Archive for August, 2012

  Vim search Dash →  August 27

I use MacVim as my editor and Dash as my documentation browser. They’re great. Also, Dash has the best nag-screen mechanism I’ve ever seen.

If you use them, too, I wrote a bit of Vim script to make looking things up about 0.5 seconds faster each time. Imagine, all that productivity! Just position your cursor on the word you want to look up, leader-d, and the script will try to search the right docset in Dash based on the filetype you’re editing. E.g. for JavaScript files, I have it configured to launch js:term in Dash, which searches both the jQuery and JavaScript docs for that term. (Source: a great tip from Kapeli himself. Herself? Itself?)

I’d love to hear suggestions on how to generalise this, without manually adding docsets each time. I tried passing in the filetype to Dash as the search term, but got tripped up by some asset files in Rails that Vim thought were ERB…

A forager won’t return to the nest until it finds food. If seeds are plentiful, foragers return faster, and more ants leave the nest to forage. If, however, ants begin returning empty handed, the search is slowed, and perhaps called off.

They’re stronger than us, more plentiful, and now we find out they invented the Internet. I’d start making offerings to our future ant overlords, but they already eat half the cat food in my kitchen now so what’s the point.

Reason.com on the American presidential election:

The past several weeks have made one thing crystal-clear: Our country faces unmitigated disaster if the Other Side wins. No reasonably intelligent person can deny this. All you have to do is look at the way the Other Side has been running its campaign.

A great argument.

Nick Farina has a conversation with Eclipse, Xcode, and Sublime Text 2.

Nick Heer from Pixel Envy wrote a custom “Press This” that supports the DFLL plugin and Markdown:

The second thing my file does is to change the order of text within a new post when using a selection: […] This turns into the link (to be interpreted by DFLL), followed by two blank lines, followed by the selection as a block quote (as defined earlier).

Handy! I’m going to give this a shot. To use it, you’ll need to turn on the “first link creates post” option, though. (I actually had no idea anyone other than me actually used that option.)

  Failing Coursera →  August 17

Tim Owens, on “failing” Coursera courses:

For much of the course I felt like a bystander. Here I was watching a set of videos chosen by my professor. I may or may not have a quiz at the end of the week to gauge my learning. The videos were interesting, but I left feeling like I hadn’t participated. […] I can’t tell you the name of a single other person that was in this course and it started with over 40,000. I think that’s a shame and something they could improve on.

I’ve yet to pass a single Coursera course myself–I’ve failed Algorithms and HCI so far. However, I do feel like I’ve really learned something from the parts of the courses I’ve taken, and I appreciate how Coursera and other MOOCs (what a great name) have encouraged all these subject matter experts to curate and present all this useful information in brief, easily digestible chunks for teachers and students.

Fun stories about dumb people trying to get free pizza. Example:

Sarah: Hello, what can I do for you?

Woman (Walking into the store carrying a box with a few pieces of cheesy bread): I want a refund for this cheesy bread. They don’t look the same as they did in the commercial; they look gross.

Sarah: I’m sorry. But most things don’t look exactly the same as they do in commercials. When did you order them?

Woman: Three days ago.

Via Brandon’s links.

Khan Academy does Computer Science, courtesy of John Resig, creator of jQuery. His blog post goes into some detail about the pedagogy they’ve adopted and the technology behind it.

Looks promising! Reminds me a little about how I was introduced to programming through the Logo Turtle and mucking around with DOS QBASIC games like Gorillas. We’ll see if we can try these exercises out with students at some point.

  XVim →  August 12

Great stuff: an Xcode plugin for Vim keybindings, customisable with a .xvimrc file. Actively maintained! (So far.)

“I do not like the Thunder Guy”, says Rocky/Xie Liang, brother/cousin of Thor.