Friday on the web

Every so often, the web produces something literate and intelligent; these gems are often found buried under Gilligan’s Island fan fiction and LOLcats.

  • Controlling Your Environment Makes You Happy, by Joel Spolsky
    I’m fascinated by programming despite having no ability to actually code. This article is ostensibly about programmers and user interface, but it applies to much more than that. Well worth reading.

    I think most programmers’ fear of [User Interface] programming comes from their fear of doing UI design. They think that UI design is like graphics design: the mysterious process by which creative, latte-drinking, all-dressed-in-black people with interesting piercings produce cool looking artistic stuff. Programmers see themselves as analytic, logical thinkers: strong at reasoning, weak on artistic judgment. So they think they can’t do UI design.

    (If you are a programmer, this article is a chapter from Joel’s book User Interface Design for Programmers.)

  • Politics and the English Language. by George Orwell
    The author of 1984 and Animal Farm was also a master essayist, as this article shows. Rather than attempt to summarize this 1945 essay, allow me to quote:

    Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English

Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

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