My Ubuntu 11.10 Desktop

Desktop Image
My Ubuntu 11.10 Desktop

At the risk of drawing universal hatred, Unity isn’t so bad once you set the icon bar to autohide. Very uncluttered, quite stable, and even with no hardware acceleration it has good performance. That said… I don’t like it.

So what to do? Everyone has been fleeing to Mint, but I’ve had stability problems, which is odd since it is basically just Ubuntu with some minor changes. I really like MintMenu, but Mint’s not an “approved” OS at work, so I need to use Ubuntu.

Here’s what I do to the stock Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneric” installation to make it habitable (for me – YMMV). Continue reading “My Ubuntu 11.10 Desktop”


Deriving its name from the Korean term for a “highly skilled person,” Gosu is a computer language targeting the Java Virtual Machine.  It tries to be more expressive than Java (which isn’t really all that hard) while being conceptually simpler than Scala.  Continue reading “Gosu”

Grammar Rant of the Day

And now for something completely different. Here are the so-called grammar rules I personally encourage everyone, everywhere to ignore and break. Do it today. I said do it!

(1) Use the singular they. Shakespeare did. It is far superior to the alternatives. Why should every unknown person be a he or a him?

“If a person wants to use the singular they, they should.”

(2) Split infinitives with singe words. This is an idiotic, idiotic rule created by idiots because they are too idiotic to know better. Idiots. Avoid the temptation to perhaps understandably, perhaps even defensibly and rationally, but still annoyingly, go crazy.

“Sentence diagrams are hard to easily do when you split your infinitives!”

(3) End your clauses with prepositions whenever you feel like it. See the previous comment. Note that the “prohibition” against this has never existed, except in the small, closed minds of amateur prescriptivism. Professional prescriptivisits know this. “P-stranding?” Having a fancy name for it doesn’t make it right.

“That’s where it’s at!”

(4) Coordinating conjunctions can join anything to anything. Syntactic importance be damned!

“I was going to have an example, and that’s when I thought, damn, I need an example. And so I wrote this. And here it is. Now what?”

(5) Dangle hopefully. We all know what you mean.

“Hopefully no grammarian’s head will explode when they read this.”

(6) Make up your own words. “Graphic” isn’t graphic enough for you? Try graphical! It’s twice the adjective!

“I admire the realisticism of your new poster. It’s like I’m literally there!”

Some things actually do bother me, but they tend to be in the “poor communication” category. That is, if you write something and folks cannot tell what you mean, you need help.

Don’t get me wrong. It is important to know the rules. Then you can know when you are breaking them, decide which ones to break, and still get your point across. Even with fragments.

And Another Thing That Bugs Me About Java…

java_logo_2Just a short note on an item that bugs me about Java.  In C++, I tend to use exactly three kinds of method parameters.

  • A const reference.  I don’t want to copy it, but I promise not to modify it, either.
  • A reference.  I might modify it.
  • A copy.  I might modify my local copy, but not the original.  I’m getting a copy, after all.

Easy peasy in C++.  In Java?  Uh, I pass all objects by reference. Continue reading “And Another Thing That Bugs Me About Java…”

Many Tiny Screws


The hard drive in my Mac has failed.  Again.  For those of you keeping track, this is the third time.

It’s a hassle, but it is usually okay, since:

  • TimeMachine is always there, making backups and keeping them up to date.
  • Apple support is wonderful.  We can’t send back the hard drive, but they let me open the case and remove the drive without voiding the warranty.

Sadly it is also a pain because:

  • The MacBook Pro is some of the most poorly designed hardware I have ever encountered for maintenance.

Continue reading “Many Tiny Screws”


computer science: n. a study akin to numerology and astrology, but lacking the precision of the former and the success of the latter.

— Stan Kelly-Bootle, The Devil’s DP Dictionary

I’d say the above is no longer true: computer science is successful.  But it really isn’t very precise.

The field of computer science is probably the area of knowledge that is closest to pure gibberish. Continue reading “Gibberish”