The Latest Van Morrison Fan

For years I've resisted becoming a Van Morrison fan. Even I have no idea why I've been so resistant. I suppose it's because in college I got to hear "Brown Eyed Girl" so much I got sick of it. Further, I started to think "Brown Eyed Girl" was indicative of every Van Morrison song. I suppose it just came down to lack of exposure to the breadth of Van Morrison.

I'm happy to report that I've finally come to my senses. I've been hearing a variety of Van Morrison songs on various XM stations and I really liked them. So, I decided to take the plunge and purchase a Morrison album.

I actually just picked one at random that was relatively recent, seemed to get decent reviews, and had the right "feeling" based on samples. I purchased Magic Time and I love it. It's got some real groovy tunes like "They Sold Me Out" and "Celtic New Year".

In summary, I think I'm well on my way to becoming a genuine Van Morrison fan. I'm going to grab some of the essential Morrison albums and dive in. I'm glad that I'm finally able to recognize the genius.


Lisp in 10 Bullets?!?!

Many people claim that Lisp is one of the simplest languages you can learn. I think that's true as well once you shift your paradigm. Vishnu Vyas created a post called Tiny Lisp course - Lisp in 10 bullets. that shows how simple the Lisp languages are (his post is meant to cover both Scheme and Common Lisp). The point that I disagree with is 10 because of he associates eval and macros.


AutoHotkey Remaps Keys Too

The love just keeps on coming with AutoHotkey - it remaps keys, too! I was using a tool called KeyTweak that actually made registry entries and required a reboot. That's fine at work because I'm the only one using my computer. However, on our Windows machine at home I don't want to make my wife struggle to remember I've remapped the Control key.

This weekend I installed AutoHotkey at home and it dawned on me that I might be able to remap keys with it. I looked in the Help, and sure enough - there's a section on key remapping. (In fact, you can map mouse buttons to keys with AutoHotkey!) I edited my main script and added the following:

; Remap keys

This remaps the Caps Lock key to be the Control key. Then it remaps the right Control key to be Caps Lock. This works well for me because I rarely use the right control key. I'm considering making it the right Alt key because that is even more infrequently used.

The beauty of this set up is that it is per user and doesn't require any registry changes. So when my wife logs in to her profile, her keys have the default mapping. Love it.

Updated 2006-02-13: Someone tipped me off that the link to AutoHotkey was wrong. Thanks!


Navigator Acquired!

As Jeff Reports, Navigator Systems, the company we work for, was acquired by Hitachi Consulting last week. You can read the press release here. Hitachi Consulting (HC) is a med-sized consulting company with a world-wide presence. It's going to be some big changes for little Navigator, but I think most of the Navigator folks are very excited about the future.

For us application development folk, I think being part of HC will give us the opportunity to be involved in even larger projects and stretch ourselves as developers. I'm anxious to see what kinds of application development projects HC has been doing, talk to some of their application development folk, and figure out how we can all integrate. Should be fun.


In my recent quest to find ways reduce hand strain, I came across an application called Workrave. It's a nifty little Windows application that forces you take periodic typing breaks. You can configure the time between breaks and the length of each break. At the specified interval, it pops up a window and suggests a rest. You can skip or postpone the breaks. It works quite well, and I've noticed that it will even pop up in front of a full-screen VMWare session. There's even a way to view your work statistics by day!

Despite its goodness, I have a love/hate relationship with this application. The break pop-ups sometimes annoy me. I'm jamming away, all flowing, and there's the window. Sure, I can ignore it, dismiss it, or postpone it - but all that takes me out of the flow a little bit. I'm sure that I will learn to work with it better over time (just like my freshly remapped Control key).

I may be noticing some difference in my hand fatigue. I'll have to keep working with Workrave and my other improvements to see if they're really going to make a long-term difference.

BTW, I typed through a micro-break and finally took a micro-break during the production of this article.

Web Standards Project

I was reading the December 2005 issue of Computer yesterday (yes, I'm that far behind), and I came across a News Brief entitled Organization Develops Scripting Standards. The article talks The Web Standards Project. The Web Standards Project is a grassroots effort to fight for standards in web technologies. Currently they have campaigns for an Acid2 Test, DOM Scripting Task Force, Dreamweaver Task Force, and an Education Task Force.

I really like the idea behind the DOM Scripting Task Force. The manifesto says that the task force wants to solve some of the problems with JavaScript development like bad practices, obtrusive DOM scripting, and accessibility.

Yes - please fix all that.


Blogger Markdown

Jasper de Vries has a Greasemonky script that will enhance Blogger's HTML editor with the ability to convert Markdown to HTML. Very sweet. Now you can post in Markdown. Love it.

Remapping My Control Key

Bill Clementson's post titled Surviving Emacs - Part 4 inspired me to remap my keyboard. I suffer from Emacs Pinky frequently and I'm looking for a little relief. So, today I made it a point to remap my keyboard to move the control key to caps lock using KeyTweak.

I have to say, I'm not used to it yet and it's bugging me really badly. I have alot of muscle memory built up. I can definitely see how the smaller reach is desirable, but it hasn't made a difference to me yet. Probably because I keep reaching for where the control key used to be rather than where it is now!

I'm going to keep going with it for a week or two. I'll try to report back and let you know how my pinky is doing. (The shift key seems to still be wearing me out, though.)


Emacs Pinky - been there

Emacs Pinky hurts. I'm glad it's documented. Now I have some advice on what to do about it. Also, check out Bill Clementson's entry about Surviving Emacs - Part 4.