Showing posts from January, 2007

Books versus Covers

Back when I was a young scholar there were several things one learned that violated the "never judge a book by its cover" rule. One was that when you saw a disheveled fellow walking down the street talking to himself, you could reliably assume that he was disturbed and probably not taking his medication. And you could assume that a nicely typeset and printed article was worth reading. Things have changed. Now when you see an unshaven fellow in rumpled clothes walking down the street conducting an animated conversation you can't assume that he's off his Chlorpromazine . He might just as well be an investment banker working on a big deal. Why did typsetting signify quality writing? Dating from the days of Aldus Manutius typesetting a book or an article attractively in justified columns using proportionally spaced fonts was a time-consuming task involving expensive skilled labor. Because of that high up-front cost, publishers insisted on strong controls on what mad

Fixing a bug in the TreeTable2 example

This New Year I resolved to run backups of our computers regularly in 2007. My vague plan was to dump the data to DVDs, since both of our newest machines, a Dell PC running Windows XP Pro and a Mac have DVD burners. What, to my dismay, did I learn when I examined the Properties of my home directory on the PC? It weighs in at over 140 gigabytes. The DVDs hold about 6 gigabytes, so it would take at least 24 DVDs to run a backup. Aside from the cost, managing 24 DVDs sort of defeats the purpose. Before going to plan B, getting an outboard disk drive to use as the backup device, I thought I'd investigate all of this growth in my home directory. Last time I looked, my home directory was less than 10 gigabytes. In the past I've used du from the bash command line to investigate the file system. This is powerful, but it's slow and very painful. What I really wanted was a tree browser that was smart enough to show me the size of each subtree. In a project that I'd worked