Archive for the 'Writing' Category

New Canned Emacs

Monday, October 10th, 2005

You may recall that I downloaded a new prefab Emacs a couple of weeks ago after a few of my builds from CVS failed. Emacs turned flakey on me today, so I checked the Apple downloads section and found out that a second build was released just a few days after I got mine: Carbon Emacs, Sept ‘05, v2. Download and enjoy.

Remember, it’s not just a text editor—it’s a way of life!

Textpander

Saturday, September 24th, 2005

Filk of the day: Hope Eyrie by Leslie Fish (1975)

I just downloaded a free preference panel called Textpander. I had been using Quicksilver for some simple text insertion (especially a hrefs), but it annoyed me to no end because it used the clipboard to paste in the html code, nuking the URL I had saved in the clipboard to put into the hyperlink. Textpander (optionally) gives you your clipboard contents back again.

This was the other half of the ActiveWords functionality that I didn’t really need for my Mac, but it is handy in some cases.

Update: Either Textpander or the latest security/QuickTime update (2005-008/7.0.2, respectively) killed Emacs. I tried reinstalling–no luck. So I checked out the latest from cvs and rebuilt. (I’m still building the self-contained installer, just to be safe.) After a long, long build, Emacs is back, if a little funky on the font settings. Whew!

Update #2: Some days are good CVS days, some days are bad CVS days. My home-built emacs turned out to be funkier than I thought (lots of issues with tex-verbatim, so I downloaded a pre-built emacs from Japan. So far, so good.

Lyttle Lytton

Thursday, August 4th, 2005

An alliterative link from Lori: the Lyttle Lytton Contest. The 2006 contest year is already open.

Atwood at Large

Thursday, June 23rd, 2005

Do you think Margaret Atwood will start writing sci-fi now?

Character Assassination Day

Saturday, June 4th, 2005

Kuroshin posted an insane libelous idiotic baseless grassy-knoll character assassination of Orson Scott Card, which I’m linking only because all the commenters agreed that it was insane, libelous, idiotic, paranoid, and baseless, and debunked the article so much better than I could have that they restored my faith in the Internet. (No that doesn’t mean I’ll be on-line more.)

Politics isn’t a religion to me, so I can enjoy OSC, George R. R. Martin, Ayn Rand, and Ursula LeGuin equally, even though the universe would probably be annihilated if they were gathered together in one room.

Kaboom!

OSC is also a nice guy who provides lots of resources for writers and fun movie reviews.

Victory over Emacs

Thursday, May 19th, 2005

After much experimentation, I got Emacs to build and run on Tiger. I ran mac/make-package instead of the usual configure/make/install cycle, as advised by Stefan Tilkov. That built an installer instead of the usual Emacs.app, but the installer worked fine. (I started with a clean checkout, but make-package wouldn’t bootstrap so I just copied a bootstrapped lisp directory over from one of my failed attempts and that worked.)

So it seems that something is messed up in the main emacs configure script in CVS, since I saw someone else suggest commenting out the link to fink. I may have lost ispell, but at least I have Emacs back.

Emacs on Tiger

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

As I mentioned last night, I had to rebuild emacs for both MacOS 10.4.0 and 10.4.1. The second build failed, and then I screwed up my CVS (that is, my copy of the emacs source code) by trying to check out an older version. Let that be a lesson to you young’uns: Always Google first!

Google tells me I’m not alone in my emacs difficulties. I shouldn’t have been able to build Emacs for 10.4.0 and now my luck has run out. I could check out the source tree again and try a patch, but it will probably be easier to download one of the Tiger binaries that are floating around:

Of course, you could skip them all and use the built-in terminal emacs, but I prefer the GUI.

[Update] I should have downloaded Aquamacs, because the other two didn’t work. I’m trying some hacks now, but they’re not going well.

Maybe the opendarwin port would work. I also found a couple of links to 10.4.1 binaries:

Banned Brits

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005

I was shopping at a local bookstore (which shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) today. Among my haul of [genre deleted] books that I really don’t need more of I got one that that was marked “not for sale in the USA.” It wasn’t anything new or special, just a trade paperback edition of an old [genre deleted] classic.

It’s beyond me why it’s banned in the US. I should have checked my British Stargate novels for a similar proscription; now they’re out there in the midwest somewhere, circulating illegally! And here I thought my crimes were limited to educational video…

Women and Hard SF

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

This was supposed to be a comment on Lori’s blog entry about a discussion at Electrolite partly involving the statement:

Women do not write hard science fiction today because so few can hack the physics[…]

But Lori’s blacklist plugin appears to be broken, so I’m not sure the comment went through. I’m preserving it here for posterity.

Lori said:

Im not sure which assumption bothers me more the assumption that women are incapable, or the assumption that we dont find science interesting enough to bother with it.

I wanted to say:

I don’t think either is an assumption. They’re both somewhat-independent deductions from the number of women in physics. Either one may be an incorrect deduction, though the only other likely explanation seems to be continuing bias against women in the academic community and that doesn’t seem terribly likely either.

To summarize: Women don’t study advanced physics in the numbers men do. Either they can’t hack it and our merit-based system boots them, or they can hack it but they’re not interested, or they can hack it and they are interested but the academic world keeps them out somehow. I’m curious what you think the explanation is, if not one of those three.

As for women writing hard science, that’s an even harder number to explain away since women in general have better verbal skills than men, which ought to balance out men’s greater talent for physics (or whatever other factor results in more male physicists).

Comment Copyright

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2005

iPod link of the day: Shuffle tips and tricks.
Bonus link: Playing audio books on a shuffle.

Phil Ringnalda linked an interesting post about who owns blog comments. While I agree that the commenter owns the copyright on their words, I think that by posting them in a public place commenters lose their control over that particular copy.

I think of this as the “bathroom wall” principle. If you write a poem on a bathroom wall, the owner of the restaurant isn’t obliged to erase it at your whim. Nor should he have to let you back into the bathroom to edit it yourself. He can stick a neon Guinness sign in the bathroom next to your poem. If he happens to hoist his double-wide restaurant onto the back of a trailer and move it to another city (or country), then the bathroom goes with him and he’s still not obliged to do anything about your poem.

The same goes for comments. Once you’re posted them somewhere, you’ve not only fixed them in a medium but also implicitly licensed that particular copy of your words to the owner of the wall where you wrote them for use as a wall decoration.