programming font selection

in the form of a dialog

me: I decided I needed a new font.
I chose one of these,
if you need a distraction, which one do you think I picked?
Anne: haha ok, lemme see....
could i get a hint by asking what it was you didnt like about your previous one? :-)

me: l and 1 were indistinguishable.
Anne: ha, that's a pretty good reason
that's always annoying
or when lowercase L and capital i are the same, that's annoying too
but pretty common in sans-serifs =/
me: anyway, beyond that, the main criteria is clarity, readability, and being able to see a lot of code at the same time, which means small but still legible.

Anne: if you wanted small, the profont would certainly win, but for some reason "proggy clean" is my personal favorite. I think the roundness of the letters makes it more readable than the more condensed, boxy letters...
but which one would you pick?... hmmm...
and my favorite might be because it looks the closest to a non-programmy font, which I'm used to reading

me: Wow.
so yeah, one of my coworkers suggested proFont,
but it was a bit too small for me
I then looked at pragmata, but it was too expensive.
I am currently using proggy clean
Anne: yeah, i had to check a couple times to find the differences between proggy and pragmata
they're very similar
but yeah, booyah. :-)
me: :-p

meta fun

N's status message: A* FTW

S: I tried to look up A*, but I couldn't decide what hyperlinks to follow in my web browser to get to the article I was looking for

N: if only there were some sort of algorithm that could explore a graph and find the shortest route to a goal.

S: no kidding
then I might be able to find out what this "A*" thing is

it's gonna be the future soon

Two of my favorite topics, carbon nanotubes and artificial muscles, together at last.

we were into it before the obamas made it cool

Obamas to Plant Vegetable Garden at White House

We don't have tomatillos or Thai basil yet, but I'm going to chalk that up to the white house lawn being a lot more accomodating than our tiny little beds. Not to mention the vast staff of semi-volunteer gardeners they have access to. 


Not that I have any aspirations to anything like that.


In unrelated news, land prices in Topanga Canyon are looking interesting.

this is why I don't read books

it just destroys my bio-rhythms.

Had a caffeine headache* by the time I finished Glasshouse, by Charles Stross this morning. True to form, mind-blowing conceptual science fiction, mediocre but acceptable characterization. I'll take it. Memory loss, culture shock, gender shock, and the character's historical immersion shock mirrors the reader's future shock nicely. Some great extrapolation, and the book reads and winds up a lot more human than accelerando, though it's set in a similar universe. Goes to some of the same places as the later Hyperion books, but with less hubris and more hard-nosedness**.

And now I will enjoy the rest of my week off, free from it's grip. Luckily it was short, unlike Anathem.

*from lack, not excess. A cup of joe cleared it up half an hour later.
**Oh man the more I reflect on the Hyperion cycle the more I dislike it, it has some great concepts, but falls into the worst "here are my player characters" trap ever. Which I wouldn't mind as much if the aim were less epic... bah!

deck progress 5

On Saturday I noted a couple of flaws int the deck.  This is the debugging phase.
Flaw the first, the joist that was holding up the roof was cracked and bowing.
Apparently my little pergola excursion on Friday was even more dangerous than I thought. The other problem was that the swaying and flexing was a little more than I was comfortable with. But I didn't really seem to have the will power to do the right thing. Luckily, James arrived
and provided the will power for me. We fully replaced the broken joist, a tricky operation, and added all sorts of triangle bracing*, and joist hangers (!), and hurricane ties and such.
So then on Sunday all that was left was to make the steps, and clean it up.

tada! I like it. It's not perfect, but it was never meant to be. And it all got done in about 5 days. So that's crazy. Next: grape vines, or outdoor lighting, or a stone path? We shall see.

*gussets? Man idunno.

deck progress 4

The deck reaches alpha!

Friday was mostly about the Pergola. Pergola. What a lovely word. I love saying it. It has certainly been the most laborious part so far though.  Getting the box in place

took about 4 hours, which included sawing the notches for the center joist, and more jigs and clamps. Working overhead is always more difficult. Also, I have some sad news to report. During the course of work, my trusty scroll saw, 
which has been with me through many years and many jigsaw puzzles and assorted projects, broke--for good. Now, it's well known* that every major home improvement project requires some form of sacrifice to the home improvement gods. Blood is traditional (and may yet be drawn), but my hope is that the death of my scroll saw will satisfy the requirement instead.

Moving on. After the joists were up it was time for the pergola (pergola pergola) roof, which is made of 2x3s, because they're cheap. I got them all roughly in place, made some cuts to go around the tree trunk, and then I was ready to do the crazy unsafe thing. I climbed the wall, and up on top of the pergola, and crawled along the center beam, nailing the pieces in place as I went. I kinda wished someone had been there so they could grab a picture, and so I could say "I got this" just like old times, but it's probably just as well. Anyway I still have to nail down the outer edges, so maybe we can document that.
Annie came home as I was starting to move on to the next task, which was decking the dock.  We finished that up together under the floodlights, and then spent a while watching a family of mice run back and forth along the fence, behind the brush at the back of the yard.  The floodlight illuminated them pretty well, and Chloe (the cat) was very interested. Final state as of Saturday morning:
Just a few more things to do, nail in the tops of the pergola, put in a few spare nails here and there, build a couple of steps, and maybe do a little triangle bracing. Should definitely be finished, or at least beta, for the party tomorrow.

*Is it?  It is to me.

3 things, as we used to say

Second, Tycho mentions Dwarf Fortress on Penny Arcade today.

Third, we're going to have a party on Sunday to celebrate the new deck. It should be finished by then, so chances are slim that I'll try to press you into service if you show up.

Point being, if you're reading this, consider yourself invited, but please send me an email for details and to let me know you're coming.

deck progress 3

Thursday: Huge progress!
Wednesday evening we moved the frame into place.  Thursday I got all the framing done, by making extensive use of jigs and clamps.

I was proud that in the entire frame, there are only 3 cuts, which made contruction much simpler.  

Isaac came down in the afternoon and helped out, which was great, and motivated me to work a bit into the evening with the help of the floodlights. Annie was able to get in on it too when she got home. By 8:00 we had the main deck finished!

Now it's on to the small deck, and the upward, to the Pergola!

deck progress 2

Today, true to my threat, I went out and bought the missing piece. Lowes didn't have it, so I ended up visiting Crenshaw Lumber. They were very friendly, and the price I paid made me wish I had placed my large order there. Ah well.

With that done, I constructed the main frame, with only a couple of the joists, because I want to move it into place before it gets super heavy.

Actually it's super heavy now, and I don't really want to move it by myself. So I'm waiting for help for now.  Maybe we can get it roughly placed tonight, or maybe I'll have to start calling my brothers and bugging them.

deck progress 1

A few things.  First, when I went shopping for wood yesterday, I couldn't find the decking material that I wanted.  After looking in a few places I asked the guy at Learned Lumber, who told me that 5/4 wood decking was more of an East Coast thing, that it had fallen out of use on the West Coast, but that he had 5/4 composite decking.  I asked about that.  At ~2.90 per linear foot it was out of my price range.

Now, 5/4 wood decking is what we used for the fort down in Texas, and it would save me a lot of money and back pain, so I thought I'd at least call around instead of just taking his word for it. But indeed, no-one carries it among the 5 or so lumber yards that I called. Weirdness.

Instead I went with 30 12-foot 2x6es*, and this informed my decision to go with cheaper pressure treated wood, rather than redwood, because the cost of materials was getting above where I wanted to be.  I'll paint it, it'll be fine.

This morning
the wood arrived. One piece was missing, a 12' 2x8, which will be used as a joist hanger for the main deck. Since building the main frame is the first step in my mental plan, I can't really start in until that arrives.  Still,
I got it all moved to the backyard, which was a lot of work.

Now, the location where the deck will go, next to the Eucalyptus tree, was a little bit covered with sticks and debris.
A few hours later, it still is, but a little less so. 
So, hopefully I'll get the missing piece tomorrow morning.  If not I may just go buy it from someone else so I can get going.   Exciting!

*about a third of the price of the composite decking they tried to sell me, and I like the woodyness of it better anyway.  But holy crap 2x6 decking!

hard labor

Anyone who wants to do some construction work can show up at Frontier Town (my place) this week and help me build a deck.  Until I make a post saying otherwise, construction is ongoing.  Daylight hours are best but I will try to accomodate.

so long, irvine

I've been doing some work down in Irvine for the past few months. This is my last day. I'll have a week or so off, and some Jury Duty, and then I start up in Sherman Oaks at a game studio. In the mean time I plan to build a deck in the backyard, and (otherwise) generally be lazy.

Irvine has been alright.  Good money anyway, which was a welcome change. Time to move on though.