George V. Reilly

Review: Venetian Mask

Title: Venetian Mask
Author: Mickey Friedman
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 1988
Pages: 352
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: 27 March–2 April, 2016

Six people arrange to meet in Venice for Carnival, masked and costumed as their true selves. Not knowing how the others are costumed, each makes very dif­fer­en­t—and wrong—as­sump­tions. Brian, husband of Sally and lover of Jean-Pierre, is found dead. Surely one of the group is the killer. An effete local, Count Michele Zanon, takes an interest in the affair.

A strange novel whose plot hinges on mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion, mistaken identities, and incorrect as­sump­tions, as the seven pro­tag­o­nists rush around Venice, seeking or hiding from each other.

Debunking Memes

Somedays on Facebook, it seems like I spend half my time being that guy, the killjoy who debunks the false memes. One that I’ve debunked many times in the last few weeks is the one that claims Sandra Day O’Connor called the GOP a group of "vile, petulant, hateful" ob­struc­tion­ists. Although I (and many of my friends) agree with that sentiment, O’Connor never said it. Snopes—as usual— is on the job and points out that the GOP Ob­struc­tion­ists meme is due to sloppy punc­tu­a­tion that then went viral.

In the last week, I’ve seen what purports to be a poster from a 1970s anti-drink driving campaign, often supposedly in Ireland, which says, “Driving? Don’t have that continue.

Tufte Makeover

I’ve long been a fan of Edward Tufte‘s work. I’m also a fan of old-style serif fonts, such as Bembo.

I happened across the R Studio Tufte Handout Style yesterday, and I was im­me­di­ate­ly struck by how much it resembles Tufte’s books. It uses Tufte CSS and the open-source Tufte Book Font. ETBook is a “computer version” of Bembo that Tufte con­struct­ed for the more recent editions of his books, sup­plant­i­ng the lead type of the earlier editions.

I’ve adapted this blog’s stylesheet to use ETBook and some of the other settings from tufte.css. It’s not completely faithful; e.g., headings are bold, not italic.

How have I never discovered before? It’s been around for 20 years and it seems to be an au­thor­i­ta­tive source on the sizes of all kinds of things: screw threads, shoe sizes, horse collars, cake pans, comas, chronolo­gies, gross national happiness, vehicle iden­ti­fi­ca­tion numbers, and much more. I discovered it when looking up penny nails.

Toastmasters Assistant Android App

I signed up for a three-part Android Study Jam organized by the Seattle Google Developer Group, at the behest of a colleague who is also one of the organizers. The last session takes place tomorrow morning.

I’ve built a little Android app that I call the Toast­mas­ters Assistant for the final project. It doesn’t do very much yet, except present some in­for­ma­tion about Toast­mas­ters meetings, roles, and speeches in an Ex­pand­ableListView. I have some ambitions to do more with it. Specif­i­cal­ly, I want to add a speech timer.

Review: National Sunday Law

Title: National Sunday Law
Author: A. Jan Marcussen
Rating: ☆
Publisher: Amazing Truth Pub­li­ca­tions
Copyright: 1988
Pages: 94
Keywords: delusional religious propaganda

We received an un­so­licit­ed copy of this ridiculous book in the mail. It drones on and on about Satan and his plans, bashing both Catholics and Protes­tants. Apparently, ‘Sunday worship is “the mark of the beast!”’. Who knew? Who cares.

I assumed that it’s from the Seventh Day Adventists, though I couldn’t confirm that from skimming it. However, Catholic Answers confirms my guess.

Best avoided, especially on Sundays.

Review: Winter

Title: Winter
Author: Len Deighton
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Ballantine
Copyright: 1987
Pages: 536
Keywords: thriller
Reading period: 15–27 March, 2016

Peter and Pauli Winter are brothers, born to a wealthy German in­dus­tri­al­ist and his American wife at the end of the nineteenth century. They proudly serve as young officers in the German military in the Great War, live through the tumultuous 1920s in Berlin, but go in very different directions, and end up on opposite sides in World War II. Peter, the elder, is a brilliant lawyer and talented pianist. Pauli, loyal but less talented, bonds with other embittered veterans of the First War, serves in the Freikorps, and joins the Nazi party early, rising continue.

Doctests, Unicode Literals, and Python 2/3 Compatibility

I rarely use doctests, but I do have some code that uses them.

Although I still mostly write Python 2, I usually import several features of Python 3:

from __future__ import unicode_literals, print_function, absolute_import

Un­for­tu­nate­ly uni­code_lit­er­als doesn’t play well with doctests.

The following code will pass with python2 -m doctest, but not with python3:

from __future__ import unicode_literals, print_function, absolute_import

def upper(s):
    Convert `s` to upper case.

    >>> upper('Hello!')
    return s.upper()

Python 3 complains:

Failed example:

The problem is that Python continue.

Lugging CRT Monitors to Montréal

My most recent trip to Montréal was a year ago this week for PyCon 2015, following another trip there two years ago this week for PyCon 2014.

My first trip to Montréal was a very long business trip in 1995. Four colleagues and I spent five or six weeks in Montréal, just before the Quebec in­de­pen­dence referendum, working onsite for our client, in­te­grat­ing the UI we had written into the rest of their software.

We had to bring our own computers, as they declined to provide us with any equipment. In 1995, this meant shipping our desktop systems and our heavy CRT monitors. Through Canadian Customs. And back through US Customs when continue.

Find remote Git branch with change to a file

I needed to track down a remote branch created a couple of months ago on another machine. I knew which file had been changed, but none of the far-too-many remote branches’ names rang a bell.

Turns out that using git branch –contains in the right way finds all the relevant branches.

git log --all --format=%H FILENAME \
    | while read f; do git branch --remotes --contains $f; done \
    | sort -u

The first line, git log --all --format=%H FILENAME, lists all the hashes for commits that contained changes to FILENAME. The second finds all the branches that contain those hashes (I added --remotes). The third continue.

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