Language and Computing:
Principles and Practice

Core 334, Section 002 Winter Term 1997
Residential College,   University of Michigan
Class Home Page

  • The Web

  • HTML

  • Computer Culture
    • The HAKMEM memos, fabled in hacker song and story.
    • One of the saner parts of computer culture is a sense of humor, which celebrates
      April 1 (if the suits don't panic) as something a little special, the Feast of Bad Data.
      Nowhere is this clearer than in this set of legends about April Fools on the Net
    • The Net Oracle speaks; remember to grovel, Gertie.
    • When better net.legends are concocted, we'll answer Frequently Asked Questions about them here.
    • The Turing Test gets back to its original roots here. Turing actually proposed it first as a test to see whether one could tell just by what was typed on a screen whether the typer was a woman or not. That seems to be part of `Barry's problem with `Julia'.

  • Computer Reference
  • Usenet News
    A really thorough way to get into your choice of just about any newsgroup, alphabetically, with useful annotations, is Magnus Leksell's Usenet Newsgroups. Searchable only by newsgroup name.

    A more recent (and much more ambitious) project, which allows full-text searches, is DejaNews. Here's a search form:

    Of course AltaVista also covers Usenet, as well as the Web. Here's a search form for that:

    If you're just starting out on Usenet, be SURE to read the FAQ of any group before you post.

    (If you're at the University of Michigan, you can read Usenet from your browser (e.g, Netscape). In the "Preferences" menu, put "" where it asks for your news server. This won't work if you're not a student, staff, or faculty member here, though.
    Consult your local gurus in that case).

  • News HREFs
    These are links to URLs that appear in newsgroups, captured automatically by a 'bot and linked on a Web page. Visit all those pages you see people touting in their .sigs without having to worry about capturing the damn thing yourself. AutoNews HREFs is at Carnegie-Mellon University, abstracts (i.e, gives you a few lines of context for) each URL, and treats only about a dozen newsgroups (but they're the right ones). Updated by robot daily.
  • Editors   The most useful single type of program.
    You need an editor to accomplish anything on a computer.
    • For DOS, there are many good text editors. One of the best is Qedit
      (the "Q" is for "quick", and it is very zippy). This is shareware. Other DOS editors are available in the "editors" directory of the UM archives.

    • For Macintosh, there are not so many. The one most widely used at UM is BBEditLite
      (the "BB" stands for "Bare Bones"; the "Lite" indicates it's a simple version, without all the bells and whistles of the commercial version).
      Some of those bells and whistles are available as add-ons, in the "text" directory
      of the UM archives. Look for the files that start with "bb".
      There are also other Macintosh editors there.

  • Lexicography Us geeks use really strange language.

    Last change 2/20/97 John Lawler   The Eclectic Company