Please

I wrote this the other day on a dare from a friend of mine. It only works in Bash (and I use ZSH) but I think it’s funny anyway.

Just:

  • Make sure you have bash-preexec installed
  • Put .please.py in your home directory
  • Put the contents of the Gist’s .bashrc in your .bashrc

New Site Who Dis

Decided to flip up my style a bit. Using the Poole-based theme for Jekyll, aptly named Hyde. Check it out.

Not much new here, at least nothing longform. I’ll have some kind of stupid update soon, probably.

OS X Notifications from the Shell

I have one big productivity suck when working: asynchronous tasks.

Just like in code, I think it’s in pretty poor taste (not to mention inefficient) to start something and then just keep checking on it until you see it’s done. Not only that, but it’s easy to forget to check.

This is what happens to me when dealing with my unit and integration tests. Maybe I’ll go read an article while they’re running or even drop into Reddit (which is a mistake in all cases), or if I’m a good boy I’ll go update some documentation and style somewhere around my codebase that needs it.

In code, we’ve solved this problem with callbacks. Make an HTTP call and just tell it to let you know when the response comes back, instead of blocking everything else or continuously checking some value somewhere until it’s changed to complete. It kind of dawned on me that I have a $3,000 callback machine in front of me; why not make it work for me? I get a notification when someone posts on my Facebook wall, when I’m tweeted at, and when my Amazon purchase ships – why not get one when my tests are complete?

I’m not a big IDE fan, and I’m sure IDEs do this (I mean, Xcode does, of course) but when working in Python I like to work primarily in the command line when it comes to testing and execution. I did some research, and found that Apple exposes some Notification Center functionality to AppleScript, and I know that I can execute arbitrary AppleScript via the osascript command, so, voilà, I can post notifications from the shell.

All that was left is putting in some logic to display different messages based on parameters and whether or not the tests succeeded. Check out the gist below for a basic version of what I ended up implementing (my real version has some proprietary stuff in it, so I had to write a simpler version for demo purposes!).

I’d love some feedback, so please let me know what y’all think!

tmux 2.1 and mode-mouse

I’ve been having an issue the last couple days that I couldn’t figure out. I had upgraded most tools on my machine as I tend to do every once in a while, and after a few days I noticed that my mouse integration in tmux wasn’t working quite the way I expected. Turns out, they had made a significant change to the mousing mode without documenting it very well, or at least without anything past putting in the changelog. I guess I should have read it, but the software should probably tell the user that a feature they’re trying to use has been replaced.

At any rate, here’s the config I had before, more or less:

After the update to tmux 2.1, I found that I needed only this:

It’s actually a lot more convenient, but it was frustrating that I had to search so far to find the solution. I’m by no means a tmux expert so if there’s anything about this or other parts of my config that seem wrong or distasteful, I’d love to hear about it.

What Does Star Wars Mean?

“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.”

  • Yoda, Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars isn’t just a fantasy story spanning a fictional galaxy and decades of my life. It’s not just a movie, nor is it just six movies, nor is it anything that can be explained by describing the pieces. Star Wars, as a whole, is a formative experience, and integral part of my being. I think many people in my generation, and the generation before mine, and the generation after, share this feeling.

I must have been a toddler when I first saw Star Wars. I honestly don’t remember the “first time” I saw A New Hope, or The Empire Strikes Back, or Return of the Jedi. They have just always been part of my life. Part of how I define myself.

When you’re a child, you almost actively look for idols, for role models, for people whose way of being strikes you as right, just, and good. The way you want to be when you grow up. Aside from the obvious role models (who have all contributed to the learnings and influences I mention below) like my father, my mother, all of my family, the garbage man, and fireman, from a very young age I remember wanting, more than anything else, to be a Jedi.

Sure, that sound silly and just like a four-year-old to think and want, but I want to break it down a little bit more. Sure, lightsabers were cool and being able to make rocks float was a neat idea, too, but what appealed to me, and a lot of children like me, was the sense of ultimate good a Jedi represents. Though not without their flaws and falls from grace, the Jedi in Star Wars lore are peacekeepers, they are allies to the downtrodden and abused. They are heroes, and heroes who sacrifice much in the name of helping others.

Plus they get sweet lightsabers. Did I mention lightsabers are awesome?

Like I mentioned before, Jedi are not without their flaws. As the addage from the movies goes, “fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” To borrow from Stan Lee’s Spider-Man, this also takes the same tone as “with great power, comes great responsibility.”

These flaws are important; they taught me that being and doing good is not merely a decision, not a label. It is the sum of your actions, actions which you must actively and continually re-assess against your moral ruler. You must continually work to be that which you strive to be, and that effort is unending.

Patience and calm under stress is an aspect I struggle with at times, and I think we all do. Of all the influences in my life I draw from, I think the Jedi philosophy has taken me furthest when it comes to managing and coping with stress in my life: emotional and mental control being of the utmost importance.

Star Wars has a fundamental role in who I am, how I treat people, and how I lead my life. That’s one part of what it means. Parallel to that is the connections it has fostered between me and other people.

When I imagine my life without Star Wars, I see friendships never forming, friendships with people who I can and do call some of my closest lifelong friends. Whether it was video games, or Lego, or running around in the back yard with toy lightsaber, the friendships strengthened – or sometimes built – by Star Wars are incredibly special to me.

My good friend Nathan and I would convene every weekend in the summer to ride bikes around our neighborhoods and play wiht Lego. The two of us each had a vast collection of Lego, both Star Wars and non-Star Wars. We’d look through the Lego catalogs and yearn for the latest Star Wars set – the AT-AT, the X-Wing, the Collector’s Edition Imperial Star Destoyer. But we’d also use our imaginations and build new things, inspired by the universe we loved so dearly. We’d have imaginary starfights with our Lego, probably at too old of an age to really be playing like that, but it was fun!

Another friend, Alex, and I, would come together to choreograph saber battles in his yard. Pretty silly, yes, but what fun! Learning to work together to do something with high precision and acrobatics was pretty neat. We’d have long discussions about the Jedi, and the Sith, and about what it all means. When the prequel trilogy was in production, we’d speculate about what would happen next, scour the internet for details and leaked set photos and footage, and collectively freak out at the latest trailer. (We’ve started doing that again!)

My father, though not nearly as zealous as I am about the saga, even catered to my near-obsession when I was a child. As a surprise, on a Wednesday in the middle of the school year, my dad pulled me out of class to go see The Phantom Menace. The first new Star Wars movie I would see in a movie theater; giving me what I’m sure was an experience he had when he was 18 in 1977 of experiencing something like that. Though clearly Phantom Menace is no one’s favorite Star Wars movie, I think I like it a little more because of that.

So, yeah. Star Wars means a whole lot, at least to me.