Archive for the 'Random thoughts' Category

Are you wondering if you’re wondering or are you actually wondering?

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Too often I encounter the following kind of sentence: “I’m wondering if people could improve their grammar?”

One of my pet peeves is when people put question marks at the end of sentences beginning with “I wonder if”. I’m always left wondering if the person is wondering about whether they’re wondering. (Of course, chances are they are not, but why the question mark then?) This is an incredibly common mistake for reasons not clear to me.

To clarify: starting a sentence with “I wonder if” usually results in a statement and statements don’t come with question marks. If you want to make it a question, you can say “I wonder: how does one end this sentence?” or “I wonder, should there be a question mark at the end of this sentence?”, but “I wonder if there should be a question mark at the end of this sentence.” should not end with a question mark, unless you are asking whether it is something you’re wondering about (but frankly, most people won’t be able to help you answer that).

Random thought: if you wanted someone to take care of your pet, wouldn’t you pay for food up front?

Sunday, July 15th, 2007

Sometimes I get a kick out of reading classifieds and so have been clicking through to some of the Marketplace ads on Facebook. I just read one where the advertiser is looking for a catsitter and ends the ad with the following:

“I’ll pay for the service, as well as litter and food on return.”

I may be reading this incorrectly, but it seems to suggest that the owner of the pet is asking the catsitter to pay for litter and food out of pocket (for three weeks) before being reimbursed, not to mention the burden of acquiring those materials. Is that reasonable? Doesn’t seem right to me. I’d leave the anticipated amount of litter and food before I left.

Random thought: May is not a good time to play Christmas music

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

I use Yahoo! Music for most of my music-listening at work. I like the service and at $60 for two years (they had a special when I signed up, the regular now is $72/year) it’s a great deal. [UPDATE: Corrected cost, I had remembered incorrectly.]

The system allows you to customize various stations by giving it feedback about what songs and artists you like. It’s a helpful feature, for the most part. But I think services like this might want to tweak the system so certain songs are kept off playlists at certain times of the year. I am not suggesting that they should be banned, of course, but perhaps not streamed unless sought out actively by the user.

I may like Boney M, but I really have absolutely no interest in listening to a Christmas song from them in the middle of May.

This reminds me of the dance club I used to go to in Budapest when I was in high school. One of the most popular Jive songs at the club was Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree . It was very bizarre to listen to it over and over again in June.

Random thoughts

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

It’s been a looong time, I know. So here is a short list of very random thoughts.

1. Is it weird if someone on Flickr classifies you as family even though you’re not (and this person is also not a close friend)? I’m thinking, perhaps the person clicked on the wrong button.

2. Has anyone else lost their Quick Contacts section in GMail? I don’t have that option anymore, using Firefox of IE. * sniff *

3. Anyone use Virb? Is it the next big thing?

Random thought: never send email to “all your contacts”

Friday, January 26th, 2007

I just received an announcement of an event from someone whose name I didn’t recognize. I use special email addresses for special occasions so I can often tell where someone got my address. In this case, the person was emailing me using the address I had used to hire someone last Fall. I then did a search on her name and confirmed that the only time we’d been in touch was regarding the job application process.

It is never a good idea to send an email to everybody in your contact list no matter the email. This would be one example why. There are people on that list whom you don’t actually know. Just because you exchanged one email with someone months (if not years) ago does not mean that you are now buddies and should be exchanging messages.

Needless to say, the incredibly poor judgement to use cc instead of bcc in such a case is just the icing on the cake (or would that be the.. well, I’ll refrain from offering alternatives, you can use your imagination…).

Random thought: I’m so not a green dot right now

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

I’m working away like crazy to meet some deadlines and am logged in to GChat, because for some purposes, it’s the most efficient way to contact my Project Coordinator across the country. But GChat has been misbehaving today and occasionally I see myself as a green dot on the system.

In this state, I can only be a red dot or a gray crossed out dot. Being a green dot is simply not an option right now.

The importance of deep linking

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Flash can be a great tool, but not as the basis for an entire Web site. There are various reasons for this (e.g. requirement of special software just to view the basics), but the one I thought I’d mention today is deep linking, or lack thereof on a flash-based Web site.

For those not familiar with the terminology, deep linking means that when you link to something online, you link to it directly. That is, say I want to point people to a research article on my site. Instead of simply saying “go to” and making them do all the work in finding the specific page of interest, I point them to the exact location of the page, e.g.

In fact, a big pet-peeve of mine is when people “help” you out in response to a query by sending you to a Web site that contains hundreds if not thousands of pages without pointing you to the specific location of the document of interest. That is hardly help, it is more like sending someone on a wild goose chase.

Unfortunately, on flash-based sites deep linking is not an option. So for example, there are some interesting videos on the Kompost Productions Web site at, but I can’t just point you to them, I have to give you additional instructions: click on Work then click on Doodle. How silly is that? Frankly, more often than not, I just don’t bother bookmarking such finds and certainly do not pass them along. In the end, it seems this would hurt the site in lost traffic.

Cite Bite takes the concept of deep linking to a next level by allowing you to link to a specific position on a Web page. Unfortunately, Cite Bite seems to be down as I write, which relates to a point I’ll be making in another post sometime.

Random thought: “I hate that word”

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

I hate it when people say “I hate that word” just after having used a word. If you hate it, don’t use it. If you just used it then accept the fact that it has some utility. It seems like such a cop-out.

I think I’ve seen the expression most often after the word blogosphere, but I just came across it for folksonomy as well.

I know, I know, now we can watch to see when I use this expression. I have no such plans though. If I hate it, I do my best to avoid it. Also, I may just have a different threshold regarding hateful sentiments toward words.

Random thoughts

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

I’ve been thinking about starting a new type of post on this blog: shorts posts with fairly random thoughts. For the most part, I don’t have time for long elaborate posts, but on occasion I do have random thoughts that would be fun to write down and perhaps of interest to the E-Blog fans who keep coming back despite the infrequently updated content around here. So if you see a “Random thought” headline, you’ve been warned.