Outlook Smart Quote: A Hat Trick of Releases

Yep, that’s right. Three releases in one day. And a new page for it to boot.
I now have a dedicated page for this side project . I haven’t decided for sure yet, but I’ll probably make it some open source license.
I discovered how to do Outlook COM add-in’s using pure python with win32 extensions, so I converted back to my python code base. The pywin32 stuff also makes installation and uninstallation super easy. And also thank god I can write in python again. Anything lower level feels too inefficient for hobbyist programming.

Color Schemes for VIM

With Gvim, one can finally use the whole color space (not just 16-colors) to do nice code syntax highlighting and such.
Unfortunately, actually developing a good colorscheme is pretty difficult and tedious. That’s where this page comes in. It lets you browse a bunch of canned color scheme files, rendered against some sample code. See one you like? click the link, download the .vim file into your ~/.vim/colors directory (create it if you don’t have one), then in a gvim session, issue the command :colorscheme foo where foo is the name of the file you just downloaded, minus the .vim extension.
One quick note, sometimes these files are DOS formatted, and unix gvim doesn’t seem to like them. To fix this, open the file in vim, and then issue the command :set fileformat=unix, and you should be good to go.
My personal favorite is ‘camo’. It’s a nice dark brown look that doesn’t have any obnoxious neon colors.

I’m not the only one..

That thinks that linux font rendering (even with the latest David Turner patches) still is not up to par with windows… This post goes into much more detail, specifically pointing out that Linux text rendering isn’t doing any gamma correct rendering at all. Apparently this is why the diagonals in Linux-rendered characters look so much heavier than the verticals or horizontals?
I saw that he hates how ‘w’ look ons Linux too.

A couple cool windows apps

I seem to be frequently having this experience lately where I find a windows app that implements some desktop/GUI feature that I really like from linux, and almost in a better way. The two I’ve found recently are:

  1. VirtuaWin: A virtual desktop switcher for windows. (thank you Ramesh for the pointer)
  2. AutoHotKey: A massively customizable keyboard shortcut/macro type program.

Sad, but what did you expect?

There’s a pretty depressing interview with famed kernel developer Con Kolivas and why he quit working on the kernel.
It yet again destroys the myth about how Linux is built on volunteerism and that it will naturally provide benefits to end-users solely because of its open development model. The interview bitterly points out that this cannot happen when all the big developers are being paid by people who care only about server performance. (I guess it’s just a matter of who you define your end users to be)
I think it ties in a little bit with my previous post about how the Linux desktop needs to support commercial apps. The Linux desktop won’t become dominant until someone figures out a way to make money from it. Maybe people can just make money by selling desktop hardware running Linux, but it seems to me that there’s a lot more money out there if only people could easily sell end-user-oriented software running on top of Linux. If you get a big software vendor involved, they’re bound to hire a few kernel developers to make sure the desktop experience is improved.
Open source is good (and the desktop experience is getting better), but money still makes the world go round. There aren’t enough Con Kolivas’es in the world to get it done purely through good will and “fun”.

Recent Finds

  • Google Browser Sync: A Firefox extension to sync browser settings. I primarily use it to sync my bookmarks across machines, and it works remarkably well. Only supports Firefox though.
  • Japanese Fonts: A page with a bunch of links to freely downloadable Japanese fonts, screenshots included. The availability of high quality Japanese fonts has greatly improved over the past few years. With a full setup, you can even rival OSX rendering quality in a Linux environment.