, I try to can it up.
Or I cut my patient.
React to impunity.
I to my aunt I crept.
Copy it in a mutter.
“Pure intimacy, tot.”
Cut a pity no merit.
Many to picture it.
May not picture it.
A minute pit to cry.
Time, act on purity:
Ripe, it may not cut.

A homage to Permutation City, made out of the same letters.

April 24 2010

Information Overload

In an old favorite room
I flavored into a moron;
In a room not for a devil,
I learn to avoid no form.

I am not in overload for
One normal, idiot favor:
Fan mail or devotion or—
Or I, for one, am not valid.

To avoid moral inferno
I’m overlord of a nation;
For a liar, do not move in
A role of iron and vomit.

Void not, aloof mariner!
Vomit in an aloof order:
In motion, adore flavor,
In into a marvel of odor.

Learn of Monrovia! Do it!
Over-load, minion of art,
Or avoid online format
To avoid a mine forlorn.

Venom. Tornado. Airfoil.

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April 8 2010

Quantitative Tolkien Studies

Let’s list, for each chapter of The Lord of the Rings, the words that most distinguish it from all the rest—one line per chapter:

families Westmarch Harfoots Smials Stoors Eriador copies copy
presents Sackville Bagginses joke spoons Proudfoot envelope eleventy
shears Ted hated grandmother Hal revenge hints similar
Gildor sold Inglorion Woodhall sale Lobelia Woody lunch
Maggot Farmer dogs Ferry clop waggon mushrooms farm
bath Bucklanders Brandy conspiracy Fatty Fredegar depends
willow Withywindle lilies hop bonfire willows hopping fluttering
Goldberry Tom nightly ding candle dillo wights derry
Lumpkin Hoy wight Tom jogging chilled Barrow hat
fiddle inn cow local Mugwort diddle tray comer
letter Nob Monday Underhill landlord reading Barley accident
Tinúviel Beren Thingol Bob Lúthien hemlock midges Gil
troll Glorfindel Ford clippety trolls bone Loudwater boot
Dúnadan Lindir cushions merrymaking flood mortals prow stupid
Radagast Isildur Galdor Dain Erestor Gil Galad Thror
snow Caradhras Redhorn flakes drift Hollin faggot specks
Moria Mines howls Sirannon tap edro Durin wolf
drum Balin Balrog beats Mazarbul corridor thongs pages
Haldir Nimrodel flet Silverlode Naith Cerin Rúmil Celebrant
Mirror magic pedestal bole Galadhon Caras basin fireworks
Celeborn Varda Valimar cakes hythe cram si maidens
boats log paddle Rapids Gebir portage Sarn voyage
Hen Lhaw Amon Tol Brandir lawn battlement mad
Parth Galen Rauros glade cloven boat fate bearer
trail Éothain tracks Wold walks trace Éomund Riddermark
Uglúk Grishnákh Isengarders Northerners Whiteskins untie swine
Treebeard hm Ents Entwives Ent hoom Bregalad rowan
haft darken capture prints Arod rags riddle shelf
Wormtongue Hama Gríma terrace Dwimordene Stormcrow neighed
Hornburg Gamling breach Erkenbrand Deeping Westfold Helm
caverns burial herdsmen heaps doubted Fords groves Isen
Huorns barrels Ents Quickbeam draughts Ent pipe arrived
Unsay rail injuries unmoved spell Orthanc remains Eorl
ball rigid palantiri bracken globe information captive palantír
rope knot fix Yess sss nook ells swear
stinks starve ourselfs rotting mires Wraiths gully wretch
oliphaunts Oliphaunt Lithui helps Stinker Ered lots bridges
fern taters pans rabbits coney stew brake herbs
quality Númenóreans Damrod mistress squirrel wiser arts Mablung
Anborn fish fissh sly protection declare Ithil shoot
mould thorns staves silly glare darker tops packs
sneaking wink stairway wraith dad luminous false Stinker
lair den stench phial web spider webs released
Gorbag Shelob Lugbúrz Shagrat Ladyship Ya hoi belly
Beregond Ingold Bergil Forlong street beacons greetings Outlands
Halbarad Burg Erech Elladan seer oath fulfil renown
Hirgon Harrowdale Snowbourn Dwimorberg Starkhorn Stybba
retreat Denethor Grond garrison Pelennor Andros trenches livery
Ghân gorgun Elfhelm buri Éored Widfara Stonewain Drúadan
Mûmakil mace footmen Corsairs Snowmane Hirluin standard
bier Dínen Rath thou key hastened thy burn
Ioreth kingsfoil athelas sick herb malady perian overlooked
Pelargir Angbor Lamedon thousands prudence gulls deemed Lebennin
terms heralds lieutenant army Morannon tokens Gorgor Easterlings
Shagrat turret Snaga slit ores ladder torch aghast
Morgai tracker spur slave Carach Angren Udûn neat
cone Sammath Naur tearing toppled mouthful load parched
praise Gwaihir Landroval laita pure Eagles isle throne
Warden unrest kinswoman Húrin healer shieldmaiden sapling ye
wain beggar pouch Evenstar Arwen fairest Quickbeam Queen
Barliman troubles Nob Greenway Butterbur disturbed Common
ruffians Cotton Sharkey Lotho Shirriffs Pimple Boss Shirriff
Deputy Whitfoot married Elanor repair Mayor Rosie beloved

Here’s the code, of course without the input. I did this a year or two ago thinking it might make a sort of automatic LotR-in-one-page; while it didn’t work out that way—like, Frodo and the Ring get passed over for their very ubiquity—it does show some patterns to geek out on.

April 5 2010

Hello, iPad

I bought an iPad because multitouch interfaces are going to be big and I couldn’t wait to get started with them. Multitouch is for making things, not just consumption; someday soon people will boggle at the idea of getting real work done with just keyboard and mouse.

So today I tried working: adapting Kragen Sitaker’s online photo jigsaw puzzle to the multitouch interface. First hitch: iPad’s soft keyboard. You get a choice of three layouts: QWERTY, AZERTY, or QWERTZ. Dvorak typists are shit out of luck. There’s been a petition out for quite a while saying “Please, Apple, can we please have Dvorak on the iPhone?” which Apple has ignored. (It’s always been there on Macs.) There’s also some weird, not fully satisfactory third-party workaround adapting a Russian keyboard or something. (More when I try it.)

Second hitch: while tweaking Kragen’s web app, I created a variation of it with a different filename. Safari seems to give no way to edit the current URL except by retyping every character from the start. Pecking it out in QWERTY, paging back and forth between alphabet keys and punctuation. (You can copy/paste, but only one word, not the whole.) [Update: There is a way to do it. I don’t know whether I missed it in experimenting or Apple updated Safari. Thanks to [xach](http://www.xach.com/) for the tip.]

These are trivial complaints, except there’s no escape here in Apple-land: the layouts are the layouts and the browser is the browser. Someone could make a new app supplying an alternative input mechanism, just like on a open, programmable computer, except you can only run one app at a time—switching back and forth just to type is not going to win. Someone could make a browser with improved URL-bar editing, but with that sort of redundancy so frowned upon by the censors—well, do you want to try it?

Apple’s patent lawsuit tries to block my next workaround: buying from a competitor.

So far, the iPad is a beautiful appliance. Apple, I want to buy a computer. Don’t tell me a computer has to become a cesspool of complexity and malware. I know better.