George V. Reilly

Undeleting Notes in Evernote

I ac­ci­den­tal­ly deleted a note that I shouldn't have in Evernote. It wasn't obvious how to undelete it. I had to resort to the help:


Without an Address, You’re No One introduced me to What3Words, an innovative system that uses just three English words to address any 3m×3m square on the planet. These words are drawn from a 40,000-word vocabulary. A 3m×3m square is precise enough to identify a particular doorway in a large building or a towel on a crowded beach.

I spent much of my childhood living at uses.pills.crunch (Dublin). I spent ten years working at navy.clear.poems (Mi­crosoft­'s Redmond campus). If I pinpointed the buildings that I worked in, they would each have completely different w3w addresses.

It reminds me a little of Diceware which strings together several words to form an easy-to-remember but continue.

Shrinking PDF File Size

Our poster designer sent me a PDF of this year's Bloomsday poster. I thought the file was too large at 7.2MB and I wanted to reduce the file size without sig­nif­i­cant loss of image quality. I was unable to achieve this in Preview or Acrobat Reader, but Ghost­script did the trick, thanks to an answer on AskUbuntu:

gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 \
    -sOutputFile=output.pdf input.pdf

The results speak for themselves.

Crop of the Original PDF, size 7.2MB.

Crop of -dPDF­SET­TINGS=/screen. PDF size: 78KB

Crop of -dPDF­SET­TINGS=/ebook. PDF size: 234KB

Crop of -dPDF­SET­TINGS=/prepress. PDF size: 1.75MB

Changing Electrical Plugs

GFCI FTW! Ground-Fault Circuit In­ter­rupters For The Win. Last week, while trimming the hedge, I managed to partially sever the extension cord. The GFCI kicked in so quickly that I didn't even realize that I had cut the cord before it stopped working.

As a child growing up in Ireland, I was quite accustomed to replacing electrical plugs. Many electrical devices are sold in Britain and Ireland with two-pin plugs. Unlike US two-pin plugs, the British two-pin plugs will not fit into a three-pin outlet unless you use an adapter. Many people would cut off the two-pin plug and wire up a three-pin plug instead.

I've never seen this done in the US—no continue.

Being A Developer After 40

Adrian Kos­maczews­ki wrote a in­ter­est­ing post on Medium about Being A Developer After 40, and some of the things he's learned since he started in 1997. My own career goes back to 1984, when I had a part-time job for five years writing graphics software that was used in many live and pre­re­cord­ed shows for RTÉ, the Irish national television station.

I agree with his main points on how to reach age 40 (or 50), willing to continue in the profession of software developer:

  1. Forget The Hype
  2. Choose Your Galaxy Wisely
  3. Learn About Software History
  4. Keep on Learning
  5. Teach
  6. Workplaces Suck
  7. Know Your Worth
  8. Send The Elevator Down
  9. LLVM
  10. Follow Your Gut
  11. APIs Are King
  12. Fight Complexity

#4, #5, and more 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 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 continue.

Asking for Help

It's better to stay calm when things aren't going well. Stress and panic are contagious. When you're broad­cast­ing stress or panic on all channels, other people start picking it up. If you can keep your cool, others are more likely to remain calm too. Often that's for the best, but sometimes it backfires because others in­cor­rect­ly believe that everything is still okay.

Knowing when to ask for help is an art. You learn a lot when you persevere and try different things, many of which may fail. The failures will likely show you where your un­der­stand­ing is deficient; you learn some of the many ways in which things can go wrong. If you continue.


I was sent an invite to Keybase a few weeks, which I accepted tonight.

Keybase Wants To Make Serious Encryption Accessible To Mere Mortals explains:

From a cryp­to­graph­ic standpoint, PGP is rock solid. In practice, using it is very messy. Its complexity has deterred the vast majority of people who might otherwise benefit from using encryption.

The first problem is es­tab­lish­ing a valid identity, especially with other people located oceans away. The second is dis­trib­ut­ing public keys without nefarious types posting al­ter­na­tive keys that appear to be registered to the same person. ... The third issue is getting people to install and use PGP software.

I can now be reached via­ly. I've proved my continue.

Car2go: Out of Home Area

I've driven Car2go a couple of times this week. On both occasions, while driving through downtown Seattle, the car announced that I was outside its home area. Presumably it tem­porar­i­ly lost a signal and thereby assumed that it was no longer in the home area. Given the car knew my position and direction just moments before, and that I was well inside the home area, any half-way decent algorithm would have concluded that it was physically impossible for me to be now outside the home area, and kept its mouth shut.

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