The Blog

Writings from the mind of Steven Tammen. Occasionally comprehensible.

Getting a Second Pair of Skates: Thoughts

Background I ordered the Wizard NR110 skates a few months back since I wanted to pick up skating for exercise and fun. Despite liking the skates and all, there are lots of scary hills where I live, and I haven’t ended up using them that much since I’m still kind of afraid of stopping. I need to change this. Why get a second pair of skates with smaller wheels? Learning Smaller wheels, especially combined with the low center of gravity of the Trinity frames, give much more lateral stability than a 4x110 UFS system.

An Amazon Customer Service Experience

Why I like Amazon in general I have essentially stopped buying things from local stores (excepting groceries) unless I absolutely have to because I was not keeping track of something and ran out. I have been an Amazon Prime member for several years now, and have found the convenience of ordering things online to be very positive. I certainly don’t get dogmatic about this (I have family members that still like to make store runs for things), but here are some of the reasons why I really like shopping on Amazon:

The College Brain as a Sponge

Some background This semester, Fall 2018, is the first semester of my fifth year in college. I am currently working on finishing three majors: Greek, Classical Culture, and Computer Science. Cognitive resources and mode-switching As I’ve gotten further into disparate fields, I’ve become convinced that mode-switching is making my academic life harder. The TL;DR is that there is a good reason why most people don’t try combining, say, English and Biochemistry, or Psychology and Astrophysics.

Copying Urls of Tabs

Motivation Last post I talked about opening groups of links in the browser. This post is about effectively accomplishing the reverse: given that I have some tabs open, how can I save them as a list of links to use later? The primary purpose of this for me at the moment is to quickly save research sessions into my Org mode drafts related to various topics. I want the whole process to be as seamless as possible: once I have a cluster of related tabs, I want to be able to select them and then paste them into an Org mode document already formatted as an unordered list, with the link texts being the page titles.

Opening Groups of Links

Motivation I oftentimes find myself making heavy use of Chrome’s “Bookmark all tabs” option. The typical procedure is to hold down Shift (or Control), select some number of tabs that are related to one another, and then bookmark them in a folder. Sometimes I’ll just bookmark a single page too. The consequence of all this bookmarking is an extremely disorderly and unorganized Chrome profile, with remnants of dozens of research sessions scattered amongst other normal bookmarks like email and what have you.

Hackish SSH Escaping for Rsync

Motivation My school’s remote servers are running some old version of RHEL. We have to use private Git repositories for shared projects in classes for obvious reasons (can’t have other people looking at code due to academic honesty and what have you), but the version of Git installed on the aforementioned servers are old enough that it apparently doesn’t support username/password authentication. (I haven’t tried key authentication with SSH – it might work).

SSH Keys Are Not as Hard as You Think

Motivation I had to change my password on my school’s remote server today, which ended up being an enormous chore. I had a very strong password that I had been using previously, but the server wouldn’t let me shift capitalization and keep the strong password, or just change a couple characters, etc. So I had to come up with another strong password to use. But then the server wasn’t taking the new password consistently.

First Cousin Marriage

Is this even a thing? In a Telugu film I watched recently, the protagonist ended up marrying his first cousin. I was somewhat surprised by this, since I’d always sort of assumed that this was a cultural taboo worldwide. After all, shared DNA of any form creates a higher incidence of recessive genetic disorders… right? My gut reaction was based off of a few things. I knew that first cousin marriage is just straight up banned in many states in the USA (humans commonly, if unconsciously, associate laws with morality, even though the two are not always formally related).

Basic Regex Use: Finances

Background Yesterday I went through my finances from the last half-year or so. I roll my own Excel system rather than using some automatic system linked to my credit card. I can set up custom filtering and sums, for example, that would be harder to manage if I didn’t have the raw data. Another benefit of having fine control like this is if you are dealing with tax paperwork (as opposed to outsourcing everything out to some third party – which costs money).

Initial Greek Survey Analysis

This post This post contains the questions on a Greek survey I sent out last month to various English-speaking Classics departments across the globe, along with initial graphics displaying the results. I got many more responses than I was expecting (n = 184), and wish to thank everyone that took the time to fill it out. I’ve already found the results useful in guiding my progress on the Greek implementation.