Unicode 6 Emoticons

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Unicode 6 Emoticons

Xah Lee, 2011-01-28

Unicode version 6 is released in 2010-10.

This version adds 2088 chars. One thing interesting is that it adds about 608 emoticons, with names such as GRINNING CAT FACE WITH SMILING EYES 😸. You can see them at: U60-1F600.pdf.

unicode emoji

Unicode 6's emoji (Japanese emoticons)

Apparently, emoticons are widely used in Japan in mobile phones, and it's called Emoji. There's a FAQ about it here: Emoji and Dingbats @ unicode.org emoji dingbats.

See also Emoticons for history and rich variations.

Unicode 6 is nice in that it added many symbols i was looking for but unable to find. I think the following are all from Unicode 6:

ok, thumb up, thumb down, fist πŸ‘Œ πŸ‘ πŸ‘Ž πŸ‘Š

  • SKULL•πŸ’€
  • fast forward
  • rewind
  • fast upward
  • fast downward
  • fast forward to end
  • rewind to end
  • play/stop

The official site for Unicode 6 is at http://www.unicode.org/versions/Unicode6.0.0/.

make emacs understand Unicode 6

There are these unicode symbols

  • πŸ‘Œ #x1f44c OK HAND SIGN
  • πŸ‘ #x1f44d THUMBS UP SIGN
  • πŸ‘Ž #x1f44e THUMBS DOWN SIGN

when calling describe-char on them, it doesn't give their names. Is this a bug?

That's because these chars are from Unicode version 6, released in 2010-10.

Unicode 6 added 2088 chars. I don't think there are any fonts that support them yet. However, if you do unicode work, you can add char info to emacs so that “describe-char” will give you all the char's info. You need to download a text file 〔UnicodeData.txt〕. For detail, see: Emacs and Unicode Tips.

(thanks to Jason Rumney and Klaus Straubinger. Source groups.google.com.)

See also: Unicode 6 Emoticons.

Mouse Wheel: Smooth Scroll vs Notched Scroll

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Mouse Wheel: Smooth Scroll vs Notched Scroll

Xah Lee, 2011-01-28

You know how some mouse's scroll wheel is smooth? For example, most of Microsoft's mouses are smooth scroll. Put your middle finger on it, move your finger forward and backward, and the resistance does not vary — smooth rolling.

However, there's another type that's popular in gaming mouses — a notched scrolling mechanism. The wheel's physical shape and appearance is still smooth, but the rolling mechanism has notches built-in. When you roll it, about every 1/18 turn of the wheel (20°), it has a “stop”.

I have both. I've been using 2 mouses, one for each hand, since about 1994. Sometimes i use the left mouse (with left hand), sometimes i use the right mouse (with right hand), whichever is convenient at the moment.

Microsoft sidewinder x3 mouse 2

“Microsoft Sidewinder X3” amazon

Currently, my left mouse is “Microsoft SideWinder X3 Mouse”. (wired) amazon. My right hand's mouse is a popular IntelliMouse Explorer. (wireless) amazon.

The SideWinder X3 gaming mouse's scroll mechanism is notched. I noticed, that i actually prefer the notched feel. Because, it gives me a precise, more definite, control of how far to scroll, or to return to previous point. When you roll the wheel, it's always in increment of 1 notch, 2 notches, 3 notches, etc. You don't have to eye-ball the page to know how much you've scrolled.

With the smooth wheel, there's no tactile feedback on how much you've scrolled. You must judge by eye-balling the page. This is especially so in situations when you need to scroll back to re-read the paragraph above that you just viewed.

The advantage of smooth wheel is that you can scroll micro amount — like one single line. This sounds great, but i find that i almost never need to do that. When i need fine control of scrolling, i find it best to drag the scroll bar on the window.

Logitech G9 mouse Logitech G9 mouse wheel

“Logitech G9 Laser Mouse” amazon, offers a wheel that can switch between smooth mode and notched mode.

Some fancy mouse, such as “Logitech G9 Laser Mouse” , offers a wheel that can switch between smooth mode and notched mode. For example, their ad pitches it this way:

MicroGear Precision Scroll Wheel

Dual-mode scroll wheel provides precise click-to-click scrolling that's perfect for weapon selection in games. Or, switch to frictionless hyper-fast scrolling to fly through long Web pages.

What percentage has javascript turned off?

What's the percentage of web browsers with javascript turned off?

That's a hard question to answer. Google Webmaster Tools doesn't have it. Google Analytics doesn't answer it. Web statistics sites don't have the info. Because, it's something you have to specifically design a test to know the answer. Searching the web usally gives you anecdotal answers too, but i found one good source:

How many users have JavaScript disabled? (2010-10-13) By Nicholas C Zakas. @ Source developer.yahoo.com

In short, it's about 1% to 2%.


Demand Media Content Farm

Wondering why Google Search is getting worse and why there's so much lousy written crap on the web? Thanks to, Demand Media. They are content farms. Hire cheap writers, pay them some like $15 for few hundred words, then spam the web. Churning out 5k articles per day. What are some of their sites? eHow.com , Answerbag.com , Livestrong.com , AllSands.com , WebGuru.com , happynews.com , writeforcash.com , ExpertVillage.com , essortment.com …

Demand Media's Planet of the Algorithms “Fresh off its IPO, Demand Media is blanketing the Web with answers to millions of questions you didn't know you had. Is that a business?” (2011-01-26) By Felix Gillette. Source www.businessweek.com

new edition of Tilings and Patterns book

Looks like a great out of print book Tiling and Patterns (1986) By Branko GrunbaΓΌm and G C Shaphard, is being republished by Dover. amazon

I'd say this is best math book i've ever read. (technically, i'd put this book in one of the top 10 i've read, because there are quite a lot good math books on various topics and written with different style for different audiences.)

below is some very old articles i wrote, about the book and other math books.

I worked intensively on tilings for about a year in around ~1997. The most mathematical is: The Discontinuous Groups of Rotation and Translation in the Plane, which are linked a lot. It is basically my own learning notes. All images are generated by Mathematica, a package i wrote: Plane Tiling Mathematica Package. I'll be updating it from Mathematica v3 to v7 in next few days. At the time, i wanted to create a most versatile software that generates any type of tilings, decorative patterns, without human intervention. A sort of AI in the spirit of Douglas Hofstadter. (See: GΓΆdel, Escher, Bach amazon) Of course, i didn't get that far. For gallery, see: Geometric Tilings and Patterns Image Gallery.

All these pages are written in late 1990s. Much update needs to be done, on the html and the writing too.

Theodore Gray, on ebook

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Theodore Gray, on ebook

Xah Lee, 2011-01-26

Theodore Gray, co-founder of Wolfram Research, gives a extremely interesting point of view about electoric books. The video is 33 minutes long, but worth every minute of it.

Theodore Gray, Wolfram Research - Learning Without Frontiers

In first 15 or so min of the vid, he discusses some of his experiences in producing ebook in early 1990s, and also his widely popular project about building a actual wooden table containing all elements in the periodic table. See his websites here: periodicTableTable.comperiodictable.com. It's enjoyable to see him talk. He's always very funny.

His remarks on the exorbitant prices of text books today also hits the spot.

In later half of the vid, his talk gradually ascended onto the issues of education, electronic books, publishing, and the impact of iPad, ebook's future.

A most enjoyable talk to listen to.


xahlee.blogger vs xahlee.org

latest articles from past few days.

not sure it makes much sense to keep mirroring my articles here.

the original motivation to have a blog on blogger instead of just on xahlee.org is partly a experimentation. Because blogger is mainstream blogging and as such it provides many nice features, such as vote widget, and thousands others... basically, you don't need to know even html to have all these features and formats, and you get traffic analysis and everything.

while, my site xahlee.org is manually crafted with emacs with bunch of other tools in Perl,Python, rsync...

it's actually faster to write stuff in my home cooked system. But for everything i haven't done or written code before, i can't do it till i took days to look into it and come up with a solution.

for example, the web feed. With blogger, it's brainless, already there. You don't have to do anything and you have webfeed, comment, and all.

but for my site xahlee.org, i recall it took few days to look into the web feed tech and eventually have written a code in elisp. see: How to Update Webfeed with Emacs LispAtom Webfeed Basics. The comment system also took days to research and finally i used disqus service (which means, insert js code to all my 5k pages) (See: How to Add a Comment System to Website.) Same thing for adding other things such as email/twitter/buzz/fb link, search box... (See: Adding A Google Custome Search Widget.)

and suppose i want to be able to have a voting widget. With blogger, it takes 5 min to look into the widge collection and install it in few click, all done within 3 minutes. Now for my site, it'll take days to research for such a widget, or write my own... ( Xah's PHP TutorialXah's Javascript Tutorial ) .

But for things i've already looked into, it's usually much faster to work with on my site. I can create links, insert inline images, source code with syntax highlight, add entry to web feed, update web feed, all semi-automatically within emacs, that can be done much faster than GUI with blogger. I can update my site site-wide. Say, change style, or add widgets etc to all 5k pages, easily with elisp, perl, python. But that is almost impossible with blogger as far as i know.

the other advantage is that blogger, being a mainstream blogging service, often have different search result behavior even if it the exact same content is on my site. For example, if i wrote a new article, and create both a blogger version and a version on my site at the same time, the blogger version is indexed by Google pretty much instaneously, while my site's version gets indexed in a few days.

also when you Google search, by blogs, the blogger version would show there of course. While the same article on xahlee may not, because i think Google doesn't usually consider pages at xahlee.org as blogs. (which makes perfect sense.) (on the other hand, i think articles on xahlee tend to show up in the long run. I think articles on blog sites quickly get forgotten.)

another good point with blogger is that it is familiar to people. The interface and domain clearly tells people it is a blog. So, for some articles, it is more suitable.

also, based on the past year traffic, i'd say having a blogger mirror of some of my article does increase traffic, when comparing the combined traffic vs just xahlee.org. For some reason, some bots or social media sites will link to my blogger. (in some sense, articles on blog sites are considered hip, as part of the social media movement of late years. It's part of web 2.0. Very few people still write articles manually in html without some content management system.)

another motivation to use blogger originally was that it provides one stop for people who wants to subscribe my 5 or so blogs in different subjects. (though, pretty much just my emacs has sizable readers. (because it's the most professional with a focus. While my programing blog, web dev blog, art, sex, etc are more just unfocused personal thoughts))

but again a problem with putting diverse random subjects in bloggers is that it just become unfocused.

... if you havent done so, you can subscribe to specific subject on my site, at Subscribe To XahLee.org Site Feed.

am kinda undecided on what should be done with blogger... Let me know what you think?

actually, i do have a question. I know for some who choose to subscribe my emacs blog only at xahlee.org because they just want to read about emacs. But i also know some subscribe to xahlee.blogger. I'm wondering, if you are a subscriber of my blogger, is it because of the convience of place to read for all my subjects? or is it because the familarity and convenience of blogger format/interface? Thanks.


emacs org-mode open in expanded view

If you use org mode, you can set it to not open files in folded view. Put the following in your “.emacs”:

(setq org-startup-folded nil )

I find this useful because when i do interactive find and replace on multiple files, if the org mode files open in folded view, you won't see what's being replaced.

If you prefer to open org mode files in folded view, one solution is to temporarily set the variable org-startup-folded to nil before you do find&Replace in a dir. Just call “set-variable”.

China owns the fastest computer

China Built the World's Fastest Computer

You hear China being on the rise in the past few years right? But i'm totally taken back now.

The world's fastest super computer is from china now. See: China Owns the Fastest Supercomputer …Now What? (video) @ Source singularityhub.com.

“China Has World's Fastest Supercomputer”

Here's Wikipedia listing of fastest computer: Fastest computer. Funny that they all run Linux. LOL.

Also on the news is that china also built the “longest bridge”. See: China Completes World’s Longest Bridge – More than 26 Miles! (2011-01-18) @ Source singularityhub.com. Here's Wikipedia article: List of longest bridges in the world.


Swap Mouse Buttons: Right-Click and Middle Click

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Swap Mouse Buttons: Right-Click and Middle Click

Xah Lee, 2011-01-23

Another input device productivity tip: Swap your right button and middle button's actions.


“Razer Naga MMOG Laser Gaming Mouse” amazon (See: Best Mouse for Programers and AutoHotkey Keyboard Macros.)

Why you should Swap Right-Click and Middle-Click

Why? The right-click action is not much used, and middle-click is much useful. And right button is much easier to press than pressing the mouse wheel.

The right-click almost always activates a context menu. For majority of people, that's mostly used in browser, and not very often.

The mouse wheel button by default does several more useful things in all major browsers:

  • Click on a link to open it in new tab.
  • Click on a tab to close it. (no need to aim for that little X.)
  • Click on a empty spot to start auto-scroll. Useful for fast scroll (faster than mouse-wheel) and for scrolling a page sideways

How to swap right-button and middle-button?

If you have Microsoft mouse, its bundled software (IntelliPoint) can easily do that. I believe Logitech mouse also has bundled software that lets you swap easily.

Otherwise, on Windows, you can use AutoHotkey. Here's the AutoHotkey code to swap:


You can also use AutoHotkey to change the actions for the 4th and 5th buttons. See: AutoHotkey Basics.

If you don't want to spend a hour to study AutoHotkey, use paypal button below, pay $2. In the comment field, put “swap mouse buttons”. I'll email you a utility that does that. (just run it, that's all). Make sure your email address is included and correct.

Combinatorics and Space-Filling Curves

Robert Dickau has done many nice combinatorial diagrams with Mathematica. For example, here's some i like:

His home page robertdickau.com has many more. You can also get many of his interactive Mathematica files at demonstrations.wolfram.com.

You might also enjoy a combinatoric diagram i did. See: Number Of Ways To Loop n Points. (it was done with Mathematica v3. I'll update the notebook to v7 soon.)

loop thru n points

Possible loops with 5 points:

Many of Robert's work are about space filling curves. It is one of the math i learned in early 1990s that had a big effect on me. In short, it shows that there are same number of points of one side of a square to the square itself. At the time, it was a shock to mathematicians. See: Space-filling curve, and Xah's Top 10 Math Wonders.

3D Gel Breast Mousepad

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