Curly brackets or braces

This one came up during the tech edit and now during the copy edit on my last book: the use of “curly bracket” as compared to “curly braces” or “brace”.

I have used the term “curly bracket” for decades, and have seen the term used in other programming contexts. Wikipedia, though not the definitive source of information on a topic, also seems to promote curly bracket over curly brace. In addition, Wikipedia and other sources also point out that the curly part of “curly braces” is redundant, because there are no other braces but curly ones.

So which is the proper term? When you see “curly bracket” do you itch to take editing pencil to “bracket”, to replace with “brace”? Are you confused when you see the word “brace” used in a programming context? Or paired with the “curly”?

Burningbird Photography Political

End of politico beginning of computer fund

Today I went to the gas station to fill up my tank before this week’s rapid rise in gas prices. The station has two islands, with three filling areas on each side. I drove through the center, between the two islands, which has room to pass even if cars are at both sides. However, I was forced to stop before getting to the pump because an elderly man was using the window squeegee thing to clean the inside of his windows and had his door wide open so I couldn’t pass.

I stopped, thinking that he would see I was trying to get past and close his door, but he just continued his painfully slow process of trying to use the squeegee thingie to clean his inside windows.

I was already cranky entering the station, and snarled at him to please close his door, as I was trying to get past— startling him a little, which left me feeling like a jerk because my parents did not raise me to be rude to somebody in their 80s. I had let my cranky feelings overcome both my manners, and my sense of perspective, because I was in no hurry and could have waited a couple of minutes for him to finish.

I’m cranky from the news, not only of the election but the abysmal bail out, which, no, I don’t approve of in any shape or form. However, the stress of both is actually adding to a sense of physical degradation, as well as impacting on both my humor and my interactions with those around me. I snarled at an elderly man, and I’ve never snarled at an elderly person before. I wasn’t raised this way. Snarl at webloggers, yes; but never the elderly, the very young, or critters. That’s just plain mean.

You’ll be glad to know that this is my last post on the election, because I am going to be restricting my intake of news and politics, and especially economics. I can’t do a thing to make a difference, and keeping up with the stories is, frankly, ruining what is potentially going to be a beautiful fall.

I had planned on writing a long, seemingly learned paper on the election, listing out various topics and how Obama and McCain differ, but there’s a lot of people who do a much better job at this than me. I’m voting for Obama/Biden, plain and simple. To do otherwise will turn the White House over to two people who are incompetent to lead, at a time when this country is in a world of hurt, and needs the best, not the worst.

There. I did my thing, and I’m sure have convinced hundreds, thousands of you to vote for Obama.

Now, writing about the internet, browsers, standards—including and RDF and SVG, and the like—is useful because I may actually make a difference talking about these topics. Same with my tales of Missouri at MissouriGreen, video at Secret of Signals, and whatever at Just Shelley. Even if all I do is post pictures of our zoo’s new Amur leopard cub, Sophie, who stole my heart this weekend, forever, when she “stalked” my roommate as he walked around her habitat trying to see her.

Amur leopard cub

Yes, I have given my heart to a leopard cub. Sorry to my male readers who might be disappointed. Come to that, sorry to my female readers who might be disappointed.

Hopefully pictures of this sweet thing will make up for the fact that I’ve been a dead bore, lately.

Sophie, stalking roommate
Sophie, still stalking

update: Decided against trying to run a computer fund.

Burningbird Web


This site, like most others built using a content management system rewrites the dynamic URLs into a static format, primarily to make them more readable. More portable, too, as we move our writings from CMS to CMS.

Google has come out with an odd post about static versus dynamic URLs, and it’s better for the Google bot to leave your URLs dynamic, because people screw up the rewrite rules. If you leave the URL dynamic, then the Google bot can figure out what it needs from the URL. However, if you rewrite it as a static URL, but leave dynamic pieces in, such as page number or the like, the Google bot may interpret the URL incorrectly.

At least, this is my interpretation of the post, and from the comments, other people’s interpretation.

The focus of Google’s suggestion is search engine optimization, and so probably only of interest to the SEO types. However, when Google writes posts like this, they ripple out like waves on a pond after a big stone is dropped in. Within a week or two I’m sure we’ll be hearing about how “best practice” for URLs now, is to use dynamic, not static URLs, regardless of the reason for the best practice.

No more permalinks to you WordPress folks. Or smart URLs for the Drupal users. Be brave, and show your parameters.

Or not.

JavaScript Political Writing


The draft for Learning JavaScript, second edition, has entered production, and that’s more or less it for my tech book writing career. I don’t want to say I’ll never write another tech book, because never is a long time. However, I have no intentions of writing another tech book in the foreseeable future.

I hope to revive my moribund tech contracting/consulting career, but first I need a break from spending so much time on the computer: walk in the woods; enjoy the fall color; watch the pretty birds; see if my legs still work. I have authored and co-authored 18 books in 12 years—a fact I’ve really felt it in the last few months. I’m tired.

Tired and stressed, with the latter primarily because of the US election. I don’t think I’ve ever been this stressed about an election. I’ve also never been more desperate for my candidate (Obama) to win. No, not even when Bush was running for the office in 2000 and 2004. Frankly— and I never thought the circumstances could ever get to the point where I would say this—I’d rather have another four years of Bush/Cheney, then have four years of McCain/Palin.

I don’t want to write too much about the election, specifically because of the stress. I also agree with Dave Rogers about Sarah Palin being used to draw attention away from Obama. Continuing to write about her only aids and abets her cause, as well as adds to my already overly uptight frame of mind.

I think what I’ll do is spend some time considering the election, take a deep breath, and write once more on the topic. In the meantime, I’ll post links to what others have written, as I struggle to re-establish an essential objectivity. After all, I want to live long enough to get that universal health insurance Obama will bring us.

Speaking of which, I have been getting into some debates, mainly about universal health care over at Blogher. It would be an understatement to say how disappointed I am in the so-called “libertarian” element in the US, right now.

Politics aside, my 18th book is on its way. Go book. Live long, and prosper.

Weather Writing

Storm surges

Luckily Gustav calmed down before landfall, because I don’t think the New Orleans levees would have held if the surge was 18 feet as originally predicted.

It’s important, now, for Nagin et al to let people back into the city as soon as possible. If the city management continues to keep the citizens out, but let the business owners in, the next time the city officials call for an evacuation, people are going to say, “No”. Frankly, I wouldn’t blame them.

Gustav is still not through giving, though. We in St. Louis are getting tropical depression warnings, as we expect the storm to drop 8 inches, or more, on us on Friday.

In the meantime…how about that Atlantic, eh? If McCain and Obama continue their practice to discontinue campaigning every time we get hit with a hurricane, this may be the quietest presidential race, ever.

But then there’s Sarah. I could wish that we would spend more time on issues important to women, than one specific woman and her family challenges. This election is too important to continue to get distracted by the Palin sideshow.

PS Can you tell I’m half way through my book edits, and feeling more than a wee bit irritable?