Ramblings & ephemera

The Vitruvian Triad & the Urban Triad

From Andrés Duany’s “Classic Urbanism“: From time to time there appears a concept of exceptional longevity. In architecture, the pre-eminent instance is the Vitruvian triad of Comoditas, Utilitas, e Venustas. This Roman epigram was propelled into immortality by Lord Burlington’s felicitous translation as Commodity, Firmness and Delight. It has thus passed down the centuries and […]

ISO definition of software quality

From “Good Architecture“: This has a similarity to the ISO 9126 definition of software quality: Portability Efficiency Reliability Functionality Usability Maintainability

Vitruvian Triad terminology

From “Good Architecture“: In ‘building architecture’, for comparison, we have the 3 classic Vitruvian qualities to which ‘GoodArchitecture’ aspires: ‘Firmitas, Utilitas and Venustas’ (Marcus Vitruvius Pollio ‘The Ten Books of Architecture’ 1st C AD). These qualities may be translated as: ‘Technology, Function and Form’ (C St J Wilson ‘ArchitecturalReflections?; Studies in the Philosophy and Practice […]

Bruce Schneier on phishing

From Bruce Schneier’s “Phishing“: Phishing, for those of you who have been away from the Internet for the past few years, is when an attacker sends you an e-mail falsely claiming to be a legitimate business in order to trick you into giving away your account info — passwords, mostly. When this is done by […]

Word of the day: lucubration

lu·cu·bra·tion, n. 1. Laborious study or meditation. 2. Writing produced by laborious effort or study, especially pedantic or pretentious writing. Often used in the plural.

Word of the day: cunctative

Cunctative: Cunc’ta*tive, a. Slow; tardy; dilatory; causing delay. Cunctator: Cunc*ta’tor, n. [L., lit., a delayer; — applied as a surname to Q. Fabius Maximus.] One who delays or lingers. From Wikipedia’s “Fabius Maximus“: Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus (c. 275 BC-203 BC), called Cunctator (the Delayer), was a Roman politician and soldier, born in Rome around […]

Architecture & the quality without a name

From Brian Hayes’ “The Post-OOP Paradigm“: Christopher Alexander [a bricks-and-steel architect] is known for the enigmatic thesis that well-designed buildings and towns must have “the quality without a name.” He explains: “The fact that this quality cannot be named does not mean that it is vague or imprecise. It is impossible to name because it […]

A very brief history of programming

From Brian Hayes’ “The Post-OOP Paradigm“: The architects of the earliest computer systems gave little thought to software. (The very word was still a decade in the future.) Building the machine itself was the serious intellectual challenge; converting mathematical formulas into program statements looked like a routine clerical task. The awful truth came out soon […]

Four principles of modernity

From “Relativity, Uncertainty, Incompleteness and Undecidability“: In this article four fundamental principles are presented: relativity, uncertainty, incompleteness and undecidability. They were studied by, respectively, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing. … Relativity says that there is no privileged, “objective” viewpoint for certain observations. … Now, if things move relative to each other, […]

Tim O’Reilly’s definition of open source

From Tim O’Reilly’s “Lessons from open source software development”, Communications of the ACM 41 (4): 33-7: Open source is a term that has recently gained currency as a way to describe the tradition of open standards, shared source code, and collaborative development behind software such as the Linux and FreeBSD operating systems, the Apache Web […]

A definition of fascism

From Salon: Robert O. Paxton, a former professor of social sciences at Columbia University and longtime historian of the political movement, sets out to formulate a working definition in his new book, The Anatomy of Fascism. … Only at the end does Paxton reveal what he’s settled on as an acceptable definition. Here it is: […]

Word of the day: aposiopesis

Today’s word: aposiopesis: ap.o.si.o.pe.sis n., pl. -ses [Lat. <Gk. aposiopesis <aposiopan, to become silent: apo- (intensive) + siopan, to be silent <siope, silence] A sudden breaking off of a thought in the middle of a sentence, as though the speaker were unwilling or unable to continue.

Definitions of extranet

From Justin Hibbard’s “Lack of distributed object development delays extranets” in Computerworld (17 March 1997): An extranet extends an intranet to trading partners, suppliers and customers via a secure Internet link. From Robert Hertzberg’s The Raw Power of an Idea: in WebWeek (31 March 1997): The extranet … revolves around the notion of business partners […]