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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair

Regular blog here, 'microblog' there

Many of my traditional blog post live on this site, but a great majority of my social-style posts can be found on my much-busier microbloging site at updates.passthejoe.net. It's busier because my BlogPoster "microblogging" script generates short, Twitter-style posts from the Linux or Windows (or anywhere you can run Ruby with too many Gems) command line, uploads them to the web server and send them out on my Twitter and Mastodon feeds.

I used to post to this blog via scripts and Unix/Linux utilities (curl and Unison) that helped me mirror the files locally and on the server. Since this site recently moved hosts, none of that is set up. I'm just using SFTP and SSH to write posts and manage the site.

Disqus comments are not live just yet because I'm not sure about what I'm going to do for the domain on this site. I'll probably restore the old domain at first just to have some continuity, but for now I like using the "free" domain from this site's new host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

Wed, 30 May 2018

Mind-blowing Vim tip: Ctrl-[ is esc

As I'm reading through Evan Klitzke's excellent blog, I came across Esc is Ctrl-[.

One of Vim's quirks is that it's a modal editor, and you switch from edit mode (where you're typing things) to command mode by hitting the esc key, which on most keyboards is the upper-leftmost key on the keyboard.

Lots of Vim/vi users map esc to a ctrl key, but Evan says that ctrl-[ is a default equivalent of esc.

He's right. Try it.

I'm not sure if ctrl-[ will replace esc in my future, but it very well might.

If you think of using your keyboard like a that of a musician -- and when text editing, I think this is a very valid comparison -- think of how you type.

I do touch type -- I learned it on manual typewriters at U.S. Grant High School in the San Fernando Valley back in the day. I can't remember if I took one semester or two, but it was enough to give me a lifelong ability that I use every day-- and heavily.

But when it comes to things like esc keys or ctrl sequences, pre-computer touch-typing doesn't really help.

So here's the deal: I use my left-hand ring finger (or 3rd finger in guitar-fingering parlance) to hit the esc (as well as the backtick key below it. I can generally find esc fairly well, though I have to look much of the time to get the backtick.

But ctrl-[ is a little harder to type. I use the left-ctrl with my left pinky finger (aka 4th finger), and it looks like I'll have to hit the [ with my right pinky finger (or maybe 3rd finger). That's a funky stretch for my right hand. I may be able to get used to it, but the question is whether it's easier or faster than stabbing for esc with my left hand's 3rd finger.

In any case, having an esc alternative in Vim without any configuration is a nice feature.

Wed, 04 Apr 2018

Using Vim in my project has really helped my skills in that editor

Using Vim in my project has really helped my skills in that editor. That's what working with a couple dozen small Vim files per day will do for you.

I had to ssh into a server yesterday and set up a small script and a cron job, and I could feel how different that process was now that I can do more with Vim.

I can move around in files much more easily, and I know the basics of copy/move/paste, which is more than I could say before.

Clojure is trying to push me in the Emacs direction, and maybe I could get comfortable with that editor, but the universality of Vim/Vi is hard to ignore.

Thu, 14 Dec 2017

How to set file permissions from within Vim

I tried this, and it works: How to set file permissions from within Vim | Stack Overflow.

An example. In Vim's command mode:

:call setfperm("foo.txt","rw-r--r--")

It's probably easier to just do this in the Bash shell, but it can be done from within Vi/Vim.

In Bash (to make the files rw-r--r--):

chmod 644 foo.txt

I usually do all the .txt files in the directory (because I generally want text files to be 644, which is rw-r--r--):

chmod 644 *.txt
Mon, 10 Mar 2014

Gvim is vim-X11 in Fedora

I just installed Gvim, which is vim-X11 in Fedora.

Maybe a graphical version of Vim will encourage me to use it more often.

That's the theory anyway.