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Downtime Update, Video Game Industry Politics, et Cetera...
Salvete, everyone! Wow, do we have a lot to talk about today!
Downtime Apology; New Hosting Server Acquired
First, I’d like to apologize for the website’s downtime these past few days. With the start of the new school year, the site was simply receiving too much traffic and the hosting company was forced to suspend operations while I upgraded to a more beefy server. In addition, I will be doing several performance optimizations to the site—most of which will be unseen to the end user, but will nonetheless spare the hardware from being ridden like a horse on dead legs.
Unrelated Rant: The Fight for Diversity in Video Games (and everywhere else)
Being the unorthodox person I am, occasionally I like to use my website as a soapbox. So, I’d also like to talk a little bit about video games, because it’s nonetheless an important issue for me. With friends and colleagues working in the games industry, it’s been an awesome (in the most terrifying sense of the word) experience watching in the events that have transpired over the past few months (even years). The video games industry is constantly undergoing radical and tumultuous bouts of introspection and struggle that yield both beautiful and terrifying results at the same time.
Right now, the hot button issue revolves what is essentially gender discrimination, something which I am wholeheartedly against. If anyone is ever in the mood for an eye-opening look at the role of females in games, I highly recommend checking out Anita Sarkeesian’s Tropes vs Women in Video Games series on YouTube. While Sarkeesian’s points are sometimes sharp to the point of breaking the skin, they are necessary points to make when ushering in a movement; however, in the last few weeks several women (and others) in the video games industry have been targetted by abhorrent behavior and justification on levels tantamount to Ku Klux Klan apologetics (apologetics = defense of a doctrine; not saying "I’m sorry!"). Sarkeesian herself had to flee her home due to receiving death threats, and it brings about a level of shame for a community and industry that is currently suffering from growing pains. I am bearing witness to entire campaigns driven by sexism at its very core, and perpetuated by gullibility and a severe lack of empathy, education, and vision.
So, while I have a limited place to voice my opinion, I feel it is necessary to do so wherever I can. Massive gender and ethnicity disparities still rage below an otherwise deceptively placid surface that we call “21st century living.” This disparity pays itself forward by serving up content that itself is written through the lens of a preominantly white creator. This undoubtedly impacts young minds who play video games where the hero is almost always white and male, while female characters are often treated as “damsels in distress” (or worse). Similarly, one would be hard-pressed to find a video game title where a person of color is the playable protagonist. This disenfranchises a huge group of women (50% of gamers under 30 are women) and trans individuals, and it also disenfranchises people of color. Imagine the kind of impact that would have on youn minds.
The debate for diversity in this industry is finally receiving the attention it deserves, but it is expounding amounts of zeal from both sides that threaten to destroy any hope of dialogue. I sense that a lot of the issues in the industry are unwittingly fueled by ignorance, and reaching those people in the middle is going to be hard when both sides are hardlining to the point of alienation. In any case, I feel it’s important to broach the subject wherever I can.
Parents of Children Who Play Video Games
Use Pixelkin instead of the ESRB rating system!
While we’re on the subject of video games, I have a plug to make! At the Penny Arcade Expo, I had the opportunity to sit in on a panel called “Gatekeeping in Our Digital Fantasies”, the goals of which was to workshop how to better instill diversity in video games representative of all ages, races, genders, etc. Many of the panel members were from a website called Pixelkin, a place for families of gamers. Parents, if you are looking for better information on the games your children play, or for information of what kinds of games are good for the family, I highly recommend this website—especially compared to the traditional ESRB ratings you see on the packages. Pixelkin goes into great depth about these games and establishes much needed context for the games’ content. Please check them out!
And that is all for this update! Once again, thanks for indulging my crazy non-Latin related opinions!
Many thanks go out to the people who have emailed me with typo fixes.
Don’t know what responsive design is? Well, it's a page layout that responds to the dimensions of a device’s browser. Go ahead, try loading the site on your smartphone. Or just resizing your browser window to be less wide, and you will see the layout shift to better accomodate the smaller screen real estate.
I’ve been meaning to do this for years now, but time working on this site has been fleeting. After all of the requests to make an iOS/Android app, I’ve decided that a responsive design is a better way to go for now. Had I made an app, it would have just provided the redundant functionality that this current site provides—the only benefit would have been that an app would have been available offline; however, in today’s ever-connected world (at least the parts of the world visiting this website) I don’t foresee much of a need for an offline experience.
Have Something to Say?
I want to thank everyone who continues to send me feedback on this site. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
What is Latdict?
Latdict is a powerful dictionary tool to aid those wishing to lookup Latin words or their English equivalents. Latdict currently boasts 39,225 Latin word entries, and 229,345 searchable English words.
What’s so Great about Latdict?
Several Latin dictionaries currently exist on the web, but most of them provide raw, cryptic or otherwise unwanted results. I created LATdict because I was tired of dealing with irrelevant search results and digging through cryptic codes that described a word's function and history. When I finished creating LATdict, the dictionary exhibited the following features:
- Latdict uses an effective and efficient search algorithm, based on experience working with other websites that provide a query-based service.
- Latdict also ranks entries based on how often they appear in Latin literature; Latin can have several different words for the same term, but some words are more popular than others. Latdict utilizes the information to provide more common words at the top of dictionary search results.
- Latdict spells everything out in plain English (or Latin). One thing that constantly pains me about Latin dictionaries is that they often omit information about their entries, such as omitting declension, conjugation, and other auxiliary information. Other dictionaries might list this information, but provide it in a raw or otherwise cryptic format. Latdict goes out of its way to specify information about each entry. In fact, Latdict also provides other information as well, including the age of the entry, its area of use, its geographical influence, its frequency, and the source of the entry.
What’s Coming up?
Two Words: Advanced Search
Yes, I am still working on this! Still one of the largest unfulfilled requests is the ability to perform advanced searches. I plan to rectify this situation once I finish the grammar section. “Advanced Search” will have the following features:
- Search a particular part of speech (verb, adverb, adjective, etc.)
- Search by word commonality, geographic location(s) used, time periods used, or source
- Search by declension or conjugation
Once that is complete, I hope to start having inflection matching. This means that you will no longer have to search for a word in its dictionary form (e.g. nominative/genetive for nouns and adjectives, principle parts for verbs). This will really help casual visitors who are wanting to look up words but know absolutely nothing about Latin inflection. The real challenge with this feature, however, is the fact that there are so many exceptions to each inflection pattern that it will be hard to get most of them down.