Choice of words

Choosing what you write and how you write it is extremely important. Sometimes you might have a very important thing to say, but nobody is listening because you are not saying it in a way that makes people pay attention to you. That’s well-known, so why am I writing it? Well, it’s just that this morning I woke up at 6:30 AM and couldn’t sleep any more (after staying up until almost 2AM last night reading) and was reading some articles around. Suddenly two articles popped up and really exemplified this concept:

1) On Communications of the ACM, one of the cover articles named “Patterns, Symmetry, and Symmetry Breaking” by Liping Zhao, the author tries to explain how we can look at programming and using of design patterns as breaking and generating this symmetries in programming languages. It’s an analogy that I found quite hard to follow but was trying to hang on to it hoping that it was actually useful when I read the following phrase:

“In biology and physics, the imperfections and irregularities in the arrangement of cells are more interesting because they pose deeper questions to scientists.”

WHAT? What kind of observation is that? Odd things make us more intrigued? This phrase was so strikingly meaningless to me that it completely made me lose interest on the article and I stopped reading. Just one phrase…

2) On the other hand, I was going through some articles on ComputerWorld and found Just-patched Excel makes calculation mistakes. Just the title of the article made me have to have a look through it (and I have to claim that the title of Zhao’s article also drew me to it). Fortunately it was a short article and talked about a bug introduced to Real Time Data on Excel 2003. If they had actually said something like “New Excel 2003 Patch Adds Bug to Real Time Data” I wouldn’t have even looked at the article. Sure, articles about bugs on products that you have or had access to are interesting (especially when the whole Excel 2007 Bug was doing its rounds), but Real Time Data on Excel 2003?

Ok, time to move onto something else for the day… Maybe organizing my Brazil pictures? Or perhaps cleaning up my office… I just know that I’ve read enough for the morning. Including struggling through articles in German (quite depressing, actually).

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