Word still a pain in the ass

I'm going to ignore the stupidity of telling me the name of the file and then saying the problem might (but only might) be related to the name of the file.

I know I'm biased with all the time I've spent using LaTeX, but there's not a single thing in Word that works nicely for me. Things like this just take the cake.

That students don't remember to send PDF is the big problem here. But really, given the fact that I can't even open a report in Word that was written in Word, and it's 2014, and there are so many other things that people do wrong in this program, can you blame me for telling students that Word is a waste of time and getting them to use LaTeX instead?


Open Finder window from Terminal directory; a better way

In Mac OS X's Terminal app, it's quite common (for me at least) to be working away in a directory and want to then view that folder in the Finder; whether to browse around or attach a file or what have you.

This is easily done with ‘open .’, which takes the current directory (.) and opens it using Mac OS X's default application for that filetype (in this case, Finder for a folder).

However, after doing this a few times you end up with multiple windows open in the Finder, and it's all rather cluttered.

I attempt to only have three Finder windows open at any one time: two view-by-columns browsing windows, and one view-as-list Downloads folder (it's a bit of a dumping ground). So when I want to view the current directory from Terminal, it'd be better if I could just change the current view of one of my windows to where I'd like to go.

AppleScript is your friend for any such task, and while I could do more to make this fancy (like switch away from the Downloads folder if necessary, etc.) here's a shell script (I call it fin) to do exactly that:


osascript -e "tell application \"Finder\" to activate" \
  -e "tell application \"Finder\" to set the folder of the front window to POSIX file \"`pwd`\" " > /dev/null

Save this as a text file in ~/bin/ (which might need to be added to your path by default; no longer sure), then hit chmod +x fin (assuming you call it fin like me) and your new command fin is ready to go.



‘Sleep problems: predictor or outcome of media use among emerging adults at university?’

An interesting article just published in the Journal of Sleep Research tracked around 1000 university students for three years to establish the relationship between sleep problems and ‘media’ use (including TV and social media).

The abstract reveals the surprising results:
[S]leep problems predicted longer time spent watching television and on social networking websites, but not vice versa. Contrary to our hypotheses, sleep duration was not associated with media use. Our findings indicate no negative effects of media use on sleep among emerging adults, but instead suggest that emerging adults appear to seek out media as a means of coping with their sleep problems.
This rings true to me, as much as we like to blame external factors for the ailment of youth. In my late teens and early twenties, it was very common for me to completely invert my sleep cycle after a two-week university break; it was usually compulsive book-reading or (later) nightlife that kept me awake until 4, then 5, then 6, etc., into the morning.

A big regret from that phase in my life was that I wasted so much time reading books that I'd either read before or that just weren't very good books. As fun as it might be to read something like The Wheel of Time (and I gave it up entirely in the early 2000s before the series was complete), I can't but help wonder what difference it would have made had I read real literature instead.