hjertnes.blog

Some thoughts regarding markdown flavours, and standardisation.

07.09.2014 02:00

Markdown is more or less the de-facto markup language these days. And some people are trying to standardise the whole thing. I, and a lot of other people have some problems with it.

My problem with the whole thing is the following 1. They didn’t give Gruber the time to answer them 2. It doesn’t come clear in the name what they are trying to do; example GitHub flavoured markdown is a good name. While Standard Markdown is obnoxious and misleading. 3. Do we need a standard?

There are many versions of Markdown; in many ways. You many different parsers for the original format that Gruber made, there are minor differences in most of them, but I don’t think this is a major issue.

And there are a few different other versions that extend on the original. Like MultiMarkdown or GitHub flavoured markdown. All of them add something to the mix, that the original doesn’t have. Which one you use, depend on your needs.

I use MultiMarkdown a lot, because I like Footnotes.

We don’t need “one markdown to rule them all”. It would be nice to have a test suite to make sure that all parsers do the basic markdown parsing more or less in the same way. But it’s not something we need to have.

The thing I would love to see is a project that takes all the different flavours of markdown out there, and highlight the differences. In other words: makes it easier for people to pick the flavour that’s right for them.

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The minimalist home screen.

04.09.2014 02:00

I can’t promise anything, but I think this will be the last one about home screens I’m a while.

One of the requirements I set for apps on my home screen is that I launch them every day. Or at least five days a week. In other words, every day I’m doing something more productive than listening to podcasts or audio books.

My home screen is usually not full. And I do this for a very important reason. Few apps there, makes it easier to find the app I need.

Give it a try. It makes my day to day life much easier. And I think it could make yours simpler too.

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Managing your home screen

03.09.2014 02:00

Shawn Blanc wrote something very interesting when he linked to my iPhone setup.

I like to think that my iPhone’s first Home screen is organized much like Eivind’s — that the apps on my Home screen are the ones I actually use regularly. But part of me wonders if I’m just so used to my Home screen apps that these are actually only the apps I think I use every day.

My iPhone dock and home screen see radical change every 2-3 months. This is something I do on purpose, to avoid having a dock filled with apps I think I use a lot, and a home screen filled with apps I also think I use a lot.

This is how I look at it. My dock is for the apps I launch a lot – or need to have access to very quickly when I need them. Like for example drafts. While my home screen is for the apps I use a lot. Not that apps I would like to think I use a lot.

My method for making for making sure this is the reality is both simple and easy to do.

Move everything off your dock and home screen and leave it empty.

Everything is empty, and you have some room to fill. The first thing you need to do is to make a mental note of the apps you launch all the time. Start moving them to your dock or home screen.

My personal opinion about how to organise the apps is the following. The dock is for everything you need to access fast, or launch a lot. While the home screen is for apps you use every single day.

Good luck organising your iPhone.

Remember, you don’t need to have the calculator and camera app on your home screen. It’s pretty easy to access them via the control center.

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My iPhone homescreen.

02.09.2014 02:00

My iPhone homescreen is at The Sweet Setup. It’s amazing and scary to have my home screen posted on one of my favourite web sites.

Thanks Shawn Blanc, Steven Hackett and the rest of the Sweet Setup Team. Shawn also linked to the interview.

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Relay.fm

31.08.2014 02:00

Relay.fm is Myke Hurley and Stephen Hackett’s new podcast network. All of Myke Hurleys shows was moved over from 5by5. All, except for The Pen Addict have a new name. And he also started a new podcast with Casey Liss.

I wanted to write about it, the day they launched; 18th of August. It didn’t happen. The short story is that I spent a whole week being sick, and last week was just insanly busy.

Relay.fm is a fantastic podcast network, with great shows. You should check them out.

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Code, and comments.

24.08.2014 02:00

I was just listening to Pragmatic, and John had Guy English on. They were talking about something I care a lot about, code.

I’m a huge fan of writing small units, classes, method and so on; that do one thing – the right way.

Before we move on, I don’t do all of this, all the time; but that’s just like testing. I wish I could, but I don’t have the time often enough.

There are a few things we programmers could do to our code, to make it easier to understand. Variable names, method names, class names, comments and explaining it in a readme file.

I try to always give everything a name that explains more or less what it is. And I also try to write a simple readme file that explains all the important information regarding the project.

One of the reason I don’t write as many comments as I should do, is because of all the bullshit comments I have seen in source code during the 10+ years I have done software development.

The most obvious, as most important rule is to not comment things that a experienced developer in the field you are working would understand. You don’t need to write a comment on the following python line “counter += 1”. Every Python programmer, and probably most other experienced developers would understand it.

I’m a strong fan of having small files, that are containing exactly what you need; and just that. And those stupid author and copyright comments drive me nuts. Put it in at text file, or git. It’s not that hard to export it, if you need to.

If you use good method, class and variable names, then you don’t need to comments most of your code. And the same goes for writing easy to understand code. Avoid “smart” tricks. It’s better to have longer code, if it makes it more maintainable.

But, if you need to use some fancy hack to make the performance better. Comment what it’s doing, and why. And write comments if you have something where the name don’t explain what it’s doing.

In other words, document how the project works in a readme file. And use standard conventions. Python have standards, and so does Objective-C – use them! And comment everywhere it doesn’t explain itself, or where you can’t follow the standard for some reason.

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Amazon, paperback, ebooks & authors.

13.08.2014 02:00

I’m not a huge fan of how Amazon are doing at the moment. While I do agree that ebooks should be cheap.

Here is the thing. I talked to a Norwegian author a few years ago, and he told me that the six months where the hardcover book have the monopoly is the time when he makes his living. And that is important.

I don’t have any problem with either waiting six months for the paperback or the ebook, or paying a premium on the ebook until the paperback is out.

Writing books are hard. And we need sustainable pricing models to make sure both the authors and publishing industry can make a living.

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Amazon E Book Subscription Service

12.08.2014 02:00

I’m not even bothering to link to it, but Amazon is either planning to, or rolling out some kind of subscription service for Kindle. The basic idea is that you can download as many books you want from a limited collection of titles. Kind of like Spotify; the only exception being that Spotify have a great catalogue.

I remember reading about it a few weeks ago, but I didn’t have much to say about it. Now, I do.

I don’t think this is a good idea, and I doubt it will go anywhere.

Amazon owns one of my favourite platforms, Audible. Why didn’t they just copy their subscription model? I love it. You subscribe to either a Gold or Platinum membership. And you pay a flat fee, to download either one or two audiobooks per month.

I doubt most people read more than one or two books a month, but some people do. The great thing about a subscription to Audible is that you also buy any book in their store for a lower price.

This is what I think Amazon should have done. Books aren’t like music.

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Podcast

06.08.2014 02:00

Technical Difficulties is a podcast hosted by Gabe Weatherhead and Erik Hess. I have written this many times before, and I will write it at least once more: I listen to a lot of podcasts. This is a different one.

TD started out as a podcast called Generational on the 70Decibels network. Generational and TD is similar, but still different. You could look at it this way: Generational was the 1.0, while TD is the more polished 2.0. Both of them are topical shows. A toppic, sometimes a guest, but not always.

There are two things I like about TD, compared to a lot of other podcasts out there. It’s shorter. Which makes it more focused and better than Generational was. And you have the show notes. Most podcasts, if they even have show notes, just have a list of links, and sometimes a few words. This is not true for TD. The great thing is that, you could just read the show notes and have the same information.

This is great for two reasons. It’s great if you either aren’t a podcast person, or don’t have the time to listen to this one. But, you should. I also think it’s a great resource to find information later on. It’s faster, easier and more convenient. It’s a pain to listen through a podcast just to find that one thing you finally have the time to check out.

It’s great to get the whole picture in the show notes.

It’s a great podcast. And you should check it out.

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Libraries.

04.08.2014 02:00

I think libraries are great. Or, I like the parts of them that used to be there when I grew up. But, I don’t get the “new stuff”.

One of the biggest problems with where I currently live is that my internet connection is terrible. Netflix streaming is something that either works okay, or is impossible.

I’m used to it, and I kind of accept it, by this point.

I live in the middle of the city, so it’s not a huge problem. I have amazing internet access at the university. It takes me less than ten minutes to walk up to the university library, and other university buildings. And it takes me less than five minutes to walk over to the public library.

This is what I do. I just walk up to the university, if I have the time. Or the public library if I don’t. When I need to download something big, or sync large amounts of data to Dropbox or Evernote.

Which brings me to my main point: what the hell happened to libraries?

The one I have at my university is more or less as you expect it to be. You have a lot of books, a few people working there; some computers, some places to sit, toilets , etc.

You have more or less the same at a public library. But, you also have a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t expect. TV’s, games and recording equipment.

I can see both sides of it. On one side I don’t see any good reason to have stuff like that a library. It’s a place for books, and reading — dammit!

But, there is something interesting on the other side. There are a lot of good reasons to have stuff for kids to do, to keep them off the street. They picked the library. They are in a corner, and it doesn’t bother me that much. It’s a large library.

There is one huge benefit with this, though. A small fraction of the kids going there to play Playstation, might get the idea to pick up a book.

Exposing kids, and everyone else in society to books is a good thing. Books are the reason I started this blog. Books are the reason I’m studying at the university right now. Books are the reason I managed to get into IT and software development.

Everything I know came from books; either from reading to learn a skill, or the skills I got from a lot of reading, and writing. And the reason I read all the time growing up, and read most days up to this day, was because of books. My parents always read books, and we had quite a food books shelves at home.

Books are great!

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