Emacs: Pasting with the mouse without moving the point – mouse-yank-at-point

W- has been taking notes in Org Mode in Emacs, despite being a long-time Vim user. He likes org-indent’s virtual spaces over the way the Vim plugin for Org inserts actual spaces, and evil-mode provides a reasonable compromise in terms of keyboard shortcuts. I have been successfully resisting the urge to overwhelm him with tips. :)

He mentioned that he was thinking of going back to Vim because of one little thing he couldn’t get used to: mouse pasting behaviour. In vim in a Linux console, pasting with middle-click puts the text where the point is, no matter where you click. In Emacs in a GUI, middle-clicking moves the point and then pastes, so you have to be more careful about clicking where you want the text to go. I hardly ever use the mouse to paste, since C-y is more convenient for me, but everyone’s got their own workflow.

To make sure he didn’t feel any pressure from me to continue with Emacs, I nodded and suggested a few note-taking things he might try if he went back to the Vim world, like using pandoc to convert his Org Mode notes to Markdown. But Org Mode is awesome, so out of curiosity, I searched for “emacs don’t move point middle click”, which led me to a StackExchange answer, which had the exact thing we needed. W- added the following line to his ~/.emacs.d/init.el:

(setq mouse-yank-at-point t)

Now middle-clicking pastes at the current location instead of moving it. Yay!

I think it’s awesome that at some point, someone decided to make that configurable, and someone asked about it and someone else answered, and all that can be found with the words I used. Yay community!

Weekly review: Week ending March 31, 2017

A- got a new conformer (the ocular prosthesis that supports the bones around her eye socket so that her skull can grow more symmetrically). This one is taller, although it doesn’t keep her eyelids as open as the previous one did. We’re still going with a plain conformer instead of a painted shell, even if it draws more questions from strangers. (“What’s wrong with her eye?”) The conformers are much cheaper to replace than a painted shell, so we don’t feel like we need to hover over A- or turn places upside down in case of loss. Our ocularist shaped the conformer with a ridge to help it stay in the eye, since the regular shell shape kept slipping out. And hey, if someone recognizes it as a conformer for microphthalmia and strikes up a conversation with us, that’s awesome. Microphthalmia affects about 1 in 10,000, and I’ve already met a few people with this condition or who have a family member with this condition. Yay connecting!

I’m curious about the science and technology behind this whole process, so I ordered the Clinical Ocular Prosthetics textbook when it was 50% off last Monday. Springer was having technical issues with their shopping cart, so I had to contact customer service to get two failed Paypal transactions sorted out. Anyway, the textbook should be here in one or two weeks. I look forward to working through it and sharing my notes.

I decided to get a membership to the Royal Ontario Museum, and we went three times last week. We also went to the High Park zoo. The capybaras were not in their paddock due to weather conditions, so we didn’t get to see the new pups. There was a lamb, though!

Spending time with A- has been surprisingly enjoyable. We’re both learning so much, and we haven’t even reached the walking or talking stages. I expect her learning to really take off once she gets the hang of those things. Sure, she’ll become more of a handful as she grows more independent and tests her boundaries, but that might be a good opportunity to test all the things I’ve been learning from books about parenting, communication, philosophy, and hostage negotiations. ;)

I’m curious about what the possibilities might be if we’re still in a position to have a stay-at-home parent when she’s old enough for school. I have a generally positive feeling about public school here. J- did fine with a bit of help with homework and study groups. Still, I wonder what education could be like with individualized attention and things that don’t scale. I have a few years to explore our options before junior and senior kindergarten, which are optional in Toronto anyway. The things I’ve researched make me fairly optimistic about the possibilities in general, so it’s really a matter of the specifics. We’ll see.

Part of that preparation is learning how to work with existing systems, so that’s where the parent advocacy workshop comes in. We discussed I statements this week, and we’ll be talking about the school system next week. The social worker conducting the program has a lot of experience with families who homeschool their kids, so I’ve asked for more information on that too.

A- did all right on the 12-month checklists assessed by Lisa, our Healthy Children Healthy Babies nurse. Lisa also complimented us on our feeding relationship when she did the NCAST feeding scale.

Another milestone: A- can connect 2×2 Duplo pieces together much of the time! She sometimes needs a little help orienting the pieces, but still… Way cool! A- also assembles, pushes down on, and takes apart the salad spinner, especially if there are pieces of nori in it. She loves sprinkling herbs and salt. She sways from side to side when I sing certain songs, babbles with “da” and “ga” sounds, and strums her lips all on her own. So many fun things.

W- made sure we had plenty of yummy food in the fridge. This week worked out really well: shepherd’s pie, cabbage rolls, buckwheat noodles with banchan, pizza, congee, and instant noodles. The blondies were not as awesome as last week’s blondies, so I could use more practice.

We had time to go on a long walk with W-, and I even had a little time to catch up on movies. Over the course of several late nights, I watched Star Trek Beyond, Ghostbusters, and X-Men: Apocalypse. Yay!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.1h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.8h – 87% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.3h – 12% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.0h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.0h – 1%)
    • Drawing (1.3h)
    • Emacs (0.7h)
    • ☑ Follow up on Paypal and Springer
  • Discretionary – Play (4.5h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (18.4h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (80.4h – 47%)
    • Childcare (64.2h – 38% of total)
  • Sleep (57.6h – 34% – average of 8.2 per day)

2017-04-03 Emacs news

Links from reddit.com/r/emacs, /r/orgmode, /r/spacemacs, Hacker News, planet.emacsen.org, Youtube, the changes to the Emacs NEWS file, and emacs-devel.

Past Emacs News round-ups

Notes from the parent advocacy workshop – my goals

I’ve been going to a workshop on parent advocacy skills. One of the sessions was about assertive communication: giving yourself permission to express your feelings and ask for what you want in a respectful, confident, and specific way. I’m familiar with the techniques (I statements, active listening), but it’s always good to practice and to see how other people might handle a situation. It also got me thinking about what I do want to learn when it comes to advocating for A-, and how to make the most of my strengths and work around my weaknesses.

I think there’s often a lot of leeway in how to solve a problem, especially if you try changing perspectives. Just like in tech, some ways are much easier and some ways are much harder. It’s easier to work with a system than against it. Asking different questions opens up other possibilities. That’s been my experience with tech. Human-centric fields are even more fungible. If you can get people to want to help you, they can bring their creativity and resourcefulness to the table. Conversely, if you get on someone’s bad side, they might drag their feet, or they might follow the letter of the law but not the spirit of it. And you can’t just keep testing until something works!

To make assertive communication easier, I like doing my homework. I research the possibilities and the trade-offs so that I can make better decisions and ask for specific things. I like knowing alternatives and having backup plans, because that takes the pressure off. I like reading policy manuals or getting the inside scoop from people because that gives me an idea of the structures that people work in, what tools are available to them, how they’re evaluated, what makes their day better, what makes them look good to their boss. I find systems fascinating, even when they don’t work perfectly well. We’re going a little outside the mainstream for a number of things, so it helps to know what’s out there and how to support any exceptions we want.

I’m working on getting better at dealing with different communication styles. Fortunately, this is rarely a problem. I minimize encounters with aggressive people, and I’m pretty comfortable disengaging from things I don’t like. I’ll dig into conflict resolution a bit more when I run into things I don’t want to work around, but in the meantime, there’s so much potential in yes-es that I don’t have to chase after any no-es.

Rather than conflict resolution, I mostly want to focus on understanding the systems here. What resources can I draw on? What’s easier and what’s harder? How can I work around any bumps? How can I give back and make things easier?

For A-, here’s what I anticipate needing:

  • tools to help me catch any developmental delays or learning difficulties, since early intervention pays off
  • minor accommodations in school: how to deal with the prosthesis if it’s out of her eye, seating adjustments, not sharing reading materials, eye protection and other safety precautions, possibly alternatives to ball sports (or realistic expectations for performance), help with social integration, and so on
  • good relationships with doctors, nurses, teachers, librarians, and other professionals

Based on the stories of other people in the microphthalmia/anophthalmia support group, it’s possible that she’ll enjoy school and develop a great sense of humour about her eye, but it’s also possible that she might have to deal with rejection or even bullying. I’m looking forward to learning how to work with or around whatever I can.

Thoughts on getting a membership to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

I’ve been building up a small opportunity fund for A- so that it’s easy to take chances on memberships, classes, books, and other good things. After some consideration, I decided to use some of it for a membership to the Royal Ontario Museum. We’ve been working on animal names and sounds, so I figured it would be good to point to animals in addition to pictures in books, Duplo pieces, and small models at the early years centres.

The ROM turned out to be a nice quiet place to walk around and contemplate the vastness of history, A-‘s thirteen months of existence a blink contrasted with millennia. I picked up all sorts of tidbits as I tag along on tours, too, and I’m working on getting better at identifying animals myself. (I could probably spend a few years in the bird section!)

What do I want from the ROM?

  • I want to develop a deeper appreciation of our place in history and nature, and I want to be able to share that with A- as she grows.
  • I want to train my eye to recognize and differentiate various things.
  • I want to pick up more words and share them with A-.
  • I want to learn stories and tidbits that I can share with A- and W-.
  • I want a quiet, sheltered, spacious place to walk with A- or hang out with friends. I want to have interesting things to look at and chat about.
  • I want to expose A- to different sights, sounds, and textures. Sometimes they have smellable exhibits, too.
  • I want A- to feel at home in the museum instead of it being just a destination for school field trips.
  • I want to have something to offer to other parents and friends.
  • I want to support culture.

The benefits are mostly for me at the moment, but I hope this will pay off when A- starts asking questions about the world or learning about history. It might be handy for helping her increase her vocabulary and see how the world is connected. I’m still going to prioritize hands-on learning for her, since she needs to exercise all her senses, but I think the museum might add something useful to the mix. That means I should take notes (and perhaps photos) so that I can jog my memory, and I should slow down and point to things while naming them multiple times, paying special attention to exhibits at her eye level. I’d like to make it out to the museum at least once a week, ideally inviting other people along.

Now is a good time to bring A-, actually. It’s still a bit cold and rainy, so it’s better to be indoors than at a park or playground. She’s not walking independently yet, so she usually doesn’t mind hanging out in the carrier and nursing on the go. That gives me an opportunity to join tours or read labels, and then I can think about those things when she gets antsy and wants to walk around while I hold her hand. She toddled around the Ancient Egypt exhibit quite happily, and I could still hear some of the tour guide’s stories even though A- sometimes took me around corners. Come to think of it, A- seemed to warm up to the place faster than she usually does at the early years centres. Maybe she prefers to be more reserved when there are lots of active kids. She’s still a bit hesitant to touch strange things, but that might pass in time.

The math: The curator’s circle membership I signed up for lets me take three guests and four kids, includes free coat check, and costs $189. The social level of membership allows one guest and costs $149, so +$40 gets you free coat check and the ability to bring two additional guests and four children (4 <= age <= 17). Half of a two-year solo membership is $86, so +$63 gets you the ability to bring in one guest each time you come. An adult ticket is $20 (+$10 for the special exhibition), so the solo membership breaks even after one visit that includes the special exhibition plus three visits without. The premium for the social membership works after three guest visits including the special exhibition, and the premium for the curator’s circle membership works after two extra guests including the special exhibition, or lots of coat check use. (The member price of $1 per item would’ve added up quite a bit given all these coats and diaper bags!) Yay math! And now it’s a sunk cost, so I can just treat it as an investment in cultural knowledge and potential social interaction.

Among the things I learned this week:

  • Blue whales are huge! Standing next to the skeleton of one is a great way to realize how tiny you are.
  • Noise pollution is a challenge for whales.
  • Whales have really big poop flumes which can be seen from airplanes. The poop is bright orange because they eat krill, and krill is bright orange.
  • Bootlace worms are very long.
  • Researchers solve interesting puzzles with incomplete pieces. I liked how they pieced together the evolutionary history for whales with the help of Pakicetus. They also have to deal with weird one-off fossils like the Toronto subway deer – cool stuff!
  • You can differentiate between mastodon and mammoth skeletons by looking at the lower tusks, the curvature of the big tusks, at whether the teeth are cusp-shaped or smooth.
  • Cartonnage (linen and plaster) gave the Egyptians an alternative way to encase their mummies, since wood was scarce.
  • Chinese roof tiles could be quite elaborate and well-preserved. The designs were strictly regulated in some places and more free-form in others.

I’d like to go again on Tuesday and/or Friday, depending on A-. More to learn!

Weekly review: Week ending March 24, 2017

The last session of the Let’s Get Started series focused on sensory processing disorders. Since no one was particularly concerned about that yet, we took the opportunity to ask questions about early detection and intervention, school accommodations, and parent advocacy. I feel reasonably good about the systems for education and public health here, but it’s always good to know what we can do to make things better and what options we can explore. I’d like us to be able to make good decisions about A-‘s growth, so in addition to learning how to work with the public school system, I’m also looking into homeschooling. Looking forward to helping A- get whatever she needs!

The parent advocacy workshop session focused on assertive communication. It got me thinking about what I want to learn from the workshop and how I want to approach the upcoming challenges and opportunities.

I took A- to the sensory play day at the Junction Family Resource Centre. She spent most of the time close to me, occasionally venturing forth to play with water, jelly, and cereal. She seems to be more reserved than the other babies, preferring to observe and to be a little apart from the crowd. I understand what that’s like, and I’m totally okay with it. At home, she babbles happily while hammering pegs, stacking cans, and crawling around. Maybe it’s familiarity, maybe it’s the quiet… We’ll figure out how to play to her strengths while mixing in exposure to new things. She’s growing to be nicely resilient, too, recovering quickly from upsets or surprises.

I’ve been thinking about taking her on little field trips so that she can see things and learn words. She’s been picking up new vocabulary pretty quickly, responding to words like “head”, “knees”, and “brush” with the appropriate gestures. I think it would be good to get into a weekly habit of going to places like the Riverdale Farm and the Royal Ontario Museum so that we can point to things and learn even more words. She’s a bit young, but it’s as good a time as any to start that routine. If I spring for the ROM membership that includes the ability to invite guests, it might even be an impetus to be more social.

Speaking of being social, we went to the Parenting and Family Literacy Centre. A- was a little sleepy and mostly clung to me. I chatted with some of the other folks there about gardening, food, and other shared interests.

Nilda visited us again this week, and she gave us tips for language development: labeling things in books and seeing if A- will point to them, repeating nursery songs and rhymes, and making animal sounds while showing the animal.

My de Quervain’s was bad this week, so it was hard to type or draw. I used my discretionary time to bake muffins and blondies instead. I also managed to sew a quick wet bag, woohoo!

One of our weekday evenings was more frazzled than usual. I didn’t even realize how tired and hungry I was until I flubbed the recipe I was trying to help with. Fortunately, W- rescued the cabbage rolls and it all worked out. I’m much more comfortable when the fridge is well stocked, so I’ll spend the time on weekends to do so.

I still managed to do some consulting, though. I deployed some code for categories and prioritization, and people are already happily using it. Yay!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.9h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.9h – 90% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.1h – 9% of Business)
      • ☑ Follow up on amended corporate tax return
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.0h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.4h – 1%)
    • Drawing (1.4h)
    • Emacs (0.5h)
    • Sewing (0.3h)
    • Writing (0.2h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.7h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (16.3h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (85.6h – 50%)
    • Childcare (74.8h – 44% of total)
  • Sleep (61.0h – 36% – average of 8.7 per day)