Wednesday, May 2, 15:49 CDT

So I'm standing around talking to my friend Jesse last night. We're bored, and unlike everyone else on campus, neither of us feels any great need to study for finals.

Want to go to Sioux City, catch a flick?, I ask.

The rain picks up, thunder rumbles ominously overhead, and the general sense of impending atmospheric calamity that's been building all afternoon intensifies.

Sure, he says, I guess..

I've driven through worse storms (just last week, come to think of it), but not often. And I've very rarely seen that much lightning, that close. Probably a good thing we didn't take my car, what with only one windshield wiper working at all.

(The movie, Blow, wasn't bad either. Depressing and maybe a little disjointed, but that'd kind of make sense, given the subject matter.)

Just got an e-mail from my mom. She must be figuring things out reasonably well...

Every time I watch my mom use a computer, I come to the conclusion that computers really are too hard to use in the ways that most people want to use them. And at the same time, most interfaces I've used that try to be easy and intuitive fail miserably at some level - because their capabilities are limited, or they're designed under the assumption that their users are stupid and thus undeserving of real power, or they just really aren't that easy to use...

Maybe we're just making some bad basic assumptions, maybe the whole history of computers and software works against us... Or maybe in a few decades it won't matter, because everyone will have more or less grown up using software, and the whole language of interacting with complex machines will seem to come naturally to people.

At least, I'm pretty sure it all boils down to a kind of language. Maybe the problem is that it's a language that doesn't scale as well as it should. I mean, you can convey meaning and accomplish things with a very limited English vocabulary - that's not necessarily so with a computer. There are a lot of hidden assumptions about what a user knows and can express built into even the simplest, cleanest interfaces.

Or maybe I'm just rambling. Doesn't help that I've been reading Perl books lately. (BTW, Gurn... I have *no* idea about your link checker, at the moment.)

I'd guess you've all heard this by now, but I just noticed that there's going to be a new Babylon 5 TV movie, focusing on the Rangers and possibly leading in to a new series... I so hope this is as good as it should be. The world sorely needs more B5-style television.

Some great lines in this Rough Draft on recent cosmological discoveries... Think I saw it linked while skimming by K5, or perhaps /.. (And ya know what? From here on out, I'm not going to expend overmuch effort to point out where I found a given link, *especially* if it was some hugely visible site I've linked to a billion times before. You see a link, you can assume I found (I refuse to say stole) it somewhere else. That's the nature of the web.) Looks like there's some other good stuff in the archive. I cannot but heartily agree with On the Porch: A Sitting Precedent.