Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hidden Setting for Plaxo

I use Plaxo, mainly for backing up my address book. Plaxo also lets you connect a number of online services to your Plaxo profile and share updates with connected acquaintances, providing a sort of ad hoc online social network.

And Plaxo nags you every time you go to your profile page, asking you to update your status by entering a little text into a field. There doesn't seem to be any way to turn off the status report feature, so you also don't have any way to get it to quit nagging you. But I've found the hidden setting that lets the people linked to you know that you're not using the status reports, and, more importantly, gets Plaxo to quit nagging you.

All you have to do is enter the secret text into the status report field. The secret text reads: "is not providing status reports."

Friday, May 1, 2009

"Hello World" for Numerics

I'm taking a serious look at Scala, and liking what I see very much. It struck me that I have my own version of the standard Hello World program. I recognize, of course, that getting a program to print "Hello World" is not about testing I/O, but instead seeing that you can get a program running at all. Nonetheless, the first test I always make is a different one, that tells me something vital.

I do this:
[~ 479] scala
Welcome to Scala version (Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM, Java 1.5.0_16).
Type in expressions to have them evaluated.
Type :help for more information.

scala> 1 + 2*3
res0: Int = 7

If 1+2*3 returns a value other than 7, I automatically reject the language. For completeness, I also check 2*3+1. What programming I do is normally math-intensive enough that I refuse to deal with languages that can't handle normal precedence rules.

Prefix languages like the Lisp family pass this test, as they won't return a value. I've not worked with postfix languages like Forth, but I think they'd pass, too.