New Car

After more than 10 years of avoiding it, I've finally rejoined the ranks of the private-car-owning bourgeois. $SPOUSE and I spent the past few weeks doing research and reading reviews, spent Saturday and Sunday test-driving a bunch of vehicles, and ended up buying a brand new Cosmic Blue1 2020 Honda Insight yesterday afternoon.

new car

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Austin, TX

Went to Austin, Texas this weekend for a work event1; it was my first time in Austin so I figured I'd write up some notes:

  • Cities are so indistinguishable now. Downtown Austin has the same restaurant and store chains as San Francisco, Boston, Miami, or any other American city.
  • Its is weird how much Confederate stuff there still is for the supposedly-liberal Texas city. Until '96, the Capitol Visitors Center was administered by the Daughters of the Confederacy; lots of Confederate flags.
  • Live music everywhere, even at the broiest bars near the hotels — even at the hotel bars! This …
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Surprising Change in Python 3.7.6

Here's a surprising change for you: Python 3.7.6 (ostensibly, a patch bugfix release) totally changed how URLs are parsed by Python programs.

As of Python 3.7.5, a URL like foo:8888 would be parsed into the following:

>>> urllib.parse.urlparse('foo:8888')
ParseResult(scheme='', netloc='', path='foo:8888', params='', query='', fragment='')

As of Python 3.7.6, foo is now detected as the scheme:

>>> urllib.parse.urlparse('foo:8888')
ParseResult(scheme='foo', netloc='', path='8888', params='', query='', fragment='')

This will cause massive chaos if you are ever parsing URLs with ports in them but without schemes …

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Twenty-Teens in Review

Well, here it is, the end of 2019, the end of the decade1. 🎉 The end of the decade of my twenties, so probably the most eventful decade I'll experience2. Ten years ago, I was at my parents' house in Fall River, a senior in college on my last Christmas break of all time. I'd just accepted an offer from Yelp to start as a Software Engineer in June, 2010, reporting to Neil Kumar3. The world was uncertain before me. Today, I am sitting in my own house5, married, working for my third employer, sitting pretty in …

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DMV

I went to the DMV today to get a REAL ID upgrade for my license, and to get it reprinted with my correct address so I don't need to carry the paper change-of-address confirmation any more. The DMV is always a fascinating microcosm of human behavior, and a unique experience to simultaneously see the best and worst in people.

For those of you who haven't been in a California DMV, the process follows several stages:

  1. (optional) Make an appointment. The North Oakland DMV doesn't have any appointments available in the next six months, and then next DMV available anywhere in …
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Unicode via Alfred

Something I miss a lot on macOS is a fast way to enter Unicode characters. macOS does a pretty good job of handling combining keys so that you can type é and ö, and it's got a fancy emoji picker, but if you want to enter ∫ or ⚠, you're stuck using the terrible character picker window1:

screenshot of the character picker

Well, no longer. If you, like me, use Alfred 4 on your Mac, you can download the following Alfred Workflow to get a new "unicode" Alfred command. This uses a fast index2 to look up unicode characters by name. The first time you …

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