The only constant is change.
Computer operating systems and networks are my chief areas of interest. I also maintain an interest in Unix administration and departmental infrastructure. With a personal philosophy that ``small is beautiful and less is more'', I have become interested in the new operating system from Bell Labs, Plan 9. The third edition has recently been released (June 2000).
Text processing is another interest of mine and Brian Hayes in the September-October 1998, issue of American Scientist addresses the issue of preserving computer documents across changes in hardware and software. The bottom line is to adopt the attitude of programmers where computer documents are like source code and are created in a presentation neutral format that can be compiled into various formats for now and in the future. By formats, Brian has in mind print media, screen images, and audio. UTF, Universal character set Transformation Format 8 bits wide, seems to be the best recording alphabet at present. This embeds ASCII as a subset and allows all the 16 bit Unicode characters. Structural directives are put in the document in an underlying language so they can be seen and manipulated in an environmently neutral way. For such languages he suggests SGML, the Standard Generalized Markup Language or XML, Extensible Markup Language. Me? I stick with troff and Unicode on Plan 9. This has carried my documents forward since 1980 with no changes to the documents themselves. To read this excellent article, visit: Bit Rot.
A private web site for family and friends: private shots.
Ed Wishart, Professor Emeritus
Department of Computer Science / 171
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557
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Last updated: 9 Dec 2004.