phiffer.org

Dan Phiffer Dan Phiffer is an Internet enthusiast based in Troy, NY

Why you should fear Mitt Romneywww.animalnewyork.com

All this talk about “Amercia” is a distraction:

Gaffes stick when they reinforce an existing criticism of a candidate. Is anyone really worried that Mitt Romney, whose personal crest may as well be a spreadsheet, is insufficiently obsessed with details?

Here is Jay Smooth explaining why the Romney “meh” response is dangerous:

Also, my site was down for a while earlier today. It’s all fixed now.

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Bill 78 and the casserole protestwww.youtube.com

From Common Dreams:

Bill 78 not only “enraged civil libertarians and legal experts but also seems to have galvanized ordinary Quebecers.” Since the law passed Friday, people in Montreal neighborhoods have appeared on their balconies and in front of their houses to defiantly bang pots and pans in a clanging protest every night at 8 p.m.

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Twelve years of phiffer.orgphiffer.org

Twelve years ago, on May 26th, I registered the domain phiffer.org. It started out as a kind of online sketchbook. The first thing I posted here was an experiment in direct manipulation of the page. The point was to surprise visitors with an unexpected opportunity to create something. It’s a very crude drawing interface, and a bit pointless, but I’m amazed that it still works (for the most part). Go web standards!

The site has gone through many permutations since then, but it’s still primarily my online sketchbook. I’ve adopted a fairly conventional weblog format, but I’m still interested in exploring that element of surprise. I’d still like to try out some new things here. More to come!

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Update: James reminded me of this box grid interface in the comments.

Leaving Facebookistanwww.newyorker.com

Steve Coll in The New Yorker’s Daily Comment:

Through its bedrock appeals to friendship, community, public identity, and activism—and its commercial exploitation of these values—Facebook is an unprecedented synthesis of corporate and public spaces. The corporation’s social contract with users is ambitious, yet neither its governance system nor its young ruler seem trustworthy.

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Events for May 23–June 3, 2012

Looks like the last time I posted events here was in 2010, just before Bushwick Open Studios. Well it’s that time of year again!

  • We Are All Anonymous, Tonight May 23rd, 7pm at Triple Canopy, 155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn, NY (sadly I won’t be able to make this, but it sounds awesome)
  • Flux Death Match: The New Aesthetic, Wednesday May 30th, 8pm at Flux Factory, 39-31 29th Street, Long Island City
  • Bushwick Open Studios 2012 with my Future Archaeology pals, June 1st and 2nd from 12–7pm. 1381 Myrtle Ave Apt 4C (entrance on Himrod St), near the Knickerbocker M train stop. I’ll be showing some of my recent photography work as well as Occupy.here.

Configuring jEdit

A good text editor is, by far, the most important tool for programming computers. There are many good options available, and each person has their own reasons for choosing one editor over another. On the Mac, popular choices include BBEdit, TextMate, and Coda. For modest needs, an editor like TextEdit.app can be sufficient, while some opt for a full-blown IDE like Eclipse or XCode. Many coders still work with a console-based editor, such as vim.

I haven’t had a Windows box in so long I’m not sure what the popular choices are any more, but in college I was an UltraEdit guy.

My text editor of choice now is jEdit, which is free and Open Source. jEdit is written in Java, so it works on both Mac and Windows, and it supports many of the same features of non-free editors. It seems to be pretty obscure though, in part because getting jEdit into a usable form takes a little bit of work. Plugins must be installed, settings must be tweaked. It uses ugly non-system native Open and Save dialog boxes, but I don’t mind so much because those interfaces let you work with remote files seamlessly via SFTP (using the ‘FTP’ plugin).

I thought it would be helpful to share my preferred settings, to give my favorite editor a better first impression. Below are a few steps to help you get set up on a Mac or on Windows. Desktop Linux can probably also follow along and improvise where things might diverge from Mac OS X.

jEdit with default configuration
  1. Start by downloading and installing the latest stable release, use either the Windows Installer or Mac OS X package
  2. Download and unzip my baseline configuration: jedit-mac.zip or jedit-win.zip (these have different default fonts and keyboard bindings defined in startup/startup.bsh)
  3. Launch jEdit once to generate some default settings, and then quit (on Windows you may also need to close the jEdit Server from your system tray)
  4. Make a backup of the default settings folder, found in /Users/[username]/Library/jEdit on Macs or C:\Users\[username]\.jedit on Windows 7, just rename the folder to jEdit.bak or .jedit.bak (note: your Library folder is hidden by default in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion)
  5. Copy my baseline configuration folder where the default one was (in your Library folder on Macs or in your home directory on Windows)
  6. Launch jEdit again, it should look a lot nicer!
jEdit with my baseline configuration applied

Some notes about what’s different in this configuration:

  • Nicer color scheme and default font (via the Editor Scheme plugin)
  • FTP plugin for seamless remote file management (use a path like sftp://user@hostname/path/to/directory)
  • Tabs UI instead of a drop-down to switch between files (via the BufferTabs plugin)
  • Project Viewer plugin lets you browse files from the sidebar
  • XML plugin provides handy HTML auto-completion, indentation, and entity conversions
  • SuperAbbrevs plugin lets you set up macros for frequently used code snippets (for example type ‘a’, then shift-tab, set a macro for hyperlinks like <a href="$1">$end</a>—now you can type ‘a’ followed by a tab and save yourself some repetitive typing)

You also get things like multi-line tab indenting and regular expression search/replace out of the box. Of course you’ll want to tweak your own setup further depending on your needs, so be sure to explore the preferences and browse the extensive list of plugins. One thing that’s also worth pointing out is that jEdit listens on a random network port when you start it up to determine if other copies of the editor are running. When I first saw this it made me wonder if I should worry that my editor had been hacked, but apparently this is normal behavior and can be disabled.

I ♥ police stategothamist.com

Takeshi Miyakawa’s street art is (understandably) pushing a sensitive terrorism button.

But this story isn’t about the public getting menaced, it’s more about posturing by the criminal justice system.

According to the person who made the complaint on Friday, the issue wasn’t that Miyakawa’s art appeared to be a bomb, but how they were going to get it off the tree. “I called 311 asking how to get that thing off my tree, if it was my responsibility or the city’s…the 311 woman put me through to 911 then the cops came. I left for work,” they wrote via email.

Miyakawa is charged with “two counts of placing a false bomb or a hazardous substance, reckless endangerment, placing a false bomb or a false substance in the 2nd degree, and criminal nuisance in the 2nd degree,” and is being held at a mental health facility for 30 days.

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