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Benjamin C. Wiley Sittler

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iris, and darwin tweaks [Jan. 12th, 2008|11:43 am]
Benjamin C. Wiley Sittler
[Tags|, , , , ]

i think iris might be starting to talk. the words are few, and the pronunciation odd enough that i'm never really sure, but i think i've been hearing "fish", "kitty", "guido" (one of the cats), and "no" used in more-or-less appropriate situations. rebbyribs is a bit more skeptical, but i'm sure iris will talk clearly and distinctly soon enough.

note: what follows is a discussion of scripts that modify your mac os x kernel. this is potentially very risky, as the kernel is what allows everything else to run. although i have made every attempt to ensure they are safe (and believe they are), i can't guarantee it or be held liable if things go wrong. in particular:


also, this morning's project was to get the mac os x/darwin console vt100 alternate character set support to work and (closely related) to customize the mac os x/darwin console color palette. the end result is a pair of shell scripts that seem to work, and a lot of scratching my head — why didn't they
ⓐ ship with the VT100 positions filled in their font, or
ⓑ provide a simpler interface for switching the font and color palette at runtime (using, say, escape sequences or a sysctl.) oh and
ⓒ why does their console strip the eighth bit off of all output (despite the font [based on a design by zestyping] supporting the first 256 unicode/ucs code points), and finally
ⓓ why don't the function keys work?

update: it's probably worth explaining a bit more here: background information on the mac os x/darwin console hacksCollapse )

update: it looks like joey hagedorn made a truetype version of the darwin console font!
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best typo i've seen recently [Jan. 2nd, 2008|10:05 pm]
Benjamin C. Wiley Sittler
this is the best typo i've seen recently: "platronic ideal", in "Don't Proliferate; Transliterate!", on digital encoding of greek for scholarly purposes
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firefox extensions i'm using [May. 1st, 2007|05:36 pm]
Benjamin C. Wiley Sittler
[Tags|, , , , , , , , ]

i often feel chained to the firefox web browser due to reliance on some of the great add-on software available for it. this falls into three broad categories: enhanced browsing add-ons, development tools and security- and privacy-related add-ons.Collapse ) i also like the macfox theme, even on mac os x where it is not yet supported (some buttons do look wrong there.)

update: i use the Combine Stop/Reload buttons userstyle. i keep the platypus and web developer toolbars hidden during normal browsing, and i switch the web developer toolbar to show icons only, and move all its icons to the bookmarks toolbar. i also disable search suggestions, set all pages to open in tabs, and set the tab bar to always be shown.

update 2: macfox looks best with a rounded urlbar, in my opinion

update 3: on windows i also install ie tab so that microsoft's update service can be used from the comfort of firefox. i also disable or uninstall the various google-provided add-ons because they all seem to make firefox crash or misbehave. google toolbar and google browser sync misbehave by storing browsing details on google's central servers, and google photos screensaver breaks the firefox user interface (symptom: red caret of death.)

update 4: the camino theme for firefox looks nice on all platforms. on windows i also recommend IsAdmin to visually remind you when you are running the browser with administrative privileges (usually a bad thing, except when installing system updates.) this works well in conjunction with a tool like suDown which makes it easy to use administrative privileges only when they are needed.

update 5: the Text Shadow extension adds another missing part from css2, the Session Manager has some nice extras like encrypting your stored session, the Text size toolbar is handy for quickly zooming text, and the Link Widgets make it easy to navigate well-structured sites (of which there are surprisingly many.)

update 6: these days i disable the Firebug extension except while activily debugging, since it exposes some serious flaws in Firefox that lead to crashes on GMail and other sites. i've also been playing with betas of firefox 3 recently, and so in that version i switched from Adblock to Adblock Plus (with the huge ugly toolbar button disabled,) from Text size toolbar to Zoom toolbar, from CookieSafe to CS Lite, from MR Tech Local Install to MR Tech Toolkit, and (where available) use the new theme Proto for Mac OS X

update 7: oh, and anyone using Firefox 2 on a Mac should check out the Pinstripe theme too. it is beautiful.

update 8: It's All Text! makes it easy to use an external editor for text input fields. this is great for composing those long blog posts and webmail messages, and for reading the reams of fine print in some license agreement disasters.

update 9: Flagfox shows you where a page is coming from using a built-in geolocation database. it's not perfect and doesn't seem to cover ipv6 at all, but it does work for many sites.

update 10: the MacOSX theme and older versions of CamiFox work well in firefox 3 on all platforms

update 11: i also recommend DownThemAll! for improved downloading.

update 12: if you use mac os x i also recommend Aronnax’s GrApple themes for Firefox 3, especially Yummy (blue) and Yummy (graphite), and for Firefox 2, especially Eos Pro; i also recommend FireGPG which allows use of GnuPG/PGP encryption with webmail systems (including Gmail)

update 13: i also recommend the PDF Plugin for Mac OS X for Firefox 3, and the ACE Safari Foxdie (blue and graphite) themes for Firefox 2

update 14: Ctrl-Tab makes many tabs really usable, and Taboo remembers them; Secure Login makes it a bit harder to accidentally send your credentials in the wrong form; Update Notifier tells you when add-ons have been updated

update 15: OPML support is nice for migrating bookmarks from one browser to another; Forecastfox is nice for checking the weather at a glance.

update 16: HTML Ruby works where XHTML Ruby Support does not; users of Firefox 2 on Mac OS X (are there any still?) might like Growl Notifications

update 17: in Firefox 3 i recommend a recent beta of Ubiquity for a more keyboard-friendly user interface; if you're trying to learn or read Japanese: Perapera-kun (additional dictionaries); for Mandarin Chinese: Chinese Perapera-kun; for Cantonese: experimental CantoFish

update 18: if you ever use Tor, i recommend Torbutton

update 19: i also recommend the secure wiki userscript for redirecting/rewriting to use an SSL-encrypted connection to wikimedia.org for wikipedia, wiktionary, etc.

update 20: for full-screen/small-screen use i recommend the Full Screen Status Bar extension, the Miint theme, and the Tiny Menu extension (with chrome://tinymenu/skin/tinymenu.png as the menu icon). It would also be nice to have more control over the bizarre auto-doubling of UI elements on high-DPI displays (192 dpi and above means images suddenly double in each dimension here on Ubuntu,) but I have yet to find a good resolution-independent browser set-up.

update 21: GrApple Yummy Graphite is gone, but GrApple Luscious is pretty nice on a Mac. There's also an updated Foxdie theme with a built-in sub-theme switcher.

update 22: the official version of Locationbar² now seems to include zestyping's fixes, so i recommend it.

(perhaps it's time for a new post, eh?)
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myman 0.6 [Dec. 30th, 2006|12:33 am]
Benjamin C. Wiley Sittler
there's a new version of myman. it can now store html "screenshots" when you press the t key:

Read more...Collapse )
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γ and ν [Dec. 24th, 2006|11:04 am]
Benjamin C. Wiley Sittler
thanks to fontforge and potrace, two fonts i drew many years ago are now available in vector form. the fonts are licensed under the gpl and i retain the copyright. Update: They are now dual-licensed under ofl and gpl (with an embedding exclusion: embedding these fonts in a document does not force that document to be gpl'ed)
Gamma is a fixed-width small-caps font seen previously in beta versions of VS Bomber (ttf · svg · sfd)
GammaVariable is a variable-width version of Gamma (ttf · svg · sfd)
NuFraktur is a fixed-width Fraktur-style font i've mentioned previously. (ttf · svg · sfd)
NuFrakturVariable is a variable-width version of NuFraktur (ttf · svg · sfd)
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potrace and snowflakes [Dec. 23rd, 2006|07:34 pm]
Benjamin C. Wiley Sittler
[Current Location |lying next to my peacefully sleeping 3.5-week-old daughter]

potrace is a neat program that converts bitmap images to vector images. recently i used it to convert pictures of some paper snowflakes i made:
small snowflake
original · eps · svg · pdf
outline snowflake
original · eps · svg · pdf
simple snowflake
original · eps · svg · pdf
ornate fiery snowflake
original · eps · svg · pdf
icy snowflake
original · eps · svg · pdf
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iris [Dec. 2nd, 2006|12:20 pm]
Benjamin C. Wiley Sittler
[mood |happyhappy]

picture of becca and iris breastfeeding in the hospital recovery roomCollapse )

rebbyribs gave birth to our beautiful daughter iris on tuesday, november 28th. she has posted pictures in her lj.

the new mom and new baby are both doing well, and we've all three been home since about 24 hours after iris was born.

Read more...Collapse )

since coming home, we've been on the newborn schedule and not getting out much. we've spent a lot of time on the phone and im with friends and family, slept a lot, and been slowly recovering and getting used to new parenthood. rebbyribs has uploaded some pictures of iris at home with us.
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Iris [Nov. 29th, 2006|09:19 am]
Benjamin C. Wiley Sittler
Iris was born yesterday around 7:30pm. She's a healthy baby girl — a medium sized (8lb7oz and 21in or so at birth) brunette — and loves to eat and sleep. rebbyribs and Iris are both doing well, and resting a lot. We hope to go home in a day or so! rebbyribs went into labor yesterday morning on her own and labored all the way to delivery (about 17 hours) without episiotomy or any sort of anaesthetic. She's happy now but quite tired, and I'm sure you'll see her less abbreviated version eventually… ;-)

We're at Alta Bates in Berkeley, room 4300.
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fun with python's ctypes and unicodedata [Aug. 20th, 2006|11:37 pm]
Benjamin C. Wiley Sittler
ucnhash is a python wrapper i wrote for the unicode names database in the python distribution. why write such a thing? well, unicodedata.name(x) only works for x <= u'\uffff' on narrow python builds (mac os x and win32 are built this way by default.) ucnhash.getname(x) works for all named characters in the database, and the corresponding ucnhash.getcode(x) can be used to write your own version of the \N{...} decoder in the 'unicode-escape' codec. both work equally well on narrow and wide python builds using the ctypes module to call into the ucnhash_CAPI exported by the unicodedata module.
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[Jul. 27th, 2006|05:21 pm]
Benjamin C. Wiley Sittler
rebbyribs and i just got back from her mid-pregnancy ultrasound, and it looks like we're expecting a baby girl in early december. squeeeee!
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