Netizen of the world

I must be a netizen of the world: I receive emails in Russian that I can’t read, offers of earthmoving equipment in Singapore, discounts for Tim Hortons in Canada, and security warnings for accounts that I never knew I had at nearly every major bank in the English-speaking world.

Maybe it’s this innate netizen-of-the-worldliness that prompts many kind people to offer to share their inheritances with me. Though I do worry about my health, since there must be a reason why I also receive offers for so many different pharmaceuticals.

Denshi Jisho

I quite like the online Japanese dictionary at I found it when I was checking the spelling of the name I gave my new laptop. In this age of netbooks with the same form factor, even though I need the extra horsepower and much as I like it, I call the laptop takai.

Requirements of Japanese Text Layout

The W3C Japanese Layout Task Force (JLTF) has a working draft of “Requirements of Japanese Text Layout” available at

It is an impressive body of work that the JLTF has been working on for a while. This is the current iteration of the document for which I went to a meeting in Tokyo last September, and I went to the W3C Technical Plenary in Mandelieu this week specifically for the JLTF meeting reviewing the working draft.

The task force is looking for feedback (to by 15 November 2008.

Veni, Vidi, Wiki

Translation: I came, I saw, I posted about it on a collaborative site.

Cf. Wiki, Vidi, Veni (Place or event reviewed on a collaborative site, I saw, I came)

Dictating viral marketing

Nuance, makers of Dragon Naturally Speaking, are running a “Do you speak Dragon?” competition.

They did a similar contest last year to collect favourable accounts of using Dragon Naturally Speaking. It must have made the Nuance marketing people feel all warm and soft inside to read the accounts, but you still had to already be at the Nuance web site before you could see what people had said in the hope of winning a prize. I did enter last year: it was one sentence, it was genuine, I didn’t gush, and I got the dragon fingerpuppet that every entrant received and that was all that I was after.

Actually, having just read some of the entries for this year, some of the accounts would make just about anybody feel warm and soft inside. Not the sort of accounts of aspiring novelists who have completed even more novels that will never be published in less time than previously, but the accounts from people with dyslexia, MS, or deafness for whom the dictation software really is making a difference.

Someone in Nuance marketing presumably has read about viral marketing. The difference this year is the extra category, and biggest prizes, for accounts posted on personal blogs, as reviews on sites such as Amazon, on Facebook, etc., or on YouTube. So the nice things that people are saying in the hope of winning a prize are now (or so the Nuance marketing team must be hoping) being spread around the web without any indications that at least some of them were put there because of a competition. Perhaps it’s a shade better than Nuance paying influential bloggers or a viral marketing company to spread the warm and soft feelings about the software (and it’s probably a lot cheaper), but I really would prefer if the positive reviews that I read on the web are put there because the software (or whatever) is genuinely good, not because of the dangling carrot of winning a video game.

This is a blog entry about Dragon Naturally Speaking. If I entered, do you think I could win?

“Could not find a valid processor version implementation” with Ant junitreport task

Running some JUnit tests with Ant 1.6.5 gave this error when the <junitreport> task ran:

build.xml:160: The following error occurred while executing this line:
build.xml:367: Could not find a valid processor version implementation
from net.sf.saxon.TransformerFactoryImpl

I know of two possible solutions:

  • Upgrade to using Ant 1.7.0, or
  • Set ANT_OPTS thus:
    declare -x \\

Customer Oppressions Department?

I received a politely worded letter from Eircom telling me how happy they are to spam me with “special offers, price reductions and new products and services”. In fact, they’re so happy to do it that they’re going to do it even if I stop using Eircom.

Since I want to contribute to Eircom’s bottom line on my terms, not their’s, I’m sending back the opt-out form to the curiously named “Customer Suppressions Department”.

What, then, do they call the people who do the spamming? The “Customer Oppressions Department”?