Blog logotrial and stderr

Brandon Istenes

Gnome to KDE and back again

 •  Filed under linux

I was a mostly-happy Gnome (that is, vanilla Ubuntu 18.04) user for almost a year. I liked almost everything about it, really. The big problem is the fact that extensions are written in JavaScript and have no sandboxing of any sort, so that when Gnome updates and some incompatibility with an enabled extension is introduced, Gnome crashes on login.

I disabled all my extensions from the Ubuntu recovery console. While this made it so I could log in, it didn't stop all the crashes. Clearly there was still just some instability with Gnome.

So I switched to KDE. KDE required a lot more configuration to get it to look and feel right. Probably a lot of that was due to residual configuration from the Gnome installation. I imagine it's much smoother getting started with Kubuntu directly. But I was dismayed to realize that KDE too was crash-prone. After a few months, it eventually got to the point where it was crashing every time I closed my laptop lid. At that point I switched back to Gnome, sans extensions.

Both Gnome and KDE are pleasant to use, except when they crash. They are bad when they crash.

Gnome has more reasonable defaults; it makes more sense out of the box. KDE has more cool features – a vertically-split file browser is what I want basically 100% of the time, and I didn't know it until I used KDE.

But the way Gnome does extensions is irresponsible to the point of insanity. There's just no hope of having a stable system like that. A huge ecosystem of extensions has sprung up based on a software design decision so abysmally bad it could only have been an afterthought.

I imagine that the crashes on lid-close-lid-open have to do with shitty drivers for my hardware, so as a warning to future generations: I'm using an HP Spectre x360.

Beginning R Resources for Experienced Programmers

 •  Filed under r

Basics and Syntax

R Language for Programmers

5 Kinds of Subscripts in R

The Google Style Guide, which is better than the Advanced R one

In RStudio, auto-format your code with with the Styler Addin: install('styler')

Technique and Structure

Structuring R Projects

Advanced R, starting with Data Structures and Functional Programming

Data Manipulation using dplyr and tidyr


1:1 generates a sequence of length one, [1]. 1:0 generates a sequence of length two, [1, 0]. Therefore, when an object x with zero rows is passed into for (i in 1:nrow(x)), the code in the for loop will be executed twice, which is probably very different from what you expect. Therefore always use seq_len() or seq_along() in place of : ranges in your for loops. E.g., for (i in seq_len(nrow(x))). Reference.

Trying to learn R reminds me of when I, as an undergraduate math-philosophy double major, had to take a logic class in the philosophy department. In the math department, the class could have been compressed into two weeks. But in the philosophy department, even spread out over three months, it was the subject of much frustration for the less mathematically inclined philosophy students.

Similarly, most resources for learning R are directed at non-programmers, and as such are painfully gentle. So I will be maintaining here a list of satisfyingly terse explainers and tutorials.

OpenMRS Architecture Proposal: Modules & Bundles

 •  Filed under openmrs

This is an architecture proposal for OpenMRS. I advocate defining a single, universal configuration mechanism. This will encourage better software practices, make OpenMRS easier to use, and strengthen the community's ability to support it. read on...

Syncing Google Drive on Linux (using ODrive free)

 •  Filed under linux

GNOME's Google Drive integration never quite seems to work for me. So I started using google-drive-ocamlfuse, which is great, if you're happy with using Google Drive as a remote mount. The internet where I am isn't reliable enough for me to trust that kind of connection, so I'm looking for a Google Backup and Sync type option for Linux.

I've found one I'm happy with.

It's ODrive. Yes, there's no desktop client for Linux (yet?). Just the miserably poorly documented ODrive CLI. But it's not actually hard to get it working.

Scott Lowe wrote a great post that covers just about everything. Go read that. Then, if you're using GNOME, do the following.

Add a "Sync" option to the Nautilus right-click context menu (gist here):

# Put this file at ~/.local/share/nautilus/scripts/Sync
# Remember to `chmod +x` it

    if [[ $file == *.cloud ]] || [[ $file == *.cloudf ]]
        odrive sync "$file"