Monthly Archives: August 2009

Don’t Localize me, Bro!

Update: I sent feedback to reddit about this and someone nice created a bug report in response.

On the one hand, I admire the brave efforts of people who localize sites and applications to Hebrew and other non-ascii languages; on the other hand, (like most Israeli power users, I suspect), I hate using the Hebrew interfaces, especially when all the UI elements get flipped and moved around.

Recently, I started seeing ugly unstyled pages when visiting stories on reddit.com. Which makes it very hard to get the link to the actual posted story.

bad-reddit-rtl-css

At first I thought the page hadn’t loaded properly, because of network issues, but it turns out the problem is that I was being served a Hebrew localized page, which was badly localized – the link to the CSS was 404 unavailable.

Apparently reddit will serve you a Hebrew-localized page if your browser lists Hebrew in it’s accepted languages HTTP header.

The key point in that thread is this:

ketralnis

how much traffic do you get in non english reddits

Well we won’t get any if we don’t show non-English speakers that it’s available.

Regardless of what’s causing this behavior, the real problem is that the resulting page is unusable and broken (unless you change your preferences – possible if you’re logged in as a reddit user), and I persume this is because of inadequate testing, which is no surprise considering the miniscule number of people who’d encounter this bug: reddit visitors that have Hebrew set as their preferred language but aren’t logged in – opinionated Israeli power users, in other words  (or shlubs goofing around like me).

Cave complex found beneath the Pyramids – still waiting for the Ghouls

H.P. Lovecraft, The Outsider:

Now I ride with the mocking and friendly ghouls on the night-wind, and play by day amongst the catacombs of Nephren-Ka in the sealed and unknown valley of Hadoth by the Nile. I know that light is not for me, save that of the moon over the rock tombs of Neb, nor any gaiety save the unnamed feasts of Nitokris beneath the Great Pyramid

Cave Complex Found Under Giza Pyramids (Discovery News):

An enormous system of caves, chambers and tunnels lies hidden beneath the Pyramids of Giza, according to a British explorer who claims to have found the lost underworld of the pharaohs.

Populated by bats and venomous spiders, the underground complex was found in the limestone bedrock beneath the pyramid field at Giza.

The details on that news item – the discoverer of the caves tracked down the entrance to the mysterious underworld after reading the forgotten memoirs of a 19th century diplomat and explorer, the officials scoffing his finding, the citing of ancient funerary texts – it’s all gravy. Or module.

This comes via BLDGBLOG, who in the same post also links to an article from the Smithsonian on Ancient Cities lost to the Seas which opens on Dunwich, England (he also visits a fungus farm in Australia. I skim only to keep my sanity).

Boys (what is more dense than lead?)

Damnit, Reddit, I want a boyfriend: a self-described shy 20-year old girl asks for advice on a predominantly male board about how to get a boyfriend.

10 helpful comments advise her to look past her sense that it is  “social unacceptable for a girl to ask a boy out” and make the first move.

500+ comments follow, in which guys talk about that time they totally missed it when a girl made a move in their direction…

Guys (well, geek guys at least) don’t understand subtle. I froze in the face of such flashing signs as “I wish I had the courage to kiss you now” (but you have a boyfriend!) and barely discerned the call to action in such cues as “I will sit here and not budge from this couch until you kiss me” and “please touch my breasts so you can admire my bra”.

The counter-argument is that guys aren’t missing (all) those subtle flirting attempts, they’re actually imagining (some of) them. Those retrospective regrets we obsess over  (“That girl smiled at me! She was really into me! If only I’d done something… I could kick my younger, dumber, better-looking self! “) are tricks of the mind to comfort our loneliness and make us feel better about ourselves.

I’m sure that girl was just being nice.

Nancy Wake AKA the White Mouse

From The New Zealand Edge : Nancy Wake.

Nancy Wake was the Allies’ most decorated servicewoman of WWII, and the Gestapo’s most-wanted person. They code-named her ‘The White Mouse’ because of her ability to elude capture

In late April 1944, Nancy Wake and another SOE operative, Major John Farmer, were parachuted into the Auvergne region in central France with orders to locate and organise the bands of Maquis, establish ammunition and arms caches from the nightly parachute drops, and arrange wireless communication with England. Their mission was to organise the Resistance in preparation for the D-Day invasion. The Resistance movement’s principal objective was to weaken the German army for a major attack by allied troops. Their targets were German installations, convoys and troops. When dropped over Auvergne Nancy’s parachute became stuck in a tree. Her agent said he hoped all trees could bear such beautiful fruit. Nancy told him not to give her ‘that French shit’.

[via the Strategiest blog, found on an image search]