Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"à Pâques ou à la Trinité"

There is a French expression that I have been thinking of lately, "à Pâques ou à la Trinité". It means "at some indeterminate time, and possibly never". That seems to me an adequate description of the date at which journal submission reviewers turn in their reports. The expression comes from an 18t century song about Lord Malborough who went to war, his lady is waiting for him to return, he never comes back, then is heard to have died at war, and she changes her clothes to black mourning. A manuscript gets sent to a reviewer like a soldier gets sent to war: we hope that one day it will come back, in not too long, but we can never be entirely sure.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Blog revival?

After getting settled in Paris and adjusting to my new department at Ecole Normale Superieure, I may now be ready to resume blogging. I will give it a try and see how it goes.

Blog presentation

How large should the font be for a blog? How many characters per line? Should comments be nested or chronological? Should they be numbered? What should be the design of the background? Each blog designer has his own preferences and sets parameters to fit them, but none of those questions should be answered by the blogger. Instead, the user is the one who should dictate the appearance of a blog. Why do current websites hosting blogs not transfer those decisions from the blog owner to the blog reader?