Coding with Honour

The personal blog of Sam Stokes.

Vim Wizardry #1

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(I wrote this as a response to an Ask Hacker News post about learning Vim, but I thought it deserved a life of its own.)

This is one of my favourite Vim features. Say you have the following code:

1
2
do_something_with(some + long * complicated * expression)
                           ^

Say your cursor is where the caret indicates. Typing ci) (“change inside parens”) in normal mode will:

  • delete all the text between the two matching parens
  • place you in insert mode with the cursor between the two (now adjacent) parens
  • put the deleted text in the yank buffer so that p will paste it.

The use case here is obviously so you can assign a name to that long complicated expression. ci) is much easier than selecting it with the mouse, and keeps your hands on the keyboard where they belong ;)

The Genesis of a Building

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Witnessing this is pretty cool from a “making things” point of view. Shame it’s happening right outside our flat.

Limerick Lisp-style

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In honour of the Functional Programming eXchange, on a bus to which I am writing this.

 (a (program (writtenp :in 'lisp))
     (may 'be (and (simple) (elegant) (crisp)))
     (but (cry '(C pros) "too *fancy();"
             "for (i; simply(); &cant++ + ++see)"
             "{ the code; for (;;) { the parenthesis; } }")))

Why the Digital Economy Bill Is Flawed

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My MP, Meg Hillier, was kind enough to respond by post to my email about the proposed “three strikes” legislation in the UK. The main content of her response was to forward me a letter she received from Stephen Timms, the Minister for Digital Britain (his actual job title, I’m not making this up), to “clarify the Government’s position on this issue”.

The forwarded letter mostly just rattled off the party line - illegal file sharing is illegal, artists need to be compensated, the usual unjustified claims of urgency - but it did mention the recent report by the UK Intellectual Property Office, awkwardly entitled © The Way Ahead, which is actually pretty encouraging reading: I will discuss it in a separate post soon.

My previous email focused on problems with the “three strikes” approach. Since the Digital Economy Bill was published we’ve discovered that “three strikes” is only one of several nasty tricks up Mandy’s sleeve. Therefore, and because I felt from her letter that Ms Hillier hadn’t really taken my concerns on board, I wrote back.