Site Conventions

Conventions used at the site

TAGS: Cyber Life,, My Stuff


In the US, periods and commas go inside quotations marks regardless of logic. I, on the other hand, will follow logic.

   US: "'Design' is my favorite poem," he said.
Logic: "'Design' is my favorite poem", he said.

   US: I asked her: "Are you hungry?"
Logic: I asked her: "Are you hungry?".


It is a more efficient use of space to indent the first line of paragraphs and do not double-space between paragraphs. However the on-screen convention is to do the opposite (Do not indent the first line of paragraphs and do double-space between paragraphs), so I follow the on-screen convention.


My short bibliographies will follow this simple format:

Author (Birth/Death). Work (Year).

My larger bibliographies will roughly follow the bibliography style of the MLA [ref at]. If a work has multiple creators, then the creators follow the title of the work.

Author. "Title of a part of the book". Title of the book. Editor, translator, or compiler. Number of the edition used. Number(s) of the volume(s) used. Name of the series. Page numbers. Place of publication: name of publisher, date of publication. ISBN. Other bibliographic information and annotation, like date of first publication.

EG: Hernandez, George. The Great American Novel. Chicago, IL: Acme Publishers, 2005. p. 230. ISBN: 1234567890.

While the convention of "last name, first name" is good for several reasons (EGs: Sorting lists. Asian names.), it is also bad for several reasons (EGs: People don't computer search that way. It uses an extra character. Some folks don't have two names. I've flip-flopped on this several times but as of 2007-07-14, I'm opting for "Last, First" because of the many Asian names I reference.

Author. "Article Title". Journal Title Volume Number (Date): page numbers.

Author. "Article Title". Magazine Title Date: page numbers.

Movie or TV show. Directed by director. Screenplay by author. Based upon a book by author. Distributor, year of release. Characters and actors.

"Title of episode". TV show. City: Network, affiliate, broadcast date. Speaker, character, actor, etc.

Play or show. Directed by director. Written by author. City: Theater, date. Characters and actors.


Since 2003-06-10, I have adopted using the ISO 8601 convention for date formatting. While it would be nice to change all the dates on this site over to ISO 8601 formatting, I will only put a minor effort into doing so because I have other things to do.

  • Prior to 2003-06-10, most dates and times on this site were entered as CST (-06:00 or -05:00 with DST) unless otherwise noted.
  • Since 2003-06-10, all date and times on this site shall be entered as UTC unless otherwise noted.

You may also notice timestamps on the bottom left of most of my pages. They both indicate when the file was last modified. The first is a manual entry, while the latter is automatically pulled as a property of the file. The latter is usually sufficient, but I will occassionally use the former to denote things like major changes.

Most pages on my site used to have keyboard shortcuts that make a pop-up window with the current date & time stamp in both ISO 8601 format (ALT+I. EG: 2005-01-26t16:11:15Z) and RFC 822 format (ALT+R. EG: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 16:11:15 GMT). For kicks, here are bookmarklet versions: ISO 8601 Z and ISO 8601 Local.

Here's a short list of some annual dates I honor:

  • 01-01. New Year's Day. ~Perihelion (closest).
  • 02-12. Charles Darwin's Birthday. ~Academy Awards.
  • 03-14. Pi Day, 3.14 159 265 35-8979 32-3846 2643 383 27950.... Also Albert Einstein's birthday.
  • 03-20. ~Equinox. ~Northern hemisphere spring. ~Earth Day.
  • 04-15. Tax Day. I should do a "State of Money" post.
  • 05-03. ~National Day of Reasoning.
  • 06-21. ~Solstice. ~Northern hemisphere summer. ~School ends.
  • 07-04. Independence Day: 1776 for U.S.A., 1946 for Philippines. ~Aphelion (furthest).
  • 09-22. ~Equinox. ~Northern hemisphere autumn. ~School starts.
  • 10-31. Halloween.
  • 11-02. ~Election Day (first Tuesday of November >= 11-02). I should do a "State of Politics" post and update my links to my local politicians at About Me.
  • 12-21. ~Solstice. ~Northern hemisphere winter. ~Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, Ramadan, Yule, etc! I should do a "State of Faith and Reason".

See also my section on Time.

Editorial Comments

Most editorial comments are usually of a different color, with or without square brackets, indented or not. (Of course in code I will use the commenting markers appropriate for the language.) EG:

[This is a typical editorial comment.]

Expanding Icons

On some of the pages, I let you decide whether you want to experience a piece of media. That way you can decide if you want to wait for the download.

EG: If you click on the thumbnail below, it will load a picture of Fred Rogers. I use this when it is useful for you to preview the image.

thumbnail picture of Fred Rogers

EG: If you click on the icon below, it will also load a picture of Fred Rogers. I use this when the images on a page are similar and a thumbnail would not be useful.

Click on me to see the letter A

EG: If you click on the icon below, most browsers will play an audio file: "You were serious about that?" from the movie My Cousin Vinny.

Click on me to hear Joe Pesci

Example Code

Sample code is displayed using a mono-spaced font, sometimes with a different background color. EG:

If intAge = 2 Then
    txtResponse = "Wah, wah, wah!"
End If

An element substituted by the programmer is in italics. EG:

If Condition Then
End If

Programmer comments may be in a different color. EG:

If Condition Then
    Statement     'This is just a comment.
End If

Optional items are usually enclosed in square brackets ([ ]). EG:

SELECT [ALL] SelectList
-- The above could be:
-- SELECT SelectList 
-- SELECT ALL SelectList

Literal square brackets are displayed in bold ([ ]). EG:

Set objNodes = xmltree.selectNodes("//book[price < 15]")

When there are two or more options, they are usually separated by a pipe (|). EG:

-- The above could be:
-- SELECT SelectList 
-- SELECT ALL SelectList 

When there are two or more options and a selection must be chosen then the choices are enclosed by curly brackets ({ }). EG:

-- The above could be:
-- FROM TableLeft JOIN TableRight 
-- FROM TableLeft INNER JOIN TableRight
-- FROM TableLeft LEFT OUTER JOIN TableRight
-- FROM TableLeft RIGHT OUTER JOIN TableRight
-- FROM TableLeft FULL OUTER JOIN TableRight 
-- FROM TableLeft CROSS JOIN TableRight

There will be exceptions to the above rules. EGs:

  • MDX statements usually utilize an extensive number of literal square brackets so an understanding of that language is necessary to distinguish literal and notational square brackets.
  • In tricky situations, I may end up using BNF (Backus-Naur Form) notation. EG: <symbol> ::= <expression with symbols>.

On this site code is displayed in a monospaced font. There are other very nice monospaced fonts but Courier New (or Courier) is more ubiquitous. Other fonts have their uses (EG: Arial Unicode MS can show almost any character in any language), but code should only need to show ASCII plus some ISO Latin 1 or Windows 1252. Use Courier (not Courier New) or fixedsys or the like if you want ASCII and have all ASCII as flagged.

Font grave lsquo rsquo apos ldquo rdquo quot lc o UC O zero one lc l UC I lc i vert bar
Courier New `'" oO01lIi|
Consolas `'" oO01lIi|
Andale Mono `'" oO01lIi|
Menlo `'" oO01lIi|
Monaco `'" oO01lIi|
monospace `'" oO01lIi|
The following fonts are NOT monospaced.
Verdana `'" oO01lIi|
Arial `'" oO01lIi|


Most hyperlinks on this site lead to elsewhere on this site. Otherwise I try to provide some sort of clue that the link will take you off-site. EGs:

  • GH Homepage. Some on-site link. No special notation.
  • Some offf-site link. These links include the top-level-domain extension (such as ".com") as a clue. I usually chop off any http:// or www. in the links.
  • Starship Dimensions [§]. Off-site. These links have a funky or long URL so a more descriptive link is provided. The symbol "§" (&#167; or &#xA7;) or the words "off-site" in brackets. I don't know if anyone else uses the section symbol (§) for "off-site" but I think it sort of fits because it looks like it has both an "o" and an "s". I started using it 2003-05-20.  --> 2005-09. I have retired this practice.
  • X Links. Most links on these pages/sections lead to off-site pages so they do not need an off-site indicator
  • Blog. On those pages/sections, I will not distinguish between off-site and on-site links.

I have visited every link that leads off this site. The majority of the links on this site are "lasting links" (links that we return to reliably and regularly). I will try to place any "liquid links" (links that flutter in and out of our lives) or "lingering links" (links that are worth parking for a while) in my blog sections. If you find any "dead links" (links that don't work), then please contact me.

My content (esp. my links) may have brackets next to it with notes about the link. EGs:

  • [§] or [off-site]. As mentioned above, this indicates that the link leads off-site.
  • [2004-01-25]. This is a date in ISO 8601 format (YYYY-MM-DD) for the date I referenced the off-site link.
  • [URL]. The URL of the link is explicitly displayed.
  • [NSFW]. The link is "Not Safe For Work".
  • [SFW]. The link is "Safe For Work".
  • [Flash]. The link has interactive animation that needs a Flash plug-in.
  • [movie]. The link has a movie like Quicktime, .wmv, etc.
  • [animation].
  • [comic art].
  • [audio]. The audio on the link is essential to the content.
  • [annoying audio].
  • [Ref]. The bracket contains a separate link that was the source of the preceding content.
  • [/.]. The link is a post on --> 2005-09-23. I have retired this practice. Instead I will use something like [].
  • [BB]. The link is a post on --> 2005-09-23. I have retired this practice. Instead I will use something like [].
  • [MeFi]. The link is a post on --> 2005-09-23. I have retired this practice. Instead I will use something like [].
  • [W]. The link is an article on While Wikipedia is a tertiary source, it is a great starting point. I love Wikipedia.

This site is sprinkled with in-house metadata. Just ignore it. This metadata will be manifested as a non-functional hyperlink with this syntax: [metadata[: Note]].

2004-09-02T16:14:48Z. I have started adopting a convention of sometimes displaying the actual URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of an external link as well as the "title" of the link. EG: Field Museum of Natural History []. Here are several reasons for doing this:

  • The title is sometimes more informative, readable, or memorable than the URL.
  • The reverse is sometimes true: The URL is may be more memorable than the title
  • The URL is unique on the Web but the same URL may have been given different titles when referenced by other sites.
  • This convention makes both the title and the URL searchable.
  • Sometimes a link has no title so just the URL will be shown unless I give it my own title.
  • If you print the page, then you can see the URL!

If the original link is followed by links that belong to the same domain, then those links may be displayed as human readable instead of as an URL.

My Basic Filing System

[Don't bother reading this section --it's more for internal use.]

  • Related topics go in a TLD (top level directory), EG: /xComputers/.
  • Unrelated topics go into the Miscellany TLD, i.e. /xzMisc/.
  • Multi-directory or multi-page topics get a directory (and sub-directories) in a TLD. EG: /xComputers/UNIX/ or /xzMisc/Math/.
  • Single page topics get a page in the Miscellany subdirectory of my the Miscellany TLD. EG: /xzMisc/zMisc/Fishing.asp.
  • Topics less than a page long get entered in one of three places:
    • As a blog entry.
    • As an entry on the main page of the zMisc subdirectory of my Miscellany TLD, i.e. /xzMisc/zMisc/Default.asp.
    • As an entry in one of various Miscellany sections/pages.

Each page will have a file name (EG: Default.asp), but each page may have an HTML title (EG: <title>Databases</title>) that may or may not differ from a title used in navigation bars (EG: DBs).

Physical Buttons

When I write about keyboard or mouse buttons that have to by physically pressed, I will try to put them in upper case and use the HTML tag of <kbd> with some CSS applied. For actions that have to be done simultaneously, I will use the + sign. EGs:

  • A. Press the A key. This usually makes a lowercase a.
  • SHIFT+A. Press and hold the SHIFT key while pressing the A key. This usually makes an uppercase A.
  • SHIFT+RIGHT CLICK. Press and hold the SHIFT key while pressing the right button on the mouse.
  • ALT+++0165. Press and hold the SHIFT key while pressing and holding the + key, and typing in the numbers 0165.


Linguists often use International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to phonetically represent spoken languages. The standard is to place IPA pronunciations either in square brackets ("[" and "]") or slashes ("/") for narrow or broad transcriptions respectively. EG: The English word "pretzel" could be annotated as /prɛtsəl/. I'm not a linguist so my pronunciation transcriptions are rather crude and I will enclose them in back slashes ("\"). EG: Richard Stallman's GNU project is pronounced \guh-nooh\.


Starting with 2005-11-02t18:14:45Z, I am tagging some of my content (especially posts and links) with more meta data, especially "ratings".

The first form of rating I implement is a "quality rating". There are many distinctions of quality. A show may have a production rating of Q3of9, but a liking rating of Q8of9.

  • Q1of9. Worst.
  • Q2of9. Very bad.
  • Q3of9. Bad.
  • Q4of9. A bit below fair.
  • Q5of9. Fair.
  • Q6of9. A bit above fair.
  • Q7of9. Good.
  • Q8of9. Very good.
  • Q9of9. Best.

The second form of rating is a "suitability rating". I'm not pro-censorship but there are several good reasons to "rate".

  • Sometimes people only want to see stuff "suitable" for their age. EG: The only people who want to see stuff for 3 year olds are three year olds and parents. On the other hand there is stuff "suitable" for younger ages that older people do want to see. EG: The Incredibles movie.
  • The Internet is largely open and it is helpful to know about the suitability of content before seeing it. This can save time and reduce the annoyance factor.
  • People should be able to view stuff at work. In general my content is SFW (Safe For Work) and I try to explicitly label stuff that isn't as NSFW (Not Safe For Work).

So here are my "age suitability ratings". For a specific age range I would have multiple tags (EG: A06; A14;).

  • A02. Variant: A02+
  • A04. Variant: A04+.
  • A06. Variant: A06+.
  • A10. Variant: A10+.
  • A14. Variant: A14+.
  • A18. Variant: A18+.
  • A26. Variant: A26+.
  • A40. Variant: A40+.
  • A60.

Additional "suitability" metadata will be provided by additional tags such as the following.

  • Animated.
  • Crude.
  • Funny.
  • Live Action. Flesh and blood people as opposed to animated people.
  • NSFW. Not Safe For Work.
  • Porn.
  • Sex. Something may have sex but not be porn. Check out the magazines at your typical grocery store.
  • Video.
  • Violence.

Titles and Headings

Here is an explanation of some of the particular titles, headings, or sections used on this site.

You will probably notice an astounding lack of consistency in the capitalization I use in my titles and headings. I allow this because I find humor in the tension between traditional casing, maximizing information density, and the difficulty of rendering custom title cases programmatically. EGs:

The Tale of Tail of Tom: zMisc    Traditional title case
The tale of Tail of Tom: zMisc    Traditional sentence case
the tale of Tail of Tom: zMisc    Maximized info density
The Tale Of Tail Of Tom: Zmisc    Lazy programmatic title case
The Tale Of Tail of Tom: zMisc    A mix of the above

aaIntro or Intro

Intro introduces a topic.

aaScrap or Scrap

Scrap are areas where I will park notes for exploring, refining, and sorting later.

Here is how I usually head such a section:

Scrap notes on x that I am parking here for exploring, refining, and sorting later.


EG provides an example for a particular topic. EG pages have names with this syntax: EG DescriptiveName. A sentence with an EG and a colon assumes that a sentence follow the EG. EG: EG: Hello world!. "eg" or "e.g." is common short hand for the Latin exempli gratia, which means "for example".

zMisc or Misc or Miscellany

Misc has miscellaneous content pertaining to a topic. Note that in general if a section has a zMisc as well as a zLinks and/or a zVoc, then I will to place the zMisc first; the logic is that the zLinks and/or zVoc pertains to all the sub-topics in the section, including the zMisc sub-topics.

zVoc or Voc

Voc is a glossary pertaining to a topic. Here are conventions that I usually follow in zVoc.

  • Defined terms are not hyperlinked for cross-referencing purposes. [Sheer laziness on my part.]
  • Defined terms are ordered according to my own system:
    • The order precedence is as follows:
      • numerically
      • non-alphanumeric characters in no particular order. [Sheer laziness on my part]
      • alphabetically
    • Non-alphanumeric characters within words that are not entirely non-alphanumeric are not included in precedence ordering.
  • Acronyms take priority over the full spelling of the acronym:
    • When an acronym is first introduced, it will be followed by its full spelling. EG: GIF (Graphical Interchange Format).  --> 2006-05-16t17:28:45Z I am gradually switching to the usual convention of providing the full spelling followed by placing the acronym in parentheses. EG: Graphical Interchange Format (GIF). This is because it is visually easier to scan for the acronym in parentheses than the full spelling in parentheses.
    • The definition will be given where the acronym is listed, and not where the full spelling is listed. EG: A definition is given at "GIF" and not at "Graphical Interchange Format".

zLinks or Links

Links has links that lead to off-site pages about a particular topic.

For a given section, I will always try to put zLinks last. If a section has zOther categories (EG: zMisc and zVoc) as well as a zLinks, then I will to place the zLinks section last even though it is out of alphabetical order. The logic is that the zLinks pertains to all the sub-topics in the section, including the zMisc sub-topics. See also Hyperlinks.

Here is how I usually head such a section:

Links that lead to off-site pages about x.


  • I will avoid fancy characters when a simpler character will do. The main technical reason for this is to avoid the use of either CERs (Character Entity References. EG: &yen;) or NCR (Numeric Character References. EGs: &#x00A5; or &#165;) in HTML, especially if an ASCII substitute can be used instead. EGs:
    • Curly single quotations and apostrophes ( and ). Substitution: '.
    • Curly double quotations ( and ). Substitution: ".
    • = &#x2014; = &#8212; = &mdash; = em dash. Substitution: --. This was a tough decision. One problem is that if the two hyphens are near the end of a line, sometimes they get split onto two lines.
    • I will often use programming language equivalents of mathematical symbols since the former usually just use ASCII.
      • × = &#x00D7; = &#215; = &times;
        • If × = Multiply by. Substitution: *.
        • If × = Cross product. Substitution: none.
      • · = &#x00B7 = &183; = &middot; = Dot product. Substitution: none.
      • ÷ = &#x00F7; = &#247; = &divide; = Divide by. Substitution: /.
      • = &#x2248; = &#8776; = &asymp; = Approximately. Substitution: ~.
      • = &#x2260; = &#8800; = &ne; = Not equal to. Substitution: !=.
      • = &#x2261; = &#8801; = &equiv; = Defined as. Substitutions:
        • If a definition, then use :=.
        • If replace the left with the expression on the right, then use ::=, BNF notation.
        • If exactly equal in value, then use ==.
        • If exactly equal in value and type, then use ===.
      • = &#x2264; = &#8804; = &le; = Less than or equal to. Substitution: <=.
      • = &#x2265; = &#8805; = &ge; = Greater than or equal to. Substitution: >=.
      • x2 (math notation) = x^2 (programming notation) = x to the power of 2. I will use either.
      • 2x (math notation) = 2*x (programming notation) = 2 times x. I will use either.
      • √2 (math notation) = sqrt(2) (programming notation) = square root of 2. I will use the latter.
  • I have been avoiding spelling out shorter numbers. EG: Instead of saying "two hyphens", I would say "2 hyphens". --> 2005-01: I am rethinking this policy for the sake of style.

GeorgeHernandez.comSome rights reserved