Lots of work in the past few days here and at huckridge.com

As mentioned previously, I switched from Movable Type to WordPress.  Wordpress is pretty neat.  I liked it so much I cancelled the somewhat rudimentary and comparatively expensive hosting at GoDaddy I had and installed WordPress for huckridge.com too.  My two apps, ntla and Panopticon, are getting closer to ready for use.  Actually, I think Panopticon is ready for use, as of yesterday.

Random thoughts after switching to WordPress

Yup, switched to WordPress.  I’m not sure I’m going to keep this theme (“Twenty Fifteen”).  It seems kind of, I dunno, diffuse or something.  The font is fairly large.  I can probably tweak that — it seems like you can tweak everything else! — but I haven’t figured out how yet.

I also have several other sites I might like to use it for, and I’m a little leery of having to reinstall or reconfigure everything I’ve done here at theclapp.org.  Maybe there’s a good way around that, I dunno.  I’m fairly certain that the various WP hosting sites have figured it out!  :)

QFTD, 5/12/14

Until then, just assume that in the absence of new information, everything is going along perfectly. I thank you in advance for agreeing to this comfortable delusion.” — John Scalzi


My Go bio

The GopherCon organizers recently invited me to their new channel on Slack.  (I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be public, or I’d link to it.)  (Edit: It went public shortly thereafter, here.)

Slack.com has a tiny one-line text field to talk about yourself.  That seems insufficient.  So I thought I’d ramble for a bit about my background, both Go-related and in general.

I started program in 1983 when I was 15.  My learning path was, broadly speaking, BASIC, Turbo Pascal, Turbo C, Lisp, Perl, C++, Java.  I’ve programmed professionally mostly in C, Java, and rather a lot of Perl.  The vast majority of my experience has been on the back end, with servers and whatnot.  For several years I’ve been the Linux team lead for Wedo North America (nee Connectiv Solutions), where we process 1-2 billion call detail records (CDRs) a day.

After Go 1.0 was released, a friend “mentioned” me on Facebook with a link to golang.org.  I took the tour and liked it (Go) a lot.  I found Ivo Balbaert’s The Way To Go and read all of it.  I’ve dabbled in it since then, but only recently started working on a project of any size.

Basically, it started to seem really dumb to me that I still interact with my Linux systems using a tty that hasn’t changed all that much since 1970.  It seems to me that the usual Linux shell conflates “model” with “view”.  Just for example: I should be able to get a list of files in a directory, and my shell should be able to sort them by name, size, or whatever, without having to go back and run “ls” again.  And I should be able to say “show all the executable files in green” using just a little CSS.

Ah, but I’ve tipped my hand, so here it is: I’m working on what you might call a browser-based shell.  HTML & Javascript (using AngularJS) on the front end talk to a Go server on the back end.

What is a shell, after all, at its core?  You give it commands and it parses them and runs them.  The root of it is basically “split on spaces, and fork and exec”.  Gosh, Go can do that.  Oh, and “show me the output”.  Browsers kind of excel at that.

Shells also have a programming language.  Which can be very complete, but I’d still rather use Go.  Failing that, I’d rather use Javascript.  Which isn’t perfect, but it’s more of a language than bash, or even zsh.  (I use the latter, if I can.)  Every so often I’m writing something on the command line and I think “Right about here is where a closure would be handy”, and I can’t do it.

Also, I did some statistics on my shell history, and the vast majority of commands I run are some version of “ls” or “cd”.  So my shell should have a built-in file browser.

It also seems strange and annoying that Linux programs talk to each other all to often via poorly formatted text.  “tail -f foo | grep bar”.  It seems like output should be via typed streams.  Or even, channels.  And you should be able to edit a pipeline on the fly, so that “tail -f foo” becomes “tail -f foo | grep bar” becomes “tail -f foo | grep bar > baz”, without having to run three separate commands.

My dream is to have a comparatively seamless interface where I can run commands, and format & manipulate their output, in Javascript, Go, and CSS, more or less on the same command line.  I don’t have a syntax worked out yet, but something vaguely like

js{ run(“ls”).asJson().sort(“name”).style(“+x”).color(“green”) }

where “ls” is actually a Go program that emits “stat” records on a channel down a websocket.

Or something like that.  :)

I’ve probably rambled enough.  Thanks for reading.

Searching for #hashtags (or other special characters) in Evernote

Evernote won’t let you search for “#hashtag”, it ignores the “#” character.  This is apparently an integral part of its search grammar, it treats punctuation as spaces.  Or something.  Anyway: I had several notes with both “#documentation” and “documentation”.  I couldn’t find the former without also finding the latter.  (I didn’t realize this when I was tagging things with “#documentation” or I’d’ve done it differently.  I’ve also tagged many other items with internal hashtags.)

Chrome has no such limitation, thank $DEITY.

So I did the seach for “documentation”, selected all those notes, exported them as a single HTML file, opened the note in Chrome (something EN helpfully offers to do for you at the end of the export), and now I can find all my #documentation tags.

It’s not great, but it’s not terrible, either.

Hope this helps.

Update 4/9/14: Minor edits to the above, and this: After trying a couple of different things, using a QQ suffix seems to work.  I tried _documentation, which doesn’t suck, and EN will find it, but it doesn’t match a plain search for “documentation”, and I’d rather not duplicate all my inline tags (e.g. “… add this to the documentation _documentation”).

If you have “documentationQQ” then searching for “documentation” finds it, as well as searching for “documentationQQ”, which finds only the tags.  And “QQ” kinda sorta looks like eyeballs, and regardless is a clear tag (ha) that “this is something different …”.

A note to prospective trackback users

I get a lot of trackback spam.  I’ve not yet gotten a “real” trackback, so far as I can tell.  I do try to check for valid trackbacks, but it’s possible, even likely, that I’d miss one.  If you’ve linked to my blog, or would like to, please feel free to let me know, either in comments or via email.