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Micro posting in May

May 27, 2020


Always demand a deadline. A deadline weeds out the extraneous and the ordinary. It prevents you from trying to make it perfect, so you have to make it different. Different is better. — 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice

2020-05-02: Emacs as a Shell. #emacs
2020-05-02: What scientists must know about hardware to write fast code. #julia

Programming is used in many fields of science today, where individual scientists often have to write custom code for their own projects. For most scientists, however, computer science is not their field of expertise; They have learned programming by necessity.


Yes, make Emacs appealing and user friendly. But don’t forget that a masterful tool in the end requires mastery, which can’t come for free. I certainly draw the line at saying Emacs is for everyone. I’m not saying it’s only for some sort of snooty “elite” but I am saying that it’s for those who are willing to learn, seeing some extra work as the aforementioned long-term investment, and who have the patience reach a worthy goal a little later rather than right this very minute. — Making Emacs popular again

2020-05-08: Evolution of Emacs Lisp (PDF, 55 pp.). #emacs
2020-05-11: Just checking some old emails; the latest version of mu is (still) blazing fast! Already 7 years and counting.

2020-05-11: Trust me, I’m pretty happy with that old good Mojave and the full iTunes!

2020-05-13: How did I miss the website for Emacs Racket mode? #racket
2020-05-13: I took some days off lately. Meanwhile, cooking and gardening went all fine!

2020-05-13: The rise of interest in VSC is pretty interesting, compared to that of Atom few years ago, although I’m a bit surprised that Emacs remains such a niche for programmers (and probably writers as well).

Oh boy, this is hot! Really hot! I mean why fan in my laptop spins like I’m playing a video game? Oh, it’s because I’ve opened these two editors side by side.
Just kidding. It’s fine, but this performance-related pun is still a thing, unfortunately, because each of those editors eats more memory and CPU cycles than Sublime Text, and overall performance is not that good. Why? Because these editors are not exactly editors. These two are web browsers that were turned into text editors. — Andrey Orst on Text Editors

2020-05-13: Bringing React Native to Windows & Mac devices. Is this an laternative to the good old Electron way of delivering so-called native apps on your preferred OS?
2020-05-13: How Lisp Became God’s Own Programming Language. #lisp
2020-05-13: Janet. #lisp> The entire language (core library, interpreter, compiler, assembler, PEG) is less than 1Mb.
2020-05-14: Customizing org-mode LaTeX output. #emacs

Now it is 25 years later and the bootstrap baby is old enough to be in grad school. I have had some second thoughts about the bootstrap—its strengths and weaknesses, its foundations, what it can and cannot do, what it might do in the future—and these second thoughts are what I will talk about, briefly, here. — Second Thoughts on the Bootstrap, by Bradley Efron

2020-05-15: A Baby Steps Guide to Managing Your Tasks with Org. #emacs
2020-05-15: Deno is a simple, modern and secure runtime for JavaScript and TypeScript that uses V8 and is built in Rust. It looks like a solid successor to Node.

Another interesting answer assumed that “the test of time” is somehow a cosmic optimization. But as every biologist knows, Darwinian processes “find fits” to an environment, and if the environment is lacking, then the fits will be lacking. Similarly, if most computer people lack understanding and knowledge, then what they will select will also be lacking. There is abundant evidence today that this is just what has happened. — Alan Kay himself, in response to the Quora thread What did Alan Kay mean by, “Lisp is the greatest single programming language ever designed”?

2020-05-18: I upgraded to Emacs 27 recently, and I found two little annoying things: there’s now a warning about the cl package that has been deprecrated for a long time now (everything is okay in Doom core modules, this is just the packages flyspell-lazy and persp-mode which happen to trigger the warning with their (require 'cl)), and Ivy posframe gets sometimes stuck. I encountered some freezing issues as well, but this may well be due to the with-no-titlebar option in the HEAD version of emacs-plus. #emacs
2020-05-18: Much better base colors in R 4.0 ;-)

d <- transform(, rnorm(30))), g = gl(3, 10))
plot(V1 ~ V2, data = d, col = g, pch = 19)

2020-05-18: A Free, Interactive Course Using Tidy Tools, by Julia Silge. #rstats
2020-05-18: How Does A Computer Calculate Eigenvalues?. It’s always a pleasure to read one of Matt Drury’s blog posts.
2020-05-18: Sed one-liners.
2020-05-18: Using Spark from R for performance with arbitrary code.

Checking email in a browser is a huge distraction. I spend most of my day staring at emacs, and when email notifications ding, I feel compelled to check; switching to the completely browser pulls me out of my flow. Once you’re in the browser, you realize that you are on a slippery slope… It starts tempting you to check hacker news or reddit (at least for me), and often times it’s impossible to not succumb to it; we all know how easily time goes missing “just checking if anything new popped up on the front-page”. — Better Email with mu4e


LSP reduces an m×n complexity problem to m+n the latter refers to only needing a language server for each language and a client for each IDE, whereas the former means that for every language each IDE would require, in most cases, standalone support. — Emacs and the Language Server Protocol.


Great software is defined by more than its objective code quality; I would even go so far as to say that code quality is one of the least important characteristics of software. Especially in open source, the greatness of software lies in its ability to meet the needs of its users, and in its leadership and community to adapt to the changing landscape around it. — What Is Good Software


I use emacs, which might be thought of as a thermonuclear word processor. It was created by Richard Stallman; enough said. It is written in Lisp, which is the only computer language that is beautiful. It is colossal, and yet it only edits straight ASCII text files, which is to say, no fonts, no boldface, no underlining. In other words, the engineer-hours that, in the case of Microsoft Word, were devoted to features like mail merge, and the ability to embed feature-length motion pictures in corporate memoranda, were, in the case of emacs, focused with maniacal intensity on the deceptively simple-seeming problem of editing text. If you are a professional writer–i.e., if someone else is getting paid to worry about how your words are formatted and printed–emacs outshines all other editing software in approximately the same way that the noonday sun does the stars. It is not just bigger and brighter; it simply makes everything else vanish. — In the beginning was the command line


I’ve got it all terribly automated so I can start a new entry, proof an entry, and publish it to the website with single keystrokes in Emacs; I recognize lots of people wouldn’t be OK with that. — ongoing’s colophon


My commitment to accessibility of the WCAG AAA sort comes from the realisation that legibility is the single most important characteristic of any text-heavy interface. Emacs is all about text; and text should not pose a barrier to entry. — On the design of the Modus themes

2020-05-22: A Review of the Racket Programming Language. #racket
2020-05-22: Emacs Tramp tricks. #emacs
2020-05-22: rga: ripgrep, but also search in PDFs, E-Books, Office documents, zip, tar.gz, etc.

I personally use “principled” to refer to choices informed by sincere and careful deliberation, in contrast to choices informed by unquestioned defaults that have ossified into convention. A principled workflow considers whether or not modeling assumptions are appropriate and sufficient for answering relevant questions in your particular applied context. Because everyone asks different questions in different contexts, such a workflow cannot be reduced to a deterministic algorithm. All we can do is assemble a coherent set of techniques to help us evaluate our own assumptions and guide our unique path through model space. — Towards A Principled Bayesian Workflow


I’ve taken various detours along the way into learning and using various other languages. I like several of them quite a bit. I just don’t like them as much as Common Lisp. The pleasure I take in my work is a significant factor in my productivity. Choosing tools that offer me less joy is a cost I prefer not to bear without good reason. That cost often exceeds the advantage I might realize from using some other language. Not always; but often. — Production Lisp in 2020?


John McWade, founder and creative director of Before & After magazine, mentioned that the ideal line length is 45–55 characters without spaces and punctuations. For small mobile devices, the acceptable line length is 25 characters without spaces and punctuations. (If spaces and punctuations are included, the ideal line length will be around 66 characters according to The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst.) — How to Set Perfect Line Lengths for Your Webpages

2020-05-26: Adventures in Open Source.
2020-05-26: Batch operation in magit-list-repositories, with interesting Elisp code to fetch several Git repos at once. #emacs
2020-05-26: Data Integration, Manipulation and Visualization of Phylogenetic Trees. #rstats
2020-05-26: Docker container and image management within Emacs. #emacs
2020-05-26: My Current Org Mode Files and Heading Structure. #emacs
2020-05-26: OpenType math fonts for TeX. #tex


See Also

» Micro posting in April » Micro posting in March » Micro posting in February » Micro posting in January » Micro posting in December