Why I still use vim

2014-05-05 Mon – 10:25:05

I was trying to explain to a friend why I still prefer using vim (with bash + screen) over something like Sublime or PHP Storm or whatever. Here’s my response:

    If I told you, there’s this amazing knork thing that’s just been invented, it’s a knife combined with a fork! And it’s got a USB cable that lets you tell the temperature of whatever you’re eating. And a camera! And an mp3 player so you can never be without music while you eat.

    Would you want to upgrade your eating experience from knife + fork so you’re “up to date”? Or does the knife and fork do the job perfectly adequately and you have absolutely no need for anything else?

    You would probably stick with the knife + fork. It’s a proven design, works well for the job, you’re very familiar with it, and there are knives + forks everywhere so you can rely on it being pretty much the same experience every time you use it.

That’s why I still use vim.

Update: I prefer PhpStorm now.


2013-04-12 Fri – 22:54:04

Saw a post by my friend Meg on Google+ recently, linking to a blog post commas. It reminded me of something.

When I was around 12 or 13 years old, I used to go and sit on my mum’s bed while she was watching TV, and we’d talk about stuff. We talked about things I’d recently come across, like an awesome book describing boolean logic, poetry that rhymed compared to poetry that doesn’t, and that weird David Bowie film that was on that I didn’t understand (she didn’t either – have you ever *seen* The Man Who Fell to Earth?).

We talked a lot about language, and speech, and that sort of thing. I bought a book about grammar once, we had a two hour chat about tautology. I love my mum. (Dad too, but let’s not make this comment too long.)

Commas came up more than once. I didn’t realise it at the time, we were just chatting. Wasn’t old enough to start classifying conversations. But, yeah, they were an interesting element of written language.

A few years later, we’re talking on the phone. “I bought a book!” she says. “I think you might like it”.

I’m going to have to quote this bit directly, without punctuation; you’ll have to fill in that bit yourself (or not):

“It’s called eats shoots and leaves”

If you haven’t heard the joke before, “eats shoots and leaves” is the punchline to a joke that plays on words, specifically what happens if you leave a comma out of a sentence.

Here’s the joke as I remember it:

“A panda walks into a pub and orders the daily special. He finishes his meal, walks towards the door, but before going out he turns around, pulls out a gun and shoots a nearby customer.

The barman shouts at him, ‘Hey! What the fuck! You shoot one of my customers and walk out without even paying, christ!’

The panda turns around and says ‘Yeah? So what? I’m a panda, look it up.’

So the barman gets out his encylopedia and looks up panda bears. The definition reads: ‘Pandas: a type of bear native to China. Distinctive because of its white and black colouring. Eats shoots and leaves.'”

It’s also a great book, if you like that kind of thing.

The thing that struck me, though, is that my mum remembered talking to me about commas, sitting on her bed all that time ago, and picked up the conversation twenty years later, and it was like we’d never finished talking. It was nice.

So, thanks, commas. You’re awesome for all sorts of reasons.

LTArt.NL backstage interview: Evelina Kvartūnaitė

2011-11-25 Fri – 14:35:11

Tomorrow – Saturday 26th November – I will be attending LTArt.NL, an event showcasing Lithuanian artists living in the Netherlands. One of the organisers, Evelina Kvartūnaitė, has been regularly posting “backstage interviews” with various artists and performers who will be at the event. I thought it was about time we got to see another side, so sent over a few questions of my own to Evelina.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Backstage interviews: Evelina Kvartūnaitė.

When did you arrive in the Netherlands, and how long have you been here?Evelina Kvartūnaitė

I arrived to the Netherlands around three years ago. That would make it in the end of 2008.

What brought you to the Netherlands?

I came here in the search for new and undiscovered things in my life and a bit of a challenge. More practically – with an offer for a new job.

What’s your role in LTArt.NL?

I am part of the organisational team. I was appointed to work more with the PR and the evening programme however we try to work together and support each other.

What events led up to you being part of an art event for your home country?

I simply was offered to join the team. All the years I was not living in Lithuania I was working on very international projects with very multicultural teams therefore I found it to be a nice and interesting challenge to try and work with more Lithuanian people as much as Dutch.

How long have you been planning the event?

It was a very quick and intensive process as we only had few months to put everything together.

Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to seeing?

I am very excited about the whole event as its been really beautiful to work with the team – a lot of ideas and synergy. I am very grateful to everyone who made it happen so its going to be super special to watch the day unfold.

Have you already started planning for next year?

We do make notes about the next years project and according to how it goes this year we will try to make it even better!

What other projects are you involved in?

I work with many ideas and a lot of inspiring people. Life is magic that way!

Lastly, what’s some advice for life you’d like to give everyone?

Remember that minds are like parachutes – function best when open and behave happy! :)

Old man

2011-04-07 Thu – 13:44:04

Old man

Old man


2011-03-03 Thu – 16:51:03



2010-04-10 Sat – 14:58:04

Hey, buddy! See that thing in front of you? It’s a monitor. It’s connected to a computer, which in turn is connected to — gasp! — the INTERNET. That’s the single biggest and most easily searchable repository of information humankind has ever known. No, really! It’s great. You should check it out! You can find out ALL SORTS OF SHIT.

Questions vs. Answers vs. Comments

2010-03-02 Tue – 19:21:03

Results 1 – 100 of about 1,680,000,000 for comments

Results 1 – 100 of about 426,000,000 for answers

Results 1 – 100 of about 691,000,000 for questions

It’s true: on the internet, there are more questions than answers; but almost everyone has got something to say. How very like life.

PayPal email fail

2009-08-06 Thu – 16:22:08

Now that I’ve got a job working for an email service provider I’ve started taking a bit more notice of different companies’ attempts at email marketing, and I have to admit to becoming slightly more sensitive about when they do it badly. Today I received yet another ridiculous failure that’s so bad I honestly can’t quite tell if it’s an actual phishing attempt or not.

It’s from PayPal. They sent out a message about “great summer savings”, coming from paypal@info.paypal.co.uk – but with a Reply-To: address as reply2@info.paypal.com. That wasn’t the first thing I found amusing, though – I’ve only just noticed that. The first thing was that I wanted to unsubscribe, and right at the bottom saw this:

“This email was sent to <insert user email address>, because your email preferences are set to receive the PayPal Periodical newsletter and Product Updates. Click here to Unsubscribe”

That’s funny enough on its own, but a few lines above that, they’ve added:

“How do I know this is not a Spoof email? Spoof or ‘phishing’ emails tend to have generic greetings such as “Dear PayPal member”. Emails from PayPal will always address you by your first and last name.

How ironic. Oh well, all I want to do is unsubscribe, so, after checking that the domains in the links aren’t some dodgy fake ones I click the “Unsubscribe” link, and what do I get?


Wow. Wow, just… wow. I mean, wow. How many fuckups can you get in one email? From one of the world’s biggest internet companies? Eesh.

Dear Linux.com, you suck. Love, pgl

2009-08-05 Wed – 09:33:08


[The below pasted verbatim, including grammatical errors, etc.]

From: Peter Lowe <pgl@yoyo.org>
To: Linux Foundation <events@linux-foundation.org>
CC: linux.com.users@linuxfoundation.org
Subject: Re: [Linux.com.users] 20% LinuxCon Registration Discount for Linux.com Members

I don't normally bother responding to poorly thought out marketing attempts
like this, but, your last one so annoying that I just - can't - help myself.

Look, you're trying to reach people who want to go to your event, right? You
could at least treat the people who _don't_ give a shit with a bit of
respect - I mean, like, think about the people you're sending to a *little*
bit, rather than just say woo look, a list of subscribers that's an easy way
to get the message out.

You've sent me a mail, with an unsubscribe link. But, you didn't send mail
directly to people (would that really have been too difficult?), but,
because I don't know which email address you've sent the mail to, I have to
guess both what my email address is, but also my password.

The first thing I did was try logging in to mailman using my Linux.com
registered email address and password, which, but course, that didn't work
-- I'm guessing because you've just done a mass import of all Linux.com
accounts into one big list, with new passwords for everyone?

So, then I had to guess which email address you sent it to in order to get
the password "reminder". Fortunately I got that right: because if I'd put in
the wrong address I would have had no way to know, as mailman reports "A
reminder of your password has been emailed to you" regardless of the address
you use in its password reminder form. I'm glad I got it right, because I
hadn't made a note of the address I'd not signed up to a list with.

If you're patting yourself on the back because not many people have
unsubscribed in response to your mailouts...

Also, it would be kind of nice if you could put some sort of, uh,
description of the list on the mailman page? It's not listed on the main

 - https://lists.linux-foundation.org/mailman/listinfo

and the main page for the list:

 - https://lists.linux-foundation.org/mailman/listinfo/linux.com.users

doesn't have a single word about what the list is for. Also, why on earth
are the archives password protected!?

Another problem is that there's nowhere on Linux.com where I can say "don't
contact me about future promotions" or whatever. I can opt-out of "system
emails", "private messages", or "application notifications", but not this?

Lastly, and this really is just me being picky, but hey, using a consistent
domain (linux-foundation.org vs. linuxfoundation.org vs. Linux.com) would be

You're trying to attract people to your event, but unfortunately what you've
done is make me even less likely to go, and certainly less likely to treat
anything with "Linux.com" branding (or linuxfoundation.org, or...) with any
respect. Sadly I have a horrible feeling couldn't care less.


 - Peter

Linux Foundation wrote on 2009-07-29 Wed 8:10 am:
> LinuxCon  - The New Technical Conference for All Matters Linux
> September 21-23, 2009
> Portland Marriott Waterfront � Portland, OR
> =========================================
> Linux.com Members Receive 20% Discount to LinuxCon
> =========================================
> We�re pleased to offer a 20% discount off of registration fees
> exclusively for Linux.com Members. Register before the August 15th
> early registration deadline and attend for only US$319!
> Register Here: http://events.linuxfoundation.org/component/registrationpro/?func=details&did=1
> Use this discount code when registering to receive the 20% discount: LC_COM
> ================================
> Top Five Reasons You Can�t Miss LinuxCon
> ================================
> *Top Tier Speaking Talent You Can�t Find Anywhere Else*
> Speakers including Linus Torvalds, Mark Shuttleworth (Founder of
> Ubuntu), Bob Sutor (VP, Open Source & Linux at IBM), Imad Sousou
> (Director of Intel�s OSTC), and more. This is your only chance to see
> Linus and other kernel developers speak at a general conference.
>  *Innovative Content for Developers, Business and Operations*
> Over 75 sessions spanning Developer, Business and Operations Tracks
> filled with in-depth content straight from the leaders of Linux, not
> just marketing presentations.  Click here to View Full Schedule:
> http://linuxcon.linuxfoundation.org/meetings
> *Free in depth tutorials to improve your Linux skills*
> 11 in-depth, free tutorials that will help you advance your career.
> From scaling your systems administrators to kernel debugging.
> *Meet Linux Luminaries, Change the World*
> A flexible schedule featuring abundant �hallway track� time, attendee
> lounges, and a special �Bowling for Penguins� fundraiser on Monday
> evening that will help you save the penguins while challenging your
> favorite Linux developers to a bowling match.
> *Network with speakers and attendees before, during and after the conference*
> With the LinuxCon online attendee community, you can plan your
> schedule and connect with speakers or attendees before the event to
> ensure your time is well spent.  Check it out here:
> http://linuxcon.linuxfoundation.org/
> =============================================
> LinuxCon  - The new technical conference for All Matters Linux
> September 21-23, 2009
> Portland Marriott Waterfront � Portland, OR
> =================================
> This is just the beginning.  In addition to fantastic content and
> speakers, we promise you a great experience at LinuxCon that will
> bring you back again and again in the years to come.
> Register Today!
> http://events.linuxfoundation.org/component/registrationpro/?func=details&did=1
> Additional discounts are available for Linux Foundation Individual
> Members and LPC Attendees � contact angela@linux-foundation.org for
> more information.
> Questions? Contact us at events@linux-foundation.org
> ==================================
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.linux-foundation.org/mailman/listinfo/linux.com.users
> _______________________________________________
> Linux.com.users mailing list
> Linux.com.users@lists.linux-foundation.org
> https://lists.linux-foundation.org/mailman/listinfo/linux.com.users

They have not, of course, replied. All I’ve received by way of acknowledgement is a rejection of my attempted post to the linux.com.users list.

I finally did get to see the other mails from the list: after looking through the Linux.com.users mailing list archives, I discovered that there had been three prior mails from May that were less annoying, but still made the same basic mistakes of etiquette and common sense that the above did.

(Ironically, first introductory mail, which didn’t mention the fact everyone had been signed up to a new list, talked about “gain[ing] goodwill and support of fellow Linux.com members”, and that the new Linux.com is “for the community by the community” – hah!)

Perhaps I’m overreacting to this, and I should just ignore it. They’re just such… idiots! Arg.

Incroyable – fantastique

2009-01-16 Fri – 23:26:01

Tres bien. Magnifique.