Lazy Reading for 2013/11/24

There’s some in-depth items to look at this week; pull up a chair and get something warm to drink.  You will be rewarded.

  • James Mickens, who you may remember from The Slow Winter a few weeks back, has written again with The Night Watch.  Gonzo tech writing is the best.  Note to self: a ;login: subscription might not be a bad idea, as apparently there’s more like that.
  • Another note to self: watch the USENIX blog.  There’s some interesting things on there.
  • Citation Needed.   There’s a plausible claim in this that the reason we have 0-based indexing in most languages is because of yacht-racing.  Seriously, read the article, and follow some of the links in it.  (via)
  • Engelbart’s Violin.  Because “a computer system should maximally reward learning.”  Found in that previous essay; good enough I had to break it out.
  • Found in the comments from that previous link: SiWriter.  One-handed phone typing, simulating a chorded keyboard.
  • History of T.  I was wondering if it was something about tea, but no, it’s a discussion about a Lisp implementation.  Lisp all seems to originate from a magical time, when computers were faster, dragons were common, and elves hadn’t retreated across the sea yet, or at least all the stories have that mythical vibe.  See the ycominator link for additional discussion about system languages like Rust, of which I have only heard in passing so far.
  • The video and audio from LISA 2013 has been posted.  There’s lots there; I’m sure you’ll find an interesting topic.
  • I wasn’t kidding about this being a dense week for links, was I?
  • This should have been in yesterday, but I only read about it this morning: Darwin/BSD on ARM.  More ARM work everywhere, please; there’s a tidal wave of these processors washing about.  (thanks, J.C. Roberts)
  • Why I use a 20-year-old Model M keyboard.  See the ycombinator discussion for alternatives.  They all may seem expensive, but it’s equipment you’re going to smash your fingers against for many years; it should be good.
  • That discussion link in the previous item led me to this image.  An old-style Thinkpad keyboard?  Now that would be pleasant to use.  Apparently these existed, though the Lenovo keyboards section doesn’t have anything exactly by that name; the keyboards there look generic.  There’s some on eBay.  Anyone ever used one?
  • The Homebrew Computer Club reconvenes.  A computer club nowadays is “we downloaded some of the same software”, while back then it was “I built a computer.”  A bit more hardcore.
  • chibitronics.  It’s ‘circuit stickers’, and a good idea.
  • mattext, a matrix-style pager.  Does it work on DragonFly?  Haven’t had a chance to find out.  It needs a video demo.  (via)
  • More UNIX script debugging.  Still Bash-specific, but still useful.
  • Puppet vs. Chef  vs. Ansible vs. Salt.  A useful comparison for those not familiar with these types of tool.  (via)
  • UNIX Proves Staying Power as Enterprise Computing Platform.  Gives a short history of commercial UNIX platforms.
  • I find stories about closing cloud companies compelling.  I’d probably feel different if it was my problems to sort out.


Your unrelated link of the week: Mr. T PSA.  It’s a parody of the real thing.  I explicitly mention it because you, the reader, might not be just the right age to remember this.

If that’s not confusing enough, watch this.

8 Replies to “Lazy Reading for 2013/11/24”

  1. I have one of the Lenovo keyboards you mention. Feels more like the newer Lenovo ThinkPad keyboards to me, so it’s quite acceptable, but not as good as the old IBM ThinkPad keyboards. Also, the track point seems to work well only under Windows; under X, it’s much too sensitive. I think I’ve read somewhere that there is no mitigation, but this might be a false memory; I don’t use it (the track point) often anyway.

  2. My hunch is that the trackpoints on the Thinkpads oversample, and that’s why they seem so sensitive; I have a x230 at work that had the same problem in X and then in Windows 7 until I installed the specific drivers for it from Lenovo.

  3. I also have one of the Lenovo keyboards. It looks identical to the one in the picture and I ordered it from Lenovo only a few months ago. The mouse works fine for me in X under FreeBSD. I put “xset m 4 0” in ~/.xinitrc. I use it with my desktop because it feels very similar to my X220 keyboard.

  4. I can’t believe no one mentioned the Space Cadet or the later Symbolics Macivory keyboards. What is coming to?

  5. Ugh. I was apparently just a few months too late finding out about the thinkpad keyboards; they’re discontinued everywhere. There’s a few sellers on eBay, but it’s over $100. I’ll just have to keep watching…

  6. jrm’s suggestions work quite well for me, thanks!

    Justin, if it’s mostly the trackpoint you’re after, there’s . They sell Model M-style buckling spring keyboards, and some models have trackpoints, too.

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