A Window on My World

I can't afford to do teacher training this year, but I might be able to next year. And a good way to spend the intervening time would be to get some A-Levels in the sciences I'm thinking of teaching. Portsmouth is a university town with lots of schools and colleges offering evening courses and distance learning things...so can I find any science courses? Can I bollocks.

There's loads of courses. And they're all shit like aromatherapy, crystal healing, Indian bloody head massage, and "A New Woman at 50". That's not quite true - in other circumstances I'd be interested in Urdu or British Sign Language, in fact I learned some BSL years ago, and can still be quite rude in it.

At least I know what's planned for tomorrow. Get brochures from all the school and colleges I can find, and phone up the rest, asking each in tuen if they'll take my money. That seems backwards, somehow.

Have I mentioned recently how much I dislike Windows XP? Microsoft in general of course, but right now XP specifically. It manages to be bogged down in it's own security measures, but is hopelessly insecure. It's full of features, but impossible to configure unless you know it to degree level. It plans for every concievable combination of drivers and devices, but gets tangled up in just these combinations. It's designed to be fast, but gets so clogged up in "temporary" files and system restores and indexes that it gets unusably slow.

Each successive Windows release has at first been a triumph of inguniuty over previous incompetence, then a triumph of complexity and rushed coding over ingenuity. Just as each successive Windows version bought by you and me begins as a triumph of hope over experience, and ends as a triumph of Microsoft over the public.

So, why aren't I with Linux? Several reasons, but the main one is: Most of the programs I use require Windows. They don't have Linux versions, and some are in that 10% of programs that won't run under Linux emulating Windows.

My FriendsReunited contact has gone silent. Either he's busy and/or can't think of anything to say, which is understandable. Or he's decided he doesn't want to talk to a gay trotskyist, in which case he's just a bit of an arsehole and therefore no great loss. But it would be nice to know which it is.

I have a cold. Again. The kind that makes you feel like you've got a tennis ball stuck in your throat. I wonder if I caught it from CW while I was giving him my gastroenteritis.

He's promised to give me thrush next time we meet.


  1. I've sometimes wondered why there is an ASL and a BSL.... why not an ISL?

    /clueless hearie

  2. There is, kind of.

    There's a lot of variation in sign language between the regions of a country, and almost every country has it's own sign language. Plus they change quite rapidly between generations, so if you didn't grow up with sign language, it can look almost like every signer has their own language.

    However, partly because sign languages are visual, they're a lot more transparant and mutually intelligible than different spoken languages and dialects. This means that a signer using American Sign Language will be understood, imperfectly but usually adequately, by someone who uses (say) Swedish Sign Language.

    Some signs are close the universal - wherever you are in the world, "telephone" involves holding your fist to your ear as though making a phone call, though younger speakers hold their hand as though speaking into a mobile, while older speakers use a more old fashioned handset shape. Pointing your index fingers upwards and moving them towards each other means "to meet up" or "approach", while pointing in opposite directions means "failure to meet" or "misunderstanding" depending on context.

    Whenever I've seen signing about cars, it used a motion as though turning a steering wheel, and "stupid" involves knocking the side of the head with your knuckles. Others are guessable if you already know some of the language. In BSL "expensive" is the sign for "pain" made near the pocket - pain in the pocket, very expressive - while "cheap" is a variation on "to compress".

    Often sign langages borrow from each other. In old fashioned BSL, a gay man is signified by limp wristed gesture, but nowadays Brits use the American sign, which is a thumbs-up handshape rocked against the opposing palm. Why does that mean "gay" (while "lesbian" is still a rather un-PC screwing motion with the index finger)? I have absolutely no idea - not all words derive from mime.

    So, signed languages are more inter-comprehensible than spoken languages, but there was an international sign language proposed and promoted in the late 1970s. It was called Gestuno, and I thought it was very well thought out. But, like Esperanto (which I also speak), it didn't catch on, probably because signers already understood each other well enough to get by.

    It's a complicated business, and others would disagree with me, but that's what I think.

  3. K,
    Use windows 200o pro. It's the most stable OS they have, and it works like a treat ... when I have to suffer the slings and arrows of windows.

  4. I used W2K till this year, but then got persuaded to finally switch to XP because some of my software was designed to work best with it.

    I think I'll take your advice, and switch back. At least on this here laptop, used for everything except music recording.

    Someday, when I'm incredibly rich, I'll get the latest superfast mac.