You probably know about the Kekule connects from the quiz blog or you may have come across them in Mad Magazine. This is slightly different, but it is equally fun. It is a tool that finds the shortest path between two Wikipedia* subjects.
I tried to find a path from Mahatma Gandhi to James Hetfield :). This is what I got : Mahatma_Gandhi -> August_9 -> August_3 -> James_Hetfield. They are just 4 degrees apart! Who would have thought that the paragon of peace and a lead singer of a heavy metal band are so close.
I tried another one, this time from Pascal to Ada. Since both are programming languages, one might expect a shorter route. But surprisingly, I got a six degree separation between them! It was :Pascal -> Blaise_Pascal -> August_19 -> 1953 -> Mátyás_Rákosi -> Ada.
A few more of my tries:
Quiz to R.K. Narayan : Quiz -> BBC -> 2001 -> R.K._Narayan
James Gosling to Charles Babbage : James Gosling -> Java programming language -> Programming language -> Charles Babbage
P.L. Deshpande to U.S. Senate election, 1972 : I got a 15 degree connect on this one!
Who wants to remember that escape-x-alt-control-left shift-b puts you into super-edit-debug-compile mode?
(Discussion in comp.os.linux.misc on the intuitiveness of commands, especially
My feelings are on similar lines.
I spent two days trying to figure out how to use this huge bulk of a software called Emacs, aarrgh! Never before have I experienced such difficulties in getting used to a software. The funny thing is that it is just a text editor. Previously, I used to read the help section of a new software just to get started and from then onwards its very easy. It never took me lot of time to read the help. Emacs was a completely different experience for me. Emacs has a user manual of 620 pages!! Obviously, one need not read most of it to get simple work done, but one has to read the initial newbie
sections. Having said that, I must say that Emacs is one hell of a text editor. I am still not very comfortable with it, but it has been worth the time I spent on it.
My previous interactions with text editors were the ultra simple Notepad, DOS edit and Borland Turbo C editor. Now, Borland's editor is much better than Notepad and edit and I loved it (I still do). Then I came across VIM editor on Linux, the first of the inhumanly difficult editors. I tried learning VIM, but gave up soon. The main reason that I find it hard to use Unix/Linux utilities is that I still cannot read the 'man' pages (Unix manuals) properly :-(. So, I switched over to Kate (another editor in Linux) which is much simpler than VI or Emacs. Kate is a good middle ground between the advanced editors and the simple Windows editors.
So, here I was content with using Kate and Borland editors till the day some seniors showed some OMFG features of Emacs. And just like that, with the practical exams around the corner I started 'trying' to use Emacs.
Note: If you are not a programmer, don't despair, you can use Emacs to surf the net and check your mails (seriously!).