The Proof Is In the Poo
The Collected Sayings of Bowerbird
“Entscheidend ist, was hinten rauskommt.”
— Helmut Kohl (31 Aug 1984)

To Bowerbird, who never tires of giving great advice.


Contents


The Ingenious Gentleman Mr. Bowerbird

Bowerbird fights for all distressed computer users who are enchanted and held captive by the evil God of Progress called Exxemmell.

Bowerbird fighting Exxemmell.

I humbly selected and put some of his greatest pieces of wisdom into this humble showcase for everybody to contemplate and form their own opinion.

A Word of Caution

listening to marcello right now will only make you confused.

— Bowerbird, 30 Oct 2006, gutvol-d

but i have something to say.

— Bowerbird, 03 Nov 2006, gutvol-d

Pudd'nhead's Favorite Pastime

indeed, one of my favorite sayings is "the proof is in the pudding".

— Bowerbird, 26 Dec 2003, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=0

as for pudding, there will be plenty, enough for everyone...

— Bowerbird, 01 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=37

but i _like_ pudding. and besides, that's where the _proof_ is... :+)

— Bowerbird, 06 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=119

How to Get the Best out of Your Bowerbird

this is an important point here, folks, pay attention.

— Bowerbird, 22 Oct 2004, gutvol-d, http://osdir.com/ml/culture.literature.e-books.gutenberg.volunteers/2004-10/msg00370.html

um, you'll need to read my posts a bit more closely if you want to benefit from reading my posts at all.

— Bowerbird, 31 Dec 2003, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=20

there's an essential philosophical cornerstone here you're missing.

— Bowerbird, 08 Aug 2008, gutvol-d

pay attention to what i'm actually saying, not what you think i'm saying...

— Bowerbird, 01 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=40

i'll be getting to more substantial stuff very quickly, assuming, that is, that noisy posts like yours subside...

— Bowerbird, 03 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=61

then stop posting these meaningless messages, so i can then stop posting messages pointing out that yours are meaningless.

— Bowerbird, 04 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=92

on the other hand, if you'd prefer a more sedate experience, i suggest you just let me post my messages and move on...

— Bowerbird, 21 Oct 2004, gutvol-d, http://osdir.com/ml/culture.literature.e-books.gutenberg.volunteers/2004-10/msg00262.html

if you're not imaginative enough to figure out how to do that, then just sit on your hands until you see how i accomplish it.

— Bowerbird, 22 Oct 2004, gutvol-d, http://osdir.com/ml/culture.literature.e-books.gutenberg.volunteers/2004-10/msg00353.html

i pulled back earlier releases of this program because flak was directed at me by a small number of people on this list. i will likewise pull back this release if those same people again direct flak at me in the interim... i refuse to give my tools to a community who doesn't deserve them... so if you would like to see this program, and they start to send out flak, i suggest you let them know -- in no uncertain terms -- to knock it off.

— Bowerbird, 24 Aug 2008, gutvol-d

They Misunderestimated Me!

well, if people would have calmly considered my proposals, instead of jumping to erroneous misinterpretations of them, y'all would have realized that i know what i'm talking about.

— Bowerbird, 06 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=119

and, of course, ad hominem arguments are always cheap shots. but when my detractors engage in that unproductive behavior, while i continue to stay focused and on-point, it makes my job of prevailing in the marketplace of ideas all that much easier...

— Bowerbird, 01 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=37

all the flack that has been thrown up in front of me hasn't permitted me to get to the main points i _came_ here to make, almost two weeks ago...

— Bowerbird, 06 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=129

with supporters like you, i don't need detractors...

— Bowerbird, 06 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=129

and i think any reasonable outsider reading these threads will be able to clearly see that i contribute a lot of thought, while all you do here is come on and badger me continuously.

— Bowerbird, 21 Oct 2004, gutvol-d, http://osdir.com/ml/culture.literature.e-books.gutenberg.volunteers/2004-10/msg00288.html

the judgement of bureaucrats doesn't impress me.

— Bowerbird, 22 Oct 2004, gutvol-d, http://osdir.com/ml/culture.literature.e-books.gutenberg.volunteers/2004-10/msg00377.html

What, Me?

you mean when he told me that _i_ should do it? :+) that isn't exactly what i had in mind, not really.

— Bowerbird, 08 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

Blinding Flashes of the Obvious

you don't need to be rich to read a book.

— Bowerbird, 07 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

many writers in the past made do with manual typewriters,

— Bowerbird, 07 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

a child can learn how to use a book.

— Bowerbird, 21 Oct 2004, gutvol-d

but perhaps _you_ can explain to me the utility of showing page-numbers and nothing else? because, for the _life_ of me, it escapes me right now.

— Bowerbird, 22 Oct 2004, gutvol-d, http://osdir.com/ml/culture.literature.e-books.gutenberg.volunteers/2004-10/msg00360.html

but the mere fact that they don't know any better does _not_ mean that you have to believe what they tell you.

— Bowerbird, 22 Oct 2004, gutvol-d, http://osdir.com/ml/culture.literature.e-books.gutenberg.volunteers/2004-10/msg00370.html

what i said then, and will say again, is that you weren't talking about what i was talking about. which is the same thing you have said, that you weren't talking about what i was talking about.

— Bowerbird, 30 Sep 2005, gutvol-d

Famous Misquotes

the proof will be in the pudding.

— Bowerbird, 09 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

Correct: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

it's easy to be taller than a giant when you stand on his shoulders.

— Bowerbird, 01 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=43

Correct: “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants.” Sir Isaac Newton, 1676. Newton, of course, realized that you don't get any taller even if you stand on top of a mountain.

"we make all your base."

— Bowerbird, 20 Oct 2004, gutvol-d

Correct: “all your base are belong to us

That Ain't No Hank Williams Song! (The Blues Brothers)

those aren't the types of things michael hart would say.

— Bowerbird, 21 Oct 2004, gutvol-d

you tarking naugshlocks here have often accused me of "kissing michael's ass".

— Bowerbird, 21 Oct 2004, gutvol-d

i've tried speaking to "the powers that be" directly, and found them nonresponsive, so i'll route stuff through the _users_ from now on.

— Bowerbird, 22 Oct 2004, gutvol-d, http://osdir.com/ml/culture.literature.e-books.gutenberg.volunteers/2004-10/msg00353.html

The Fun in Beeing the Bumblebees

is there any problem with beeing a bumblebee?

— Bowerbird, 07 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

it's all fun and games until somebody's white tiger chomps on them and drags them offstage...

— Bowerbird, 07 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

Bowerbird on Bowerbird

my obituary is already written. perhaps you'd like to mark it up?

— Bowerbird, 07 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

i rarely do anything quietly...

— Bowerbird, 07 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

i do a lot of self-reflection. i can look at myself in a mirror just fine...

— Bowerbird, 23 May 2006, gutvol-d

i like to ask myself the "do you know what you're doing?" question on a regular basis. it's good for grounding and self-improvement.

— Bowerbird, 31 Oct 2006, gutvol-d

> When the Buddha arose from talking to the wall, he was enlightened. he must've been talking to a much smarter wall than i am,

— Bowerbird, 26 Feb 2007, gutvol-d

Bowerbird and Them

-- i'm gonna speak up. and if you don't like it, that's tough.

— Bowerbird, 07 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

i tried to wake people up to a simpler way that was still effective. but nobody here was willing to hear it. in fact, i was "moderated", blamed for the flaming that my detractors used to victimize me.

— Bowerbird, 12 Nov 2004, gutvol-d

so they have tried to shout me down. and they have tried to get me banned. and they have tried to discredit me. at any time along the way, i could have provided enough irrefutable truth that they would have simply had to back off. but what fun would that have been? :+) so i decided to toy with them instead.

— Bowerbird, 31 Oct 2006, gutvol-d

i _will_ admit to heavy sarcasm, but that at least has an element of humor in it, which my detractors lack, so they are left with nothing but meanspiritedness...

— Bowerbird, 03 Nov 2006, gutvol-d

i think when you are the top dog, there is no shortage of mutts who will try to take a cheap shot at you.

— Bowerbird, 06 Nov 2006, gutvol-d

Bowerbird Programmer

Fiction …

-- for immediate release -- date: 14 february 2003 dateline: los angeles, california contact: bowerbird intelligentleman bowerbird@aol.com 310.980.9202 bowerbird intelligentleman announces an open-source project geared toward creating an o.e.b. "presentation system", i.e., a cross-platform reader-program that will allow users to read o.e.b files. [...] bowerbird further indicated that he is fully confident that the effort would bear fruit quickly, since he has previously programmed a wide variety of electronic-book applications.

— Bowerbird, 14 Feb 2003, http://lists.bononia.it/pipermail/libergnu/2003-February/000007.html

Go To Reality

z.m.l. -- zero markup language -- is being introduced to the world today! [...] zml -- the viewer-app -- is a cross-platform program, running under mac and windows, that will be released in a frequently-updated series of public beta versions... the first such beta is expected within the next 2 weeks. the program will be developed from real-user feedback, and is expected to emerge from beta within 3 months...

— Bowerbird, 08 Jul 2003, http://lists.topica.com/lists/ten/read/message.html?mid=1713678014

Go To Reality

i say we don't need much "markup" -- sometimes _none_ -- to turn project gutenberg's plain-ascii e-text files into a slick electronic-book experience for end-users, if we only put a little bit of intelligence into an e-book viewer-program. i have written such a program, and i'll have a beta version soon.

— Bowerbird, 06 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

Go To Reality

i'm undoubtedly prejudiced in favor of my own creation, but i don't think any other viewer even comes close...

— Bowerbird, 06 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

Go To Reality

z.m.l. will eventually do everything x.m.l. can do. just as well, if not better. and at a significantly lower cost.

— Bowerbird, 06 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

Go To Reality

since my program uses project gutenberg's already-existing plain-ascii e-text files, nobody has to waste any time marking them up. just drop them on the app and you've got instant e-book.

— Bowerbird, 06 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

Go To Reality

meanwhile, i'll be happy to use this antiquated computer to program e-book apps that run circles around the apps from microsoft and adobe with their armies of programmers

— Bowerbird, 07 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

Go To Reality

i predict that my program will be able to convert a substantial portion of the existing library (75% if i take a number that greg threw out recently) into an e-book experience that is superior to that offered by acrobat or a browser, and do it for each file on-the-fly.

— Bowerbird, 10 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

Go To Reality

also, understand that i'm not just some sideline _commentator_ who wants to come in and tell you how you should be doing things. i'm a programmer, who has built a wide variety of e-book apps, and i will be providing you with programs that prove my points and give you the means to enable the suggestions i will make.

— Bowerbird, 26 Dec 2003, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=0

Go To Reality

there was also a recent call in another thread for a viewer-app that would "beautify" the plain-ascii versions of the e-texts, and i've also written _that_ app, almost ready to go into beta, so i'll make that available too, if you'd like to help me test it.

— Bowerbird, 26 Dec 2003, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=0

Go To Reality

i am, on this day, releasing the beta of v0.1 of "pudding", a z.m.l. viewer-program that puts its principles into play. "pudding" turns a plain-text-file into a full-featured e-book, with all the features you would expect from such a creature, and all an e-book author has to do is follow 11 simple rules.

— Bowerbird, 28 Jul 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=143

Go To Reality

you might also want to know, though, that i will shortly start to upload demo programs for your amusement and edification -- it's pudding time, kids!

— Bowerbird, 26 Aug 2005, gutvol-d

Those of you with good pattern recognition will by now have correctly guessed what he did deliver: nothing. A word of advice for those of you:

and maybe you all need to back off a bit, because the more insistent you become that i don't have anything worthwhile to offer, the more crow you're going to have to eat when you find out that, indeed, i do.

— Bowerbird, 02 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=49

I'm glad I won't have to eat his pudding!

… And Reality

This is BBs idea of shaving leading newlines off a string.

if (substr($printme,0,1) eq "\n") {$printme=substr($printme,1,50)}; if (substr($printme,0,1) eq "\n") {$printme=substr($printme,1,50)}; if (substr($printme,0,1) eq "\n") {$printme=substr($printme,1,50)}; if (substr($printme,0,1) eq "\n") {$printme=substr($printme,1,50)}; if (substr($printme,0,1) eq "\n") {$printme=substr($printme,1,50)};

— Bowerbird, 31 Oct 2006, gutvol-d

No kidding! What if there are more than five? Simple, Watson. Just add more lines!

His mastery of regular expressions:

it's very good to do an early search for garbage characters... this is a search that benefits from using regular expressions. the reg-ex is something along these lines: [\&\*\<\>\\\/\|\*\{\}\_]

— Bowerbird, 8 Jul 2008, gutvol-d

His views on bug reporting:

if the tester can't report or replicate the crash, and describe the conditions of its occurrence too, i'll believe it's a problem unique to their machine.

— Bowerbird, 21 Oct 2004, gutvol-d

His views on peer review:

indeed, in fact, if memory serves me correctly, i left "that error" in on purpose, precisely because it caused the page not to validate, and i knew that would be upsetting to you technoid wieners here.

— Bowerbird, 19 Oct 2006, gutvol-d

Bowerbird Self-Appointed Poet

i'm sorry you find my posts hard to read, but i'm a poet, so my all-lower-case stance is not open for negotiation, and i consider my line-breaks to be part of my personality. :+)

— Bowerbird, 31 Dec 2003, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=20

Persons unknown argued that Bowerbird chose pitiful formatting to distract from pitiful contents. I don't believe in this theory. The formatting would have to be much worse, to have that effect.

if i had thought that was the case, i would've said that. the words i've used instead have said exactly what i think.

— Bowerbird, 01 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=40

Here the poet tries a common meter, but fails. He gets as far as the first iambic tetrameter, da dum da dum da dum da dum, and then gets all confused. The second part scans better, but there is still no rhyme.

Bowerbird Self-Appointed Process Consultant

Bowerbird went to DP to offer his services. But he soon found out that the people there were not worthy of his help.

having said that, however, when i look at all your procedures -- and i've reviewed many of them already, as best as i can -- many of them strike me as being perhaps somewhat inefficient.

— Bowerbird, 26 Dec 2003, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=0

Needless to say BB never looked at the processes before making that statement. He didn't even know there were FAQs on the site that described the processes in detail. Confronted with that fact he backed down:

and i'm also testing whether the people here deserve to have me devote time and energy to programming tools that will help them to perform the task more easily and efficiently.

— Bowerbird, 01 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=37

as it is, i've encountered so much needless and meanspirited opposition here that i am seriously considering that, once i've demonstrated my tool to you all, and you see it's worthwhile, i'll just put it on the shelf, as you don't deserve it.

— Bowerbird, 04 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=92

and i was testing whether you people here _deserved_ my advice, and i'm not at all sure that you do, considering the way i've been treated, so i keep holding off because i'm not even sure i want to continue here...

— Bowerbird, 06 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=129

and indeed, when i finally _do_ release tools you could use, i will hobble them with my 4:20 system. once every 4 hours, the tool will work for 20 minutes, and then go back to sleep. 4 hours later, it'll come alive again, for another 20 minutes...

— Bowerbird, 29 Sep 2005, gutvol-d

Bowerbird Self-Appointed Statistician

as of today, i have proofed 32 pages, which ranks me 3,357 out of 9,652. that means that i come in at percentile 35, and 6,295 people have proofed _less_ than 32 pages each. many of those have probably proofed much less, people who came in once or twice and proofed a couple of pages each time. but for the sake of not underestimating their contribution, i will assume that every one of those 6,295 has indeed proofed 32 pages, just like i have. that would combine to a smidgen over 200,000 pages. so the top _10_ proofers have done over 50% more than the bottom _6,000_. that's an amazing disparity...

— Bowerbird, 01 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=43

This is the reply he got from Vasa:

This is becoming a little tiresome... [...]

Why? Aside from the fact that your maths are totally wrong (the top ten proofers have done more than the bottom 65%), what's surprizing? A histogram for any population simply defines its characteristic, not the underlying structure. (You're not making the common mistake of statistical amateurs in confusing populations, samples, and datum points, are you? If so, please remember that for any significant statistic sampling, you have to take random samplings from the population (in other words, you're only going to get (partial) data from that top ten in a very infrequent number of samplings.) Then, you can do a renormalization, and use Central Limit Theory to deduce the population's underlying structure, and test for skewness and kurtosis. (http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=52)

Of course, showing to the world that Bowerbird is a crank, won't get you his love nor a sensible answer. He'll simply ignore your post and pass on.

> This is becoming a little tiresome... then why don't you simply do to my posts what i do to yours?

— Bowerbird, 01 Jan 2004, http://www.pgdp.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5963&start=55

Bowerbird the Gifted Philosopher

Bowerbird is maybe the first man that created a whole philosophy around the concept of always being right.

that's the whole philosophy of z.m.l., that the author is always right,

— Bowerbird, 06 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

The Modern Thoreau

it's an esthetic decision to make do with less, an active resistance to becoming an ugly american, an expression of solidarity with those less fortunate, [...] but hey, if you want to buy me a new ibook running o.s.x., i'll _take_ it.

— Bowerbird, 07 Nov 2003, gutvol-p

Bowerbird Self-Appointed Egyptologist

we can certainly create the .html that serves as a rosetta stone to various e-book formats. hence the name of this project: "babelfish"...

— Bowerbird, 31 Oct 2006, gutvol-d

The rosetta stone is an ancient stone (196 BC) inscribed with the same passage of writing in 3 different languages. It helped understand hieroglyphic writing.

The Tower of Babel is thought to have been built around 2000 BC. 1800 years are a wink of an eye for BB.

Promises, Promises

anyway, i will be heading out of here shortly -- off to collect my thoughts and criticisms in a blog, instead of attempting to share them with you here, to be free of the incessant swirl of noise and flack that my detractors here seem to love to throw around me -- so does anyone have any questions for me before i leave?

— Bowerbird, 03 Nov 2004, http://lists.pglaf.org/pipermail/gutvol-p/2004-November/000000.html

and that is the message i have been communicating here for a year. but nobody here seemed to want to believe it. your advance notice period has expired now, so i will go and tell the rest of the world...

— Bowerbird, 22 Oct 2004, gutvol-d, http://osdir.com/ml/culture.literature.e-books.gutenberg.volunteers/2004-10/msg00370.html