This is one of my journal's many "channels."
What I haven't yet seen mentioned is that "top posters" are notorious for only replying to one part — possibly even just one line or sentence — in a longer email. Many times over the years I have written a long-ish message to a client, explaining how I would do something (and for how much), only to receive back a copy of my entire message with a question at the top like, "How would that part work, exactly?" or "Could you send me a sketch of how you think that part would look?"
See, I've sent a message with twelve paragraphs explaining the overall flow of an application, and the question I get back could refer to almost any of it.
Even better (worse) is that my original message probably included a few questions which have gone completely unanswered.
That, to me, is the biggest benefit of the inline-reply style. You have to pay attention to what you're doing! You start your reply by quoting the entire message. As you go through the original message, you delete the stuff which needs no reply and which isn't needed for context, and then insert your own comments immediately after the relevant parts that remain. Since most email programs show different levels of quoting in different colors, it's very easy to follow the conversation.
Recently someone sent me a "breath of fresh air." It was another software developer, and we've been talking about me helping him out with the next version of his (only) application. Our conversation has stretched out over three months, but we're both sticklers for the inline-reply style so reading back through these email messages is just wonderful. Trying to have a conversation like this with a "top-poster" (someone who always quotes everything that came before, and only puts replies at the top) would be awkward, if not impossible.
Unfortunately, some email clients make inline-replying a little difficult. Gmail, MobileMail (Apple's Mail on the iPhone), and Outlook/Entourage are all good (bad) examples. They can all make very "pretty" email with bolds, colors, fonts, links and pictures, but those things are secondary (or tertiary) to good communication. At the opposite end of the spectrum are apps like Mailsmith, which *can't* create fancy-schmancy bold/colored/linked/imaged messages, but which provide tools to make inline-replying even easier than it is already. (There are other apps like that, but Mailsmith is the one I use. Claris Emailer was another great example of this type of app, back in its day.)
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo
... especially as it is a grammatically correct sentence. That's just crazy talk.
The crazy overuse of the word "get" is still bugging me, though having reread this old conversation on that topic was thrilling. We once conversed most intelligently here on Truer Words!
Months ago I told Brian Andresen that a new corruption of English was bothering me, and then he started to hear it and I'm pleased to report that, for a time, it bothered him almost as much as it did me.
Which corruption is that? Rather than just state it, I'll offer a hint. The clue is here. Try and find it by rereading this message very carefully. I'll give a gold star to the first person to describe it.
Even NPR, that bastion of Good English, has committed this faux pas on a regular basis in the last half year.
Yes, Greg, I know that you believe there is no such thing as Good or Proper English. That may or may not be true, but the definition of Poor or Improper English is (In My Opinion) when choice of phrasing is senseless.
Maybe I'm an old-fogey-conservative-English-professor type, but (again, IMO) not all Improper English should become accepted just because it's common.
Corinne brought Lauren to the doctor's office for her two month checkup.
The appointment was at 10:40, and they arrived on time.
They waited a long time to be brought back to the examination room. At Noon, after Lauren had been screaming for a half hour because the nurse had undressed her (to weigh her) and left her that way, after being "spat up on" (vomited on) profusely because Lauren was so worked up, after cleaing up two more puddles of puke on the examining table... after all that and nothing else becuase the doctor hadn't been in yet and there were still other patients ahead of them (based on the numbers they'd hung on the doors), Corinne gave up. She dressed the baby, told the receptionist that she was done waiting and "yes, I'll call to reschedule," and left.
Good for her. Lauren is healthy (the spitting up is normal, don't worry), and at least we have her weight: 10 pounds 13 ounces (up from 6 pounds 15 at birth, two months ago).
The doctor's office called twice in the last week to remind us that Lauren's appointment was today. That was nice of them, but it should have been the other way around.
The worst is that Corinne and Lauren missed much of Ravi's fourth birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese.
The source of the problem here is the state insurance for children (called, "Husky" or something like that). The doctors don't make much profit from it, so they double or triple book (schedule two or three patients per doctor at the same time). It's a known problem that has been written about in the newspapers. Apparently nothing is being done to correct it, although many of the pediatricians in the area don't even accept "Husky" appointments anymore.
I haven't posted an update in a while for the most common excuse of all: I've been way too busy living a life to have the time to write about it.
It's really just an issue of priorities. Trying to earn a living, sharing the job of raising a beautiful baby girl, visiting her parents once or twice weekly, teaching midweek Bible class, talking to the parents for fifteen minutes each every day that they aren't visited, riding my bike at least three or four times per week, etc., etc., etc... these things have all taken priority over any writing whatsoever.
Midweek class will no longer be my responsibility in two or three more weeks. That will free up about four hours of my time... but this is time for which other responsibilities are already begging. Sigh.
I like being busy, but I don't like living at maximum capacity all the time.
Update: None of the above precludes my taking a day off here and there for "planned events" such as bike rides with friends. Whether or not I've ever met those friends. ;-) But obviously if the event is never planned, I can't take the day off...
One of my clients has recently signed up for an online shopping cart system to work with his catalog (which is based on Conversant).
When a customer buys something through this shopping cart system, they're shown a confirmation page with a link back to a specific page on the vendor's site. That's totally standard.
They claim that it only works in IE. Not in Firefox, not in Safari, not in Opera. Why worry about those, they're just a small percentage of the marketplace, right?
I'm sorry, but those people are morons.
Without even testing it, I can tell you that they're wrong: it doesn't work in ANY browser, not even IE. How do I know? The link just runs the script, and the script just causes the browser to navigate to the vendor's thankyou page: it never does anything with the form at all.
The form is all hidden fields, looking something like this:
<form action="url/of/thank-you/page" name="postData">
<input type="hidden" name="firstName" value="Seth" />
etc., etc., etc.
The form's action is pointing to the correct URL... but the form is never used. The script looks like this:
If you understood the above, then you know how easy it would be to fix:
is Seth Dillingham's
personal web site.
More than the sum of my parts.