Blog Main Archive - Nov 2015

Posts Below
11/1/2015 - A bit about my genealogy, famous and/or wealthy relatives, etc. (History)
11/3/2015 - What text editors let you view and edit multiple files in a single long page? Similar to Scrivener's Scrivenings mode (Questions - Software)
11/5/2015 - Emacs is Awesome (Software)
11/8/2015 - Link: Star Trek Continues (Entertainment)
11/10/2015 - Link: Programmer Competency Matrix (Programming - Link)
11/13/2015 - Librepup 6.0.2.2 (GNU/Linux)
11/14/2015 - Emacs Lisp code: Insert a NoteCase-like Date/Time with F5 (Emacs Lisp - Code Snippet)
11/14/2015 - Emacs Lisp code: Get Rid of 100-Item Limit on Lists in Helm (Emacs Lisp - Code Snippet)
11/16/2015 - Emacs: How to have tabbing and indentation similar to a more typical text editor (Emacs Lisp)
11/16/2015 - gun.io - A Job Website for Freelance Software Developers (Programming - Freelancing)
11/18/2015 - A few thoughts on reincarnation (Paranormal)
11/23/2015 - Signed a petition to allow the f.lux software on iPhones and iPads (My Writing Elsewhere on the Web)
11/26/2015 - Updated the Self-Help section and Donations page (Self-Help)

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A bit about my genealogy, famous and/or wealthy relatives, etc.
Sunday, November 1st, 2015
07:35:04 GMT

History

A relative of mine (from my mother's side of the family) has been looking into our genealogy, and she found out that we have ancestors named McNutt. :-)

I had no idea we had any Irish/Scottish roots, but I'm pleased we do. :-)

Now, if anyone ever calls me a nut, I can retort, "Wrong! I'm a McNutt!!" :-)


A lot more is known about my father's side of the family than my mother's. I have English ancestry from I think both my mother and father, and German and I think also Russian from my father.

I still have never looked really deeply into our genealogy, so, there might be a lot more to our ancestry than that, and I might have some details confused.

My mother's side of the family is rumored to have a Native American woman somewhere in our background. We're not sure who, and don't know if that's true. But I hope it is true, that would be cool. :-)


The most famous people I'm aware of being related to are:


Some of my paternal ancestors were extremely wealthy - but, that mostly got ruined by the Russian Revolution and World War 1, and probably World War 2 didn't help either.

My paternal grandfather, who died years before I was born, left Europe and came to the USA maybe even as early as 1930, if Ancestry.com is right.

So, my closest paternal relatives luckily probably weren't in Germany when Hitler rose to power, and certainly weren't there when World War 2 broke out. I guess my grandfather probably learned something from what happened to my great-grandfather (his father), who apparently just didn't expect the Russian Revolution and World War 1 to happen, and thus remained in Russia at a particularly terrible time in history to be an immensely wealthy German businessman in Russia.

However, if I recall correctly, my great-grandmother (my grandfather's mother) survived the World War 2 bombing of Dresden, and at some point she came to the USA to live with my grandfather's family.


So, if you ever wondered from whence did such an unusual person as I spawn - now you know a few more details.

Someday if I ever have more time on my hands, I'll probably take a much closer look at all this stuff, and write more about it.


If my great-grandfather had paid more attention to what was going on in the world, and perhaps left Russia (and maybe Europe too) for someplace safer - perhaps that part of my family might have remained immensely wealthy.

If he had lived his life differently, perhaps he even would have been able to change the course of history. Perhaps he might have been able to help avert the Russian Revolution if he had taken a lot more interest in helping the poor to escape their miserable oppression.

Judging by his memoirs (which I read an English translation of years ago) - if I recall correctly, he seemed like a good-hearted, well-meaning person. But I guess he was just too oblivious and preoccupied with his own very opulent life to do very much with his immense wealth (and consequent power) to change the world for the better. I don't think he even fully realized that war and revolution were brewing.


I'll be amazed if I ever manage to get wealthy, and rather surprised if I even manage to reach the middle class, given my horrible sleep issues, and the very worrying economic woes of the world at large, which have been making it deplorably difficult even for many very talented, competent, well-educated, and perfectly able-bodied people to make a living.

But if I ever do get wealthy (or just comfortable), I will try to do what my great-grandfather (and every other rich, or more fortunate than average, person) should have done (or should do): try even harder than I already have to set everyone free from the oppression of poverty. (And any other oppression.)

I actually already am trying pretty hard, but in rather indirect ways, because unfortunately, my preferred direct solution - just handing out buckets of money (which would be debt-free grants, not loans) to good people who need it and will use it wisely - is not yet feasible, since I don't have buckets of money to give in the first place. :-/


Anyway, for now, I'd rather not write in detail about what I'm up to - I'd rather just get back to doing it.

Also, what I'm doing is pretty boring to write about if I focus only on what I'm actually doing at the moment, rather than my lofty (pie in the sky?) dreams of all the marvelous things it all might lead to in the future. :-)

I've been making a lot of progress with what I'm now calling Astroblahhh Desktop 2.8 - the update which will hopefully have everything converted to use UTF-8 Unicode.

What this actually might lead to in the end, who knows.

But, donations and microdonations are welcome.

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What text editors let you view and edit multiple files in a single long page? Similar to Scrivener's Scrivenings mode
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015
05:43:35 GMT

Questions
Software

I posted this question at the Software Recommendations StackExchange site:

What text editors let you view and edit multiple files in a single long page? Similar to Scrivener's Scrivenings mode

Just thought I'd try to draw some attention to it, since I'm really curious to know the answer.


Also, since I still haven't yet gotten around to solving my email problems, I decided to create an email address which my Gmail account will automatically download mail from.

So, I'm now somewhat reachable if you send mail to:

But, even now, please don't expect quick replies, and sorry for neglecting my email so much. I'll probably try to solve my email problems sometime after I'm done with updating Astroblahhh Desktop to version 2.8.


And, still another way to reach me is the Eryss.Com Forum. Even though it's a very quiet and dull place at the moment, I have no plans of ever taking it down.


Update, Nov. 5, 2015, 4:11 AM EST, etc. I believe the best currently-existing way to do what I asked about might be the Emacs editor, plus some Emacs add-ons, namely multifiles.el, and its dependency dash.el. I wrote about those here.

I have long thought I ought to try to get more familiar and comfortable with Emacs. But, until now, I never had an exotic-enough feature requirement which I had no more convenient way than Emacs to fulfil.

Before this, it was easier to just stick with Geany (in Linux) and Notepad++ (in Windows, though I also have frequently used it in Linux using VirtualBox or Wine). They're both really fantastic editors, and easier to figure out than Emacs, but much less powerful and flexible.


As for why I need such an unusual feature in the first place - it's because I've been splitting my source code up into a lot more separate files, and I haven't found a way to make Notepad++ or Geany go to bookmarks located in different files instead of only the current file. I keep getting lost amongst all the tons of different file tabs I have, and I'm getting tired of having to click around so much and struggle to remember where I put things, or what I named things so I can do a search for them, etc.

So, I figured having everything in one long scrollable page which I can have bookmarks in might make things a lot easier to deal with.

It's going to take a while for me to get up to speed with Emacs, but, in the long run, I think knowing how to use and customize Emacs to do exactly what I want will make my software development - and hence, my life - a lot easier in the future, so it's probably worth the trouble.


No doubt I will still use Geany and Notepad++ at times, though. They're perfectly fine for less labyrinthine projects of mine.

And happily, I recently managed to figure out how to make Notepad++ less crashy in Wine. In Notepad v6.8.6, I had to go to the Settings menu, choose Preferences, then select MISC. from the lefthand sidebar. Then, under File Status Auto-Detection, I unchecked "Enable".

That stops Notepad++ from giving me an alert message which freezes and crashes everything if I happen to edit a file with a different editor while I have that file open in Notepad++.

Another nice thing I found lately was the Notepad++ Task List plugin, mentioned here, which could be of use if you want named bookmarks which are more permanent than Notepad++'s built-in, unnamed bookmarks.


Somehow, I was unable to compile the latest version of Geany with Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004.

But, that was actually probably a good thing, because I'm probably better off getting more acquainted with Emacs anyway.

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Emacs is Awesome
Thursday, November 5th, 2015
19:28:20 GMT

Software

Today I found out the Emacs editor has a web browser built in, called EWW, which stands for "Emacs Web Wowser". :-)

I was actually able to use it to browse Astroblahhh Desktop!

It even was capable of displaying the ABDesktop file organizer's thumbnail images, and also was able to open the image files full-size right inside of Emacs.

The formatting of ABDesktop's listers is far from perfect inside the Emacs web browser, partly because by default, long lines get truncated rather than wrapped. Thumbnail images get displayed at the bottom of the lister instead of next to each file record.

But wow... web browsing inside of Emacs!! Wow!!!

And there's Tetris, among other games. And the Emacs Psychotherapist, available in the Help menu. :-D


There are so many different keyboard commands (or "keychords") in Emacs. It's rather daunting, but, fortunately, they're reputedly all customizable.

And, years ago, I was able to get quite comfortable with the many different keyboard commands in games like Steamband, to the point where I almost never had to check the manual for what keys to press to do certain things.

So, it's encouraging to think that, given that I achieved that with some games, I should hopefully be able to get pretty far dealing with tons of different keyboard commands in Emacs.


I already found a nice bookmark add-on called Breadcrumb, which works the way I wished I could figure out how to make bookmarks in Geany and Notepad++ work. Breadcrumb is capable of bringing you to locations in different files, instead of only locations inside the current file, just by pressing a single key to go the next bookmark. F2 in my case, just like Notepad++.

It also works great with the multifile created by the multifiles.el add-on I mentioned in my previous blog post.


I'm also quite excited about the fact that there's an entire programming language embedded inside of Emacs, called Emacs Lisp. I've been reading An Introduction to Programming in Emacs Lisp, which is very helpful.

Years ago I read some articles talking about how wonderful Lisp is, which made me curious enough to try Lisp (not inside Emacs) in Windows, but, I never got very far with it back then.

But perhaps now I finally have advanced far enough as a programmer to finally grasp Lisp a lot better, and do something useful with it. Hope so, since that might be the only way I'll be able to add the new features I'd like to have in multifiles.el.

If I ever start liking Lisp more than my current favorite language, PHP, I'll let you all know.

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Link: Star Trek Continues
Sunday, November 8th, 2015
17:33:51 GMT

Entertainment

The most recent episode (episode 5) was posted to Vimeo on Sept. 26th.

Star Trek Continues

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Link: Programmer Competency Matrix
Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
18:25:36 GMT

Programming
Link

Zounds, I still have so much to learn!

Programmer Competency Matrix, a page from Starling-Software.com

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Librepup 6.0.2.2
Friday, November 13th, 2015
20:28:59 GMT

GNU/Linux

As usual, I haven't been staying very up to date with most anything going on in the world. So, I didn't find this until today:

Librepup

And here's the Puppy Linux Discussion Forum thread about Librepup.

I haven't tried Librepup yet, but, wanted to point it out anyway, since I find this Pup particularly notable because I'm not sure if there's any other Puppy or Puppy-based distro (yet) which so strongly emphasizes exclusively free, libre, open source software.

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Emacs Lisp code: Insert a NoteCase-like Date/Time with F5
Saturday, November 14th, 2015
15:16:18 GMT

Emacs Lisp
Code Snippet

The below Emacs Lisp code, which simply inserts a date/time like "2015-11-14 10:01:14" when you press F5, was a slight modification of code I found at this StackOverflow page:

How can I insert current date and time into a file using Emacs?


I used "defcustom" and "setq" instead of "defvar" alone because of tips from this page from ErgoEmacs.org:

Emacs Lisp "defvar" Doesn't Override


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Emacs Lisp code: Get Rid of 100-Item Limit on Lists in Helm
Saturday, November 14th, 2015
15:44:27 GMT

Emacs Lisp
Code Snippet

I never before had to fiddle so much with an editor to make it comfortable to use - but, it seems to be paying off, since the idea of sticking with Emacs is starting to seem not only plausible, but appealing. Perhaps I'll be able to return to my usual projects sometime in the next few weeks.

I've been downloading lots of different Emacs add-ons - many of them listed in this section of my GitHub account.


The add-on Helm makes it much easier to access and list various useful things, such as Emacs' fortunately copious documentation of things like Emacs Lisp functions and variables.

In my ".emacs" settings file, I have this line after the stuff which starts Helm:

That line slows things down a bit, but at least it gets rid of the 100-item limit on the length of lists in Helm.

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Emacs: How to have tabbing and indentation similar to a more typical text editor
Monday, November 16th, 2015
05:34:36 GMT

Emacs Lisp

The Emacs editor has a bunch of default behaviors that were driving me crazy:

(Plus other, less insanity-inducing problems - but those aren't solved in this post.)

And also the automatic indentation in php-mode.


Finally, I figured out how to fix all of that, and make Emacs' tabbing and auto-indenting be more like a typical text editor.

But, I'm pretty new to Emacs, so, there might be side effects or other problems with the below solution I'm not yet aware of. Comments are welcome!

Thanks to everyone on the web who posted useful info and/or code which enabled me to cobble together my current favorite solution.


The only Emacs add-on the below code requires is regtab.el, which makes it possible to indent either one line or entire highlighted regions by pressing tab, and un-indent them by pressing shift-tab.

I put the below code in my ".emacs" settings file. I'm using Emacs 24.5.1.


I had some trouble figuring out how to make php-mode stop doing automatic indent. So, finally, I just resorted to the brute force method of editing php-mode.el's source code.

In php-mode.el, I changed every instance of indent-tabs-mode nil to indent-tabs-mode t, and every instance of tab-width 4 to tab-width 7. (But you can use whatever tab-width number you like).

I don't yet know of a less invasive way to fix it than that. But, that worked.


To stop regtab.el from displaying the text "regtab" in your modeline, you can comment out these lines in regtab.el:

(define-minor-mode regtab-mode "Regular Tabs Minor Mode"
  :lighter " regtab" :keymap regtab-mode-map)

And use this line instead, with "lighter" set to "nil". (It's included in the box of code above, so you can just uncomment it.)


Click this link to display the blog comment thread hosted at the Eryss.Com Forum:

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gun.io - A Job Website for Freelance Software Developers
Monday, November 16th, 2015
22:23:21 GMT

Programming
Freelancing

gun.io is a job website for freelance software developers. gun.io has some emphasis on free (as in freedom), libre, open source software.

I still don't feel fully qualified to undertake any of the astonishingly high-paying gigs I've seen on there lately so far, most of them paying over $10,000.

So, I haven't done any gun.io gigs, and I also don't know exactly how the site works. So, it is not first-hand experience with doing work on there which inspires me to point them out.

The top reason I'm pointing them out is because I discovered while filling out my profile that they provide affiliate marketing links, and, since gun.io has some emphasis on free/libre/open source software, and I could use some money, I thought I might as well share my link.

Here's my affiliate marketing link:

https://gun.io/a/apollia

I'm fairly sure there's probably at least one brilliant, extremely talented software developer who sometimes reads my blog. Maybe more.

So, I hope this helps you, and thanks in advance if you use my affiliate marketing link to sign up with gun.io.

And I hope you'll work exclusively on free (as in freedom), libre, open source jobs, not non-libre, closed source jobs.


Click this link to display the blog comment thread hosted at the Eryss.Com Forum:

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A few thoughts on reincarnation
Wednesday, November 18th, 2015
07:52:45 GMT

Paranormal

There's a variety of reasons why I don't like the thought of reincarnating.

But, one of the top reasons is because of worldwide poverty. According to this page (which I so often link to), at least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. (Or, in other words, less than about $3650 per year.)

So, that might mean the odds of being reborn into wealth, or even just acceptable comfort, might be rather slim.

But even if poverty didn't exist, an eternal heavenly afterlife would still sound much better to me than reincarnation. (Even though I'm agnostic.)


I wonder if sincere reincarnation believers tend to be more kind, caring, fair, and altruistic than the average person?

If you truly believe you're going to have to come back to this world, and be reborn as who knows what, that's a pretty strong incentive to try to make the world a better, fairer place for everyone - not just certain privileged groups.

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Signed a petition to allow the f.lux software on iPhones and iPads
Monday, November 23rd, 2015
20:45:48 GMT

My Writing Elsewhere on the Web

Several days ago I signed this petition. And to explain why, and also share the comment I posted when I signed it, I posted this blog post (recently retitled for clarity, around 5:16 PM EST) at Non24.Com:

Petition: Allow the f.lux software on iPhones and iPads

There are currently 2083 signatures as I write this.


The petition mentions some quite negative things about blue light, which finally motivated me to change the default designs on the Non24.Com Forum and the Eryss.Com Forum. The original default design, named "Astronomy", is still available, but only if you're logged in.

I really hope blue light isn't really that bad, since I quite like the color blue at times, and even my eyes are blue.

Oh, well. I'm glad at least Astroblahhh.Com has always had this mostly red theme - except it currently has some blue links, which I guess I ought to change. Addition, 4:09 PM EST. OK, changed, but someday I'll have to perfect the colors.

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Updated the Self-Help section and Donations page
Thursday, November 26th, 2015
02:25:59 GMT

Self-Help

For the first time since Jan. 2, 2013, I updated the Self-Help page. And for the first time since May 13, 2013, I updated the Donations page.

What got me started on all this was discovering that I never fixed the broken link on the Self-Help page to one of the very best self-help essays I ever read - How to Operate Your Brain Perfectly, by Nick Pagan.

Fortunately, that PDF file is still available, thanks to Archive.org.

(Addition, Nov. 28, 2015, 1:49 AM EST: I recently rediscovered some self-help videos by the author of that essay: 1dayhabit.com Videos.)


Then, once I fixed that link, it occurred to me that Non24.Com and Non24.Org would be appropriate additions to the Self-Help page.

So I started writing about them - and then ended up also writing some autobiographical stuff.

But just the tip of the iceberg, as usual, since for various reasons I can't yet actually publish the most interesting stuff, or get into much detail about it.


Happy Thanksgiving, and also thanks to everyone who ever helped me in any way.

I hope someday I'll be able to repay everyone's kindness somehow, such as through my various creations such as software, articles, etc. - or even through my possible future wealth, if I'm ever fortunate enough to get wealthy.


One of the things I like about my own astrological chart is that I have Uranus in the 2nd house, which is often thought to be associated with sudden unusual changes in one's material fortunes.

Sometimes, that has seemed true - but that's another story I can't yet tell in full detail.


Addition, Nov. 25, 2015, 11:31 PM EST. Realized I forgot to mention anything about some of the most useful software I've ever encountered, so I added that to the Self-Help page's External Links section.

Addition, Nov. 30, 2015, 2:17 AM EST: Added a bit more to the GNU Emacs section of the Self-Help page.

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