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 What is MS really saying?

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Aug 08, 2002
I had this sitting in my bookmarks for a little while and thought that some of you might get a real kick out of it.

It's the Microsoft-English Dictionary by Richard Forno ( and other contributors.

It's really rather comical but has one notable mistake. The definition for GPL is listed as the Gnu Public License rather than the General Public License.


More diaries by detikon
Trustworthy Computing !?!
Attn: Yoshi
If it ain't broke...break it!
Microsoft gives Korean developers little cause for worry
Microsoft [continues to fight a legal challenge in a consistent manner]
[ I just can't ] stop whining
Analysis of The Beast and a friendlier BG?
Microsoft bloat and easter eggs?
My personal favorite:

"Networking 101" - (1)(n) - Class Microsoft engineers clearly failed when they placed all four corporate DNS servers behind the same router. When the router failed in early 2001, all Microsoft servers, from Passport to Hotmail and Microsoft.Com went off-line.



If you were an artist, (none / 0) (#1)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Thu Aug 8th, 2002 at 03:08:28 AM PST
what kind of artist would you be? I'm curious. I'd like to find some way of asking this question of as large a number of geeks as possible, in hopes of finding a window into their unique collective psyche. Do you have any creative outlets right now? Remembering, of course that programming is not a form of art or creativity. Since it is a science, it does not involve creation in the artistic sense.

one for the 'who are we?' story, Shirley! (none / 0) (#2)
by Mr Somebody on Thu Aug 8th, 2002 at 05:29:46 AM PST
as it 'appens, I am an artist, working for a videogame developer here in the UK. I'm of the opinion that programming can be a very creative process. The code monkeys here certainly have to think a lot more creatively than mere database coders.
Saying that though, I wouldn't wanna be one!

So? (none / 0) (#3)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Thu Aug 8th, 2002 at 05:40:20 AM PST
Do they have to think more creatively than artists, then?

<p>Anyway, I was really just asking detikon. If you're a geek, you can answer too, I guess. What kind of artist are you? Graphic designers don't really count as artists either, so I hope you aren't one of those. All they really do is ape the styles of other graphic designers. They don't even include art theory or art history courses in graphic design degrees. And it isn't as though you can express real ideas or feelings through code or graphic designs, is it?

not *more* creatively, no (none / 0) (#5)
by Mr Somebody on Thu Aug 8th, 2002 at 07:05:01 AM PST
beggie pardon sir, didn't mean to butt in where me wasn't wanted.

What kind of artist am I? these days I guess I'm a CGI artist. I muck about with 3DSupermax, Maya, Photoshop & all that malarkey. Out of uniform though, I'm a cartoonist/caricaturist. I trained in TV Graphics & Animation, & I can tell you that we did indeed study Art History.

I'm only half geek on my dad's side anyway, so I'd best slink off now...

cartoons? (none / 0) (#9)
by detikon on Thu Aug 8th, 2002 at 02:25:49 PM PST
A while back a used to do small TV spots. I have a nice vocal range so I did character voices. I got into it when a buddy of mine heard me do some impressions of cartoon characters for his son. He liked my various impressions of Bobby (Bobby's World) various South Park characters, Elmo, among others and a few that I just made up (and I wasn't limited to funny kiddie voices either).

I stopped doing it because my job moved me away. Oh well it wouldn't have lasted much longer anyway. The station became a UPN or WB affiliate and they run all their own shit.

Since then I've always had a soft spot for cartoons.

Go away or I will replace you with a very small shell script.

You don't appear to have a soft spot... (none / 0) (#10)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Thu Aug 8th, 2002 at 03:45:32 PM PST
for answering my question. Would you be a cartoonist? Or a voice-over artist? Is that it?

At least you're doing better than Mad Scientist. He's still peeved because I disallowed programming as a choice. Obviously I had to, though. If you let people call programming an art form, where will it end? Mechanics will be going to work in berets and refusing to perform repairs until the light is just perfect. Typists will be rewording the business letters of their superiors to more completely communicate the cosmic yearning of their own irrepressible artistic souls.

depends on who you ask (none / 0) (#13)
by detikon on Thu Aug 8th, 2002 at 11:01:23 PM PST
Bill Gates might consider programming an artform. I'm more inclined to lean toward that belief if you were talking to Steve Jobs about Apple rather than Microsoft.

Programming itself as an artform? Probably not. The end result on the other hand is another matter. You have to agree that anyone working at Apple has to be at least an "art lover".

So no code couldn't really be considered art but the end result could be considered as such with both form and function. It's the same with any "art". The marble itself isn't but the sculpture is.

Go away or I will replace you with a very small shell script.

I may need your help one day (none / 0) (#14)
by Mr Somebody on Fri Aug 9th, 2002 at 03:29:34 AM PST
when I finally get around to producing my next opus.
BTW, is Bill Plympton's Mutant Aliens out in the states yet?

What is art? (none / 0) (#7)
by The Mad Scientist on Thu Aug 8th, 2002 at 07:31:34 AM PST
For future reference, could you please clarify what you consider art?

Are there any fundamental differences between using of brush and canvas, pencil and paper, or code and CPU? Where is the dividing line between art and non-art? Is it determined by the technology used - if the objects are made from marble, wood, steel, or vector graphics?

On a side note, do real artists really need to study art history, or to study art at all? Had van Gogh ever enrolled to an Art Academy? Had Gauguin any formal art study experience? Does such "lack" make their paintings any worse?

good point, well made (none / 0) (#8)
by Mr Somebody on Thu Aug 8th, 2002 at 07:53:29 AM PST
too much art history & theory will only institutionalise the creative, by boxing in their mind as to what is acceptable, or in vogue.
Some of the best art I've seen is folk art from around the globe. I bet They don't bother about Monet & Manet in the Masai Mara.

I would be... (none / 0) (#4)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Aug 8th, 2002 at 06:37:30 AM PST

Reggie, you're an artist yourself. (none / 0) (#6)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Aug 8th, 2002 at 07:14:40 AM PST
At least, you indulge in a lot of creative writing. I have read many of your works of fiction, and found them to be good. You also spend a lot of time talking about the esoteric aspects of technology, so I assume you're a geek.

Why not answer your own question, to get people started? -- because it isn't

I'd be a sculptor (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Thu Aug 8th, 2002 at 06:04:02 PM PST
It's the form of art that people experience most directly, I think. Films are reproductions of events. Animated films are simulations of reproductions. Music is either a repetition of the work that precedes it, or a rejection of that repetition. Either way, it is defined through its attitude towards the past. Paintings are copies of real life that aspire to being objects in their own right. Only a handful of truly great paintings succeed in this. Sculpture succeeds by virtue of its physicality. Sculpture touches more people, because its presence is felt more strongly, because it is an object and it has a presence. Consider the statue of David, or Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts. You cannot be near these works of art and not feel a sense of wonder. They grasp at the infinite, and, holding it firmly, make it a part of everyday life.

Sculpture is the inverse of photography. Good photographs capture real life and place it in the realm of the artistic. Good sculpture places artistic constructs in reality. In this way, sculpture adds to life, while photography steals from it. Film and photography have been a mixed blessing to those who were raised in a culture permeated by perfectly reproductive media. The psychosis suffered by most teenagers is a product of a childhood whose fondest landscapes were experienced secondhand, via television. I think most people born since 1970 are eventually going to realise that their favourite experiences from their childhood never actually took place.

I think a lot of artists adopt kitsch because it connects to human experience where the post-modernists refused to. Kitsch relies on objects or styles adapted from mass culture. People feel a connection to their own nostalgia through kitsch's regurgitation of dead cultural artifacts, like paintings of big-eyed children, or plastic-fantastic seventies designs. Japanimation is a form of kitsch, and the cultlike audience of manga is responding to the kitsch elements in the cartoons. Kitsch is fun, but by nature trite and always looking backwards. Sculpture is the flip side of that coin.

Sculpt! (none / 0) (#12)
by First Incision on Thu Aug 8th, 2002 at 09:10:51 PM PST
I like your analysis. I remember in the British Museum when I was confronted with the differences between the cartoony pottery and hyper-realism of their sculptures. The sculptures are there with you. They are part of your world, not a depiction of something elsewhere.

That said, I play harmonica, and percussion. I do not consider this art, because it has no permenance. I would only consider a composition or maybe a recording to be actual art.
Do you suffer from late-night hacking? Ask your doctor about Protonix.

art doesn't need to be permanent (none / 0) (#15)
by Mr Somebody on Fri Aug 9th, 2002 at 03:40:52 AM PST
your musical musings may not be 'art' in your eyes, but it's certainly performance. Brit art critc Melvin Bragg recently said he thought music was the highest art form, as it touched so many people's lives, while remaining etherial & intangible... or something. Oscar Wilde said "All art is quite useless", but then you all knew that anyway.
I say "I know a lot about art, but I don't know what I like"

Oddly enough, I agree with you (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Fri Aug 9th, 2002 at 09:10:36 AM PST
I think music is an art form, but one that is by nature impermanent. The widespread recording of music has robbed it of its soul, which was always in performance. For me, music reached its peak in the post-bop jazz era, when it was at its most fleeting and brilliant. Everything that has happened since has been a series of enormous leaps away from that moment of perfection, of which the recordings that survived are but shadows. The electronic music that captivates today's audiences seems so mechanistic to me. It is music that has never been performed, and it lacks something essential because of this.

The thing that troubles me most about the rapid spread of online music theft is not the immorality of stealing, although I am troubled by that, but the question of, why would you bother to do it at all? Music should be experienced, not trapped in mechanical matrices of noughts and ones.

Just curious, (none / 0) (#17)
by jvance on Fri Aug 9th, 2002 at 10:07:47 AM PST
What enticed you to crawl out from under the bridge and post such insightful comments?

This is the sort of stuff that keeps me coming back.
Adequacy has turned into a cesspool consisting of ... blubbering, superstitious fools arguing with smug, pseudointellectual assholes. -AR

I guess violins and saxophones seemed mechanistic (5.00 / 1) (#18)
by dmg on Fri Aug 9th, 2002 at 12:32:32 PM PST
Back in the days when they were new. The electronic music that captivates today's audiences seems so mechanistic to me.

Modern electronic dance music is simply different to what you are used to. In the same way Chinese counterpoint music or Indian Raga can sound 'wrong' to our western-trained ears, so it is with repetetive dance music.

I was chatting with spiralx and iat the other evening about how repeating a (seemingly lame) joke can make it funnier and funnier. The joke is far funnier when you see it for the 1000th time, as you get an amusing feeling "are they still doing that", and then there's the artistry which comes with the variation on a theme. Misspelling of Lienarse Turdveldoropopolis's name never ever ceases to amuse.

It's the same with repetetive music. Its all about how much repetition you can get away with. Eventually the listener will submit :-).

Repetetive electronic music plays a psychological game with our heads. We are waiting for the bridge, the breakdown, but the longer it takes to get there, the more relief there is when it finally comes (oo-err missus).

Interestingly enough did you know that when Georgio Moroder first started producing tracks for Donna Summer and Sparks, they used a live drummer to get that machine effect. The drummer on "I feel love" and "number one song in heaven" is human! (AFAIK)

With digitised music what you are hearing is much closer to what the artist(e)(s) wanted you to hear. There is none of this "interpretation" crap going on. As a composer, I don't want some jumped-up so-called "musician" fucking with my tunes. I am an Artist, and I want to control my Art as much as possible.

time to give a Newtonian demonstration - of a bullet, its mass and its acceleration.
-- MC Hawking

I'm not necessarily saying it can't be good (none / 0) (#19)
by T Reginald Gibbons on Fri Aug 9th, 2002 at 03:00:08 PM PST
It just shouldn't be called music. It should be called 'sound design' or something. Music comes out of instruments.

I agree with both of you. (none / 0) (#20)
by derek3000 on Sun Aug 11th, 2002 at 11:59:55 AM PST
This is one of the main reasons I don't buy live recordings: it's almost like looking at a photograph, only not as nostalgic.

When I look at a photo (I'm talking snapshots here), I see a moment captured from someone else's perspective, not mine. I get the vague feeling that this thing did actually happen, and I remember it, but not at all like what I'm looking at.

It can be especially unnerving to hear a live recording from a concert that you were actually at.

I can't fully agree with you on the sanctity of post-bop era jazz. I've spent the last 10 years training with jazz guitarists, and while I can improv over some complex changes, I still feel that it's hard to say something worthwhile every time. I think it would be hard for even the greatest musician to communicate something unique on each solo if that's the whole focus of the music--which, in this case, it is. Solo after solo after solo.

As for your idea of 'sound design': I find myself agreeing with you, because I, like dmg, like repetitive music. Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works II was an album that influenced me a great deal. I try to strike a good balance when I write, but I lean more toward 'environments' than songs. I guess you could argue that it's easier that way, but I'm not really worried about that. When I write a peice of music, or take a photograph, or mess around in Photoshop, I always ask myself: would I listen to this? would I hang this on my wall?

Sure, a lot of it (especially the visual stuff) is second-rate, postmodern crap. But I like the way it looks. Now--I'm fully expecting a reply in this format:

_____ ____? I thought you were dead! Oh wait, you are.

"Feel me when I bring it!" --Gay Jamie

Andy Warhol is a genius. (none / 0) (#21)
by because it isnt on Sun Aug 11th, 2002 at 12:26:02 PM PST
And, coincidentally, is also dead. Will that do?

(Surely, 'was a genius'? - Ed.) -- because it isn't

I guess it'll do, (none / 0) (#22)
by derek3000 on Sun Aug 11th, 2002 at 01:52:14 PM PST
but I never liked his stuff. I'll never understand what the big deal is. I mean, I like Campbell's soup and all...

"Feel me when I bring it!" --Gay Jamie


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