Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

The Magic Setting for Today

For today, the magic setting is *eightBitInput: false, which goes in your .Xdefaults. Sometime in the not-too-distant past, the developers of xterm made a stupid decision, having their software turn the alt key into a kind of stupid weak alternative to the compose key (which is totally awesome!). To compare:

The compose key

  • I suggest unmapping Caps Lock and remapping it to compose. Sure, you may lose some geek cred for not mapping another Control key there, but if you've been using PC keyboards as long as I have, your fingers look for the control key where it has been on PCs forever (including on the One True Keyboard, the IBM Model M). You might as well map Caps Lock to something else that's useful.
  • To compose things, tap compose, then a two or three key sequence (that's usually pretty obvious) to generate the character you want. To generate an O with an umlaut over it, you'd press COMPOSE " O. To generate an esset (german double-s, looks vaguely like a greek capital beta), you'd press COMPOSE s s. There are sequences to generate all sorts of other things, from the euro symbol to degrees markers too.
  • Is awesome and flexible
The xterm default alt key mapping
  • If you hold it down while pressing a letter, it'll give you some alternate form of that letter. I have no idea what rules it follows
  • For some letters and other keys it'll give you something completely surprising
  • Takes away the more useful shell-determined purpose for your alt key, like scooting around to edit parts of your command before running it
  • Does nothing that the compose key does not do, and does it worse
  • Sucks
So put that in your .Xdefaults and you'll get your alt key back. Hurrah! Of course, if you're using windows or OSX, this won't really apply to you (it *may* apply if you're running OSX and using xterms though).

This is my yearly time to spit upon another loathsome holiday. From my AIM message for today:

And remember, when you're celebrating Thanksgiving, you're celebrating the hospitality of a people who were paid back for their kindness by syphilis blankets, massive appropriation of land and evacuation to the least fertile deserts the American government could find, christian "re-education", and mass-slaughter. Celebrating Thanksgiving is like celebrating Krystallnacht, with extra irony as a topping.

That said, given circumstances with my mom, who's probably extra-lonely given semi-recent events, and my grandparents, I'm going to visit tomorrow evening for dinner. I think it may be the last time all my sisters, my mom, and I will be together for awhile. Fortunately, my grandma's out of the hospital and apparently mobile again, so hopefully they'll be there too.

I have renewed the registration sticker on my car, and as soon as it arrives, I'll be able to legally and safely sell it. Take this to mean that if any of y'all are interested, my car is now on the market, and if you want to buy it, it's $4000. It's a Fnord Taurus 1999, beige colour, with two slight dents (that didn't break the paint) on the back but otherwise good condition.

I sadly need to get another new shower curtain -- Beefalo (one of my cats) has, with her plastic fetish leading her to incessantly clawing and biting at the shower curtain when I shower, ripped some holes in the curtain. I think she and Tortfeasor are either reacting to the cold weather or my resulting mood changes by becoming more destructive. Beefalo spent about half an hour trying to figure out how to get inside my almost-closed laptops yesterday, and both of them have recently taken delight in tossing things from bookshelves and storage areas of my apartment after diving bodily into them. I can't say that the air being dry as a bone, even though cold, helps make me or them comfortable either -- I might get some humidifiers to sleep near.

I seem to often run into middle-aged polish guys who are Ubercapitalists, with whom I get into very very long political arguments. This is often both irritating and enlightening -- in the end I reduced a recent discussion over differences in political philosophy to finding greed versus jealousy to be a more important foundation for politics. I've philosophically rejected John Rawl's denunciation of jealousy, because money, especially as general-purpose as it is in our society, can be used for so much more than just buying goods -- it can be bent to political/legal purposes, to invest (acquire capital), etc, and these result in lasting damaging inequities. I'm not sure if I would be so bothered by monetary inequity if money were simply useful for buying non-capital goods, and could not be passed on as favours to friends/family. Ideally though, people would live their lives with thrift -- achieving that attitude depends on social transformation. I greatly admire that described older generation of Chinese who were described as confounding the marketers because they didn't buy things they didn't need, and they had simple sources for most things they did need. If only we could all be that way.

Tags: philosophy, tech

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