What language is that?

I spend some of my time reading liner notes of the music CDs that I buy. Like the Rosetta Stone, they are often written in three languages, although the languages are usually English, French, and German, rather than hieroglyphs, demotic script, and Ancient Greek. Once in a while, I open to the wrong language, and for a few seconds my eyes skim the German version of the text before it dawns on me that I am not looking at the English. 

Like most native speakers of a European language I can recognize a number of other European languages that I have no ability to read, write, or speak. How does this recognition work? Can it be put into a simple, not very sophisticated or difficult computer program? Continue reading

bLaTheR: Part 1

Breathes there a web designer with wallet so fed who never to himself hath said, “Cutting and pasting this Lorem Ipsum stuff is utter tedium. It doesn’t look like English, and the first word isn’t even Latin.” Technologies have come a long way since cut and paste, and the time has come to use technologies for placeholder text in web design.

This is the story of how bLaTheR, a Lorem Ipsum replacement, was born, and the computer science behind it. In part 2, we will cover the use of bLaTheR for populating web pages. Continue reading

C++11 New Features Compiler Version Cross Reference

The C++11 ISO standard was finalized in April of 2011. George Flanagin of Digital Gaslight, Inc. has created a cross reference of new features in C++11 and the various versions of the GNU compiler that you may encounter on reasonably up to date development machines. For each feature, the page provides links to the discussions that have taken place in the standardization committee, and for many of the features there are links to shorter, more practical summaries of them. Continue reading