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 window:
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 index to look up unicode characters by name.
The first time you …
On the Decline of Zipcar
I haven't owned a car in twelve years. Since I moved to San Francisco, I've exclusively relied on
public transit, taxis/Uber, and the occasional rental car to get me where I'm going when I need to
go somewhere. In general, this has worked well for me — I can get where I need to go, and most of the
time I'm not emitting 300g of CO2 per person-mile the way an individual car does. On the rare
occasions that I need to drive somewhere by myself (often to the vet, since rabbits
really aren't good at public transit), my …
Today we got a nasty surprise in the form of an email from my next-door neighbor informing me that somebody had
attempted to break into our home! An hour later (while I was on my way home from work), we got another email
indicating that the suspect had been arrested.
Apparently, someone was messing around with the lock on the gate to our backyard and my next-door neighbor yelled at
them. They hopped the fence, so he called the police and yelled at them some more. They fled. The police came
, patrolled the neighborhood, and caught
the guy …
Fall; or, Dodge in Hell
Over my recent vacation, I read Neal Stephenson's latest book Fall; or, Dodge in
Hell, which is a rough sequel to 2011's
REAMDE. I thought I'd write up some brief thoughts I had on it and
maybe some questions for a hypothetical future reader. Like all of Stephenson's work from the last couple of decades,
this book is a meandering combination of science fiction, philosophy, political commentary, and
mythical fantasy. The Kindle edition I read is 880 pages long, and went pretty quickly over four three-hour flights.
In general, I'd give it ★★★☆☆. It's got lots of interesting ideas, but it's shot through with too much ridiculous
libertarian ideology, and it tries to tell too way too many stories in parallel. If you liked Cryptonomicon, you'll
probably like this book, but I would be surprised if anyone likes it enough to plod through it twice.
WARNING: This post will contain significant spoliers for both
Fall and REAMDE; don't keep reading untless you've either read both or are highly confident you aren't going to read
Small update: this website now supports "Dark Mode" on macOS 10.14+ iOS 13+, and the forthcoming Android Q, all using the
prefers-color-scheme CSS media
selector. Let me know if you see anything that looks janky!
Ode to a Pager
I've been on-call for most of the last 11 years. I was on-call for the CS Department at Mudd. I was on-call at
Yelp, in a rotation that at times contained as few as three people. I was on-call at Uber in rotations ranging from one
to twenty people. And I've been on-call at EasyPost — initially in a rotation with one other person, and
currently with two other people. I have responded to tens of thousands of pages. I have been woken up in the middle of
the night hundreds of times. For the last seven or …