George V. Reilly

Quoting in Bash

Various Bash guides recommend putting quotes around just about everything. I had a script that contained this line:

sudo apt-get install --yes $(cat "$BUILD/install_on_aws_ubuntu.txt")

While refac­tor­ing, I put another set of quotes around the $(cat ...) out of an abundance of caution:

sudo apt-get install --yes "$(cat "$BUILD/install_on_aws_ubuntu.txt")"

Several other changes later, I couldn’t figure out why my script had stopped working.

Here’s what happened:

$ cat $HOME/tmp/demo.txt
foo
bar
quux

$ echo $(cat "$HOME/tmp/demo.txt")
foo bar quux

$ echo "$(cat $HOME/tmp/demo.txt)"
foo
bar
quux

The new outer quotes retained the newlines; the original replaced newlines with spaces.

The Bash FAQ has more: specif­i­cal­ly Command Substition and Word Splitting.

Review: The Fourth Secret

Title: The Fourth Secret
Author: Andrea Camilleri
Rating: ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Mondadori
Copyright: 2002
Pages: 77
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: February 28–March 2, 2016

A quirky novella about Com­mis­sario Montalbano of the Italian Polizia. A series of “ac­ci­dents” have been happening at con­struc­tion sites. Montalbano receives an anonymous letter warning that another “accident” will happen, too late to prevent it. He attempts to cover it up, while still in­ves­ti­gat­ing, and realizes that he’s infringing on the carib­inieri‘s ju­ris­dic­tion, a no-no.

Moderately en­ter­tain­ing.

25 Years Out as Bisexual

My birthday today marks the 25th an­niver­sary of my coming out as bisexual, a major milestone in my life.

I hid my bi­sex­u­al­i­ty for a decade before coming out in 1991. Ireland was not a welcoming place for LGBT youth in the 1980s. Nor were most other places.

I discovered soc.motss, the gay newsgroup on Usenet, in the late 1980s and I lurked there for a couple of years, half-intending to come out but never quite finding the courage. Then my old friend Éamonn came out to me—to my utter sur­prise—and I im­me­di­ate­ly came out to him. Then I sat on everything for a few months. Eventually, late on the night of my continue.

Happy Pi Day

3/14 is considered to be Pi Day by many geeks, as π is ap­prox­i­mate­ly 3.14. I wish I could say that I had celebrated by eating pie, but I didn’t.

π is surely the most important irrational number, which has been known since antiquity.

π shows up in so many different formulas. My own favorite is Euler’s Identity, eiπ + 1 = 0. (This marks the first use of the re­Struc­tured­Text math role in my blog.)

I am also find of the ap­prox­i­mate fraction 355 ⁄ 113.

The Wikipedia article on π has much more on π.

Update: Wonkblog: 10 stunning images show the beauty hidden in pi

Review: Moriarty

Title: Moriarty
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Harper­Collins
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 309
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: 27 February–5 March, 2016

Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase arrives at Re­ichen­bach Falls just after Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty have plunged to their deaths. With Inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard—­sure­ly one of Holmes’s most ardent stu­dents—he travels to London on the trail of an American master criminal, Clarence Devereaux. Devereaux’s gang is moving quickly and ruthlessly to seize control of the vacuum left by Moriarty. But not all is it appears and the American gang receive bloody setbacks. Could Moriarty be alive after all?

While I mostly enjoyed the book, I was ex­as­per­at­ed by continue.

Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time is hot garbage is a typical article you can expect to read this weekend condemning DST.

My own dislike of DST was boosted when I worked on calendar software at Cozi. We learned the hard way that we needed to test our latest software ahead of both the start and end of DST each year. That’s trickier than you might think. Setting the computer’s clock forward a couple of weeks, past the change of DST, is one thing; getting the changed time to last for more than a few minutes is another. Most computers ag­gres­sive­ly sync their clocks to a network time server, which can be tricky to disable.

I no continue.

Hillary Clinton "Misspeaks" about Nancy Reagan and AIDS

In an interview with MSNBC Friday, 2016 Democratic pres­i­den­tial candidate Hillary Clinton said that Ronald and Nancy Reagan helped start a national con­ver­sa­tion about HIV/AIDS. This is not exactly a bald-faced lie, but it is a gross mis­un­der­stand­ing of history and a mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the true gov­ern­men­tal neglect during the AIDS epidemic that killed millions worldwide.

—Mathew Rodriguez, mic.com

As I wrote on Facebook earlier today:

I’m really surprised by this. I expected Hillary Clinton to know better. It’s one thing not to speak ill of the dead at their funeral. It’s quite another to make such a profoundly wrong assertion. The Reagan White House’s negligence and homophobia was directly re­spon­si­ble for the growth of the continue.

Review: Mother London

Title: Mother London
Author: Michael Moorcock
Rating: ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Harper­Collins
Copyright: 1989
Pages: 496
Keywords: fiction
Reading period: 22 Feb­ru­ary–10 March, 2016

Mother London is well written and it has some fine scenes and three in­ter­est­ing characters. I wanted to like it but it never engaged me because the story goes nowhere. I rarely abandon books, but I gave up on this two-thirds of the way through.

Mother London follows three out­pa­tients from a mental hospital, between 1940 and the 1980s: Josef Kiss, a larger-than-life performer, David Mummery, a writer, and Mary Gasalee, a housewife who spends fifteen years in a coma, after the Blitz. All three seem to be psy­chi­cal­ly sensitive to the thoughts continue.

Fear of Public Speaking

It is often said that people fear public speaking more than they fear death. I certainly used to fear getting up in front of a crowd, though not to the point of death. Tonight I spoke about Fly­ing­Cloud in front of more than 100 people for half an hour at the PuPPy Meetup. I wasn’t nervous beforehand and I wasn’t nervous talking to the crowd.

I’ve been an active Toast­mas­ter for nearly 15 years and I’ve spoken at Toast­mas­ters hundreds of times. I’m used to a room of 15–25 people but not to a larger audience. Adam and I put our slides together late last week. We ran through it together once continue.

Irish Slave Myths Debunked

Boing Boing posted Irish slave myths debunked, a link to the work of Liam Hogan.

The indentured servitude that brought many Irish people to the Americas could be very harsh, but it wasn’t slavery. Slavery was brutal and often murderous, the children of slaves were themselves slaves, and the aftermath continues to affect their de­scen­dants even now.

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