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  • Why are my web pages so simple?
    class of user as well those who access the web using the very low resolution screens of mobile phones or handheld computers People who make webpages targetted at any one of these groups will miss all the others My web pages work on any screen resolution Another reason my pages look simple is that I keep image use to a bare minimum This is a courtesy to people who are using dial up access or even worse pay per minute mobile phones For them every minute wasted waiting for unnecessary images is an exasperating inconvenience Most people still don t have broadband internet Designing for broadband excludes the bulk of your audience I don t use javascript in my pages because many people leave it turned off and the scripts on such pages easily grow far beyond what is reasonable I have had jobs where I was required to add all kinds of javascript mediated functionality to pages but I couldn t help noticing that those pages tended to take a long time to load and slowed the computer down Years back it also sometimes crashed web browsers For all those reasons I don t use Java either It is a terrible language that needlessly complicates things and has a very bad habit of crashing unpredictably Also it is a proprietary language Flash is proprietary too and crashes some browsers Worst of all flash s secret plugin gets upgraded in ways that make old flash plugins useless meaning a new plugin needs to be downloaded regularly mostly so you can play stupid advertisements People have a terrible habit of overusing tables and frames They are mostly not needed Tables won t display their contents till the entire table is loaded so for complex pages users are left looking at a

    Original URL path: http://miriam-english.org/articles/simpleWebPages.html (2016-04-25)
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  • why cults?
    full of amazing things at every turn But for reasons I don t entirely understand most people gradually stop learning and this causes them to become bored with the world and their place in it They long for the excitement they had as children when they could drop a ball and find to their utter astonishment that it bounced back up again They want to feel again that their world is special and that they have a central part to play in it But that has gone leaving a drab boring world of disappointment Why have they lost their sense of wonder It may be partly due to the change in some neural receptors that happens as we get older The receptors change in structure so that learning happens more slowly See Scientific American Building A Brainier Mouse April 2000 Or it may have something to do with the way a bored demeanour is fashionably cool in most societies Or it may be that school often teaches kids that learning is not fun but boring I ll never forget one teacher saying You re not here to have fun You re here to learn That was so stupid fun is the brain s way to entice us to learn Whatever the reason most people actively resist learning as they grow older and this produces dreadful boredom To compensate many turn to some kind of harebrained notion oftentimes the weirder the better to make them feel special and bring back the excitement they once felt I wonder if this may be part of the reason behind the mind deadening chants and rituals and the importance of giving over your thought processes and critical powers to your leader it makes the world even more boring and paradoxically makes the cult or organisation

    Original URL path: http://miriam-english.org/articles/whyCults.html (2016-04-25)
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  • A value monoculture - Miriam English
    things have intrinsic value unrelated to money Happiness is the first one that many people think of There is no direct relationship between money and happiness Yes we have set up our society so that having no money has very dire consequences that can make you very unhappy but that s artificial we could just as easily set conditions differently I am one of the happiest people I know and I live at the poverty level Knowledge is another Many people think that money buys knowledge and yes it can but increasingly knowledge is being made available for free The digital age has the potential to remove all limits on this Friendship is a tricky one It may appear that friendship is enhanced by money but in fact it can impede it A rich person is faced with never knowing whether their friends like them or their money Time The harder you work for money the less time you have And there are more subtle things too like wisdom that s slightly different from knowledge comfort ability choice health freedom intelligence creativity communication humor art and so on I m sure you can think of more If we run our

    Original URL path: http://miriam-english.org/articles/valueMonoculture.html (2016-04-25)
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  • open ebooks
    be So how can I use open ebooks to reach as big a readership as possible and preferably make a living along the way With no impediments for readers open ebooks have the potential to spread more quickly than the other two choices There are two clear problems First is publicity How do you attract readers With paper books and locked ebooks the publishers do the legwork for you getting reviews in magazines and in newspapers getting spots for you on TV and radio in literary festivals and other events book signings in bookshops and so on That part is currently missing from open ebooks but because it is early days I believe we will see it soon As paper publishers lose ground expect to see more freelance publicists who each service a stable of writers I think we will see more ebook review websites too and online broadcasts Also open ebooks have a potentially very powerful means of propagating The minority of readers who pay for the ebook support the author but the majority of non paying readers form a hopefully vast network of free publicists passing the ebook on to others as word of mouth publicity It may take a J K Rowling type of phenomenon in open ebooks to make everybody sit up and pay attention to how effective this can be The second is income Micropayments thru PayPal are the key here I believe Here are a few models off the top of my head Donation You can put a button on your ebook and website to let people donate if they like the book A certain proportion of your readership will donate In these early days that will probably not amount to enough for a living unless you achieve some degree of fame But a

    Original URL path: http://miriam-english.org/articles/ebooks_and_making_a_living.html (2016-04-25)
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  • ebooks vs paper books
    if you look with a clear eye at the ebook scene There is massive consumption of free unencumbered ebooks but commercial ebooks with all their paranoid locks are hardly moving I have bought a number of ebooks and have had the infuriating experience of being locked out of them The locks are extremely difficult to negotiate in the first place and then are tied to a particular computer If your computer crashes and your operating system needs to be re installed all too common an experience or if you simply upgrade your operating system or hardware then you become locked out of your commercial ebook When this happens once it is very annoying When it happens twice there is great reluctance to ever submit to that indignity again Most authors musicians and artists I ve spoken to on this subject believe the line they ve been fed that in order for their work to be safe it has to be locked up but this is wrong for a number of reasons Think of your favorite writers Did you initially buy them brand new perhaps after liking the book covers or reading reviews Or did a friend hand you a book and insist that you must read it Or did you borrow it from a library first Or did you begin by buying their works in second hand bookshops If you borrow from a friend or library or buy from a secondhand shop then the author receives no direct benefit but of course the indirect benefit is undeniable Free and cheap secondhand books are a terrific way to propagate works Word of mouth is the best advertising Baen Books publish a number of their books for free downloading They find that it reinvigorates sales of other works by an author when one of their works is published free The internet makes it possible to distribute books for effectively zero cost This means that for the first time we creators can cut out the middlemen and go direct to the public The locked books argument uses fear to convince creators that we still need the middlemen and uses fear of readers who are actually the writers greatest allies Publishers if they adapt to the new environment will still provide editing and promotional services but I think I hope the shift in power might favor the small publishers who already have closer relationships with their writers With such a large reading public now and bearing in mind that many of the poorer parts of the world are about to enter the middle classes the potential audience is exploding We can make use of monetary return from just a fraction of the readers It sounds counterintuitive but it has worked in a number of cases The people who can afford to pay what they want and those who can t afford don t You would think this would never work but LiveJournal has exactly this system and it earns a very tidy income The

    Original URL path: http://miriam-english.org/articles/ebooks_vs_paper_books.html (2016-04-25)
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  • Truchet tiles
    to the truchet tiles and a few interesting things happen odd even c 0 a 1 0 1 Here is an area paved entirely with the two c tiles Click

    Original URL path: http://miriam-english.org/articles/truchet4.html (2016-04-25)
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  • Truchet tiles
    area be divided up into a checkerboard arrangement of light and dark tiles I chose c for clockwise and a for anticlockwise odd even c 0 a 1 0 1 Here is an area paved entirely with the two c tiles Click the buttons below to change them Call me crazy but I bet this has something to do with superconductivity Look at the lines Now imagine that these depict

    Original URL path: http://miriam-english.org/articles/truchet2.html (2016-04-25)
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  • Truchet tiles
    an area with and the same object rotated 90 or 270 results in wonderful things I bet Sebastien would have loved a computer Here is an area paved entirely with the one tile all lined up the same way Click

    Original URL path: http://miriam-english.org/articles/truchet.html (2016-04-25)
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