Monday, June 11, 2007

Maybe people peeing on things isn't funny... [Video]

Greetings Subscribers!

Since I probably bored the pants off of everyone (except Kerr and Kruse) with that last mind-numbing (but passionate!) post about ISO dating standards, I felt the urgent need to move something else to the top of my blog.

Truly, I'm not into shameless self-promotion, but here's a not-so-old video from the early 21st century that most of you have probably already seen. I remember after we made this we were shocked that so many people found the finale distasteful, but after watching a recent episode of On The Lot, I think I might finally agree that the gag was a bit of a cop out. Oh, who am I kidding, we knew it was a cop out from the start, but Andy and I wrote this in like two days and it needed an ending. Still, it has its moments including masterful performances by the actors who did this thing with zero rehearsal and no pay. It is also historic in that as far as I can recall, this was the first (and last) time I ever asked anyone to take their pants off for the camera. Charlie, you are truly a slave to your art.

And I promise, the next movie I post will be a new one. Really. I'm going to make one this summer. I mean it.

Sticky Wisdom



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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Dating Standard Dilemma

I never realized what a problem date formats could be.

One of my clients has a worthy obsession with templates and naming conventions, including date-stamping all docs. To that end, they employ the non-standard US date format: mm/dd/yy at the end of all file names. Since they don't use any separators (hyphens, etc.) this results in strange numbers at the end of documents (e.g. 060407) which are not immediately recognizable as dates. Frankly, I don't see the this kind of confusing date stamp adds any real value.
Anyway, being a bit of a standards-junky myself, I've now switched to using ISO 8601 format (CCYY-MM-DD) for all dating of my business documents, invoices, proposals, etc.

A couple of interesting links on the subject:

"11 Good Reasons to Use ISO 8601"
http://www.saqqara.demon.co.uk/datefmt.htm

"FAQ: Date formats"
http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-date-format

The Date Interpretation Quagmire"
http://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/iso-date

This works pretty well for documents where the date is just data or metadata, in spoken and written word I still lean towards writing out the date as it would be spoken (e.g. June 5, 2007) and avoid abbreviations altogether. This makes even better sense when working on a project that will later be localized.

Oddly, this is a HUGE problem in software training/localization and I'm astonished all software isn't using the ISO standard. A project I'm working on now is actually French software being translated to English where they've had to switch from the European DD/MM/YYYY to the U.S. MM/DD/YYYY. If they had just used the ISO standard from the start, there would be no confusion to begin with and a lot less work to do.