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Terrible code

I found some terrible code: no regard for data types, instead relying on the magic of implicit casting and type conversion; variables not named to indicate the units of the values within. It’s a pity I wrote it.

“If I had a dime for every time I’ve seen someone use FLOAT to store currency, I’d have $999.997634”

Bill Karwin

Enough said.

macOS Spaces and Safari

I sometimes have multiple projects open in different virtual desktops—macOS “Spaces”—at the same time.

In Mission Control preferences, there’s a setting: “When switching to an application, switch to a Space with open windows for the application.” I’ve switched that off, so if I Cmd-Tab to Safari from within a project Space and there’s no Safari window in that Space, I can use Cmd-N to open one.

It works well, but it’s not seamless. For example, my first Space is for general stuff (email, Slack, todo list, etc.). When I click a link in an email, macOS takes me to the most recent Safari window, in another space, and opens the link as a new tab. It’s rarely the one I want.

I found the an answer in the Safari Tabs preferences:

Open pages in tabs instead of windows: Never

Now, when I click a link in another application, it opens in a new window in the current space. If I want it as a tab in a specific project desktop, I right click and copy the link’s URL instead, and open the tab manually where I want it.

It’s the little things.

23andMe and Ancestry

In 2015, I sent a small vial of saliva to 23andMe. After numerous warnings and “Are you really sure?” messages, they revealed what they say are my genetic mutations that might put me at risk for various diseases. Nothing interesting came up.

They told me that my ancestry was very British/Irish and very Northern European. No surprises there either, so I didn’t spend much time on the site after that.

Then, a few weeks ago, I received a message from a DNA relative in the USA. Exciting! We share a set of great-great grandparents who lived a few miles from where I grew up. It took some days to figure out who the common connection was and, along the way, we learned about some great aunts and uncles we didn’t know existed.

I’m curious now about the several hundred other DNA relatives listed on 23andMe, and I wish they’d put some more detail—even a list of towns or family surnames—on their profiles.

I signed up for a trial on Ancestry.co.uk too, which is fascinating. After plugging in all the names, birth dates, death dates and locations, it searches lots of public archives for people you’ve entered and helps you find new connections very quickly via those records. It’s amazing when your own tree intersects with those uploaded by other users, some of whom have also uploaded old photos.

I know very little about genealogical research, but I’m learning slowly. For example, I’ve realised that census records (1901 and 1911 in Ireland especially) are helpful because they place parents and children in one document, with birth dates. Other records aren’t so useful with many people’s birth dates listed only approximately. It turns out that not everyone knows, or knew, their own dates of birth.

This post from the Lavazza cafe at the M1 services outside Lisburn, Northern Ireland after dropping my parents to the airport. It’s quiet.

“Looking for somewhere a bit quieter?”

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