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Joel relayed

An R syntax:

groundhog.library(pkg, date)

"Now every time you run that code, you load the version of the package that was available on that date, regardless of when you run it."

via #MetaFilter

Joel relayed


Content warning abbreviations can be a bit confusing, so here are the most common ones:

ph = physical health
mh = mental health
pol. = politics
adj. = adjacent
+ = positively framed
~ = neutrally/uncertaintly framed
- = negatively framed
begpost = crowdfunding request
:boost_ok: = Boosts are okay/appreciated
:birdsite: = Twitter, also known as "Birdsite"

If anyone can think of anything else, we'll happily boost it. But most others tend to be self-explanatory.

Joel relayed

Now the LHC is starting up again, periodic reminder that you can gaze at their fantastic, impenetrable dashboards on the public web

It's a brilliant and very thoughtful solution to a very annoying problem. Usually for this stuff you have to look things up in a list somewhere or pull up another tool.

But with this, when you go to configure your filters, you can just focus the window you want to filter for, look at the values in the window you're already using, and then go back to that same dialog and add the appropriate filter values.

Simple, effective, and obvious once you think of it, but far from obvious when you're designing this interface. It reveals a keen attention to how the users are actually using the program and creative thinking about how you can improve that experience.

Love it, big kudos to the team at, they're doing solid work with a very reasonable business model, I'm a happy camper and I'm only using a small slice of what this tool is capable of.

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Since I do my fair share of complaining about software design on here, here's a standout example of thoughtfully-designed software to balance things out.

BetterTouchTool is, among many other things, a hotkey manger/remapper, and is central to my effort to bend MacOS to my will and make it as Linux-y as possible.

One feature it has is changing how hotkeys are mapped depending on what application is focused. You do this by specifying various filters on several available window attributes, but knowing exactly what the values of those attributes are can be tricky.

So, when you have that configuration dialog open, there is a section at the bottom of the dialog that shows the value of all the available attributes for the window that is focused /at that moment/!

Today's was pretty fun. Only had six of the top 100 (and nothing above 963) when I stepped back and triangulated a bit and hit on the answer

Oh, also I've recently switched to (from Vim) and am loving it so far, as mentioned I am enjoying the terminal support, and after messing about with CoC for a while I dumped it entirely in favor of the built-in LSP support and it's so nice!

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So I have been annoyed by the arcane command to exit terminal mode in but today I hit upon the idea of mapping <C-w> to <C-\><C-n><C-w> so that Ctrl-W commands would work even from terminal mode and hot damn it just worked!

This is so much nicer, I guess I can see why it's not the default because you don't want to shadow any terminal programs but I feel like it should be recommended at least, it makes so much sense and makes terminal mode way more usable imo, the awkwardness of switching back and forth was what was really keeping me from using it much!

Professional emails I have gotten that turned out to be disappointingly not trans:

- An email from Transamerica saying "Invest in yourself in 2022", wherein instead of some trans org I support offering encouragement of my gender pursuits, I instead found information about my 401(k), which is apparently managed by those triangle-tower people

- An email with the three-word subject line "<Coworker Name> Transition", which was not about someone paving gendery roads at my small company, but instead the CCO informing everyone that some marketing person got a better job and is leaving on Friday

Days since I pulled up a video in and tried in vain to get the audio working for a good 30 seconds before remembering that oh, right, ASL isn't an audible language, this video has no sound, that's the whole dang point: 0

Eventually I'll get it in my brain 😅

Joel relayed

wear leveling is when two roads diverge in a wood and you take the one less traveled

Joel relayed

> The PSP's web browser is - charitably - pathetic. It is slow, frequently runs out of memory, and can only open 3 tabs at a time... But the GOV.UK pages are written in simple HTML. They are designed to be lightweight and will work even on rubbish browsers. They have to. This is for everyone...
> Are you developing public services? Or a system that people might access when they're in desperate need of help? Plain HTML works. A small bit of simple CSS will make look decent. JavaScript is probably unnecessary - but can be used to progressively enhance stuff. Add alt text to images so people paying per MB can understand what the images are for (and, you know, accessibility).
> Go sit in an uncomfortable chair, in an uncomfortable location, and stare at an uncomfortably small screen with an uncomfortably outdated web browser. How easy is it to use the websites you've created?

The Unreasonable Effectiveness Of Simple HTML
CC: @kelbot @alcinnz

So I was closing tabs and realized I meant to post this chart in this thread about musical keys but forgot, so gonna post it here because it's a delightful "tag yourself" image on its own.

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Joel relayed

reacting to m*sk joining the bird site board by suggesting mastodon as an alternative is very funny because mastodon *also* has a weird nerd with too much power and no accountability making decisions largely for his own benefit

An illustrative snapshot: today I finally set an end date for a recurring calendar event that, in the real world, stopped happening in October of last year.

Six months is a reasonable amount of time to just ignore that recurring event you know isn't gonna happen, right? 😅

Joel relayed

Decentralization is not the goal. The goal is information and communication services that respect human agency.

Open source is not the goal, the goal is building a commons of software that is free to study, inspect, and improve.

I feel like, as implementors, as people who spend our lives in the digital crawlspaces focused on the details; its easy to lose sight of the why behind the how. I think important to periodically step back and refocus on why we are doing things the way we are doing. What is the desired world state?

I stayed up too late last night but I think I made it out of the number-parsing swamp, and am back on the main trail of the April Fool's . Gonna be streaming my further exploration for a bit at

Back at the adventure, made great progress earlier and am delving deeper into automatically parsing things now! Come join if you like:

Joel relayed

Ursula K. Le Guin on "technology" 

"Technology is the active human interface with the material world.

But the word is consistently misused to mean only the enormously complex and specialised technologies of the past few decades, supported by massive exploitation both of natural and human resources.

This is not an acceptable use of the word. "Technology" and "hi tech" are not synonymous, and a technology that isn't "hi," isn't necessarily "low" in any meaningful sense.

We have been so desensitized by a hundred and fifty years of ceaselessly expanding technical prowess that we think nothing less complex and showy than a computer or a jet bomber deserves to be called "technology " at all. As if linen were the same thing as flax — as if paper, ink, wheels, knives, clocks, chairs, aspirin pills, were natural objects, born with us like our teeth and fingers -- as if steel saucepans with copper bottoms and fleece vests spun from recycled glass grew on trees, and we just picked them when they were ripe..."

Update: making solid progress on digging into yesterday's xkcd: I've identified the programming language and are working on trying out some speech-to-text. Come on by!

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