1045: "Constraints"

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Apeiron
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Apeiron » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:01 pm UTC

Well done, Randall!

Waladil wrote:Panel 2: Brevity is the soul of wit.


Brevity is wit.

exadyne
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby exadyne » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:03 pm UTC

Waladil wrote:Panel 2: Brevity is the soul of wit.

I once said that if Brevity is the soul of wit, I'm waiting for twitter to produce the next Oscar Wilde.

jondamstr
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby jondamstr » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:48 pm UTC

Alfonzo227 wrote:I now find myself very carefully reading everybody's comment to see if they've done something clever.
A note to others doing the same: this is not one of those comments.


Even though you warned me, I still checked to see if your comment was one of those clever ones. A bad, compulsive defect enforced from gestation. How is Jondamstr's kin liable? Mother normalized obsessively, purging quirkiness. Repetitions stuck, to undercut variation. Xylophones. Yaks. Zoologists.

I kind of gave up at the end there. Any my mom's a lovely person. I lied for form :(

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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby RikRaccoon » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:55 pm UTC

If the entire Harry Potter series consisted of 16 word sentences, on average between one and two of the sentences would contain all the words in alphabetical or reverse-alphabetical order. Bonus points if you can work out the expected number of monotonic 16 word sequences ignoring the division into sentences.

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VectorZero
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby VectorZero » Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:00 pm UTC

Apeiron wrote:
Waladil wrote:Panel 2: Brevity is the soul of wit.
Brevity is wit.
!
Van wrote:Fireballs don't lie.

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Kube
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Kube » Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:25 pm UTC

My realization of the joke looked similar to the last frame.

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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Trasvi » Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:30 pm UTC

On a related note, the software company I used to work for toyed with the idea of switching from 80 characters per line to the twitter-standard 140.
I understand the origin of the 80-character line, but is it still relevant in this day and age? Does restricting programmers to 80 characters similarly foster better ideas or code?

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Vael
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Vael » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:27 pm UTC

Apeiron wrote:Well done, Randall!

Waladil wrote:Panel 2: Brevity is the soul of wit.


Brevity is wit.


Wit.
I want to meet a philosophical pirate; they think, therefore they arrrrrrr.

Dojji
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Dojji » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:44 pm UTC

iabervon wrote:A bit contrived. Doesn't everybody find guidelines help ideas? Just keeping lengths minimized never opens possibilities. Quite reversely, since the users verily will Xerox your zeitgeist.


Sometimes you don't want to open possibilities.

There's a reason that society has rules. People like rules. They need them. It helps establish a baseline of what things should be, in order to compare it to other things and find out whether they're normal or not. Not that surprising that an artistic, creative person would have to operate the same way in creative media.

Instructions too harshly restrictive do restrain creativity. But so do instructions too incomplete or open, because you're left with too many possibilities and an undisciplined writer has a hard time figuring out which options to select. And an experienced writer only fares better because he imposes his own internal rules to keep his thinking straight.

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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Dojji » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:46 pm UTC

Trasvi wrote:On a related note, the software company I used to work for toyed with the idea of switching from 80 characters per line to the twitter-standard 140.
I understand the origin of the 80-character line, but is it still relevant in this day and age? Does restricting programmers to 80 characters similarly foster better ideas or code?


Sometimes it's just inertia. How much can you really do in 140 characters that you couldn't do in 80?

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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Роберт » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:56 pm UTC

Trasvi wrote:On a related note, the software company I used to work for toyed with the idea of switching from 80 characters per line to the twitter-standard 140.
I understand the origin of the 80-character line, but is it still relevant in this day and age? Does restricting programmers to 80 characters similarly foster better ideas or code?

Yes. 80 characters is the right limit.
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Kayube » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:58 pm UTC

JWA1010 wrote:Douglas Hofstadter would find this comic amusing....


I was thinking the same thing. Some serious "Marot" vibes.

rcox1
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby rcox1 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:11 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:A budding poet? Three frames were too many here, two would have sufficed. Constrained language rules, especially in prose, can unleash ideas.


Of course economy of words is one aspect of poetry, though it is subservient to the creation of an image. A 140 character limit, or a three panel form, is there to provide a structure, much like a sonnet might. One could write fewer lines, but the reward is using all lines as fully as possible, knowing that absolute fullness is an asymptote.

I find 140 characters to be quite liberating because it forces me to think about what I really want to say, to refine an idea, rather than just randomly creating variation on a theme hoping that the idea might magically pop out. This is quite different from poetry, in which I am often describing a object or idea or feeling from various points of view to converge upon a unique representation.

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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby NukemHill » Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:12 pm UTC

Awesome.

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Dr. Diaphanous
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Dr. Diaphanous » Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:44 pm UTC

Cracking comic! Clauses containing constrained characters cause considerable cackling. Creating clever constraints can cause consternation; conversely, completion causes clapping.
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby skullturf » Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:08 pm UTC

Zany, youthful XKCD writer's very unusual tastes sometimes require quite ponderous overanalysis. Naturally, Munroe's linguistic kinda jokes inspire heady, geeky fans. Excellent daily comic; beyond awesome.

JimsMaher
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby JimsMaher » Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:17 pm UTC

Argument: "Twitter, like all new media since the Muppets founded Sesame Street, reduces attention spans and therefore is to be complained about."
Counter: "Hey Twits! Let's try this cool thing I just found out about and/or just thought of!"

More of the same ... race to the lowest common denominator. Then again, when the schedule is to generate a thought-filled hand-drawn comic three times a week with the goal of generating as much buzz, laughter, and discourse about it as possible, and by extension, as many attempted variegated memes as the integrity of the character of the project will endure, the expectation of sincerity and serious solutions to the problems of progress is only a wistfully way-off wonder.

HA! Twitter is for twits, I get it! And we're supposed to respond here with ... what was it? "Reverse Alphabetical Epigrams" ... WEB 2.0 !!.

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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Helldrake » Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:55 pm UTC

Various uncomfortable seconds reading proved my low intelligence. I hoped greatly for enlightenment during comic. Beware, asses

Rotherian
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Rotherian » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:38 pm UTC

Vael wrote:
Apeiron wrote:Well done, Randall!

Waladil wrote:Panel 2: Brevity is the soul of wit.


Brevity is wit.


Wit.


.
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Please do not argue with me unless your opinion falls into the latter category.
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Rotherian
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Rotherian » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:39 pm UTC

Dr. Diaphanous wrote:Cracking comic! Clauses containing constrained characters cause considerable cackling. Creating clever constraints can cause consternation; conversely, completion causes clapping.


Clearly...
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Please do not argue with me unless your opinion falls into the latter category.
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Andrusi » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:58 pm UTC

Trasvi wrote:On a related note, the software company I used to work for toyed with the idea of switching from 80 characters per line to the twitter-standard 140.
I understand the origin of the 80-character line, but is it still relevant in this day and age? Does restricting programmers to 80 characters similarly foster better ideas or code?

Depends. If code is easier to read, does that make it better? 80-character lines force code to be broken into smaller segments, and human nature is to make logical divisions.
Not named Dennis Miller.

Raucousbeard
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Raucousbeard » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:10 pm UTC

Andrusi wrote:
Trasvi wrote:On a related note, the software company I used to work for toyed with the idea of switching from 80 characters per line to the twitter-standard 140.
I understand the origin of the 80-character line, but is it still relevant in this day and age? Does restricting programmers to 80 characters similarly foster better ideas or code?

Depends. If code is easier to read, does that make it better? 80-character lines force code to be broken into smaller segments, and human nature is to make logical divisions.


I don't see what line length has to do with the twitter limit. Tweets usually wrap (I think?)...

Regular books, articles, etc also tend to restrict themselves to a reasonable limit. Not only is this done for display purposes, but also, I think, to make them more readable. Long lines are harder to read (at least in my opinion).

Personally, I believe that max line length should be absolutely less than 120 and short enough so that you could comfortably display two files side by side plus a vertical panel of some kind (e.g. IDE file/class/attribute browser). Therefore I believe an appropriate limit for a company depends on the resolution of everyone's monitors. If it's not a given that everyone has nice, big monitors, then you should keep it short, stupid.

I do think that 80 is typically a little too small these days, especially in languages and coding standards that involve long identifiers and much indentation (of course whether you should avoid these other things is another, separate argument).

SRC
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby SRC » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:13 pm UTC

You xkcd types think spewing silly sentences really portends of major internet fame? Even especially dumb dimwits could correctly construct complex comments both beautiful and alphabetically agile. (Ack! Aardvarks!)

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da Doctah
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby da Doctah » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:33 pm UTC

Red Hal wrote:
da Doctah wrote:What's scary is that it's possible to get into a groove where you actually produce sentences like that without thinking about it. It happens to people who compose a lot of haiku.
*cough*
I considered posting the lyrics of my song "Pryzm", where the first letter of each line spells out "REDORANGEYELLOWGREENBLUEINDIGOVIOLET", but I figured that'd be overdoing it. In an earlier time I would have simply linked to the page with the lyrics, but it's momentarily unhosted.

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neoliminal
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby neoliminal » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:51 pm UTC

Waladil wrote:Panel 2: Brevity is the soul of wit.



And since we all know souls don't exist, brevity is witless.
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MathUhhhSaurus
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby MathUhhhSaurus » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:54 pm UTC

aaaaaaand...the title-text vs. alt-text vs. mouse-over-text debate is over

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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby BlitzGirl » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:32 am UTC

Dojji wrote:There's a reason that society has rules. People like rules. They need them.

My go-to example for this is the general YouTube commentariat.
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modulating
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby modulating » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:35 am UTC

Title of comic, also.

JimsMaher
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby JimsMaher » Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:05 am UTC

Raucousbeard wrote:
Andrusi wrote:
Trasvi wrote:On a related note, the software company I used to work for toyed with the idea of switching from 80 characters per line to the twitter-standard 140.
I understand the origin of the 80-character line, but is it still relevant in this day and age? Does restricting programmers to 80 characters similarly foster better ideas or code?

Depends. If code is easier to read, does that make it better? 80-character lines force code to be broken into smaller segments, and human nature is to make logical divisions.


I don't see what line length has to do with the twitter limit. Tweets usually wrap (I think?)...

Regular books, articles, etc also tend to restrict themselves to a reasonable limit. Not only is this done for display purposes, but also, I think, to make them more readable. Long lines are harder to read (at least in my opinion).

Personally, I believe that max line length should be absolutely less than 120 and short enough so that you could comfortably display two files side by side plus a vertical panel of some kind (e.g. IDE file/class/attribute browser). Therefore I believe an appropriate limit for a company depends on the resolution of everyone's monitors. If it's not a given that everyone has nice, big monitors, then you should keep it short, stupid.

I do think that 80 is typically a little too small these days, especially in languages and coding standards that involve long identifiers and much indentation (of course whether you should avoid these other things is another, separate argument).


The Effects of Line Length on Reading Online News
"This study examined the effects of line length on reading speed, comprehension, and user satisfaction of online news articles. Twenty college-age students read news articles displayed in 35, 55, 75, or 95 characters per line (cpl) from a computer monitor. Results showed that passages formatted with 95 cpl resulted in faster reading speed. No effects of line length were found for comprehension or satisfaction, however, users indicated a strong preference for either the short or long line lengths."

I'd like to see a similar study done on a larger scale, with both longer and shorter bounds on line lengths tested.
... and, this forum apparently truncates instead of wrapping strings containing no-break spaces. Go figure.

For comparison, the range of cpl in Shakespearean Sonnets is 29 to 60:

29 characters in one line of Sonnet C -
If any, be a satire to decay,

60 characters in one line of Sonnet LXIX -
Then, churls, their thoughts, although their eyes were kind,

This implies that all of the Sonnets could be Tweeted at a constant rate of two lines per Tweet.
That's 1085 follower collecting "updates".
I'm thinking- post them little-endian style ... so that the very last post on top would be the first two lines from the first sonnet in order.
#SONNETS
Last edited by JimsMaher on Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:16 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby mikrit » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:35 am UTC

I remember a TV-show, possibly Black Adder, which had a difficult constraint in the credits: the actors were listed "in affable order".
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby addams » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:46 pm UTC

mikrit wrote:I remember a TV-show, possibly Black Adder, which had a difficult constraint in the credits: the actors were listed "in affable order".

So, funny. I do not understand the Black Adder. So, much British stuff is so British.

Spoiler:
I have figured out what happened with those people.
They conquered the world.
Why and How?
Yeah. I looked at 'em. Did not look like world conquering stock to me.

Then I looked back at Why and How.

Why? English food. They were looking for something, good, to eat.
That is a strong motivator.
Did you notice that when they got Curry, they stopped.

How? With English Humor. Every where they went, the locals were completely confused. Another one for the Crown!
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We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
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Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
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da Doctah
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby da Doctah » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:35 am UTC

addams wrote:English food. They were looking for something, good, to eat.
That is a strong motivator.
Did you notice that when they got Curry, they stopped.


I still haven't been able to decide if the British have horrible teeth because their food is awful, or if they have awful food because their teeth are horrible.

suzi
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby suzi » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:55 am UTC

I will never forget reading how Gary Larson said he developed as an artist because of his one-box comic restriction, ex. if he wanted to draw a comic with a ship in it he had to use intense perspective to show it effectively.

interesting stuff

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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Eternal Density » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:27 am UTC

"Brevity is the soul of wit" reminds me of the Wadsworth Constant for Youtube videos. (Thanks, Reddit)
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby mikrit » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:10 pm UTC

Lo! Aegilops!
Billowy,
Almost ghosty.
Spoiler:
The letters of each word are in alphabetic order.
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Dubbed "First and Eldest of Ottificators" by svenman.
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addams
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby addams » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:34 pm UTC

da Doctah wrote:
addams wrote:English food. They were looking for something, good, to eat.
That is a strong motivator.
Did you notice that when they got Curry, they stopped.


I still haven't been able to decide if the British have horrible teeth because their food is awful, or if they have awful food because their teeth are horrible.


ech. They don't have such bad teeth. Not the best, but, not the worst.
Spoiler:
Besides; They do have good food, now.
They have all the ingredients. What is done with them is sometimes questionable.
Did you ever eat Faggots? I could not resist, when I saw them on the menu.

Maybe, it is an acquired taste.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

Rotherian
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Rotherian » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:51 pm UTC

addams wrote:
da Doctah wrote:
addams wrote:English food. They were looking for something, good, to eat.
That is a strong motivator.
Did you notice that when they got Curry, they stopped.


I still haven't been able to decide if the British have horrible teeth because their food is awful, or if they have awful food because their teeth are horrible.


ech. They don't have such bad teeth. Not the best, but, not the worst.
Spoiler:
Besides; They do have good food, now.
They have all the ingredients. What is done with them is sometimes questionable.
Did you ever eat Faggots? I could not resist, when I saw them on the menu.

Maybe, it is an acquired taste.


Cigare- oh....you mean this.
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby Carteeg_Struve » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:51 pm UTC

Zikes. Yearning... xylophones... weirdly voice...Ugh. This sucks. Really quite poor. Oh, no matter. Listen, kids. Just ignore how godawful funky everyth- DAMMIT! Cursed brief alphabet.


(Yeah, I suck.)

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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby ConMan » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:49 am UTC

The dark side of constrained writing is when your constraint is to look as though there is a constraint, but one that isn't immediately obvious. Particularly if you make it look like you've had to make some ridiculously arbitrary word substitution just to pineapple the constraint.
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Re: 1045: Constraints

Postby JimsMaher » Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:53 am UTC

ConMan wrote:The dark side of constrained writing is when your constraint is to look as though there is a constraint, but one that isn't immediately obvious. Particularly if you make it look like you've had to make some ridiculously arbitrary word substitution just to pineapple the constraint.

I can't concisely state how much I agree with your remark. So I will. How's them pineapples.

Anti-art references aside, placing constraints is just one generalized means of playing games whilst moving towards a specific goal.
Do you actually have to do the thing to accomplish the results? Or is thinking about it enough to get you there?
Vulgarities aside, if you want to direct the mundanity of your task into something more evocative, then why not simply call it a game, a sport, or a puzzle?
If it makes you laugh, does that mean you're not taking the task seriously? In all cases?

The world is not Black or White, it's a grayish mix of dull flavors left-over from last week's feast; a memory of something that never lived up to what you expected; so you lie, to yourself and everyone around you, until even the lies get boring and you have to create a game to make it all seem a little more interesting.

I miss Debbie Downer.


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