Pelican 3

geek View comments

Well. That ended up being a long interval between posts. I’m not really sure what happened. I’ve certainly been busy, but I managed to get myself into a kind of procrastination dependency loop. I wanted to write a new article, but I also wanted to upgrade to Pelican 3 (I was previously using Pelican 2), and I somehow persuaded myself that I need to do that before I wrote a new article. I didn’t upgrade, because I was imagining that it would be a long, difficult process, and I needed time to do it properly.

Continue reading

Org mode and Pandoc

In the intervening time since first setting up Spacemacs I have been getting more familiar with org-mode, and becoming increasingly impressed by its power and flexibility. Consequently, I’ve started writing by default in org-mode rather than Markdown. What I like about it is that it provides a lot of features for structuring, re-arranging and editing text. For example, text with headings, lists and so on is defined as a tree, and there are commands for moving nodes within this tree up and down, or promoting or demoting them. These nodes can also be shown or hidden selectively, and you can even ‘narrow’ a buffer to a particular sub-tree, which means that this particular section of the document temporarily appears to be the only contents of the buffer. This is wonderful in a long document when you want to focus on a specific part, but still have access to the rest of the document when needed. Table editing is also superbly easy in Org files — it’s almost worth using org-mode for this alone if you often include tables in your documents. Of course, the point of writing in either Markdown or Org format is that it is human-readable and easy to edit, but can be transformed into many other final document formats using Pandoc. Originally, I used the Pandoc mode package with Spacemacs, which is excellent and works with any source file format, but for some reason it stopped working for me. I tried everything I could to get it working again, but had no luck, so I was looking around for another alternative.

Continue reading

Spacemacs

geek emacs View comments

Regular readers will know that when it comes to tinkering with text editors, I can’t leave well enough alone. I’ve used many different editors over the years, but have kept returning at various intervals to Vim. I like Vim a lot, and despite its various inconveniences, I find myself missing modal editing and the ease with which you can move around and edit text when I am using other editors. Despite that, I occasionally drop back into the comforting GUI territory of Sublime Text 2 or Textmate 2, purely because I’ve set up some fancy configuration in Vim, but forgotten to how to use it (or — in extreme cases — that it’s even there).

Continue reading

Hobonichi planner

geek View comments

Late last year, I decided to try a Hobonichi Planner. It was a bit of a gamble, because I haven’t used a day planner for many years. My workflow is mostly software-based: I use Calendar on Mac OS and iOS to record events, and (currently) OmniFocus for my tasks. However, for a while I have thought it would be interesting to have an analogue daybook of sorts, to plan out the current day, record what I have done, and also to jot down random thoughts.

Continue reading

Too much geekery

geek View comments

On Friday, I taught a session of a basic statistics workshop that a colleague and I designed for undergraduates. The idea is that we give a brief overview introduction, then the students work through our worksheet using R commander to get a feel for how to run basic tests, construct graphs, and interpret results. I originally built the worksheet (and the accompanying handbook, which contains more detail) in RStudio using RMarkdown formatting.

Continue reading

Ranger

It’s nearly Christmas, and what could be more festive than writing about a command-line file manager? I’m pretty sure that I’ve tried Ranger before, but at that point it was early in its development, and I had a few issues with it. I was reminded of it again by Dr Bunsen, and decided to give it another go. It’s available via homebrew, so you can install it with a simple brew install ranger.

Continue reading

Standing to work

Like many people whose work is primarily office and computer based, I spend far too much of my day sitting. Not only do I sit at my office desk at work for much of the day (when I’m not lecturing and so on), I sit at the computer for long periods at home too. I work or do my own thing on the computer at the weekends and in the evening, and I often work from home for at least one day a week.

Continue reading

Tmuxline and Promptline

Sometimes, tinkering begets more tinkering. Writing about my most recent tinkering session in Tinkering with Vim, I found myself wanting to tweak one or two things a little further. This was partly because I came across a couple of very interesting Vim plugins (tmuxline.vim and promptline.vim) that — oddly — act to alter the appearance and function of the tmux status bar and the shell prompt respectively. While I liked my previous powerline setup, a few things niggled me a little about it:

Continue reading

Tinkering with Vim

Once again, I have been tinkering about with my .vimrc and tweaking my settings. While I do still use Sublime Text as an editor, I find myself using Vim by choice much more often. Over the years I have been using Vim, I have swung from a very complex setup to a rather simpler one, as I have learned which of the ‘built-in’ features of Vim I like, and which I prefer to replace with plugins and custom settings.

Continue reading

New turntable

hifi geek View comments

Last weekend my brother brought me a wonderful turntable. It was one that he had made himself about 15 years ago. Since it was now surplus to requirements, he asked if I would like to use it. I’ve mentioned before that I tend to do very well out of the equipment upgrades of my audiophile father and brother. In fact, my previous two turntables were also cast-offs: the first a Project 1.

Continue reading