This Blogger site is just a holding place for our news!

To access the Latin dictionary, click this link:

Numen - The Latin Lexicon - An Online Latin Dictionary

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New Server and Speed Increases

It's finally here and up and running!

I bought a new server. Did you know you can get slightly older computers, but still really powerful, for super cheap? People and businesses upgrade and then basically give their computers to discounters for nothing! I got this server for $144, with tax, shipping and an extra year's warranty. I'm very impressed.

Also, U.N.M (University of New Mexico) gave me a static IP address on their network, so we have a super-fast internet connection.

So, if you're used to this site being slow, get ready for serious changes! In general, moving to this new server on this new internet connection has increased the speed by an order of magnitude (from 300ms per request to 15ms per request). Wow!

But that's not all folks! I've also done some back-end coding to cache the results of morphology lookups. So now morphology lookups should increase by another order of magnitude (as long as a word is cached). If the word is not cached, the lookup will still be 2-3 times faster.

I apologize for geeking out a bit here, but I hope you notice the speed improvements.

As usual, I'm always developing The Latin Lexicon, but since I'm on winter break, expect to see some serious improvements for January!

Oh, one more thing. I also set up some bug-tracking software (BugZilla) to keep track of issues and improvements. So if you find all this technical stuff interesting, feel free to check it out!

Ok, one more thing! OpenID logins will be down for a day or two. Also, if you created an account or any flashcards between the 16th of December and today, I'm afraid that information is lost because I upgraded the database on the 16th and didn't get it moved until today. Sorry about that, if you're affected. 

Happy holidays! Happy Hannakwanzaamas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Server Move Coming Soon!

Okay, so I bought a new server and it's up and running. It will just take a couple of days for the new IP address to launch. Um, that is, if the IT people at UNM haven't gone on vacation already!!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Temporary Server Move

The temporary home of The Latin Lexicon is now on a slowish public web server until a grant comes through or a new server arrives. I hope to have one up in the next two weeks.

So, as a result, the site will be 5-10 times slower. That's not to say it's deadly slow, but it will be a noticeable change. The good news is that everything seems to still work, and within a week or two everything will be back to the same speed it was yesterday, perhaps even faster.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Current Grant Status

I recently got a rejection letter concerning a grant for a new computer.

But it's not all bad news. I have a backup plan. I can get a slightly older, slightly slower computer from an online source (all told about $150) or from UNM Surplus (if I can figure out all the paperwork and if there are any machines available).

Other updates: I haven't done much back-end work recently, but I have been correcting entries as I find them. So! Work continues at a slower pace. Normally I do get most updates done during holidays, so expect to see large-scale changes in late December and early January!


Tuesday, September 30, 2008


As most Latin students know, UNUS NAUTA is not just "one sailor" but the acronym U.N.U.S. N.A.U.T.A. It is taught as a mnemonic device to memorize the 9 special adjectives whose genitives end in -ius: unus, nullus, ullus, solus, neuter, alter, uter, totus, and alius.

In a recent post, I noted a problem with the adjective neuter. In the neuter form, my parser was not discovering the forms for nominatives and vocatives. I dug into this problem and discovered some interesting facts that I never really took to heart.

UNUS NAUTA is not one declension, as many Latin grammars would have us believe. It is actually composed of four different declensions: the normal UNUS NAUTA declension (unus, nullus, ullus, solus, totus), then the alius declension (which is unique because its genitive is alius instead of aliius as we would expect; and it has neuter-singulars in -ud), next the R-type declension (neuter, uter), and finally the ER-type declension (alter). I can see why Wheelock compressed his declensions, but it turns out that he didn't spend enough time pointing out the differences! To be sure, they are minor, but somewhat important if you're writing software to parse out the different forms!

So I created 4 unique declensions for the 9 different types of adjectives. Now, the UNUS NAUTA adjectives parse properly!

Update: I fixed indeclinable nouns, too. I had forgotten to add their (non-) paradigm.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A couple of small changes...

It's been a few weeks since it's been a busy semester. But I'm still making changes and continually updating words!

But here is some news to keep it fresh. First, I added a couple of rare "metria gratia" forms. The form "largibar" in Propertius 1.3.25 is from the verb "largior." The correct imperfect passive form should be "largiebar" but it seems to have been contracted to "largibar" ... Apparently this happens in Propertius and Plautus and not many other places. I will have to do some research to see what other rare forms show up.

Second, I fixed a couple of small bugs with neuter nouns and adjectives. There was a problem with them not showing up in the accusative (since neuters are always the same in the nominative, accusative and vocative). I also found a bug (but didn't have time to fix it) in some pronouns ... a pronoun like "neutrum" should be parsed as nominative, accusative and vocative, but it's only being parsed as accusative.

Finally, I applied for a grant for a new, faster, dedicated server. With any luck, they'll give me the grant and I'll have the new server up in a month or two!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

iPhone Client Bug

There was a small bug in the iPhone/iPod touch AJAX code that prevented it from working. I've fixed that for the time being. Sorry!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

As promised, more updates...

I have no major updates, just small ones.

I cleaned up a bit more backend code so smallish bugs are slowly disappearing.

One of the most important things I've been doing lately is making the site "search engine" and "standards" friendly. I set the language to English officially, except on certain tags which are known to contain only Latin. On those, I set the language to Latin with the lang attribute. Also, I've been cleaning up the code to conform to XHTML 1.1 strict standards. Although my pages are not perfectly strict yet, they're definitely coming along.

Next, I cleaned up the styles on the flashcards page, since I hope students might start using that feature.

Finally, I added a couple of more paradigms. I added the relative indefinite pronoun (quicumque, quaecumque, quodcumque) and the reflexive pronoun (sui, sibi, se, se). You should know that the sui, sibi, se, se are listed alphabetically under a non-existant pronoun su. It makes sense, doesn't it, to conform with the tu, tui, tibi, te, te paradigm? I expect some experts will think this is weird, but since my database lexical entries for pronouns are entirely nominative, I didn't have much choice. Besides, I don't think it's a big problem. It happens in Greek dictionaries all the time where the "unknown" lexical form is listed with the asterisk/star, denoting a "probable but unattested form".


Monday, August 11, 2008

Paradigm Updates

I spent a few minutes today and added the demonstrative pronouns is, iste and idem and the paradigms for R type possessive pronouns noster and vester/voster. I also added the three defective verbs, coepi, odi and memini. Finally, I added the eo and ferre verb conjugations.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Prettying up the Joint

So I haven't had as much free time as I wanted this week. I've been busy at my day job getting everything "taken care of" before my last day there on August 13th. After that, I'll just be contracting with them for 5 hours a week, because I'll be a full time teaching and grading assistant for the University of New Mexico Foreign Languages and Literatures Department. I'm pretty excited about that!

Nevertheless, I had a few hours free tonight, so I did some sprucing up. I made some icons, fixed some style sheets and squashed some small bugs. There are a few things I want to include before the semester starts:
  • Add a few pronoun paradigms: is and iste for sure.
  • Add some verb paradigms: perhaps volo verbs.
  • Fix up the database backend, especially in the realm of update cascades (it's technical, and you're probably wondering what that means -- don't worry, it'll make things better).
  • Speed up the morphology lookup. It's not slow by any means, coming in at approximately 100 milliseconds per word. But still, I think I can get it down to 40ms. Every bit helps, especially if this site ever gets popular!
  • Make a new database and web server. Right now it's being graciously hosted at the place I work here on campus (Natural Heritage New Mexico). I've been the system admin there for about 5 years, but now -- as I wrote earlier in this post -- I won't be there for very much longer.
I'm sure there's more to update, but I think it's time to take a break for the evening. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Official OpenID Support

It's official! I've just completed the first phase of OpenID support. You no longer have to remember a username and password for this site.

How does it work? When you sign in simply type in your OpenID and you'll be taken to your provider which will validate your username and password. Depending on your provider, you might have to pass some tests (like captchas) or set an expiration date for your login.

OpenID is a fairly new and big concept for the Internet. Version 2.0 has just recently been ratified, so it's starting to get big exposure. In fact, Yahoo! now officially supports OpenID. For Yahoo! it's easy: just type in "" as your OpenID and they do the rest. Others who are known to offer support with a "special" URL are Blogger, AIM/AOL, LiveJournal, Verisign and Wordpress. For instance, my LiveJournal OpenID would be the same as my LiveJournal user page ( Others are jumping on the bandwagon as we speak. Myspace has officially announced support for OpenID, but when it will launch is unknown. In some cases, mine for instance, you can even "centralize" an OpenID on your own domain, a feature which works with many sites, but unfortunately not with Yahoo. But it does work with Verisign. For example, I set up my site as a "relying party" for my Verisign OpenID. I have a Verisign OpenID, but I can also use "" as my OpoenID, which then takes me to, which then validates my identification (username, password, fingerprints, security devices, pictures, captchas, etc). Once I'm signed in, it sends me back to the site where I was trying to login, and -- presto-change-o -- I'm logged in.

I'm excited about OpenID and I'm happy to offer it on this site. Personally, I hate having a username and password for every single site I visit. Sometimes my username is not available. Sometimes they have weird password rules. Some are longer, some are shorter, some want more numerals, more symbols and more uppercase letters. It gets to be a real hassle. Someday I hope to narrow my "password" list down to three logins total: a "throwaway" login, a "normal security level" login, and a "high security level" login. We should all be so lucky.

OpenID is very secure (using a lot of back-and-forth encryption and verification) but the "mental process" or "social engineering aspect" does present some security risks for you, but only if you're not careful. Always make sure that any site which accepts OpenID sends you to the real site. don't type in your password unless you're positive you're on the right site! Any hack can mockup a "fake" (but real-looking) Verisign or Yahoo! login page. It's up to you to make sure it's the real deal. Look at the address bar in your browser -- if it's real, it'll be at or If it's fake, you'll see sometihng stupid like Never ever ever trust an OpenID in a "new window" or in a "new tab" or in a "popup." Those are almost surely fakes.

Sorry about the rant, but since OpenID is such a new technology, there are going to be a lot of losers out there trying to take advantage of this great technology. Now, back to our regularly scheduled update...

There are a few features that I still have to implement to make this site's OpenID implementation perfectly complete: allowing you to change your OpenID once you've started an account, remembering your OpenID between sessions, and merging multiple accounts. But those aren't big show stoppers, and anyway these features should be up and running shortly. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Back End Improvements

So now that the site is "live" Google has been indexing it like mad. There are approximately 18,000 pages on this site (because every word gets its own page), and Google decided to hit every single one of them. Today.

So, the good news is, we survived. The better news is that I was able to see some "holes" in the security and indexing. So, I patched up a few holes and verified and tested the registration and sign on system. I also added a robots.txt, updated the blog archives so they work and programmatically titled every page so when you see them in a search engine, you'll know exactly what you're looking at.

Well, I'm exhausted. I've been working on this site for 3 days straight, in between sleeping and doing my regular 40-hour-per-week summer job. So maybe I'll just leave it be for a few days and see how it fairs.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Into the Great Wide Open

There's still a lot of work to be done on this site, but the main dictionary features are in place. You can search in Latin and search in English, you can browse Latin words, and coolest of all is the word study tool. The word study tool allows you to type (or copy and paste from any Latin source such as The Latin Library) up to 50,000 words -- and see the words parsed, identified and defined.

Another cool feature, one which is in development, is the flashcards feature. Anytime you see a word you want to study, just check the "I want a flashcard" option. Then, you can print out a list of your flashcards on Avery Business Cards! A planned feature is to be able to study your flashcards online, and keep "sets" of flashcards.

One feature which is not ready yet -- but coming soon -- is the paradigm creator. When completed, The Latin Lexicon will create a full paradigm for any word in the dictionary!

Currently under development is The Latin Lexicon for iPhone/iPod touch. If you have one of these fantastic little devices, give it a try!

There's a lot to come, so this application will remain in beta for a while. Even so, I hope you find it useful!

Video Tutorials