Daily Archives: October 19, 2010

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia [citation needed]

I like Wikipedia, I really do. But there are also some serious, very serious problems with it. I just read the entries on the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, a few related historical entries, and the entry on the movie Zulu, which is about the Battle of Rorke’s drift.

My interest here is in looking at how things African are depicted in movies and other aspects of popular culture, especially historical events and “traditional” cultures. (I am not an expert on modern African studies.)

I will write about that at another time: Suffice it to say that at this point it is obvious that the overall pattern of divergences from historical (probable) fact in the movie can be best understood in reference to the by then well developed African in Western Eyes trope. One of the more blatant divergences is the invention of a person who simply was not present at the event (interestingly, there seems to be only one significant example of this in the movie) and it is “the young white woman” without which no Western movie about Africa would be complete.

Anyway, in reviewing these Wikipedia entries, I noticed that the Wikipedia process has it’s own pattern, including a preponderance of (amateur?) military historians at the keyboard who are unable to leave a single fact unturned no matter how insignificant, and a nearly complete lack of proportion so that very important facts get glossed. In addition, if you are Black or African, don’t expect your dead to be honored like the white dead will be. Shame.

And so, this all inspired me to make fun of Wikipedia with the following parody:
Continue reading Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia [citation needed]

Hacking a Google Calendar CLI Tool

I wrote earlier of the very useful command line utility called gcalcli (short for GoogleCALendarCommandLineInterface). Click here to read that post. One of the options is called “agenda” which spits out, by default, the next five days of calendar entries. If you would prefer a different range of time than five days, then you can specify two dates and the utility will give you that set of entries.

But I find that to be a bit of a pain, typing in the dates to start and end the list, when I generally want a quick and dirty “next several days.” That, I suppose, is why there is a default of five days. But five days is not a good default. If it is Wednesday, I want to see what I’ve got on my calendar for the rest of the current week, as well as what is on my calendar for ALL of next week. For me, a better default would be 14 days. With 14 days, you always get a full look at the present week and the next week, plus, sometimes, a bit after that.

One can imagine writing a bash script that figures out what day it is, and then adds enough days that you get an agenda for the remainder of the present week plus all of the next week, but no more days than that. Such a script could make use of bash’s ability to manage and manipulate dates as they occur in our periodic system, with 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, work days being a subset of five of those days, etc. etc.

One could also imagine writing a bash script to poke one’s eyes out with hot soldering irons.

A simpler solution is this:
Continue reading Hacking a Google Calendar CLI Tool