Subject: Re: Allegro CL 6.0 Trial Edition
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 2000/11/04
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Robert Monfera <>
| Let me assure you that your thoughts are modular enough to enable
| information _transmittal_ even with-scan-reading-enabled.  Human
| readers don't do information _preservation_, Usenet does.

  I was operating under the assumption that what is good for high
  information value is not good for fast scan reading and vice versa.
  There are lots of things we can do to the information to make it
  easier to digest by people, but which makes it much, much harder for
  machines to retrieve same.  As witness the drive towards graphics
  and layout that makes it nigh impossible for a machine to figure out
  what is being communicated on "modern" web pages.  Most of the stuff
  that is done to preserve accuracy in presentation lowers the speed
  of access by humans.  This has to do with how our consciousness
  works, which has had some, but not an impressing lot, to do with how
  we designed our computers, writing systems, etc, mainly because we
  know so little about it.

| Speaking of discouraging scan reading, I recall how much fun it is
| to navigate through an automated telephone answering service when
| what you want is always the last option at the deepest level.  That
| option must be the most expensive, and access is thus penalized.

  The speed at which we absorb information from the outside world is
  incredibly low, it could use a thousand-fold increase, but if you
  have an issue with linearization of presentation and representation
  of information, it is just silly to argue for _or_ against initial
  capitals, automated telephones, etc.  If you really think this is an
  important issue, and I think it is, transcending linearization may
  be accomplished with more computer-friendly ways to communicate, in
  that the computer can scan for us and present us with a condensation
  of the communication, into which we can navigate once the computer
  understands what is going on.  Ironically, this requires that we
  dispense with the notion that consuption by the human eye is the one
  true factor to optimize for, and it becomes an argument _against_
  the many information-destroying aspects that the human need to make
  it easier to read has spawned.

  Do we really need to use the _specific_ technique of abusing the
  capital letter to indicate sentence start when we already use it to
  indicate proper nams?  You may have noticed that I use two spaces
  after a sentence-terminating punctuation, and that I don't use a
  period after abbreviations.  (I know one guy who was so upset about
  the capitals that he dragged in whitespace and punctuation and who
  _should_ have noticed this, but didn't.)  There are other ways to
  make that sentence start stand out than the initial capital letter
  that does not introduce information loss and useless ambiguity.

  Does anyone remember where I parked Air Force One?
                                   -- George W. Bush