Archive for the 'Emacs' Category


Friday, July 16th, 2004

I’ve been so enjoying on-the-fly spellchecking in Safari that I wanted it in Emacs, too. Flyspell was mentioned in an aside in a MacDevCenter article, and I have it running now. It took me a while to figure out how to set up the hook to run it automatically (because I forget geek stuff faster than I learn it) - I found some examples in people’s on-line .emacs files: Thomas Krennwallner and Anoop Johnson.

Still Typing Very Slowly

Thursday, March 4th, 2004

Quote of the day: It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. –Thomas Jefferson

I’m still typing slowly on the Dvorak keyboard, but I did have one breakthrough. My text editor emacs uses lots of control characters which moved around with the rest of my scrambled keys and are now harder to reach. I could just use the standard mac keys instead, but the command key isn’t all that well-placed, either.

Oh for the days when I had my own (abandoned) sun sparc with the control key where the caps lock usually is! There’s a useless key taking up far too much real estate on non-Suns. SHOUTING IS NEVER NECESSARY.

But then I remembed that all things are possible to those who use macs. The answer to misplaced control keys is uControl. My keyboard is now optimally configured; it’s just the typist who’s behind the times.

[P.S.] I ended up doing the mac keys as well, and they’re very convenient. Finally, command-C and command-V in emacs, not to mention command-W and command-Z! The full instructions are at webweavertech.

Emacs Again

Monday, November 3rd, 2003

Word count: 2145 (100 of which was a Stargate drabble)
Helpful link of the day: Trackback for Beginners

My NetNewsWire demo expired, so I’ve downgraded to NetNewsWire Lite and am posting to the blog from the MovableType web interface again. Forty dollars was just too high a price to pay for the convenience of posting from NetNewsWire itself.

On the upgrade side, I’ve built a new Emacs that no longer crashes in Panther. I’ve also forced it to run ispell. I was getting a Searching for program: no such file or directory, ispell error, even though I had installed ispell with fink. Rather than try to figure out what path the Emacs shell process was using, I decided to put a symbolic link to ispell in /usr/bin: sudo ln -s /sw/bin/ispell. Presto!

Here’s Kitty!

Friday, October 31st, 2003

So I’ve finally backed up my home directories and (wisely, it turned out) my Apache configuration files and installed Panther. I just did the upgrade, not the archive and install option, and I customized it just to drop most of the printer drivers and foreign languages. They take up space better spent on educational videos.

The first odd thing Kitty did was pull up my first preferred keyboard in alphabetical order (Dvorak) rather than the one I’d been using before the upgrade (US). I caught on to that pretty quick and switched back. I played with Exposé and Mail, and configured my new Finder windows. Exposé was definitely worth the upgrade. I took a short stroll through Font Book, but my main concern has been Emacs. I can’t start NaNoWriMo without my text editor. Fortunately I’m outlining my novel with the free copy of OmniOutliner, so the situation isn’t quite desperate yet. (Note that OmniOutliner has an upgrade available for Panther.)

Rumor has it that Emacs’ pty bug is gone, which I think means that ispell and other spawned processes will now work from within the GUI version. (It was an OSX bug rather than an Emacs bug, and now Kitty is all better.) It would be much nicer if Emacs actually worked.

The trouble began the first time I tried to rebuild Emacs, probably because I’d forgotten to install the developer’s tools (now called Xcode). My old build of Emacs wouldn’t run, either. I also had trouble the second time, but that looks like it was a CVS problem. I managed to get everything out of CVS and and my last build compiled, though make install didn’t move to the Applications folder like I expected it to. You can’t have everything, especially not at 3 a.m. Now that I look at my emacs build at a reasonable hour of the morning, I find it crashes occasionally. Such is CVS, I guess.

The other thing I did last night was redo my Apache config files, which were moved to a backup spot in the upgrade. I’m wasn’t sure what had changed so I reinstalled Entropy PHP. I’m getting a [warn] module mod_php4.c is already added, skipping, which I can’t figure out, since there’s only one AddModule statement in the conf file. I hear that may mean I have the wrong Apache build installed, but I never touched it, really, Senator. Otherwise PHP seems to work.

Maybe I should have gone with Archive and Install after all…

Garbage Strike

Monday, October 20th, 2003

I’ve been having Emacs crashes lately, though I didn’t notice the problem when I first built Emacs. According to the Emacs for MacOS X guy, this is a garbage collection problem that’s been going on for a few weeks and has now been fixed in CVS. So I updated my tree and I’m about to rebuild. Wish me luck.

Moving II

Saturday, October 4th, 2003

I’m still busy geeking. I’ve moved on from updating the Konfabulator kitchenTimer widget for the latest Konfabulator edition to editing the game ChainShot (by MscapeSoftware) so that the scoring is more like that of the Yahoo!Game JT’s Blocks - or as Veronica calls it, PantyCat. (Don’t ask.)

Another important piece of housekeeping was retrieving my .emacs file from the old mac and getting fresh copies of my favorite Emacs modes, folding mode and html helper mode. The latter is what produces the timestamp at the bottom of the Repository page.

The new mac is still adorably cute. Though the screen is smaller than my previous 15″ PowerBook, the resolution is the same, so it feels sharper rather than more cramped. The fan has been on longer in the past few days than my old fan ran in the entirety of its four years of active duty. Maybe it needs some stylish radiator fins like a spaceship’s. (In the vacuum of space, the problem is getting rid of excess heat, not keeping it in.)

The WotF people were kind enough to email me upon my manuscript’s arrival:

This is to inform you that your manuscript has been received and entered in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of The Future Contest, quarter-ending September 30th. Please allow up to 8-10 weeks after the quarter deadline for judging to finalize.  Best wishes, Contest Administrator

Build, Rebuild

Sunday, November 3rd, 2002

Word count: 1729

I’m still behind on my novel, but I have an excuse. Yesterday as I was happily novelizing I also downloaded some updates for my Mac - because it asked so nicely and did it all by itself. Apparently the updates broke Emacs (Fatal error (4). Illegal instruction., if you’re curious). All I could find about the problem was this similar situation from somebody using the Hurd. He said recompiling solved the problem, so I rebuilt Emacs and that solved the problem.

My mac is past three years old now, and it doesn’t build Emacs for Mac OS X as fast as a shiny new TiBook would, so it took me a while to recompile, which is my excuse for my word count still being so low. I did notice this nice Mac Emacs FAQ while I was waiting, though.

MoveableType, the Movie

Monday, October 7th, 2002

While surfing the blogs, I came across a
guy who wrote an Emacs interface for MoveableType. Just the thing for me, I thought; all my geekiness in one convenient elisp package…but it wasn’t exactly a convenient package. First I had to download SOAP for MT, so MT could communicate with metablogging tools. Then I had to download a laundry list of things that mt.el, the emacs mode, required: xml-rpc.el, the url package, the w3 package and the elib package. The author provided the first, but I had to check url and w3 directly out of source, and then it took me a while to figure out that yes, elib hasn’t been revised in seven years. (I was reluctant to download something from 1995.)

Nor was this post posted from emacs. When mt.el was finally working, I got an error back from MoveableType itself, saying it couldn’t find the metaWeblog perl module. I think that means that I can no longer put off upgrading to the latest version of MovableType. Wish me luck…

[P.S.] I upgraded to 2.21, though it looks the same as 2.0. There are new geeky things lurking beneath its placid blue exterior, though.

[P.P.S.] Testing from emacs…1..2..3…

[P.P.P.S.] Whoo-hoo! Now there’s an evening successfully
frittered away.


Friday, September 27th, 2002

Whenever I balance my checkbook lately (usually on the T), I wonder why I bother. In fifteen years I’ve never caught a bank in a mistake - my arithmetic skills only get worse, and the banks’ better. I may as well give up and take their word for it. They must have really good software.

But I digress. Mozilla has been called a web-designer’s browser, a slow car on the information superhighway, and a toy for geeks who just can’t get over Netscape 2.0. (That last one is me.) My mac is old, so Mozilla was extra slow for me.

But not anymore! I downloaded Chimera, a version of Mozilla with native OSX widgets and other geeky things. And, of course, Tabbed Browsing. You’re nobody if you don’t have tabs.

Speaking of tabs, a new beta of Opera for Mac is out. I’m over Opera, myself, but if buggy open-source betas make you nervous for your Mac, you might want to try a buggy commercial
beta of Opera instead.

Yesterday was Bring My Mac To Work day, so I took the opportunity to download the emacs source tree from and build Emacs for OSX according to the directions kindly provided by the prince of Emacs for Mac, Andrew Choi. I owe him my last three Emacs builds and a few binaries, too. I now have a bleeding-edge Emacs.

Confused? Emacs is a text editor, the way The Lord of the Rings is a fantasy. One you’ve known Emacs, you’ll never go back to vi or Notepad or whatever pale shadow of a text editor you’ve been using. There’s even a wiki devoted to the text editor to end all text editors. If you’d like to try the latest OSX version,
drop me a note and I’ll build an installer for you.

The Joy of X

Tuesday, February 26th, 2002

The Joy of X

I decided that my fic deserved version control. I used it when I wrote my thesis, and though I rarely rolled anything back, even to look at previous versions, it was very comforting to have old versions around. Installing TWiki in various places brought to mind RCS, that BOFQ of version control programs that makes the little version numbers at the bottom of the page in TWiki. RCS is a bear to install on Windows - or rather, it’s easy to install but impossible to coax into working properly. But I had to have it for my fic. The muse deserves the very best. With all the chopping and overhauling and POV-shifting of fiction-writing, the ability to grab that paragraph you wrote in your first draft and cut out during the mad night of the third edit, in order to use it again in the same story or another, is priceless. I don’t know how I wrote without it.

I wasn’t looking forward to building RCS on my Mac, though, not after my several unsuccessful attempts using precompiled binaries for Windows at work. Nevertheless, I bravely downloaded the source and prepared to compile. Then I had one of those “Mac is Unix” moments, and I thought, maybe RCS is already around here somewhere. Mac is Unix means you can just type: which rcs at the command line, and lo and behold! /usr/bin/rcs

As an added bonus, when next I opened my lovely Emacs for Mac OS X (it’s not just a text editor, it’s a way of life), I found Version Control right there in the tools menu. A thing of beauty is a joy forever. It’s just like being back on that decrepit Sparc running SunOS 4…well, never mind about my misspent youth. You, too, can use RCS on Mac OS X, but I should warn you that I’m not sure it came on the first disk. It may have appeared later, once I installed the developers’ tools in order to compile Emacs. That’s the third disk that came with OS X, the one you look at suspiciously and put away in a dusty corner until you notice that make won’t make without it.