Measuring Web Illiteracy

Here’s a little game to play: google a common word. Make a note of the count on the upper right side of the search results page. Call that y. Now, google for a misspelling of that same word. Call it’s result count x.

The ratio

x/y

can be called the World Wide “Web Misspelling Ratio”. We can express it as a percentage, and call it wemiss for short, pronounced like maybe how Marlon Brandon might say, “You are wemiss in not using a spelling checker on your web pages.”

What words have the highest wemiss measure? Searching for a few of my pet peeves, I’ve found:

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Startup Houston Weekend

Erica reminded me that Startup Weekend Houston was arriving. Darn! I’m just too swamped this weekend to attend. But, I did attend the Friday evening event at Stag’s Head. Everyone was excited, the ideas were good, the energy was palpable. Too bad I can’t make the rest of the weekend.

A lot of great ideas were presented as the company project, but when sultry Laura Mays shared her idea, I immediately thought, “Nice; very tangible, pragmatic, and doable, yet has not been solved before. And oh so ‘Web 2.0’ too“. I had to leave before voting, but it was nice to hear that the rest of the group voted for her idea as well — so that’s on the development hopper this weekend, TipDish (check out the Startup website for details).

Again, sorry I can’t join the group this weekend; but tango night at was exhausting — the crowd showed up late — and after getting home at 2:30 am I slept straight solid til 11:30 am. Then it was at the shop again; Connie’s short-staffed, as one of her young workers was taking the SAT test. So, I stepped in, covering the register til 4:30 pm; it was a very steady stream of customers all afternoon. They’re preparing an Afternoon Tea party for 16 now, but more staff have arrived, so I’ve headed home. Too tired to swing by the Startup group, plus François has been home alone. So, maybe Sunday, before soccer, I’ll check out what’s being dished out 🙂

On Air with KPFT

I’ve been invited to be a guest speaker on a Fair Trade talk show with KPFT today. The show airs form noon to 1 pm; I’ll be on during the second half.

As a board member of Ten Thousand Villages Houston, a supporter of Connie’s own fair-trade certified tea shop, Té House of Tea, and generally interested in world affairs, fair trade concerns are important to me, so I hope this will be a good show.

On the Seaside

Call me nuts, but I’m relearning Smalltalk. And having a darn good time at it too; I haven’t forgotten anything! So, I’ve rediscovered Seaside — looked at it a couple of years ago, but I guess it was too immature, or I was too distracted. But right now, I’m find it to be very powerful.

There’s motivation for this. I’m about to embark on a new application idea, and was searching for an environment to develop it in. Should I keep with Plone/Zope, which I’ve used a lot, but still don’t know much about it? Should I go with Django, which is much cleaner and smaller than Zope, and looks promising? Or, heh, what’s out there in Smalltalk land?

I guess part of the driver here was the Python UnConference. Yeah, everyone’s touting how simple Python is. None of the distracting curly braces of Java, clean syntax, you can start off without knowing objects and classes … etc., etc. But yet, while I was at the conference, playing with the Python plug-in for Eclipse, I couldn’t get a simple script to run … what’s going wrong? Oh yeah, I had forgotten an import statement. Now, just what package to import, was my next question? I couldn’t even figure out how to find what libraries were at my fingertips. More hunting around (Google is my friend; there’s enough Python activity out on the web, that it’s easy enough to search for code examples from others), I finally figure out what to import, and I’m off and running again.

But, why bother? And how is this all so much more rapid than what I’m doing now? Why, even to write a product in Plone, I have to remember to write all these init functions. Ones with underscores in front of them. Is this really rapid development? Why was Smalltalk so much simpler to work in? Oh yeah, it’s about the image. Everything’s in the image.

So, Sunday, I downloaded Seaside. Got a website up in 10 minutes. Cool. Now what? Sunday evening, found a tutorial. Followed it. Very cool. Development simple so far. Found a blogger who has his own custom Squeak image; lots of developer add-ons, without any of the kiddy crud built into the default Squeak image. Now were’ talking!

So, now I’m starting to develop at a lightening pace. Ahh, the good ole days! Seaside is looking good … real good. Let’s see how far I can get, and how quick.

Taubman Sucks – The Movie

This just arrived in my mailbox, Hank Mishkoff has posted the movie about his free speech case on YouTube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=4ITE7ITSR6M

The movie is short.  If you want to get a feel for the real saga, you have to read his website, where he documents, in fine detail, the whole suit against him and the back in forth between himself and the lawyers.  Until very near the end, he represented himself, and did an excellent job at that.  The lawyers, on the other hand, did a good job at demonstrating their bullying skills.

This is a landmark free speech case, so everyone should learn about it.  It’s a great story about how an underdog won.

BarCampHouston

I’m at BarCampHouston right now. Interesting concept, pretty cool …
… some organizational sloppiness of course, but that’s to be expected (but, I’ve already got ideas on how to improve it!). What’s really cool is the caliber of people here – it’s the young, creative class of Houston. I’m feeling rejuvenated. It’s forums like this where ideas get generated, and, in the long-run, where real business is created. The presentations themselves may be hit-or-miss, but it’s in the hallways and lounge areas where real things happen. Just like other conferences, I guess – I’m thinking of the quality of the OOPSLA conferences, but with less organization.