Blog: 2011-06

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Joseph Kapacziewski

War is a horrific thing, but we can still find stories of a soldier's resilience inspiring.

Gregg Zoroya, "Despite the loss of a leg, Army Ranger is back in the fight," USA Today, 2011-06-19, updated 2011-06-27

Curator for Provenance

This seems like a responsible practice.

With the deal, which culminates a more than decade-long investigation by the museum, the MFA remains at the leading edge of an emerging museum practice to proactively research works with little ownership history and make amends if they are found to have been acquired under questionable circumstances. Since 2004, the MFA has returned three other works seized during World War II.

—Geoff Edgers, "MFA makes amends in probable plundering," Boston Globe, 2011-06-27

Neils in the News

 [photo of Boston Globe front page with Legendary fugitive Whitey Bulger captured, thanks to putting a Neil on the case.

According to law enforcement officials, more than 200 tips landed at the Boston office. The tip that would eventually lead to Bulger was initially placed in the low-priority pile. But as Neil Sullivan, a deputy US marshal, sifted through all the potential leads, he settled on one that described a couple living in Santa Monica. Put this one at the top, he said.

—Jonathan Saltzman, "Ad blitz brought an end to FBI quest," Boston Globe, 2011-06-24

I might have to add to the Namesakes page.

Harvard Square Says No to CNG Buses

 [photo of electric bus going into bus tunnel with graphical There was talk recently of getting rid of the MBTA's (metro Boston public transit) electric buses, perhaps replacing with the new CNG buses. This "NO CNG BUSES" sign, on the Harvard Square tunnel for electric buses, could be interpreted as a firm statement on that matter.

See also: old snapshot of the electric bus cables (2002-06-08).

Racket #; Sexp Comments in Meow

 [screenshot of colored source code in Emacs] FYI, tonight I implemented Racket #; comments in Emacs. This includes nested #; comments. Token information is preserved within a #; comment, for features like paren-matching, sexp-based movement, and indenting. (I have not yet implemented indenting.)

Incidentally, implementing #; properly would have been a flaky mess, had I used normal Emacs syntax tables and font-lock, but Meow uses neither of those, and the Meow implementation is actually very clean.

(Yes, I changed the comment color to the DrRacket "yellow snow" default. I'm polling people for their opinions on this. I also changed the paren-matching color to a compromise between the gray and the blue that DrRacket uses for paren match region and flash colors, respectively.)

Meow, Sexps, Quoting Characters, and Paren-Matching

 [screenshot of colored source code in Emacs] A very small point of interest. In Racket code, certain quoting-related characters are shorthand to the reader. For example, the code:

'(foo)

is shorthand for:

(quote (foo))

This means that the close-paren of '(foo) could be seen to be the end of the sexp beginning with the open-paren or the sexp beginning with the single-quote.

So, if point is just before either the single-quote or the open-paren, and you do a right-sexp movement, in both cases the point will end up just after the close-paren.

What if, after you do the right-sexp movement, you immediately do a left-sexp movement? Does the point end up just before the single-quote, or just before the open-paren?

In Meow (the Racket Emacs mode under development), the point will end up just before the single-quote. This seemed more sensible, and turned out to be the way current DrRacket does it, as well.

As a cue for this, Meow's paren-matching highlighting includes any quoting characters in the highlighted starting tokens, so that you see both the matching open-paren and the quoting characters before which the point will land if you do a left-sexp movement.

Comcast is Working

My Comcast install of Internet went fine. It works well. Comcast's price is less than I was paying Speakeasy/MegaPath, and the Comcast is several times faster. Most importantly, Comcast is actually available at my location, unlike any other non-wireless service.

Meow: New Racket Emacs Mode in Progress

 [screenshot of Emacs window displaying Racket code in various colors] I've finally started to write a successor to Quack for working with Racket code in Emacs.

This new Emacs package, tentatively called "Meow", will use more sophisticated parse information for coloring, editing operations, and navigation. It will also call out to Racket for some purposes.

Earlier to... 2011-05

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