PAX Documentation Browser

Tags: tech, lisp, Date: 2023-05-26

PAX got a Emacs-based documentation browser to make documentation generation a more interactive experience. The trouble with interactivity is, of course, that it's difficult to get the point across in documentation, so I made a short video that demonstrates the very basics. In a followup, I'll cover apropos.

Grid Typesetting

Tags: tech, Date: 2023-04-17

I put the sources of the Two-Tailed Averaging paper on github. Of course, the sources are also available on arxiv, but this may give better visibility to the LaTeX grid typesetting code in there. Also, note how much cleaner the paper looks with the XCharter font compared to Times New Roman. No wonder Matthew Butterick pushes Charter. By the way, see what he has to say about grids and baseline grids, in particular.

Normalize Fonts for Comparison

Tags: tech, Date: 2023-04-10

In short, comparing fonts at the same font size is almost never the right thing to do. Compare them at the same x-height or, better yet, at the same space usage.

In full, recently I wanted to choose a font that looks good on screen at various resolutions and also in print. This is fairly subjective, of course, so there is a lot of noise out there. Going by the LaTeX Font Catalogue, Google Fonts, and similar font comparison sites turned out to be fairly misleading because they present fonts at the same font size (em in LaTeX and CSS). The problem is that 1em is the size of a bounding box for the largest character, which can be arbitrarily loose. The perceived size of typical English text is much more closely determined by the x-height (ex in LaTeX and CSS). 1ex is the height of the character x, which is pretty close to the height of other lowercase characters for most fonts.


... read the rest of Normalize Fonts for Comparison.

Migration to Github

Tags: tech, Date: 2014-09-25

Due to the bash security hole that keeps giving, I had to disable gitweb at and move all non-obsolete code over to github. This affects:

Hung Connections

Tags: tech, Date: 2011-02-27

My ISP replaced a Thomson modem with a Cisco EPC3925 modem-router to fix the speed issue I was having. The good news is that the connection operates near its advertised bandwidth, the bad news is that tcp connections started to hang. It didn't take long to find out that this particular router drops "unused" tcp connections after five minutes.

... read the rest of Hung Connections.

OfflineIMAP with Encrypted Authinfo

Tags: tech, Date: 2011-02-26

I've moved to an OfflineIMAP + Gnus setup that's outlined at various places. Gnus can be configured to use ~/.authinfo as a netrc style of file to read passwords from and can easily use encrypted authinfo files as well. Offlineimap, on the other hand, offers no such support, and passwords to the local and remote imap accounts are normally stored in clear text in .offlineimaprc.

... read the rest of OfflineIMAP with Encrypted Authinfo.

Upgrade Woes 2

Tags: tech, Date: 2010-02-08

Debian Squeeze finally got Xorg 7.5 instead of the old and dusty 7.4. The upgrade was as smooth as ever: DPI is off, keyboard repeat for the Caps Lock key does not survive suspend/resume and the trackpoint stopped working. Synaptics click by tapping went away before the upgrade so that doesn't count.

Upgrade Woes

Tags: tech, Date: 2009-11-06

Debian Lenny was released back in February. My conservativeness only lasts about half a year, so I decided to upgrade to Squeeze aka Debian testing. The upgrade itself went rather smoothly with a few notable exceptions. With KDE 4.3, I should have waited more.

... read the rest of Upgrade Woes.

Space Cadet

Tags: lisp, tech, Date: 2008-12-15

Emacs users often report problems caused by strain on the pinky finger, which is used to press the Control key. The standard answer to that is to map Caps Lock to Control. I believe that there is a better way:

Note the placement of modifiers: Control, Meta, Super, Hyper on both sides of Space in this order, with Control being the closest to it. Touch typers especially find having two of each key absolutely essential, and the symmetric placement appeals to me.

... read the rest of Space Cadet.


Tags: tech, Date: 2008-03-28

My carefully updated list of files to back up had grown so long that it made me worry about losing something important, and the backup didn't fit on a single DVD, so I invested in a WD Passport and created an encrypted file system on it:

modprobe cryptoloop
modprobe aes
losetup -e aes /dev/loop0 /dev/sdb
mke2fs /dev/loop0
tune2fs -i 0 -c 0 -j /dev/loop0

... read the rest of Backup.

First Post

Tags: personal, tech, Date: 2008-02-01

After a long time of waiting to write my own blog software like true hackers with infinite time do (and those irritated by Wordpress), I bit the bullet and installed blorg – a very low overhead emacs blog engine – on top of org-mode, that I happen to use as an organizer. Blorg basically converts an org mode buffer to html files, so it is completely static: send me email if you have comments, I have no desire to maintain a more complex solution with comment filtering.

Small fixes had to be made for blorg to be able to deal with org-mode 5.17a, and I only had time to bring it to some basic level of functionality. That said, here is the blorg-init.el file I'm using right now.

2020-05-03: Since then, this blog has been moved to MGL-PAX.