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111 posts tagged with "in-English"

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· 9 min read

A Midjourney-generated illustration for this post

One big reason places like Wikipedia and Stack Exchange became so amazing is that they have developed a very tight culture of quality: although it's true that anyone can contribute, in reality every entry is relentlessly filtered, edited and reviewed by a core group of committed contributors.

In the early days of the WP it was possible to append some nonsense to an existing article, and even (gasp!) start a new article with content of very poor quality. Those edits could stay unchanged for a very long time, and so it was relatively common to stumble upon pages filled with illegible stuff or including made-up gibberish without sources or external links. I know that because almost two decades ago I contributed a little for the first time to a couple articles (like “Granada”), and the few sentences I added stuck for months or years (not that I trolled or wrote anything false).

On the other hand, my recent (little) experience trying to contribute to WP articles has been less sweet. In the last years I have fixed typos and grammatical errors without any problem. However, when it comes to starting a new page or adding more than a few words to existing ones, I find that rules and etiquette are so stringent now that they raise the bar way above the time I can spend on a WP page as a quick distraction from work or whatever I am doing at the time, and so my edits have been sometimes questioned or reverted.

Ditto about Stack Overflow and all the other sites of the SE family. I remember well the refreshing feeling when Atwood & Spolsky launched the thing: it was bold, easy, incredible quality and very helpful. It's still all those things… but for the “easy” part. Today it's so easy to misstep (asking or answering a question) that sometimes it can be intimidating. “Too short”, “too long”, “answered elsewhere”, “add fewer tags”, “should provide and example”, etc.

(As I said at the beginning: I know I shouldn't complain, because those high bars and the incredibly serious army of contributors is precisely what makes those sites high quality, useful, and mostly reliable.)

Anyway, I was reminded of all that last week when I read about ChatGPT.

· 2 min read

[3–9 Oct]

Some days this week Miss Entropy took her brand new scooter to school.

On Monday I went alone to that other town to visit yet another flat for sale. I quite liked it, and took lots of pictures to show later to my wife (but she went herself to see it some days later and didn't like it as much as I did).

· 2 min read

[19–25 Sep]

I will be moonlighting as a (part-time) lecturer! A few days ago I signed the contract with a university which has a few campuses in the Madrid metropolitan area. I am going to (remotely) teach a subject about markup languages. The course is part of a two-year-long vocational training degree about web application development, and the job should take only a few hours of my time each week. The pay isn't great; I said yes to them mainly out of curiosity, to step a little bit out of my comfort zone, to learn something myself in the process, and for fun.

On Wednesday we had a programmed power cut in the building (block? neighbourhood?). Miss Entropy (who is not yet eating at school this month) and I had lunch together at the kitchen table by the light of a candle (that was totally unnecessary, but it introduced some variety in our day, and I thought it was cute). (My wife was working from the office.)

· 2 min read

[12–18 Sep]

On Monday evening, after work, I rode my motorbike to that other town to take a look at a three-bedroom flat for sale. I liked it quite a lot: it was roomy, almost new, with a lot of natural light, a big balcony, and inside a nice big estate with a swimming pool and green spaces to play and mingle. It was also bordering our budget. I told my wife about it and the next day we arranged with the estate agency for her to go see it with her own eyes. (Spoiler alert: a few days later, we made a formal offer to the homeowners and started doing our research about mortgages etc, we negotiated with them for a week [raising our price twice], we assumed it was a done thing, we sent all kinds of sensitive and intimate documents to a bunch of banks… and in the last minute the owners said “no”.)

My daughter has been attending school for four hours a day all week. So far, so good.

· One min read

[5–11 Sep]

On Tuesday we all went to a certain town not far from home to visit a flat for sale (probably). We (surely) did not buy it. I also know for sure (by looking at my photos of the day) that after the (likely) visit we stopped with the kids at a playground that we know and stayed there for a while.

On Wednesday, Miss Entropy started school. Just one hour in class (and the same on Thursday and Friday)! She was OK and there was no drama — but then, attending for just one hour each day was easy.

· 2 min read

[29 Aug – 4 Sep]

On Tuesday we drove back home from Granada to Madrid.

On Friday I attended a meeting for parents of prospective pupils at Miss Entropy's new (public) school, which, by the way, is less than ten minutes on foot from home. A bunch of fathers and mothers sat in the cute colourful classroom, and we met the teacher. We got to ask lots of questions. I was attentive and curious, interested in the details of logistics and paperwork, and a little moved by the beginning of this new chapter in our family life — but I noticed that some of the other parents were rather anxious.

In the evening we had a nice time sitting on the grass next to the swimming pool of our estate with neighbours and friends, with the usual flock of kids running and playing merrily around.

· One min read

[22–28 Aug]

We spent the week at my parents' in Granada, where we also met my uncle and aunt. Our friends and neighbours in Madrid C. and her parents were in Granada in those days too, and so we invited them home one afternoon, and we enjoyed the sun and had coffee and pastries while the kids played in the swimming pool. That is the life!