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PowerPoint as Soporific - Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
July 29th, 2007
01:44 pm

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PowerPoint as Soporific
"If we could somehow convert PowerPoint slides into pills, insomnia, like smallpox, would be eradicated from the earth." -- Brian W. Kernighan1

previously (philg; see "Idea 2"); previously (NYT, regwall, ads)


1 Did you know the 'g' in Kernighan is silent?

Current Music: Leonard Cohen -- Go No More a-Roving

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From:mummimamma
Date:July 29th, 2007 11:20 am (UTC)

A+

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My new favourite thing (which I shall implant in all my classes) if not only to have many and word-filled Powerpoint-slides (which I shall just skip past mumbling "don't have time for this, don't have time for that"). But also handing out a copy of the slides before my lecture. And while I'm at it hand out a copy of my lecture. And since I'm female, I will constantly mess up the very complicated computer thingie and require the help of male students.


Thanks for the links!
From:gamahucheur
Date:July 29th, 2007 11:45 am (UTC)
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I didn't know how Brian Kernighan pronounced his last name.

The gh is a transcription of a lenited gay; lenited, this letter would would be silent, or have the value /ɣ/ or /j/, depending upon context. In this case, the original value would almost certainly have been /j/ (not /jh/, /jh/, or /h/).

In Ireland itself, but especially in America, the influence of other orthographic systems cause the spellings and pronunciations of names to change further.
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From:ukelele
Date:July 29th, 2007 11:48 am (UTC)
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For all I know what he means, I think PowerPoint has gotten a bad rap. It's just a technology, and the general idea of "have slides to accompany a lecture" is not inherently evil -- one of the best professors I had taught via slides (overhead slides as this was before PowerPoint had caught on). Sadly, most people have no idea how to use them properly, and so you get these awful slides of cliche.

But really, it's not so much boring technology as boring people.
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From:ijon
Date:July 29th, 2007 12:08 pm (UTC)
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Sure, it's people what's the problem, as always (and 'goto' is a fine and useful command...)

But PowerPoint helps fool people into thinking they're interesting when they desperately aren't. Hence the bad rap.
From:gamahucheur
Date:July 29th, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC)

Dijkstra Considered Harmful

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and 'goto' is a fine and useful command
…which is why it was smuggled back into Java under other names (break, continue, throw) after being banned from appearing under its own.
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From:nonnihil
Date:July 29th, 2007 09:35 pm (UTC)

Re: Dijkstra Considered Harmful

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It's worth noting that Dijkstra's objection to GOTO specifically didn't include local, purely forward GOTOS (break and continue) and GOTOs for unifying exception-handling paths (throw). Those weren't considered harmful.
From:gamahucheur
Date:July 29th, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Dijkstra Considered Harmful

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It would be more accurate to say that Dijkstra unconditionally objects to the GOTO, and then makes a partial withdrawal of that objection. His (in)famous article begins with the declaration
For a number of years I have been familiar with the observation that the quality of programmers is a decreasing function of the density of go to statements in the programs they produce.
not with some more reasonable statement that past some point, the use of the goto is indicative of decreasing quality of programming. (Of course, this may be said of every command.) Had his remarks been more temperate, fashionable programming philosophy might have been a touch more reasonable.
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From:gaal
Date:July 29th, 2007 12:37 pm (UTC)
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From:ravell
Date:July 29th, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)

אני חושב שפקע לי שריר הצחוק

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