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LCA2012: Day -1: Arrival and Registration

So, I’m in Ballarat for LCA2012, courtesy of my employer.  I’ll be presenting on Tuesday along with David on some of the work I’ve done on a few tools for systems automation.

The flight was uneventful – although the landing was a bit rough…

The drive from the car rental place to Ballarat was fortunately uneventful, but plagued with a combination of idiots who insist on doing things the hard way (for crying out loud, don’t try to shoot past me on the left if I’m indicating a left merge already >_< ) and the fact the car’s speedo reads about 5-7kph under actual resulting in us doing about 92kph down the western highway when I thought we were doing 98kph (I have a 100kph limit still.  damned P-Plates).  The car is a newish Camry and is by far the newest thing I’ve actually driven any distance now – quite impressed in some ways, but disturbed by the lack of vision due to the body shape (pillars are huge >_< ) and the very light steering.

Fortunately we reached Ballarat and found the motel without troubles.

Registered at the University and picked up the schwag pack.  This year’s bag is a crumpler sack style thing, contianing: A catalyst branded screen cleaning cloth + case, Bulletproof Networks branded mousemat (looks like it might be faux leather or even real leather), an LCA branded keep cup, intel branded universal USB -> smartphone charger, DSD branded stubbieholder and careers spiel pamphlet, LCA t-shirt, LCA conference guide and a Freetronics LeoStick.

Met up with some people and went to Murphy’s – an Irish pub on the main drag – for dinner.  Had the Irish Pizza which was quite pleasant, and generally emptied my wallet on food. (Ouch).

All in all a good start to the week – tomorrow is miniconfs.

Whitespace and why the Typographers are Wrong.

I’m getting sick of artistic high horse rants from self-important idiots who think that Typographers are the individuals who should dictate how people type. This is not the only instance of it I’ve seen lately, but it’s getting worse.

The monospaced font typing conventions are all correct, all of the time. Any failure to render this into a form that pleases the typographers should be brought up with the software authors.

Why? Computers can fix this shit up trivially. There have been computer typesetting systems around for longer than there have been WYSIWYG wordprocessors (such as TeX) and they have never had any problems with correcting the spacing between words or around full-stops. You also need a way to differentiate between abbreviation stops and sentence stops, and the two-space/one-space convention is an excellent way to do this without needing to maintain a dictionary of all abbreviations.

On top of all of this, some of us still work in mixed monospaced and proportional text environments all of the time, and will copy content between them constantly. Computers are supposed to make our lives easier – part of that is maintained through consistency. Declaring that the method in one context is incorrect in the other is utter rubbish in usability terms.

There’s also absolutely nothing that says that spacing in a document should actually be honoured to the level that it is inside rubbish like Microsoft Word – if whitespace was automatically collapsed and reflowed, it might force people to actually learn to use the tools correctly.