• So Much For That

    Windows, again

    After spending part of 2013 and 2014 at a Ruby shop working on Mac OS X, I’ve pretty much concluded (again) that I have absolutely no interest in working on any UNIX system that is not Linux. I’d much rather do Windows. In fact, I’d rather do Cygwin or VirtualBox in Windows than do Mac OS X native.

    So when a job change came along I embraced Windows again with open arms. Windows 10 is not so bad (certainly better than 8) and the Microsoft development environment is increasingly openly available (and in some cases open source). Amazing.

  • Helpful Emacs Stuff

    I set myself a super-easy New Year’s resolution for 2015. Learn something new about emacs every day.

    It’s easy for three reasons:

    1. I’m a software/web developer working outside the Microsoft ecosystem, so I’ve got to have a text editor. I use emacs. It’s already open and ready to be learned about.

    2. Emacs is big. Really big. The answer to the question, “can I do that with emacs?” is almost always “yes, and here’s how…” If you only learn 365 things about emacs, you have just scratched the surface.

    3. I’ve been using emacs for a decade or so, but I’ve only ever really dabbled until recently. I’ve been starting to realize that one can’t use emacs at the Notepad.exe level and expect to get much software/web development done. Additionally there are new things for emacs all the time, or old things I’ve never had much use for, or old things I’ve always done some other way, but when I do them within emacs I get the benefits of a fully integrated experience.

    Well, what have I learned?


    For starters, while typing this very post, I realized I had no major mode for Markdown installed. Not the end of the world, but when that can be solved with a simple apt-get install emacs-goodies-el on my Ubuntu system, it seems silly to not have it.

    For those of you who are not in a position to apt-get install your software: head to Jason Blevins web site for your markdown-mode fix.

    As an example of just how easy my resolution is to keep: in the process of writing this post I realized that I could use something like markdown-mode and now I’ve learned that it exists, how to get it installed, and some basics of using it. Especially love the markdown-preview command (C-c C-c p) which pops open an HTML-compiled version of the current buffer in a web browser.


    This is the major mode to use if you are a web developer. Plain html-mode is useless for embedded script and style blocks. My recent attempts to install nxhtml met with failure. But web-mode.el was as easy to install as M-x package-install RET web-mode. Of course, it required that I set up MELPA first, but that wasn’t hard. Just add

    (require 'package)
    (add-to-list 'package-archives
                 '("melpa" . "") t)

    to my .emacs file and run package-install and WHOOMP. There it is.

    Turn on the ability to autoclose tags and now closing whatever tag is open is as easy as typing </.

    It also has a very handy web-mode-buffer-indent command (C-c C-i).

  • Random Good Stuff!

    First off. There is a fine line between insanity and genius. Pretty sure Ymacs is as close as it gets to standing right on that line.

    Next, from the brilliant mind that brought you Ymacs (see above), there is a great tutorial on writing a programming language in Javascript.

    And finally, if you’re looking for some examples of what the interpolate() function in d3.js does, “Smoothing out the lines in d3.js” is just what you need.

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