October 19, 2015
April 24, 2015
If you understand the title and want to see the instructions, see after the fold.
January 26, 2015
I stumbled across a neat language called Rust recently. What makes it interesting to me is that it’s billed as a replacement for C that is type safe and memory safe without a garbage collector. Rust has been ported to Arm Cortex M4 and the lack of mandatory garbage collector means that it should run well on constrained systems. Apparently it also has a good concurrency model, but I don’t know much about that yet. I also recently discovered Project Euler, which is a bunch of curated math problems. Well, now I’ve started solving the Project Euler problems in rust. If you’re interested, you can find the few problems that I’ve solved so far on github. They’re probably not ideal solutions since I’m not an expert at math, rust, or efficient algorithms, but one has to start somewhere.
June 20, 2014
One of my side goals is to increase my typing speed. I do touch type, but I have some bad habits, and I was only typing at about 25 to 30 words a minute. I’ve tried many typing programs both online and installed locally. I’ve narrowed down to my two favorites; GNU Typist (gtypist) and Amphetype. Both of these are command line programs which work well on linux. They also run on windows according to the descriptions. gtypist includes full lessons all the way from home row beginner to speed drills with a fair amount of mixed text. Amphetype (which is becoming my favorite) is all speed drills using text you import. I imported the text to The Hobbit and I’ve been having a blast. Gtypist is very polished, but once you’ve been through the speed drills a couple of times, it starts getting repetitive. Because I can import a whole novel into Amphetype, it doesn’t get boring for me. I’m now up to about 45 words per minute, which was my goal, but I think I can push that goal up to 55 WPM now.
update 2014-07-12: I’ve managed to average 55 wpm, but I struggle to get consistently faster than that. It might be time to move on to other minor obsessions.
June 10, 2014
Some day, I would like to be a real programmer. One of the steps that seems necessary is to get a deeper understanding of algorithms. I’ve settled on two books that I’d like to get through on the way to that goal.
- The first is The Algorithm Design Manual by Steve S. Skiena. It uses pseudo-code and C (or C++) to describe the algorithms. Some higher math is needed, or at least the ability to decipher summations in Sigma notation. I’ve read up to chapter 3, and I like the book a lot even though it makes my head hurt.
- The second book is Python Algorithms by Magnus Lie Hetland. As the title suggests, the algorithms are described in Python. I’ve gotten through chapter 2. This book is dense too.
If I don’t understand something in one book, I try to find a similar example in the other book. The explanations are different enough that I can usually (so far) understand one or the other.
May 2, 2014
Xubuntu 14.04 has decided to abscond with a couple of keys that I use for emacs, and I want them back! The first key is C-space, which emacs uses for setting a mark. I use this all the time and I’m not willing to do without it. It turns out that there is this feature called IBus which steals the key and uses it to switch input methods (for entering foreign characters I’ve read). To change this behavior, right-click on the ibus panel applet, and select preferences. You’ll see “Next input method” and it’s bound to C-space by default. you can use the intuitive “…” button to change this. I changed it to FN-space (called “Launc6” on my keyboard). Next up is the capslock key, which I rarely use except in shell scripts. I’d like to bind it to the ctl key. Since I haven’t decided whether I want to do this permanently, I wrote a script to give me some options.
#!/bin/bash case "$1" in caps) ;; nocaps) ;; swapcaps) ;; *) CMDNAME=`basename $0` echo "Usage:" echo "$CMDNAME [caps|nocaps|swapcaps]" echo "----------------------" echo "$CMDNAME will adjust the mapping of your left ctl and capslock keys." echo "an argument 'swapcaps' swaps the two keys" echo "'nocaps' changes the capslock to a ctl and leaves the left ctl as-is" echo "'caps' returns the keys to the original settings" exit 1 ;; esac /usr/bin/setxkbmap -option '' -option "ctrl:$1"
Run it with no arguments to get some help. I currently prefer nocaps.
April 26, 2014
My .emacs is below the fold. I use emacs a lot, but I’ve not done much customization until I needed to work with rails.
dotemacs linked now since I update it frequently.
I’ve finally gotten on the github train. Find my emacs init file there.
April 25, 2014
Just some quick links. I want to use emacs for my rails development and these sites are helping:
- emacs 24 rails development
I’ve settled on a projectile-rails, flymake-ruby, robe based setup. The second link at lorefnon.me is closest to my current setup.
September 15, 2013
I’ve always been a fan of learn by doing. I think that’s what homework is supposed to be for. There are two problems with homework though. First, the exercises always seemed like pointless repetition to me. The second problem (which may actually be the whole problem) is that the feedback loop is really slow. You take the lesson, do the homework overnight, hand it in and get feedback the day after that. Maybe the reason it seemed like pointless repetition to me was that it was hard to connect the lesson to the results of my homework. There are other problems with the education. One problem is how concepts are explained, but I’ll let Kalid at betterexplained.com rail about those. Read below the fold for more on fast feedback courses.
rage against slow feedback!
June 26, 2011
I have dropped out of WoW again. I logged in one day, and I couldn’t bring myself to do anything more then spin my character at the selection screen. After trying EVE again for a couple of days (there was a 5 day free account reactivation), I decided on trying to put together a web application idea that has been kicking around among my friends for a while.