Xah Programing Blog Archive 2014-08

Verbosity in Tutorials

there's a JavaScript tutorial named 〈Eloquent JavaScript〉 at http://eloquentjavascript.net/ for example, here's chapter 3 on functions, the first 3 paragraphs:

You've seen function values, such as alert, and how to call them. Functions are the bread and butter of JavaScript programming. The concept of wrapping a piece of program in a value has many uses. It is a tool to structure larger programs, to reduce repetition, to associate names with subprograms, and to isolate these subprograms from each other.

The most obvious application of functions is defining new vocabulary. Creating new words in regular, human-language prose is usually bad style. But in programming, it is indispensable.

Typical adult English speakers have some 20,000 words in their vocabulary. Few programming languages come with 20,000 commands built in. And the vocabulary that is available tends to be more precisely defined, and thus less flexible, than in human language. Therefore, we usually have to add some of our own vocabulary to avoid repeating ourselves too much.

a lot tutorials are like that. Not all, but most, filled with hand-holding passages. I always find such tutorial annoying. I like them concise, actually as close to symbolic logic as possible, for example:

but it's very rare to find such style. (disclaimer: i wrote the above)

do you like the verbose type with a guided intro? why or why not?

comment at https://plus.google.com/+XahLee/posts/TfM49gLtHmp

Linux: How to Switch to LXDE, Xfce (updated)

Linux: Most Useful Common GUI Apps (on its own page)

Linux: Sync X11 Primary Selection and Clipboard (on its own page)

Linux: Shell Commands for GUI Apps (updated)

if linux xfce, if you scroll mouse wheel while pointer is on a window's title, it'll roll up the window. Very annoying. Here's how to disable that.

# disable mouse wheel scroll rolling up a window when pointer on window title
xfconf-query -c xfwm4 -p /general/mousewheel_rollup -s false

keyboard day today. Updated: Maltron Keyboard Review

Datadesk Smartboard Keyboard. One of the best, and cheap!

Ergonomic Keyboards Size Comparison

see bottom, for a collection of hand exercise toys for repetitive strain injury. How to Avoid the Emacs Pinky Problem

my JavaScript tutorial is on the 8th page of Google search. First few pages are all big commerical sites with money to burn. Help me move it to top. Share on social networks, or link from your blog. Thank you. Xah JavaScript Tutorial

the idiocy of java interface. Java: Interface

Computing Culture: What's Hacker? (repost)

Function keys in a circle! Ergonomixx MyKey Keyboard

ImageMagick Tutorial (old goodie)

new video review. Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Review

(Knowledge + Love) / Disrespectfulness

another keyboard layout: Coleman!

another keyboard layout: Coleman! it's a mix of Colemak and Workman, and presumably “better”! http://omidnikta.github.io/colman/

see also: Ergonomic Keyboard Layouts

on meta syntax, formal language, and logic

slanted font for variable?

i've now succumbed to the pop. The sample code syntax on my site:「code ‹var›」, now don't have the special brackets. Instead, coloring and italitics are relied on.


the convention of italics for var names is historical. It's purely a rendering issue. It helps reading, but doesn't function as formal language. For example, if you use ‹var›, it has formal semantics as part of the text. But the extra brackets is confusing for vast majority of readers.

this mouse, Logitech Wireless Marathon Mouse M705 With 3-year Battery Life , the packaging is $30% of the mouse.

change'd my site's “see also” unicode marker from 〔☛ link〕 to 〔➤ link〕. For detail, see: Semantics and Symbols: Examples of Unicode Symbols Usage

New, SVG background. Nice! Netiquette Anthropology: Tales of Tech Geekers

see also Practical SVG Tutorial

Logitech Trackman Marble Mouse Review (updated)

A video review of Slimblade vs L-Trac Trackball. See bottom there.

major reorg. all you don't need to know about software engineering

Linux: Anti-Virus Software

Complete guide to choosing a mouse. Which one is for you? Mouse Reviews

Logitech Trackman Marble Mouse Review (updated)