Monthly Archives: October 2011

Richard Stallman’s Rider

Thanks to The Register, whose story linked to an email which details RMS’ rider and requirements for making speeches in tedious detail.

Honestly, this stuff makes “a bowl of blue M&Ms” look trivial. We learn that he doesn’t like dogs, can’t sleep if the temperature is higher than 22°C, and that “I like some wines…but I don’t remember the names of wines I have liked”.

Even if I thought this guy was the messiah of free software (I am an avid emacs user), I don’t think I would want to host such a fussy and childish person.

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Small change: the economics of charging for trivial things

I got thinking about this subject because Fred Baker Cycles had the temerity to charge me 50p for the use of their bike pump.

This was definitely adding insult to injury as I was confronted with a flat tyre after having visited the dentist. No problem, I thought, I’ll just go to a local friendly bike shop and at least be able to ride the damn thing home.

Maybe I’m too sensitive to petty things, but charging 50p for this service (I grudgingly handed over my equilateral curve heptagon – I had no other choice) generated a huge amount of badwill (the opposite of goodwill) towards this shop.

Contrast this approach with Orange retail stores (disclaimer, I once worked for them), who will charge your mobile phone, gratis – you don’t even have to be a customer.

Maybe it’s something specific to bike shops. So many of them have a reputation for being rude and unhelpful, and if these Google reviews are anything to go by, this one is no different.

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Emacs: how to search and replace newlines

I can’t remember where I learnt this, but I use it all the time and it’s not at all obvious.

When in the minibuffer (at the prompt for replace-string or replace-regexp, for example), enter C-q C-j for a newline (0x0D, NL).

Depending on the coding system for the buffer (DOS mode for example), you may also need to use C-q C-m for carriage return (0x0D, CR) – suddenly it makes sense where all those ^Ms come from!

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