2014-09-15

programing pains and idiocy: trim whitespace

in emacs, there's a command that trim whitespace. But, wouldn't it be great if when a file is saved, the command auto runs? But then, when working in a team, if you do that, and commit, people will frown upon, as consequences of diff and log all become spurious. Thus, born is various whitespace clean packages, that trim only if the file before edit is whitespace clean, or trim only on the lines you edited.

it's, like, becoming, idioticer and idioticer.

there are several problems here. The core is the most idiotic concept, that code are based on lines of 70 chars or so, which originated from punch cards, and insisted by unix C idiots, and glorified by hacker idiots about style guides and style guide checkers banana.

spurious software complexity that spun out of nowhere. Like, these days, you spend most of the time on the side things of coding. Time to learn the tools, work around the tools, follow new rules due to tools.

Programing Language Syntax Soup

2014-09-13

HTML 5: no need for “type="text/css"” attribute in “style” element

when using the “style” tag in HTML page, you can omit the type="text/css" part. Just write <style>…</style>.

does linux tiling window really suck? a challenge

a coder i respect highly, Yuri Khan, commented on my article about tiling windows.

i know at least that Yuri is expert at python and JavaScript, and also a master of keyboard config, like myself. He has commented on my blogs for over a year, and that's how i know. Often, i learn something from him, either something technical in a language, or history, Russian programing keyboard or typing issues, etc.

sometimes we disagree. He loves python, i hate python.

anyway, he commented on my tiling windows rant on how he finds it useful. (as a lot hackers do. I despise tiling windows, as i despise most hacker's love, such as the The Idiocy of Happy Hacking Keyboard)

i updated my tiling windows article, to include a alternative workflow, and i challenge anyone to use it for a week, and see if they still find tiling window or workspace useful.

here: Why Tiling Window Manager Sucks (xmonad, ratpoison, dwm, …)

if you don't know how to set the keys, just ask me by leaving a comment there.

plane curves, java applet obsolete, need JavaScript

just remembered, that i had a dream few days ago, that the plane curves website at St Andrews University (Scotland) http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/Curves/Curves.html converted their Java curve applet to modern JavaScript. Which is something i've been planning to do for my Visual Dictionary of Special Plane Curves site.

my old rival beats me!

crackpot letters


crackpot letters



John Baez's sample of crackpot letters he received.

see https://plus.google.com/+XahLee/posts/Ej2giAWZXwK

now and then i receive them too, i guess because i've been desperate to sell how smart i am on my websites for almost 2 decades now.

it's kinda strange and interesting that there are these people around. Sometimes you wonder if they are sincere or hoaxing, but apparently at least many of them are, as one can easily read tons of literature about UFOs and occult and conspiracy theories. (you can read Wikipedia for days on it.)

i'm a logical person. So, sometimes i give a hard try to read what they have to say, thinking that i'll have a solid analysis of the situation. But, basically it's just bizarre and doesn't make sense. Try to read what John posted and you'll see.

sometimes, some of these people are my readers or fan. So, that puts me in a awkward situation. If i show any hint of displeasure or disbelief, then perhaps i'd jeopardize a supporter.

some of these involves God, some psychology stuff.

one of the instance is when around 2001, a angle-trisector contacted me, and eventually met me in person, several times, he always treat for lunch, and paid me to help him publish his work. I end up doing some drawing for him. This is the most concrete crank that i actually came to know.

because i mostly write about programing that offends the hacker types of coders, i'm considered a crank by some. Though, think most of them are not serious.

However, there are a few who have become Xah Haters, who would take any opportunity to diss me online, when my name is mentioned. They would say i'm a idiot or dismiss my writings, in general bad mouth me. Usually, i've never ever responded to them. That usually made their behavior worse. (by the way, human nature is sometimes too predicable. As soon as i responded to them in some nice way, they go away. But, i pretty much NEVER.)

but, on the other hand, in the programing community, my maverick style also attracted a few that have crazy ideas. We'd communicate thru email, but then, i start to realize they have some strange ideas they want to tell me about or tries to get me involved. Psychology stuff, or religious, or …. It's really hard to describe. And, often they are secretive as well. I always prefer real name, and meet face to face or voice chat. But, typical hacker types are not even willing to disclose real name. So, it's nearly impossible to actually communicate with these guys for real. For example, some believe deeply in buddism... (no, it's not just that, but as i said it's hard to describe.) Then, there are one who believes in some kinda psycho therapy or something like that…

actually, a lot people in emacs community is pretty out there. I think it's because emacs and rms himself attracts very weird types.

but anyhow, i think in some philosophy aspect this is not too weird. Because, when you think about it, it's quite amazing that any 2 person can communicate at all about complex ideas. For example, let's say 2 animals, let's say 2 cats or a cat and dog. They can communicate anger, fear, submission, etc. How does the cat know what the dog is thinking? Easy, because the dog can't think of much of anything, except anger, happy, aggressive, passive, etc.

But for humans animals, we can communicate complex political ideas, philosophy problems, size of the universe, physics, mathematics, history, future. And in philosophy, at core is the mind body problem, free will problem, consciousness problem. I guess what am saying is that, the concept of thought is elusive, how can one possibly quantify possible human thoughts or beliefs (like a somewhat systematic thought set). Even some accomplished mathematicians, such as Godel, believes in ghosts and stuff.

2014-09-11

a typical todo list for part of my day

go thru this, make sure all latest articles are scheduled to tweet
Xah's Programing Blog
http://xahlee.info/comp/blog.html

go thru this, make sure all latest articles are scheduled to tweet
Xah's Web Dev Blog
http://xahlee.info/js/blog.html

• add new linux keyboard articles to
http://xahlee.info/kbd/keyboarding.html
at linux section.

• on this page
Linux: How to Swap Caps Lock & Escape Keys?
http://xahlee.info/kbd/linux_make_capslock_esc_key.html
make the capslock without kbd tag, in the question section

• review this pgae
Command Line Tool to View Comments in Image Files
http://xahlee.info/img/metadata_in_image_files.html

• clean up, create archive for
http://wordyenglish.com/lit/blog.html
and
Xah Emacs Blog
http://ergoemacs.org/emacs/blog.html

• schedule one tweet from
http://wordyenglish.com/lit/blog.html

2014-09-10

what switch mechanism does Space-cadet Keyboard use?

i learn that, the Symbolics lisp machine's Space-cadet Keyboard uses Honeywell Hall Effect key switch, which is the highest quality key switch.

space-cadet keyboard 5
Space-cadet Keyboard

According to: http://deskthority.net/wiki/Honeywell_Hall_Effect:

Introduced in 1968, Micro Switch (a division of Honeywell) adapted their Hall effect switch technology to work in keyboards. These switches are among the highest quality ever produced by any keyboard switch company, with reliability being paramount to their design. For increased reliability, there are both 3 pin and 4 pin designs of the switch. The 4 pin are +5, GND and dual open-collector outputs, allowing wired-or of the X, Y keyboard matrix. These switches are naturally bounce-free!

The patent itself originates from 1969, but the design is aesthetically very different from the produced switches.

The Honeywell Hall Effect switch is most famous on some Symbolics keyboards, as well as the Space-cadet keyboard.

Keyfeel: Smooth linear switch, makes Cherry MX Black switches feel like they have sandpaper on the stems.

thanks to Yuriy Pitometsu

2014-07-25

tablet friendly website, responsive design, css3

my website is now tablet friendly. More specifically, in portrait mode, the side bar doesn't show.
here's a sample page. 〈Xah CSS Tutorial〉 http://xahlee.info/js/css_index.html

for this to happen, it's very simple. See:
〈CSS: Media Query (Responsive Design)〉
http://xahlee.info/js/css_media_query.html

however, took me about 5 hours. Why O Why? that's how things are. We are not talking about old browsers or Internet Explorer 8. I'm designing only for “real modern” browsers. But, still, the pain won't go away. Why my paragraph width got shrinked on this modern Motorola Xoom super Android cynogenmod browser? Then, download Google Chrome browser, seems to work there. Then, try to find a way to determine just what browser is that one running in cynogenmod. Then, try CSS variations, then, try to read the spec. Then, try CSS variations, then, try to read the spec, more carefully. Then, rub ya gloss. Then, rub ya eyes. Why O Why this isn't expect. You know what i mean?

2014-07-24

GLONASS (Russian: ГЛОНАСС, IPA: [ɡlɐˈnas]; Глобальная навигационная спутниковая система), acronym for “Globalnaya navigatsionnaya sputnikovaya sistema” or “Global Navigation Satellite System”, is a space-based satellite navigation system operated by the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces. It provides an alternative to Global Positioning System (GPS) and is the only alternative navigational system in operation with global coverage and of comparable precision.