Nick Radcliffe's MicroBlog

The biggest Swift surprise so far is that while variables are strongly (statically) typed, values are not. It's not a huge surprise that 1 can happily be any numeric type. But I'm amazed that [1, 2, 3] can be a set as well as an array. Wild!

The two worst things so far in Swift would have to be string handling (which seems wilfully verbose and unpleasant) and error handling, which also seems very clunky.

One thing I thought looked weird/clunky in Swift from afar, but on using seems quite nice, is optionals. They definitely take a little getting used to, but once you do, they're quite elegant.

Overall, I'm really impressed with Swift. Lattner & co seems to have managed to combine loads of the features of modern dynamic languages into a strongly-typed, statically checked language, resulting in something that can be fast, expressive and "safe".

Starting back on Swift again after [consults blog] ... a couple of years. Obviously the language has moved on a bit; as have I. Quite impressed with the language design so far...but with some gripes. Will probably start posting at again.

Steve Richards brought his Rock'n'Roll Politics to the Edinburgh Fringe. He essentially stands and talked about politics for an hour (Brexit, mostly, of course). He's both insightful and articulate, and well worth hearing. There's a sporadic podcast version too.

The Edinburgh Fringe also had a new solo show from Rowan Rheingans, called "Dispatches on the Red Dress". This was music, dance and storytelling from her German grandparents during and after WWII. Powerful, brave, humane and unusual.

The Edinburgh Fringe is just winding up for 2019. Too many of the people I've been to see over many years have died, so I made a conscious effort to find new people this year. Westward the Light, Camille O'Sullivan and (not so new) Archie Fisher were all excellent.

Rexpy for Generating Regular Expressions: Postcodes

Given my recent decision to start learning Swift "properly" (hence the CLI-Swift blog, I am watching the WWDC livestream with an even more interest than usual!

Dates. 'nuff said.

Probably most people here with any interest in Swift already know more of it than I do. But if you are starting out, and particularly if you like command-line tools and have experience in other languages, you might like my new blog cli-swift.

I spend a lot of time devoping on Macs, but I am not a Mac Developer. Thus far, for me, the Mac has been the best Unix box you can buy, with a good GUI. But I'm starting down the slippery slope of learning Swift.

@hartlco Finally, (very minor point). It says "18 following", meaning that I am followin 18 people. But I think the language suggests 18 are following me. (Word order matters more in English, without cases, than German.) "Following 18" would be clearer.

@hartlco Secondly, Any plans for a dark theme? Especially a really beautiful dark theme like Twitterrific's? I know these things are superficial, but they affect the experience a lot, imo.

@hartlco First is sync (of position), at least between icro on different devices, but ideally with @manton's app too. Any plans? (It's not there, right?)

@hartlco Been trying icro for a week or so, iPhone and iPad. You've done a great job, and it's great to see @manton being so supportive (in contrast to Twitter's current relationship with 3rd-party developers). Will post some thoughts.

So, are there any Pythonistas or data (scientists|analysts|people) on I'd like to follow y'all.

Here's a PyData London 2018 Debugging Duck.

PyData London Debugging Duck

Hey @manton: I just tried to follow @coreint, but struggled, especially in the app. Ended up going to, on the web, which seems hard. Have now found the search icon under Discover in the app, but it's kinda hidden. Maybe it should be in more places?

  1. Notice my post times are an hour out on MicroDB.
  2. Think: hah, @manton's screwing up DST.
  3. Check RSS feed just in case.
  4. Realise actually @njr is screwing up DST.
  5. Sigh.
  6. Add to to-do list.

Linea Sketch is an app so good it might get you to buy an iPad + Pencil. Ged Maheaux, one of its developers, is interviewed on Tim Chaten's iPad Pros podcast. Go listen!

A happy side-effect of posting my iPhone home screen here a few weeks ago is that after having to set up my phone as a new device (don't ask...), it acted as a handy reference.

The problem with passwordless logins is that I don't record them in a password safe. So when asked hard questions like "Email address", a guessing game begins!

I hereby resolve to make entries for passwordless logins!

WSGI, WSGI, so good they named it twice.

—with Apologies to The Beautiful South and their excellent song, Liars' Bar.

Tamara Lindeman (a.k.a. The Weather Station) discusses her latest album on the Kreative Kontrol podcast #384:

Really compelling, insightful discussion.

Bruce Schneier's cogent take on Facebook and Cambridge Analytica:

First post from MicroDB since the clocks went forward here in Scotland.

I wonder if my handling of daylight savings time is any less buggy than Apple's always seem to be?

The pitch for unlocking with Apple Watch: you sit at your keyboard; it unlocks.

The reality: ~30% it unlocks; ~60%, it spins for ages then says the connection is too weak; ~10%, it looks like it's failing but isn't and you type your password into Terminal/Emacs/Slack...

Went to Glasgow yesterday for a DataFest event, Delivering Industrial Value from Data Analytics, organized by Stephen McArthur of University of Strathclyde. Passed this street art on George Street.

Glasgow Street Art, George Street

As a lover of dictionaries in general, and the OED in particular, I really enjoyed this Guardian Long Read Inside the OED: can the world’s biggest dictionary survive the internet? and podcast by Andrew Dixon.

Leaving Cleartune in its rightful place, even though it no longer runs, is my message to the developers that I'd really like them to update it!

iPhone Home Screen

@manton: Here's an example.


@manton: I've just been experimenting with posting code fragments to Multimarkdown produces a code element inside a pre element with a few lines, but the apps don't seem to obey the linebreaks. Is that deliberate?

import datetime

d = datetime.datetime(2018,3,16)









TIL that ISO 8601 supports not only plain dates, "naïve" datetimes and datetimes with timezone information, but also weeks (like 2018-W30), week-based dates (like 2018-W20-2), dates without years (like --04-17) and ordinal dates.

The "hd" in "hd-json" isn't high-definition: it's "human-friendly, date-aware json".

Proposal for hd-json:

Any valid json + unquoted date/time literals in ISO 8601; trailing commas on lists and in dictionaries are ignored.

I was working with some textual data yesterday that included right-to-left characters in amongst left-to-right ones.

Like these: أبوظبي

The results were stranger than I expected!

The web can be weaponised — and we can't count on big tech to stop it.

— Tim Berners-Lee, today's Guardian.

Very relevant to Open/Indie Web.

A few years ago, I was working informally on a centralized tag-based database called Fluidinfo, brainchild of Terry Jones. Now I'm trying to re-invent Fluidinfo in distributed form, as MicroDB.

Introducing MicroDB (blog post).

A Distributed, Tag-Based Database for Annotating Anything and Everything.

Very interesting (re. 1Password to Pass).

Might follow suit.

I’m currently 100% Apple ecosystem (except Linux servers), but I suspect those days are drawing to a close. Thanks for writing up, @jack.

TFW you think you're connected to your test server but nothing is working, and then all your test posts show up on the real server!

(Sorry for the line noise.)




short-sighted (hyphen)

3–4 (en-dash)

the whole shebang—finally (em-dash).

Enjoyed this week's Core Intuition: good discussion between @manton and @danielpunkass on various developer topics.

Surprised how civil they both were about Slack though—a scandalously buggy resource hog of an app.

£240 for a "depot repair" of a just-under-two-years-old Apple Watch whose battery would no longer consistently last a day.

Replacement died c. 18:30 first day :-(.

"Rather, as in all good science, the evidence comes from careful observations, in this case done by Edwin Hubble, who continues to give me great faith in humanity, because he started out as a lawyer and then became an astronomer."

— Lawrence Krauss, A Universe from Nothing.

"Everyone (with the exception certain school boards in the United States) now knows that the universe is not static but is expanding and that the expansion began in an incredibly hot, dense Big Bang approximately 13.72 billion years ago."

— L. Krauss, A Universe from Nothing.

"It is commonly assumed that Einstein worked in isolation in a closed room for years using pure thought and reason, and came up with him beautiful theory, independent of reality (perhaps like some string theorists nowadays!)"

— Lawrence Krauss, A Universe from Nothing.

I'm always amazed Apple doesn't use iPad Pros with Pencils to get people sign work authorizations etc. in their stores.

I think think they'd make the cost back many times over as more people saw how fantastic the Pencil is.

You can tell a lot about a web company’s priorities from its front page.

If there’s a huge sign-up box and you have to hunt to log in, it’s not really interested in its customers.

BackBlaze & iCloud get it right; @Github, Slack, Flickr, Dropbox, & Twitter, not so much.

Proposals for PyData London submitted with hours to spare. If you like Python & Data Science, it's the place to be. CFP closes tomorrow.

I remember hearing physicist Neil Turok explain cosmic strings as being "missing angles in the universe", but I've never actually seen one before. (Source: Guardian iPad app, 2018-03-01). John Major and the Cosmic String

@manton That's weird. My post appeared twice on, but it only seems to be there once in the RSS. I wonder if this one will double too?

@manton Really like what you've done with Joined a while ago but was keen to add support for to a crazy tag-based database I'm playing around with. It's just starting to work!

I've been playing about adding a feed to a little tag-based database I've been building. It (cough) took a few attempts to get it right!

In the unlikely event that anyone's been listening, apologies for the noise.

Maybe this will be bold?

Is this thing on?