rfbooth.com :: tech

Firstly, the possibly-useful stuff.

  • Sigmonster, a script for generating mail and news signature quotes (and also my quotes file).
  • Htmlcal, a script for turning a to-do list and list of appointments and dates into a 28-day calendar and guilt-producing HTML page.
  • I wrote a class file for writing exam papers in LaTeX; if you're a LaTeX user based in my department, you may want to take a look.

Secondly, the web stuff. These pages are written in a mixture of plain HTML and a macro language called mp4h. Obviously, I wrote my own macros. I mean, what kind of geek do you think I am? These days it's pure XHTML and CSS, with no layout tables. Unless I forgot some of them, which is quite likely.

Most people making personal sites use WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) authoring tools. There are various problems with these, in principle as well as in practice, and HTML is very simple to learn. Using of a macro language, which gets compiled into HTML, allows me to do useful things like changing the menu structure throughout the site by altering just one source file. It also saves typing on common commands, which is nice; RSI (repetitive strain injury) from typing is a major occupational hazard for people like me.

As an editor, I use GNU Emacs, the One True Text Editor. If you think another editor is better, fine. You're wrong (unless, possibly, it's XEmacs). Emacs out-shines everything else the way the sun out-shines the stars, to steal a metaphor from Neal Stephenson. I am aware that this is a religious war; feel free to send flames.

The computer on my desktop, and on which I'm typing this, is an dual-processor PC running Debian linux. I like UNIX because it assumes I know what I'm doing; it doesn't try and negotiate instructions with me. I also write code and like to use things like Emacs and Perl; UNIX is undoubtedly the best environment in which to do such things. I like Debian in particular because it works properly and its package management is utterly awe-inspiring.

This site is hosted by "Evil" Dave Cantrell. I hereby request and require you, should you meet him in the street, to worship him and do his bidding, however foul it may be.

I have a computer at home which I use for making music. It's a PC, with a semi-decent soundcard, and it's not very interesting. I have a home 'net connection, through FreeServe, which I use roughly once a month to keep the account alive.