Friday, 13 April 2012
Don’t take it personally. I'm just not concerned about your
preferences, or mine for that matter. My goal is to design efficient
workflows that everyone benefits from.
Scribes Developer —
Emotional Software Engineering
The above is from an interesting blog post on the demands
of software engineering. I am not sure that I agree with it, but I
have to admit that I like what such a philosophy has produced in the
form of the Scribes Text Editor.
This is a fast, sleek, and powerful text editor for GNOME that actually
seems to succeed fairly well at being distraction minimal. Is it really
better to focus on efficiency rather than the emotional desires of
2012-04-13 19:46:13  link
Thursday, 29 March 2012
The virtually unquestioned assumption at the time of the
legislation's passage was that a more-or-less final decision on the
legislation would await a U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the package has
been virtually without comment.
The Constitution Must Win in 2012, II.: The Myth of Judicial Supremacy
This is a good read on the Judiciary, but I also want to point out
something else that I think people often overlook.
Not only does the Constitution expressly limit the Judiciary,
so also it limits the rest of the Federal Government.
People seem to think that the government is
whatever they want it to be. In some sense they are correct, but you
have only two choices if you want to fundamentally alter the government;
you do it legally by legally amending the United States Constitution,
or you ignore the Constitution and implicitly support a government that
defies the Law and the foundation that protects the liberty and
prosperity of our country. Most people jump at the chance to support
a criminal government, and I shudder to think of it.
The Constitution was never designed to govern a people; it was
designed to govern a government, to restrict and limit the powers of
that government so that the people were protected from it. One need
look no further than the history of Hitler's rise to power to understand
the need for such limits, but Americans today are embracing the creation
of a demon in the raiments of an angel, feeding the demon on the smoke
and ash of a burning, dying Constitution and in exchange this demon feeds
them the life blood of their fellow man. Instead of revulsion and ire,
Americans are lapping up the blood of their fellows as if it were always
theirs, as if it were their birthright.
As America cheers the slaughter of their kin, so one day will their
beloved demon expose the chains of their slavery and America will
cry out in self-righteousness as this demon drags them to the altar of
social justice and personal
rights, an altar they built themselves
with all eagerness, to be sacrificed in turn to
their fellows, all the while wondering in surprise and shock at how this could have
I pray that Americans today will stand up, listen, and
remember the cycle of history, and of power, and of slavery, and
the blood and the suffering endured to lift a people from this anguish;
that they will not abandon the principles and hope that have given
America cause to rejoice. I pray, but I have little enough faith in
the endurance or character of our generation to expect change for the
better; history, if anything, teaches us that man does not learn from
2012-03-29 17:23:09  link
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Making a difference, however, means more than cheering
from the sidelines or writing a check; it means making smart decisions
on how to make a difference—not waiting for the world’s governments to
solve all the world’s problems.
— James Carafano,
I like the conclusion to this article a lot, but overall, I like the
message of the rest of the post nearly as much. I will put my own
thoughts on this as well: government is not the solution to the world's
problems; good people making a difference outside of government, rather
than expecting governments to fix their lives is.
2012-03-14 23:29:08  link
Tuesday, 06 March 2012
I have previously written about my initial impressions of my recently
acquired Truly Ergonomic keyboard. They were mostly positive, but at the
time I was not able to say anything about the ergonomic claims of the
keyboard without becoming used to the thing. Now that I have had a
chance to use the keyboard daily in a few different environments I am
pleased to report on my findings. Generally speaking, this is definitely
one of the better keyboards in terms of ergonomic comfort and typing
efficiency. The layout has few changes, but these changes manage to
effect significant ergonomic gains.
Proceeding inward from the macro to the micro, let us first consider
the form factor in general and the dimensions of the keyboard as a
whole. In particular, many ergonomic keyboards including the Kinesis
Advantage, Maltron, Microsoft Natural, and most in-store boards are
large, if not larger than a normal board. This makes mousing rather
difficult, and forces more use of the keyboard. Many claim that this
is a good thing, but I am convinced that proper mousing in the right
context is both more efficient and more gentle. If the mouse is too
far away, the mouse cannot be used properly. The TEK is very narrow
compared to other systems and thus makes mousing much easier.
Initially, I was not sure of the angle of the straight/column
aligned keys, but now that I have used it more, I think the angle
quite good. The column aligned keys took some more practice to master,
but are excellent for minimizing large travel of the hands.
Overall, the layout of the alphanumeric keys is excellent, but what
of the modifier keys? These are placed at the sides of the keyboard in
a uniform manner. This uniformity makes it much easier to use these
keys, kecause they are uniformly large. The placement of the shift
keys seems strange at first, but its practice bears up quite nicely
under longer term scrutiny, partially because moving the shift keys
up on the keyboard not only makes the shift nicer and easier to use
but also improves the accessibility of the other modifier keys, since
they now have more room below.
There are a few keys which have less appeal. In particular, the
tilde key is the hardest key to reach among those keys that might be
reached while still maintaining some tactile connection to the home
row. On the whole however, the positions of the keys is remarkably
conservative while being impressively superior to the traditional
layout, especially if one considers hand usage balance.
Finally, the key switches are as light and pleasant as promised.
I think these switches are pretty standard, so I will say only that
they deserve the respect they receive among mechanical key switch
In summary, the TEK is a deceptively clever keyboard with good
ergonomics and only a few minor inconveniences. It is among the most
ergonomic of keyboards for either the price, form factor, or in general.
I can heartily recommend this keyboard for anyone who wants a good
keyboard that is affordable and yet still in the top leagues of
2012-03-06 19:02:05  link
It is now possible to easily use the latest version of ChezWEB on the
Silo machine or any other machine with Chez Scheme 8.4 installed on the
Sharks or Burrow networks, since I have installed a public version of the
latest version of ChezWEB. Here is a set of commands that will do it for
$ cd ~/bin
$ ln -s /nobackup/awhsu/ChezWEB/cheztangle
$ ln -s /nobackup/awhsu/ChezWEB/chezweave
$ mkdir -p ~/texmf/tex/generic
$ cd ~/texmf/tex/generic
$ ln -s /nobackup/awhsu/ChezWEB/chezwebmac.tex
I hope those of you who use ChezWEB like it! For those of you who don't,
well, too bad, and I'm sorry.
Update: it would help if the commands were actually valid.
2012-03-06 18:43:32  link
Copyright © 2013 Aaron W. Hsu. All right reserved.