Sat 05 December 2020
Tue 01 December 2020
Pseudovalidation is a major goal of marketing and advertising. Actually validating a claim is expensive and often boring. Why not just make people feel like they’re important in some way?
But once you recognize it, pseudovalidation feels disrespectful: these people are lying to me and don’t even care if I know it:
Tue 17 November 2020
Sat 17 October 2020
I began an entry in July of 2018 with this:
The Amazon Kindle Fire HD10 (2017) is the high-end tablet of their line. The hardware is mediocre and the software is quite bad. I do not recommend you purchase this or any other Fire tablet… unless you have some very specific requirements.
I can now say this:
The Amazon Kindle Fire HD10 (2019) is the high-end tablet of their line. The hardware is mediocre and the software is quite bad. I can recommend that you purchase this tablet if you are comfortable with the use of
adb and command line tools. It is cheap ($95 on Prime Day) and capable of doing a number of useful things, such as…
Sun 04 October 2020
In the beginning of my experience, it wasn’t that computers had fonts so much as each computer had A Font, and that was how the computer talked to you. All of them were quite low resolution; blocky and bad.
Now I expect every character to be drawn in an appropriate, smooth, curved, and informatively differentiated typeface.
When did that change start, and when was it complete?
Sun 20 September 2020
How the RPG rules describe dice rolls:
this result on the dice is a critical success,
this range is a success,
that range is a failure,
this result is a critical failure.
How every RPG player feels about it:
this is a critical success,
this is nearly a critical success,
this is an excellent success,
these are very good successes,
this is a success,
that’s just a little failure,
that’s a failure,
these are failures too,
that result is a critical failure.
Mon 07 September 2020
Today I replaced the last spinning root disk in the house. The media server still has 4x3TB spinning disks, but the old 120GB spinning boot disk has been replaced by a cheap 1 TB SSD. Boot times improved dramatically, and the database access for various things now feels instantaneous.
Process follows, but it’s nothing extraordinary.
Tue 04 August 2020
One thing that UNIX users have that Mac and Windows users don’t: it’s generally quite easy to change their window manager theme – and to write/draw their own.
Window decorations – a frame, a titlebar, some buttons – are handled by the X11 window manager, which is itself a replaceable part. Window managers range from minimalist exercises in reductionism through gaudy feature-festivals like Enlightenment, the original perpetrator of shaped, translucent and transparent effects. But…
Wed 15 July 2020
Tue 23 June 2020
A departing co-op (student intern, paid) said that she had been told by another co-op that the company’s keywords were “clever, competent, and kind” and that she was amazed to discover that we all lived up to that.
Since I was the first person at the company to start using that phrase – in employment advertisements, where I was describing necessary traits of the people I wanted to hire – I am entirely chuffed.
Thu 18 June 2020
Tue 16 June 2020
Sat 13 June 2020
You probably already know this, but as a reminder:
sedis for inserting, replacing and deleting.
-icauses sed to edit in place.
pandocis for converting between text formats like HTML, Markdown, RST, TeX, various wikis…
calibrehas command-line subtools like
ebook-convertwhich can produce good EPUB from lots of other formats.
libreofficehandles typical office document tasks. Graphical.
sigilis specialized as an EPUB authoring tool. Graphical.
scribuscan do page-layout tasks up to full daily newspapers. Graphical.
With those and a good text editor, you can produce good-looking documents ranging from a business letter through a book.
Thu 11 June 2020
Mon 08 June 2020
Perl is the best language if it’s the language that you remember well enough.
My father loves math puzzles. He told me about one he was working on, and I did a quick estimate of how complex the answer space was and told him that it would be faster to have a computer try out every answer than to be clever about solving it.
Of course he wanted me to prove that, so I had to brush off Perl or Python. For some reason, Perl felt better.