Using udev to disable my infrared camera on Linux

My work laptop has two cameras - one of the cameras is a regular, run-of-the-mill camera, and since I'm remote (well, due to COVID-19, I guess almost everyone is these days!), I use it for video meetings a lot. The other camera is an infrared camera, and to be honest, I'm not sure what it's for. All I know is that because it's /dev/video0, most applications treat the infrared camera as the default.

Posted on 2020-04-30

Strategies, Observations, and Open Questions for Working From Home

With the COVID-19 crisis forcing more people to sequester themselves at home and work remotely, there has been no shortage of articles describing how to maintain your productivity and sanity when working from home. I've been working from home for 3½ years, and I've learned a lot in the meantime, so I thought I'd share my own insights on the matter! There are a lot of commonalities among the various articles - things like "get dressed", "use a walk around the block as a commute" - I won't rehash these. Rather, I'd like to introduce you to some tips and tricks I haven't really seen discussed elsewhere - on top of these, there are some open questions I've been mulling over in my head for some time. If you read this post and have some thoughts on potential solutions to these questions, please chime in!

Posted on 2020-03-22

Using SQLite's fsdir to effect a quick search index

At work, we have a wiki we use for knowledge sharing. It's implemented on top of gitit, which works pretty well for our purposes, but sometimes I find the search functionality lacking. What I'd like is something that has more advanced full text search-like features - things like stemming (so that searching for "databases" finds documents that mention "database") and ranking by query relevance (so that documents that mention "database" many times are ranked higher than those that just mention "database" once).

Posted on 2020-02-24

Ambiguity and moods of English

Recently, I was reflecting on the English verb "should", and how it's kind of ambiguous. Consider the sentence "it should be in the fridge". I parse two possible meanings out of this:

Posted on 2020-02-16

Kopf and the Grimm Reaper

A few weeks ago, I was walking the dog and listening to The History of English Podcast, and I realized that the German word Kopf (head) is an exception to Grimm's law, which changes an initial k sound to an h sound. Compare:

Posted on 2020-01-01