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  Feb 5, 2012                  

Computing: Browsers, editors, languages

I am around, but yesterday was tied up in programming when I could have been writing a Nederlog. Hence, no Nederlog yesterday.

Today I have three subjects, as in the title

1. Browsers
2. Editors
3. Languages

1. Browsers

I have been mostly or only using Firefox as a net-browser for years, because I like it much better than MS Explorer, for quite a few different reasons, also. To leave out the politics and the morals: It just is a better and more pleasant browser than what MS has to offer.

Then again, for the last half year I have mostly used SeaMonkey, that a few days ago got to version 2.7. My reason is mostly that I like it better than Firefox:

  • it seems a bit faster (I say "seems" because I didn't bother to time things)
  • I like its appearance better, out of the box, although I know Firefox has a lot of different skins, so this is not very important
  • I especially like that it is an integrated suite like Netscape was, that I did use when I first got on the internet: It not only has a browser, but also a WYSIWYG html-editor called Composer, and also integrated mail and chat possibilities.

I like it a lot, though mostly because of Composer, which is quite good, though I would like it a lot if it got tabs and some other of the goodies KompoZer 8.3(b) has, that is an editor that was derived from Composer and was improved, but not finished, and that has quirks with the cursor and saving to its windows, among other things, that make it rather impossible to use as one's only html-editor.

Anyway, that's my tip about browsing: If you are interested in a browser that can do most of the things Firefox can do, included running many, though not all of Firefox's AddOns, notably Firebug, NoScript, and Adblock, or if you are interested in a decent free WYSIWYG html-editor, fully integrated with the browser, try SeaMonkey: It's really well done and well designed.

2. Editors

I always wrote a lot, and did so from 16 till 36 on a typewriter, and since then almost only on a computer, simply because this was much more pleasant and much faster, with much better results and many pleasing possibilities typewriters just didn't have.

What I am in this section writing about are not html-editors, as briefly discussed in the previous section, but text-editors, that is, editors for plain ASCII, if perhaps with additions added.

As it happens, I don't like editors like MS Word for various reasons, one of which is that I think it fairly crazy to have a special format for an editor if there is html, and another that I just tend to dislike text-editors written for office-people, of which WordPerfect was the most awful I've seen, though I did like WordStar, that came with the first personal computer I could use (apart from a friend's Apple, that at the time - ca. 1980 - only had Apple-Basic, stored on tape).

There are VERY much better text-editors than MS Notepad, which is pretty awful, like much MS software. Here are three that are mostly styled as programmers' editors, because they are text-editors geared to the need of programmers. They are all three free, and I give links to Wikipedia articles about them:

  • NotePad++
  • NoteTab Light
  • PSPad

They are all good for some different purposes, and each is at least a 1000 times better than is MS Notepad. The NoteTab Light version also is commercially available, in a non-light form, with more possibilities. I like all three, but like PSPad best: It's very cleverly put together.

3. Languages

I have written some code in, and thought and read about, quite a lot of programming languages, although there are far more than I have seen: See the amusing and instructive:

  • 99-bottles-of-beer

This lists presently 1440 programming languages on the same task. As the website says:

This Website holds a collection of the Song 99 Bottles of Beer programmed in different programming languages. Actually the song is represented in 1440 different programming languages and variations.

Many of these are not really readable (with real understanding) by naive humans without any training, and all have difficulties, shortcomings and quirks of some kind, which have much to do with what a programming language is: A way to write text that a computer can turn into working programs that can do useful things, and that a human being can write and understand.

I recently concluded JavaScript is an interesting language, if also quite quirky and with a C-like syntax that I don't like. This one can live and program with, but it would be nice if there would be something that is less quirky and that has a lot clearer syntax.

Well there is now - and I give again the Wikipedia lemma:


I only discovered this a few days ago, and it is a little over 3 years old, but it is cleverly designed, and what I've seen worked (also on my fairly old Windows XP): It stands on JavaScript and compiles to JavaScript, but with a much better syntax and far fewer quirks.

You do need Node.JS and some more, but it all can be installed and made to work.

This may well be much like the JavaScript of the future, simply because the language is a lot clearer and more concise than is JavaScript, but gets compiled into it, which means that it can do the things JavaScript can do, or most of them, but in a for humans far clearer and more useful form.

Then again, as it stands now, this is all in development. If you want to know more, try the above Wikipedia link about it, and then follow the external links. There are Youtube-videos about it, some of which are fairly obscure and/or with bad sound, but the following is a good introduction, that may well succeed in showing why this is a quite interesting programming language:

Introduction to CoffeeScript (Youtube, 18 min 20 sec)


Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.


As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):
1.  Anthony Komaroff Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.  Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:

7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam/ with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

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