Macbeth

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 30 Jun 2019 | Tagged as: Vancouver, community, culture, music, personal

I’m going to be in an opera! I am in the chorus of Heroic Opera’s production of Verdi’s Macbeth on Friday 5. July and Saturday 6. July in Vancouver. It will be a marvelous show. The singers are powerful and exciting, the direction is incisive, the costumes are lavish.

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Good Godless Grief Songs

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 May 2019 | Tagged as: community, culture, music

I am on the lookout for good songs to sing at bad times. I want songs of grief and loss, suitable for amateur musicians like me to sing at funerals and memorial services, that do not mention gods, creators, heaven, or other fables. I am looking for “Good Godless Grief Songs”.

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How to convert Google Docs to Markdown format

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 30 Apr 2019 | Tagged as: robobait, software engineering

Recently I needed to convert a Google Docs wordprocessing document to Markdown format (Github’s dialect). A simple web search turned up several hits, most of them unhelpful. I finally found a Google Apps script to do the conversion, which was almost, but not quite, suitable. But with a simple modification, it did the trick. I am sharing it here, in the hope that it will be helpful to someone else searching for “convert Google Docs to Markdown”.

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For only the second time in 41 years

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 Mar 2019 | Tagged as: Keyboard Philharmonic, culture

January 1st each year is, among other things, Public Domain Day. This is the day, in most industrialised countries, when the copyright period expires on those works which became old enough in the past year. On Public Domain Day, those books, music scores, and artworks enter the public domain en masse. They are free for everyone to use and re-use without asking permission.

This year, Public Domain Day in the USA was notable. For only the second time in 41 years, works actually entered the public domain in the USA on that day. The last time this had happened was in 1998, and before that, 1977. These two 21-year droughts were the results of changes to US copyright law, first in 1976, and again in 1998. “The public domain has been frozen in time for 20 years”, quoted Smithsonian magazine.  Cultural advocates celebrated how the arrival of works into the public domain enriches culture generally in the USA. But they focussed more on literature. I am interested in music scores. Continue Reading »

Top Posts: How to escape apostrophe (’) in MySql?

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 28 Feb 2019 | Tagged as: robobait, software engineering, web technology

I post on various forums around the net, and a few of my posts there get some very gratifying kudos. I’ve been a diligent contributor to StackOverflow, the Q-and-A site for software developers. I’m in the top 5% of contributors overall. Here’s my top-voted answer in StackOverflow currently.

The question, How to escape apostrophe (’) in MySql?,  was asked by anonymous user4951 in March 2012 (and copy-edited by someone else). In abbreviated form, it was:

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Adventures with the Solar Hijri calendar

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 Jan 2019 | Tagged as: culture, i18n, multilingual, time

 Recently, an innocent attempt to correct an error, in a birth date cited in a Wikipedia article, led me to a lesson in the Solar Hijri calendar, used in Iran. It was another wonderful reminder about how interesting and subtle are the calendars and clocks across cultures. Cultures can can approach the task of keeping track of days and years so differently, despite all of us living on the same planet, orbiting the same star and watching the same moon. Continue Reading »

“2 1+ 1 sections”: a quick way to refer to a part of a picture

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 Oct 2018 | Tagged as: robobait, software engineering

For one of my consulting clients, I found myself writing command-line tools that operate on videos. One tool zoomed in on the portion of the video frame, to let the user examine it closely. How do you tell a command-line tool to zoom in on one portion of video frame? I came up with an idea, which I call “2 1+ 1 sections”. It is a quick way for a user to refer to a part of a picture, using a concise text notation. I haven’t used it for that client, but I’ll post it here in case it comes in useful later on. Continue Reading »

To the children whose parent just died

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 Aug 2018 | Tagged as: community, personal

To K. and C.:

It is a sad, painful road you have to walk. I know, because I had to walk a similar road myself back when I was 19 years old, and my younger brothers only 17 and 16 years.

Be kind to yourselves. The grief is real. Over time it recedes, but expect it to wash in again every so often.

But your strength is also real. You are not the first to walk this road, and you will not be the last. But others have found life, consolation, and joy despite the road — and because of the road.

You will too.

You had a wonderful mother, and I say this having only ever known her back, and left shoulder, on the Orpheum stage. How much more of her wonderfulness you received.

Yours in tears and strength, step after step,
—Jim DeLaHunt

Background: Four times in the past six years, untimely death has rippled my wider circles. Twice a parent died, leaving behind teen-aged children. Once an adult child died, leaving a parent bereft. Once a father died as a young adult child was about to get married. Each time I found myself reaching back to my own grief at my father’s untimely death, when I was young myself, for words of comfort drawn from my healing.  The most recent time was a week ago. I wrote a card to the two teenagers who survived their mother’s death. It seemed fitting to capture the message, because there will probably be a fifth and a sixth time. I’m leaving out the detail of their identity, because the message stands without it.

A settler’s guide to to reading, typing, and spelling Vancouver’s new shibboleths

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 30 Jun 2018 | Tagged as: Unicode, Vancouver, community, culture

My home, Vancouver B.C., just announced new names for two public places: “šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square” and “šxʷƛ̓exən Xwtl’a7shn” . In contrast to just about every other name in this town, these names are not Scottish- or English-derived. Nor are they a Chinese phoneticisation of a Scottish-derived name. Instead, at long last our town asked the First Nations leaders, whose people have been here the longest by far, to contribute the names. I think it is awesome. It is a step towards reconciliation, tiny but real. I think these names will become Vancouver’s new shibboleths.

But names like these represent change, and change is unsettling. The characters are unfamiliar-looking! We don’t know how to pronounce them! There are rectangular boxes showing missing text! There is no ə key on our keyboards! Heh. We seem to have no problem expecting immigrants who grew up with Chinese or Ge’ez or Gujurati writing to learn how to write and pronounce “Granville”, but we are reluctant to step up when it’s our turn.

Never fear. I’m a software engineer specialising in internationalisation and Unicode. Let me explain how to read, type, and spell these names.  It’s really very interesting. Continue Reading »

Top Posts: Why Unicode has separate codepoints for “characters with identical glyphs”

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 May 2018 | Tagged as: Unicode, i18n, multilingual, robobait, software engineering

I post on various forums around the net. Sometimes I am able to tap into such inspiration that I want to add that essay to my portfolio. Such was the case here. The question: Why does Unicode have separate codepoints for characters with identical glyphs? My response begins: The short answer to this question is, “Unicode encodes characters, not glyphs”. But like many questions about Unicode, a related answer is “plain text may be plain, but it’s not simple”.… Continue Reading »

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