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April 27 2018

The most annoying thing about Org mode

You know what has been the most annoying thing since starting to look into Org mode?

It is the fact that there’s no easy way to get answers to your questions.

Yes, the documentation is really great. Yes, there are some materials out there.

Someone please answer Org mode questions

But that’s never enough. People need answers to their questions. And Org mode lacks the vibrant, active community to offer this kind of support.

The #org-mode IRC channel is quiet as a deserted place. There are Org-related questions posted on (emacs) and /r/orgmode, but guess what? The answers are missing.

I wish I knew how to solve this. Creating an actively contributing community though is not something that can be easily achieved.

April 22 2018

Turtles/Modal Dialogs All the Way Up

In the recent macOS and iOS releases, Apple introduced a new icon to inform users about collecting data.

Here’s an example displayed from the macOS App Store. I really like both the icon (a handshake—the symbol of mutual agreement and something that most of the times lacks completely or is hidden behind legalese) and the dialog itself.

Apple data confidentiality dialog and icon

If I click the “See how your data is managed…” link, then I get another model dialog stacked on top. This, I don’t like1.

Apple data confidentiality stacked dialog

Thankfully the links in this dialog are either refreshing the content itself or open a web browser.

  1. How about the buttons in the 2 dialogs? Why would they be aligned? If there would be a third dialog, would you bet on the buttom being on the left hand side? 

April 06 2018

vim/nvim with tmux in macOS Terminal - how do colors work?

I decided to give up trying to understand the magic (or the lack) of how colors work in Terminal with tmux and vim/nvim:

vim and nvim in tmux in Terminal on macOS

Just for reference:

  • the Terminal app in macOS (10.12 or 10.13)
  • it is declaring the terminal as xterm-256color
  • tmux is version 2.6
  • .tmux.conf:
    set -s default-terminal "screen-256color"
    set -as terminal-overrides ",*-256color:Tc"
  • nvim 0.2.2 with:

    let $TERM="screen-256color"
    set termguicolors

April 01 2018

Did you know Evernote supports code blocks?

Me neither.

At the beginning of the year, I’ve started to use Bear to store my QQ notes—QQ notes are short answers for quick questions—mainly because Bear supports a Markdown-ish flavor of text which made it simple, visually pleasant and very legible, to store code snippets and even embedded images.

But the other day, while in Evernote, thanks to the power of habit, I typed ```—the Markdown fenced code separator1. What happened next took me completely by suprise: what seemed to look like a code snippet formatted section showed up.

Evernote code snippet

To make things more intriguing, I couldn’t see anything related to this behavior either in the formatting bar or under the Format menu. It took me a while to find an “Enable code block” setting on the Software Update tab in the Preferences.

Enable Code Blocks in Evernote

Once this feature is enable, the formatting bar in the editor will get a new button ({}) and you’ll find a Code Block format option in the Format -> Style menu with an assigned shortcut Ctrl-Cmd-B.

Now, don’t get your hopes too high. There is no syntax highlighting based on the language. And if you wish you’d get something like Pygments that’s probably never going to happen. But at least you don’t have to manually switch to a monospace font to indicate that a piece of text is a code snippet or code block.

So, yay Evernote!

  1. To be very accurate, fenced code is an extension of Markdown. In the original Markdown, code paragraphs were indeed supported, but they required using a tab indentation. 

March 14 2018

How to use [I and friends ([i/]i/]I) in Vim?

This is not a “how to” answer blog post, but rather a “how to” question blog post.

Tonight while reading some Go code, I wanted to see where a function is called. I remembered the [I command:

Display all lines that contain the keyword under the cursor. Filenames and line numbers are displayed for the found lines. The search starts at the beginning of the file.

The result was exactly what I was looking for—indeed, ideally I’d like to do this across all the source in the project, but the solution for that is different1:

Result list for Vim command

But I couldn’t figure out how to navigate and use this list. The window is not the Location list of Quick list. I couldn’t find any hints in the help. I also don’t know the magic of Googling Vim shortcuts.

So how do you navigate the result list of [I/]I in Vim?

  1. I’m using the_silver_searcher together with wincent/ferret and some custom mappings 

February 17 2018

Search everywhere in IntelliJ IDEA

TIL that IntelliJ IDEA has a Seach Everywhere action triggered by double tapping Shift which allows searching for files, actions, classes, methods, settings, etc. I ran into it randomly and I would’ve ignored it if not for its blue color.

Search everywhere in IntelliJ IDEA

You can read more about how it works in the official docs.

February 12 2018

Xi - new text editor with a Rust core

I just finished watching the presentation embeded below introducing Xi, a new editor with a core developed in Rust and a pluggable and extensible architecture.

Xi editor architecture

The first few minutes of the talk are describing the goals the project is focusing on—and I’d say there are very little chances you wouldn’t agree.

The project is actively developed google/xi-editor and I’m actually quite intrigued and curious to try it out.

Strange Touch Bar Escape Behavior in IntelliJ IDEA

For a good while now, my CAPS LOCK key has been mapped to ESC when clicked alone and CTRL when used in combination with another key.

Earlier today while in IntelliJ IDEA, I had the realization that using Shift+Esc (the Touch Bar fake one) it does not trigger the corresponding action “Hide Active Tool Window”. Using the same combination but based on the remapped CAPS LOCK key, the action is correctly triggered. Odd?

February 06 2018

VimR is mostly one person's work

I just noticed that a very large part of VimR is the contribution of a single person Tae Won Ha. That’s an impressive accomplishment.

I’d really love to see more people contributing to VimR and the project moving faster as I see a lot of potential in it. And I’d definitely like to have an alternative to MacVim.

February 03 2018

An Emacs history started circa 90s

I don’t remember how I got in touch with Emacs, most probably XEmacs in the nineties, when I was studying.

Emacs was the ultimate choice of environment to write LaTeX documents using the awesome AUCTeX package. As I remember correctly, this was my main application for Emacs besides the usual text file manipulation.

I’m fascinated by such stories. For many, text editors (and IDEs) are becoming over time intimate personal experiences.

The only other thing fascinating me even more are the transitions and what leads us to make them.

February 02 2018

The conversation I heard so far about HomePod

  1. It’s too expensive for an Amazon Echo and Google Home.

    No, HomePod puts the music first and thus shouldn’t be compared with those.

  2. How come the HomePod claims to be a music speaker but has no inputs?

    It is so Apple-like to remove all inputs. (Actually I think I agree with this. I’d go even further that this is any company trying to make you pay for another service; like say Apple Music or iTunes Match)

I was planning to stay away from Apple news. I don’t have any of these smart devices and I was always curious to understand their main use cases. The HomePod as a speaker with some Siri doesn’t sound too exciting to me.

February 01 2018

Tackling healthcare with "technology solutions" provided by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan

An intriguing initiative from 3 companies that don’t seem to have much to do with healthcare, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan1:

How the venture will provide less pricy healthcare to the 1.2 million employees of the participating companies isn’t yet clear. The new company will leverage “technology solutions” that provide “simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost.”

I’m aware that I might be entering a dangerous territory discussing healthcare. Since I moved to US, this has been one of my top concerns. Sometimes I’m thinking that I could probably find some explanations for the prices if the system would work smoothly—having to wait months for an appointment can’t be the sign of a smooth system–and if we’d know what we get covered for. When I was handed the first detailed coverage document, I burst in a nervous laugh. And then I panicked.

I’ve been lucky to always have coverage and even more lucky to have a healthy family. I’m very grateful for that.

  1. Wasn’t JP Morgan one of the principal actors causing the 2008 financial crisis? What would it take to trust such a company with your healthcase? 

Enable Use Option as Meta key to move efficiently in the macOS Terminal

I’ve seen Clément Chastagnol’s post Moving efficiently in the CLI and diagram a couple of days ago and what caught my eyes right away were the Alt- bindings. I knew that on my machine those would led to the special characters.

And then I remembered about an option I’ve seen in the settings and always wondered what’s about: Use Option as Meta Key (Settings -> Profiles -: Keyboard tab). Now all these shortcuts are working:

Navigation and Text Manipulation in

I might be among the last turning on this option.

January 31 2018

Evil game...

The video is just 1:30min long. I continued to laugh for much much longer. Now that I’m posting it, I’m actually laughing again.

If you are ready to risk your iPhone, the game is TrapAdventure 2 -Hardest Retro Game.

VimR: macOS native text editor backed by Neovim

Today is the day of text editors. A week or so ago, I’ve learned about VimR which is a macOS UI backed by Neovim.


I’ve replaced MacVim with VimR for most of text work I’m doing. It feels nice and snappy. It still crashes too frequently though.

AMP - Vim-inspired text editor for the terminal written in Rust

The features emphasized on the front-page make it sound intriguing. I hope the part about plug-ins will be reconsidered though:

Many editors allow users to extend and change much of their behaviour through the use of plug-ins. This is not a goal for Amp.

Vim, Emacs, and even modern IDEs all gained a lot from having an extensible architectureenabling their users to extend the core functionality through plugins.

January 30 2018

Open sourcing the open sourcing process?

Listening to a very interesting podcast on MonkeyType a tool built at Instagram that collects type information at runtime and then can generate static type annotations, another bit that caught my attention was this exchange about the open source process at Instagram/Facebook:

Question: In terms of process, is there already an existing set of guidelines at Instagram for producing open source libraries or modules? How does the logistical process looks like?

There is a pretty well defined process. I was actually pretty surprised at how well defined and easy it was. I was pretty impressed how quickly we were able to do it.

A while ago Facebook open sourced the specs and design of their custom servers. Maybe over time we will see open source processes for open sourcing.

January 29 2018

Judging books by their covers: Five publishing design cliches

Here, with apologies to graphic designers everywhere, we’ve mocked up five other book design clichés - alongside some real-world ‘bookalikes’ - ranging from the brooding silhouetted men of Jack Reacher-style airport thrillers to the bold full-page typography of literary fiction.

Next, probably Amazon and Apple, will start generating book covers in a similar manner to how Netflix is generating movie thumbnails .

January 28 2018

Handball and management: a possible answer to moving to success to failure and back again

After watching the handball final today—Spain completely changed the strategy midway through the game and won in the end: at break time Spain was led by 2 goals and in the end they won by 6—I realized that one answer to my management question from the other day on how a team could so quickly go from success to failure is that however experienced the team is, underestimating the challenge and approaching it from the angle “oh, we’ve done this before” might lead to very unexpected results.

Experience should help you be in control and cruise safely through the project, minimize risks, and deliver successfully. If it switches your perspective to belittle the risks, then you’ll probably be in for a surprise; and not of the pleasant kind.

When to squash commits?

Any good resources about when squashing commits makes sense or should be used?

Please send any useful links my way either by leaving a comment below or tweeting at me. Thanks

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