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‘ficial’ is a not-word – one of those words that’s implied by other words but which doesn’t actually exist. For example, the word nonplussed (upset, taken aback, disturbed) implies the existence of plussed (content, happy, calm). Superficial is the anti-root of ficial:

su‧per‧fi‧cial [soo-per-fish-uhl] – adjective

  1. being at, on, or near the surface
  2. of or pertaining to the surface
  3. external or outward
  4. concerned with or comprehending only what is on the surface or obvious
  5. shallow; not profound or thorough
  6. apparent rather than real
  7. insubstantial or insignificant

and so ficial is something like real, core, substantial, what’s underneath, internal. I certainly don’t expect everything I post here to be Deep or Meaningful, but it’s a reminder to me to at least try to think things through before I spout off.

My name is Chris Warren.

I work for Williams College in the Office for Information Technology (OIT). I do application programming, web programming, database work, systems integration, and some systems administration. I teach workshops, serve on the Campus Environmental Advisory Committee, go to some conferences, and generally have a rich and fulfilling professional life.

I also cook, play RPGs, garden, design board and card games, read, make pottery, hike, create bonsai, spend time with friends and family, and generally have a rich and fulfilling personal life.

I’m interested in many things, perhaps even most.



1. Richard Crocker - June 19, 2008


I came across your mention of our PDF Download add-on on your “The Computer is Dead! Long Live the Computer!” page and thought I’d contact you to see whether you’d be interested in participating in a private beta for the upcoming PDF Download 2.0. The program starts today and is limited to a select group of existing PDF Download users.

If this is of interest, please email me and I’ll send you details on PDF Download 2.0 and how you can join the beta program.


2. Bruce Formhals - October 4, 2008

Hi Chris,

I am trying to track down the Chris Warren that wrote a randomizer script?

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