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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Big Ideas for HTML

Remember the discussion in Pulp Fiction?
Whenever you come across a number with its associated units in a story on the web, you will also find the number converted to another system and displayed with those units. For instance: "it is 10 miles (16 km) to the next gas station". If you are reading something on Wikipedia, they are liable to include nautical miles as well, and if there are several numbers under discussion the converted values and units can overwhelm the story. While the trained eye can pick out the bits you want, the overall appearance is basically wretched.
     You are reading this on a computer. The computer knows who you are, and where you are, and what you are reading about. Perhaps the computer could simply display the numbers in your chosen system and not display all those alternative values that you do not care about.
    While we are at it, how about abbreviations? Some are common and well known, some are not. How about a switch that lets you choose whether the terms in question are spelled out or abbreviated?
     Let's do something about acronyms. They are proliferating at an alarming rate. No reason the computer couldn't scan the text, identify any undefined acronyms and insert their definition immediately after their first appearance.
    Maybe the HTML committee can include these functions in their next version. HTML, that would be Hyper Test Markup Language. Not sure that expanding that acronym helps at all. Just shows how much of a nerd I am, I suppose.

The porcine princess emerges in the morning with the parka regally draped across her shoulders. 
    While we are on the subject, what is it with POTUS (President Of The United States) and SCOTUS (Supreme Court Of The United States)? Who came up with these, and more importantly, why? I suspect it is part of the imperialization of the Federal government. I'm just waiting for Obama to start wearing a purple cloak trimmed in ermine.

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