George V. Reilly

Negative Circled Digits

I found something very useful in the dingbats range of Unicode characters: the negative circled san-serif digits, ➊ ➋ ➌ ➍ ➎ ➏ ➐ ➑ ➒ ➓ .

I've started using them to label points of interest in code. They play well with the code-block directive in re­Struc­tured­Text.

sudo docker images --format '{{.Repository}}:{{.Tag}}' \ | grep $IMAGE_NAME \ 

Markdown Live Preview

It's very useful when creating Markdown to be able to preview it live. For example, creating a complex pull request or a I usually use the built-in Atom Markdown Preview package in Atom. Just type ⌃⇧M (aka Ctrl+Shift+M) to see a live preview in an adjacent pane. I use vim-mode-plus to edit in Atom, which provides an acceptable emulation of Vim.

I recently discovered VS Code Markdown Preview in Visual Studio Code. Type ⌘K V (aka Ctrl+K V on Windows or Linux) to invoke the side-by-side live preview. I use VSCodeVim to meet my Vim needs.

Un­for­tu­nate­ly, neither previewer gives identical results to GitHub's Markdown renderer. GitHub itself seems to use different continue.

Productivity Hack: Do Nothing

I read an in­ter­est­ing pro­duc­tiv­i­ty hack: Writing or Nothing. It's attributed to Raymond Chandler who set himself the goal of writing for four hours every day but often found himself goofing off. To curb himself of this, he set two rules about how he could spend those four hours.

  1. I may write, but it is not mandatory,
  2. Not do anything else.

The first rule is simple. The second is the key. If he's not writing, he may not do anything else. No reading, no bill paying, no modern dis­trac­tions like surfing the web or playing a game on a phone. Self-enforced idleness. Nothing else.

I haven't tried it yet but I think it continue.

Review: The Simple Art of Murder

Title: The Simple Art of Murder
Author: Raymond Chandler
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Ballantine
Copyright: 1950
Pages: 216
Keywords: crime, criticism
Reading period: 3–10 June, 2016

The Simple Art of Murder comprises the essay of the same name and four early non–Philip Marlowe stories (in some editions, there are eight stories). The essay is jus­ti­fi­ably famous and worth reading; the stories are of middling quality.

All are available online: The Simple Art of Murder Essay, Spanish Blood, I'll be Waiting, The King in Yellow, and Pearls are a Nuisance.

In the essay, Chandler takes aim at the sterile con­fec­tions of deduction that comprised most detective fiction written in the 1920s and 1930s, which “do continue.

On Blogging

Blogging has been on my mind lately, as I've just set up an en­gi­neer­ing blog at work.

I gave a speech about blogging earlier tonight to my club, Freely Speaking Toast­mas­ters. I no longer write speeches be­fore­hand; I ex­tem­po­rized my speech from a mindmap that I had prepared yesterday. This post is a more coherent and expanded rendition of my points.

As Toast­mas­ters, we give speeches about topics that interest us, when we want to share or inform or entertain. A live, in-person speech reaches a direct audience at one point in time. A written blog post can reach a much larger audience. Toast­mas­ters have something to say, whether in person or in continue.

Sample ASP Components: now at Github

From October 1996 to May 1997, I wrote a number of sample components for the then-new Active Server Pages (Classic ASP). I worked for Mi­cro­Crafts, a consulting company in Redmond, WA; the samples were written for Mi­crosoft­'s Internet In­for­ma­tion Server (IIS) team. Most of the components used Mi­crosoft­'s new Active Template Library (ATL), a C++ library for COM.

This work had two important con­se­quences for me: Microsoft recruited me to join the IIS de­vel­op­ment team to work on improving ASP per­for­mance for IIS 3, and Wrox Press invited me to write Beginning ATL COM Pro­gram­ming I was originally supposed to be the sole author of the book, but I was a slow writer and I was continue.

Elocutionary Punctuation

ESR writes about Elo­cu­tion­ary Punc­tu­a­tion, dis­tin­guish­ing it from syntactic punc­tu­a­tion. The latter, says he, is the style taught in schools, where the punc­tu­a­tion cor­re­sponds to gram­mat­i­cal phrase structure. Elo­cu­tion­ary punc­tu­a­tion treats punc­tu­a­tion as markers of speech cadence and intonation.

I think I fall in this camp. I'm careful about my punc­tu­a­tion, though I can't nec­es­sar­i­ly articulate why I choose one way over another. If it sounds right in my head, that's the way I go. Even before I started doing staged readings, I paid attention to how my writing would sound, were it read aloud.

While I'm pon­tif­i­cat­ing on punc­tu­a­tion, let me say that I'm a firm proponent of the serial comma—the comma just before continue.


In a footnote to the post about Propo­si­tion 8 on November 7th, I said that it was the first in a series of daily posts for NaBloPoMo, the National Blog Posting Month, which I had just found out about.

Here I am a month later, having posted something every single evening. I covered humor; movie and book reviews; being the #1 tech blog (now #2); politics; Thanks­giv­ing; food; personal stuff; and even some technical posts. Whew!

Why bother? As with the two-year-old exercise in book reviews, it was a personal challenge to come up with a post every single evening for a month. Sometimes, the events of the day made continue.

Odds and Ends #10

It's been too long since I last posted an Odds & Ends.

Henri is a very amusing short spoof of French ennui.

Back in January, Emma and I were being repeatedly shocked by static elec­tric­i­ty. We would in­ad­ver­tent­ly discharge by kissing or otherwise touching each other, or by touching laptops or faucets. Eventually, I realised that it was due to a com­bi­na­tion of the microfiber upholstery on our new couch and the dry, unhumid air. We solved it by a com­bi­na­tion of rubbing an anti-static dryer sheet (Bounce) on the couch and buying a humidifier. That led to a spate of jokes about the spark being gone.

It's started coming back again. I think continue.

Little Details

In my wanderings, I recently came across two sites where you can ask all kinds of strange questions, with a reasonable ex­pec­ta­tion of getting an answer.

Little Details: "writers have questions, other writers have answers". A Live­Jour­nal community for writers seeking all kinds of background in­for­ma­tion for their plots. Some samples:

Ask MetaFilter is more general purpose. It's a good place to go when your question can't be reduced to a keyword search on Google. Sample questions:

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