0645: "RPS"

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby Soap » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:11 am UTC

If anyone was curious, the link at the top of the comic made a really noticeable jump in the hit count on that article on Wikipedia, comparable to what happens when a Wikipedia article goes on Wikipedia's front page:

http://stats.grok.se/en/200910/Reverse_Polish_notation
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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby Zhentar » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:22 am UTC

vortmax wrote:The glorious thing about the 48G, which made it more then just a graphing calculator, was the stack. We need to petition HP to bring it back. My 48GX is still going strong, but have nightmares about it getting lost or broken.


These days, I use a Palm with an HP48 emulator on it. Touch screen is a lot more convenient than an emulator on a computer, and the emulated calculator runs about 50-100 times faster than the real thing.

Though, looking on amazon, apparently there's an HP48GII sold these days.
Edit: And apparently the HP48GII is a gimped HP49G+, and has no relation to the HP48. Crud.

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby hoffmanbike » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:44 am UTC

[quote="10nitro"]I don't get it either, but Polish Sausages are delicious.

Polish Sausage doesn't exist, the meat you/Randall is referring to is called kielbasa, the best mass produced version can be found in Chicopee, MA at Blue Seal/Chicopee provisions. there are even better ones available in the area but they aren't mass produced (small meat shops, farms, and butchers)

I'm very particular about my kielbasa.

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby Eternal Density » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:07 am UTC

I it get.
This cheese me is burning.
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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby Platypodes » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:38 am UTC

jc wrote:
Zylon wrote:Or, the far more likely explanation that almost all calculators use infix notation because almost all PEOPLE use infix notation, and that you're a loony.


Nah; you got the history wrong. People were doing arithmetic long before there were any calculating machines (mechanical or electronic), and they used postfix to do it. Just think of how you do arithmetic on paper (if you ever learned that). You first write down the numbers, then you perform the operation, writing the result below the inputs. You don't write down one number, perform the operation, write the second number, then write the result, which is what you'd do if you were using infix notation. The order you do things (write numbers, perform operations) exactly matches RPN/postfix.

[snip]


But what people say, and what most people probably think, is "two plus two is four." If you're accustomed to thinking that, the intuitive thing to do with a calculator is type "2+2=" (that is to say, "two plus two is") and then let it supply the answer. Nobody ever says "two two plus," so typing it feels odd for the average Joe.
videogamesizzle wrote:so, uh, seen any good arbitrary, high numbers lately?

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zincnitrate
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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby zincnitrate » Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:54 am UTC

I was wondering why I couldn't get the joke despite my Polish heritage.

Odie, are you by any chance from Chicago? Because that's the perfect hotdog right there.
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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby shieldforyoureyes » Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:05 am UTC

a. Loved this comic. I use RPN constantly, and it isn't on an HP calculator, or forth. (I program in postscript for a living.)

b. On the subject of what's "natural" - how does one say "2 + 2" in German? Isn't German sort of linguisticly RPN? If so, is the popularity of HP-v-TI calculators different there than elsewhere?

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby Archosaur » Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:57 pm UTC

Your mom's buns are operators.

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby mache-b123 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:41 pm UTC

I'm wondering why some people thinks RPN is faster than infix. Maybe it's my background, but I always get lost when I need to do an operation in a HP calc.

Also, I'm not pretty sure that it's useful when you do long calculations, i.e. compound interest.

[math]Icomp=B*((1+r)^m-1)[/math]

How can you write it in RPN?
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neoliminal
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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby neoliminal » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:00 pm UTC

click comparison:

post:
2 push push-return
2 push push-return
+ push push-return
result: 6 pushes

2 push push-return
+ push push-return
2 push push-return
= push push-return
result: 8 pushes

So while I find this to be a net savings of 2 pushes, my brain doesn't help because me thinking that way, so while it's less pushes it takes longer to think about.
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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby BioTube » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:04 pm UTC

shieldforyoureyes wrote:b. On the subject of what's "natural" - how does one say "2 + 2" in German? Isn't German sort of linguisticly RPN? If so, is the popularity of HP-v-TI calculators different there than elsewhere?
I think you're thinking of endianess: German is little-endian wrt tens and ones, but big-endian wrt everything else. Ex: 55 is "fünf-und-fünzig", but 555 is "fünf-hundart-fünf-und-fünfzig"(the dashes are just to help show the point; the subwords are normally run together).
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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby lulzfish » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:36 pm UTC

mache-b123 wrote:I'm wondering why some people thinks RPN is faster than infix. Maybe it's my background, but I always get lost when I need to do an operation in a HP calc.

Also, I'm not pretty sure that it's useful when you do long calculations, i.e. compound interest.

[math]Icomp=B*((1+r)^m-1)[/math]

How can you write it in RPN?


If you already have an infix equation, it's faster to use infix, but I've found that trying to think of an equation and write it down in infix just ends with a lot of parentheses, because I can't be arsed to think about order of operations.

For the equation you have there, I think this would work:
1 r + m ^ 1 - B *

You don't need to leave extra room so you can slip in parentheses later, and you end up typing a single line from left to right, without shuffling the cursor around, adding parentheses.

It looks like a mess, though... Here's some parentheses for clarification:
((((1 r +) m ^) 1 -) B *)

.. Well, I'm sure it would make sense if I used postfix on a daily basis. Sadly, I don't. I should buy one of those HP calculators that does postfix.

Edit: Of course, I misread your math notation... I thought it was (1 + r) ^ (m - 1), not ((1 + r) ^ m) - 1. Order of operations strikes again!

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby wagner » Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:28 pm UTC

Tofu-Sama wrote:Definitely a monopoly. The Faculty of Engineering at my university only certifies specific calculators (we have to get them stickered) for us to be able to use in tests, and they're all Texas Instruments.


What? Nearly all my tests all the way through undergrad and graduate engineering were open book. Our faculty realized that understanding the concepts and equations, and how to apply them was what they were teaching, rather than rote memorization of the equations themselves. That's what grade school is for.

I don't know about anyone else but in real life, I have a bookshelf of scientific, engineering, and programming texts behind me that I use for reference, such that I don't have to memorize hundreds of equations.

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby YttriumOx » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:07 pm UTC

I admit to failing to get it... but not because I didn't know RPN, it was because I'd never heard the phrase "Polish Sausage" before (Wikipedia informs me it's what many North Americans call Kiełbasa or derivatives loosely based on it, so now I'm enlightened). I don't see any reference on Wikipedia though to it having anything to do with hot dogs unless you're from Alberta though, so it's still sort of weird. :/

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BentFranklin
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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby BentFranklin » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:24 pm UTC

Shouldn't the hotdog come before the bun? I view the bun as the operator. Please left-right flip the image!

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby phillipsjk » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:26 pm UTC

phillipsjk wrote:Maybe the sexually explicit comics of late have drawn a new audience that is mildly offended by math/CS jokes.


I think I was unfair here: only one recent comic really stands out as being "sexually explicit", and there wasn't even any sex in it: Anatomy Text

One thing some forumites have complained about is some kind of meme trap: quoting a meme does not a funny comic make. There is even a comic about that issue: Monty Python -- Enough

To be clear: as far as I know, the RPS comic does not fall into such a "meme trap," hence why I speculated that some newer readers may be mildly offended by it.

Wagner wrote:What? Nearly all my tests all the way through undergrad and graduate engineering were open book. Our faculty realized that understanding the concepts and equations, and how to apply them was what they were teaching, rather than rote memorization of the equations themselves. That's what grade school is for.

I don't know about anyone else but in real life, I have a bookshelf of scientific, engineering, and programming texts behind me that I use for reference, such that I don't have to memorize hundreds of equations.


I always found "open book" exams scary: They pack in so many questions that you only have time to look up 1 or 2 things if you don't know what you are doing.

A good way to study for an exam: write a "cheat sheet." Whether you are allowed to use it in the exam or not, writing such a document requires you to understand the subject and summarize the important concepts.

The last post-secondary school I went to required a specific Scientific Calculator for the exams. This was shortly after the high-school curriculum was changed to almost require a TI-83 (so most the students had one). I got away with using a calculator similar to the one they wanted (same brand), but was less functional (no 3x3 matrix support).
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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby yetihehe » Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:18 pm UTC

Did anybody noticed, that google trends for "polish sausage, rpn" are symmetric? When christmas come, polish sausage rises and rpn goes down...
http://www.google.com/trends?q=polish+sausage%2C+RPN&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby poohat » Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:03 pm UTC

Its kind of sad that he's dumbed it down by including a link to the wikipedia on the front page, he never used to do that with obscure jokes.

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby Jamaican Castle » Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:13 pm UTC

XKCD wrote:Comic today's you confuses here click if.


I can't be the only one who read this and said "...Yoda?"

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby Ells » Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:28 pm UTC

neoliminal wrote:So while I find this to be a net savings of 2 pushes, my brain doesn't help because me thinking that way, so while it's less pushes it takes longer to think about.


It's really easy to get used to, and you have to consider that while the input is not ordered like you would write the expression down, it's ordered in a similar way that you would use to operate mentally (when concatenating operations).

It also has the advantage of being able to see intermediate results while you are typing the expression, so if something is wrong with your calculations or input you can easily become aware of where the problem is.

Besides, I don't think your push counts are accurate, let's use the formula that someone posted:

[math]B*((1+r)^m-1)[/math]

Algebraic: B*((1+r)^m-1)=
14 pushes

RPN (E stands for Enter): 1 E R + m ^ 1 - B *
10 pushes

And the longer the expression is the more pushes one saves. I actually wish my teletubbie 49G was faster than me...

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby Nath » Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:34 pm UTC

YttriumOx wrote:I admit to failing to get it... but not because I didn't know RPN, it was because I'd never heard the phrase "Polish Sausage" before (Wikipedia informs me it's what many North Americans call Kiełbasa or derivatives loosely based on it, so now I'm enlightened). I don't see any reference on Wikipedia though to it having anything to do with hot dogs unless you're from Alberta though, so it's still sort of weird. :/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell_Street_Polish

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby Zylon » Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:02 pm UTC

BentFranklin wrote:Shouldn't the hotdog come before the bun? I view the bun as the operator. Please left-right flip the image!

How the smeg do you figure the bun is an operator? If the bun is an operator, then so is the sausage, and the mustard, and the plate.

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby lulzfish » Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:42 pm UTC

Really, they're both operands, it should say, "Hot_dog bun +"

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby shieldforyoureyes » Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:48 pm UTC

BioTube wrote:
shieldforyoureyes wrote:b. On the subject of what's "natural" - how does one say "2 + 2" in German? Isn't German sort of linguisticly RPN? If so, is the popularity of HP-v-TI calculators different there than elsewhere?
I think you're thinking of endianess: German is little-endian wrt tens and ones, but big-endian wrt everything else. Ex: 55 is "fünf-und-fünzig", but 555 is "fünf-hundart-fünf-und-fünfzig"(the dashes are just to help show the point; the subwords are normally run together).


No, I was refering to the sticking-the-verb-at-the-end thing. Doesn't German do that?

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby pavja2 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:31 pm UTC

Get the joke I didn't. Wikipedia saved me but did.

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby null1024 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:02 pm UTC

Got a chuckle, but not that great.

Also, I'm rather depressed that large swaths of people here didn't get it.
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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby newman » Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:12 pm UTC

RPN is definitely faster for certain types of math - particularly heavy number chugging stuff on engineering homework. For some reason it's really nice not having to worry about parenthesis and such, or formatting an equation.

I had a TI-89, and an HP-49, and only used the TI-89 for solving heavy algebraic equations.

And in general, the HP had more powerful algorithms. I remember a particular problem in a stats class that the prof designed to be unsolvable by a TI calculator (so you had to use a particular approximation). The HP took care of it in about 15 seconds.

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby Platypodes » Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:28 am UTC

yetihehe wrote:Did anybody noticed, that google trends for "polish sausage, rpn" are symmetric? When christmas come, polish sausage rises and rpn goes down...
http://www.google.com/trends?q=polish+sausage%2C+RPN&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

That's hecka weird.

I wonder why the big spike in news results in summer '07. I took a quick look at the Google News archives for that time, and I didn't see any particularly striking sausage stories....

poohat wrote:Its kind of sad that he's dumbed it down by including a link to the wikipedia on the front page, he never used to do that with obscure jokes.

I suspect he did it this time for the fun of making the link part of the joke. I thought the link sentence was pretty funny; it added to the humor whereas a plain old "Here's an explanation" line would probably have detracted.
videogamesizzle wrote:so, uh, seen any good arbitrary, high numbers lately?

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby jc » Wed Oct 07, 2009 1:55 am UTC

shieldforyoureyes wrote:No, I was refering to the sticking-the-verb-at-the-end thing. Doesn't German do that?

Actually, no. What you're thinking of is the syntax for compound verbs, in which the auxiliary has the "normal" position right after the subject, and the infinitive/participle form of the main verb goes at the end.

Fortunately, you used two such verbs in the above two sentences, so we can convert them to German word order by moving the main verb to the end:

No, I was to the sticking-the-verb-at-the-end thing refering. Doesn't German that do?

You can see that the "was" and "Doesn't" auxiliaries are at their normal places in statements and questions, but the "real" verbs "refering" and "do" go at the end of the clause.

With simple verbs as in "The verb goes between the subject and the object", the word order is the same as in English. It's only the complex verb forms with auxiliaries where the word order is different from English. And notice that in the question "Doesn't German do that?", the verb is split in English, with the auxiliary coming first, then the subject, then the main verb. So with questions, English does something similar to German, but moves the auxiliary in the other direction. (And in English, we rarely use simple verbs in questions, for some strange reason.)

Edit: That example really should read:
No, I was to the the-verb-at-the-end-sticking thing refering. Doesn't German that do?
That's the order that you'd probably use in German for the long-phrase-with-internal-hypens, since it contains a participle form (but no auxiliary verb). Except, they might not repeat the "the" like that. ;-)
Last edited by jc on Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:58 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby Eugo » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:12 am UTC

Amarsir wrote:
Omegaton wrote:I wish I knew that before reading this comic, because then I'd probably have found it hilarious.

Allow me to serve as a data point to the contrary. I knew RPN well enough to get the reference instantly. However...

Exactly. The mustard is already on the sausage. It should have been

bun sausage .insert mustard .lay

And then the joke could go Forth.

Zylon wrote:
BentFranklin wrote:Shouldn't the hotdog come before the bun? I view the bun as the operator. Please left-right flip the image!

How the smeg do you figure the bun is an operator? If the bun is an operator, then so is the sausage, and the mustard, and the plate.

Actually, the operators are completely absent, or at least implied, and one was already executed, so we have just the bun and sausage-with-mustard-already-on on the stack.

He should have just written a PostScript script for drawing the picture, and we'd have to feed it to GhostScript to get it :).

cnaude wrote:Two words come to mind: Hungarian Notation

Question without a promised reward: Why are the Hungarian and Polish notation called so?
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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby jc » Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:08 am UTC

Eugo wrote:Question without a promised reward: Why are the Hungarian and Polish notation called so?


Well, I knew the answer for Polish notation, and immediately went to the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Łukasiewicz article to see if it mentioned the topic, which it does.

I didn't remember where Hungarian notation came from, so I googled it, and wasn't at all surprised when it came back with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_notation, Yet Another Wikipedia Page that answers the question.

(And the Preview shows that this site handles UTF-8 encoding, but doesn't correctly parse that Polish L-slash as a letter in the URL. So you'll have to copy it over to your browser. <sigh>)

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby yaelcita » Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:09 am UTC

Doesn't anyone else think the "explanation" sentence is wrong? It should be
Comic today's you confuses if here click
I mean that the "if" shouldn't be at the end, cause only the first part of the sentence is its argument.

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby shieldforyoureyes » Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:10 am UTC

jc wrote:
shieldforyoureyes wrote:No, I was refering to the sticking-the-verb-at-the-end thing. Doesn't German do that?

Actually, no. What you're thinking of is the syntax for compound verbs, in which the auxiliary has the "normal" position right after the subject, and the infinitive/participle form of the main verb goes at the end.

[...]


Ahhhh... interesting. Thank you.

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby slashme » Wed Oct 07, 2009 7:27 am UTC

For cellphone calculators, RPN absolutely eats infix for breakfast, due to better usability/efficiency.

Forgot to add a link last time: http://midp-calc.sourceforge.net/Calc.html

Roar L. couldn't stand his cellphone calculator, so he wrote a java RPN graphing calculator (midp calc). I couldn't stand not having a scientific calculator on my phone, and really really missed my poor deceased HP, so I downloaded his. Absolutely brilliant. Includes a whole slew of unit conversions and basic constants, rectangular, polar and complex graphing, programming, financial and statistical functions, matrix algebra, etc. etc.

I love technological convergence: my phone is now my:
*Phone
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*RPN Scientific Calculator
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*Web browser

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby davidhbrown » Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:43 pm UTC

shieldforyoureyes wrote:a. Loved this comic. I use RPN constantly, and it isn't on an HP calculator, or forth. (I program in postscript for a living.)...

I was wondering whether there would be someone else who knows stack-based arithmetic for this reason! I have slightly fond memories of embedding native PostScript code in Word 3 on a Mac IIsi to do crazy-for-the-times things when printing to a LaserWriter. (You used a special paragraph style with hidden text.) These days I don't do PostScript nearly as much... the occasional data graphic when no standard chart type does what's needed. Still have the red-and-white book on my shelf, though.

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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby BioTube » Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:45 pm UTC

German does have subject-object-verb ordering, but only in subordinate clauses(and not necessarily in practice). Ex: Formally, "I'm going to the store because I need an apple" becomes "Ich gehe zum Kaufhaus, denn ich eines Apfel brauche"(might contain other mistakes, my German ist nicht so gut).
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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby Eugo » Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:45 pm UTC

jc wrote:
Eugo wrote:Question without a promised reward: Why are the Hungarian and Polish notation called so?


Well, I knew the answer for Polish notation, and immediately went to the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Łukasiewicz article to see if it mentioned the topic, which it does.

I didn't remember where Hungarian notation came from, so I googled it, and wasn't at all surprised when it came back with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_notation, Yet Another Wikipedia Page that answers the question.


That's only a part of the answer. The true answer is "because there's no way in hell, paradise or elsewhere that the Westerners would be able to memorize, let alone pronounce, Łukasiewicz [wuhkahsyevitch] and Simonyi [shimonyi]". That's as if the whole Africa and Asia called relativity "the Jewish theory", because they had trouble with pronouncing Einstein [ine-shtyne]. Oh...

(And the Preview shows that this site handles UTF-8 encoding, but doesn't correctly parse that Polish L-slash as a letter in the URL. So you'll have to copy it over to your browser. <sigh>)

That's a minor imperfection - there are other characters that a browser will parse correctly and most of the websites won't.
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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby Cynical Idealist » Wed Oct 07, 2009 1:36 pm UTC

jc wrote:(And the Preview shows that this site handles UTF-8 encoding, but doesn't correctly parse that Polish L-slash as a letter in the URL. So you'll have to copy it over to your browser. <sigh>)

...That's strange. Even URL tags, which I thought fixed most things related to URLs not being parsed correctly, don't help.
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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby shieldforyoureyes » Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:31 pm UTC

davidhbrown wrote:I was wondering whether there would be someone else who knows stack-based arithmetic for this reason! I have slightly fond memories of embedding native PostScript code in Word 3 on a Mac IIsi to do crazy-for-the-times things when printing to a LaserWriter. (You used a special paragraph style with hidden text.) These days I don't do PostScript nearly as much... the occasional data graphic when no standard chart type does what's needed. Still have the red-and-white book on my shelf, though.


Yeah - there was also a time when there were some things you could only do in Illustrator by hacking a certain postscript startup file. (Something about setting halftone screen angles for on-screen preview of color seperations, I think?) The Mac users in the graphic design department where I worked definately thought it was black magic, ha ha.

Brother Maynard
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Re: "RPS" Discussion

Postby Brother Maynard » Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:53 pm UTC

captain2obvious wrote:
odie wrote:(for those Americans out there tomato sauce = ketchup)


Thanks for the cultural insight! No way I coulda put the two together! :wink:


Really? My experience with tomato sauce is that it's very basic pureed tomatoes. Ketchup usually has more sugar and such, leading to a different and less primarily tomato-ey flavor.


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