Writings from the mind of Steven Tammen. Occasionally comprehensible.

Latency as a Design Variable

How I bumped into the concept of latency When considering what sort of text editor I should use when coding, I was pondering the question of “slowness.” I had heard over time that IDEs were “slow” and text editors (particularly Vim) were “fast.” But what did this mean? How do you measure such things? It seems obvious that you want a “fast” editor. But as I set out to find such an editor, it quickly became clear that many people were just speaking without data, rationalizing their own editor choices.

Latex Installation

Getting a lightweight LaTeX environment This Summer, Summer 2018, I am writing a research paper in Emacs’ org mode. However, to make it easier for my sponsoring professor to read, and because I want to get this set up anyways, I started looking for a PDF publishing workflow. Which means that I need a LaTeX installation, since I am planning to use pdflatex. I remembered from my old computer that the full TexLive installation took up a lot of space, and that I only ever seemed to use a few packages.

Dotfiles Repository

Comments on the process I recently got my dotfiles repository operational. I thought I’d share some thoughts regarding the process of constructing such a repository, since there are things I wish I’d know when I was working on this. 1. Don’t try to make installation files part of you dotfiles repository Initially, I was symlinking my entire .config and .local directories from my dotfiles repository. But I kept bumping into things that would break, or environment variables that weren’t defined how I thought they would be, etc.

Windows vs MacOS vs Linux

Review of last post Recall, last post I made a case for using a 2-in-1 tablet for reading use and light-medium computational tasks, and a portable desktop for more power if/when necessary. At this juncture, I am looking for a computer for light-medium computational tasks, since I don’t really need more power yet (I mostly write and program on my computer at the moment). I am planning on getting into videography and video editing in the next few years (toying with the idea of vlogging), and when I do so, that’s when I’ll spring for a portable desktop.

Portability, Power, and Screen Configurations

Reading with your computer Since I started buying eBooks and doing reading on a Kindle and a cheapo tablet, it became very clear to me that in my next computer purchase, I wanted the ability to read comfortably. Done correctly (with page-turning rather than scrolling, correct brightness settings, blue-wavelength filtering at night, purposeful minimization of distractions, and so forth), I don’t believe screen reading has very many downsides compared with reading paper books.

New Computer: 2018

The impetus So, the next few posts here are going to be a very rough approximation of my thought process as I picked out a new computer (I ended up going with a Dual-core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD Microsoft Surface Pro). My old Lenovo laptop broke at the hinge and the bezel started popping off the screen… making it impossible to close and thus transport anywhere. I hope designers decide sometime in the future to use case components on low-mid range computers that cost at least a few dollars, so that no little plastic bits fail, relegating otherwise perfectly-functional computers to sitting-at-home duty.

Emacs for Org Mode

The purpose and scope of this post Since I recently decided to start doing all my major software development inside of JetBrains IDEs like IntelliJ and PyCharm (why is for another post), I no longer needed as many packages inside of Emacs. This post will go through step-by-step how I set up a minimal Spacemacs installation on Windows 10 to work with org files. I write basically everything in org mode nowadays, but since I no longer need syntax checking, Magit, etc.

Basic WSL Setup

Background and software prerequisites For anyone wishing to set up the Ubuntu environment on Windows 10, this is a very brief guide to how I set it up my first time. I now have a dotfiles repository that I will clone for future setups, but this was how I did it before I got that up and running (I do things a little bit differently now). You can see how to get things up and running using the dotfiles repository by looking at the Readme in the repo.

Skating Environments

Identifying what kind of skating you want to do Obviously if you are doing aggressive skating, you are going to want rails and ledges to grind and things to jump onto and off of. If you are doing slalom, you are going to want a large flat surface where you can set up cones and not bother people unduly. If you are doing speed skating, you are going to want a route that lets you avoid anything that could upset your stride, since speed skates are pretty terrible at maneuvering should anything come up.

Electric Skates vs. Normal Inline Skates

How this page will proceed Because I always like to examine things in the abstract absent actual products (why limit oneself to perhaps sub-par designs that already exist?), I will be primarily examining the idea of electric skates rather than any particular model. Same deal goes for the regular inline skates mentioned: I’m not going to be talking about specific products per se, but an abstraction of the type.