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Ian Hickson
Works at Google
Attended Bath University


Ian Hickson

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Stephen Colbert and Neil deGrasse Tyson have great chemistry.

The thing they don't mention about the whole pluto-is-a-dwarf-planet thing is that if you categorise Pluto as a Planet then the number of planets we have in our solar system immediately goes up by 5 (not 1), according to the IAU, with dozens more already known but not yet accepted by bureaucracy, and with an estimated 10,000 more to be added as we find and categorise them (about 200 in the Kuiper belt, and the rest beyond). I don't understand why all the people who want Pluto categorised as a planet never mention Eris (heavier than Pluto and around the same diameter), or Ceres (closer to us than Jupiter), or any of the other named ones.
The interaction of Stephen Colbert and his guest is pretty amusing.
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Tyler Cole's profile photoOcongate's profile photoScott Hess's profile photoR. Alex Reutter's profile photo
Being labelled a planet by humans confers no advantages nor disadvantages to astronomical bodies.  If we ever achieve the ability to closely image other solar systems, we will CERTAINLY find bodies which break our arbitrary rules, no matter what those rules happen to be.

Ian Hickson

Layouts - General Discussions  - 
I finally picked a layout and built it. 40m of sidings on two tables, and a loop. Pretty boring layout to operate, but I gotta have somewhere to put the rolling stock!
Snow Andrews's profile photosoumaila traore's profile photo平手 深樹親(ALPHANEODESIGN)'s profile photoAlozie Nwosu's profile photo
Sure. Post a new post in the community and +me in.
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Ian Hickson

Free Pascal  - 
Sheesh, I really miss a looping construct where the condition is in the middle. Something equivalent to:

      if (condition) then break;
   until false;

...but without the ugly "until false", and ideally with "continue" jumping to the block after the condition rather than back to the top.
Ian Hickson's profile photoMario Ray Mahardhika's profile photoMichael Schindler's profile photo
If the code duplication becomes a problem, I would replace part A with a procedure, possibly inlined. Sure, this is a fix and not the most elegant way, but for many practical problems it works good enough. I also assume, that a loop without continues and breaks is easier to optimize automatically for the compiler and easier to parallelize. On the other hand, you finally made me curious about this feature in Oberon.
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Ian Hickson

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The thing that's fascinating about the most recent Der Spiegel leaks about the NSA is that it makes a lot of the things that seemed unrealistic in spy TV shows and movies now seem positively mundane.

I never considered that if I bought a $2 USB cable online, I should expect the NSA to intercept the package and install a circuit board into the plug that turned the USB cable into a wifi device. Or that if I bought off-the-shelf Ethernet RJ45 plugs, they might be delivered after the NSA has installed MITM hardware in them. Or that the NSA might be illuminating my house with 1kW radar to power wireless microphones and keyboard loggers.
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Ian Hickson

Questions  - 
Is there a way in Emacs to fill paragraphs in the way that Pine's paragraph justifier works?

Specifically, when a set of paragraph is of this form:

> > A B C
> > D E.
> Foo foo foo
> foo foo.
> Bar bar bar
> bar bar.
Baz baz baz
baz baz.

...I want four paragraphs to end up being flowed, not one mess to result from it as happens with fill-paragraph.
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+Ian Hickson

You're joking, right?

Starting a question about emacs: "Is there a way ... ?" The answer is always, "No!"

There is never one way to do anything in emacs. A 1000 ways. 10,000 ways. Perhaps, even, a transfinite number of ways, but never "A WAY!" ;-)
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Ian Hickson

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Ian Hickson

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I didn't expect it, but this is actually very much worth your time.

168 votes  -  votes visible to Public
Got it right
Got it wrong
Lino Mastrodomenico's profile photoThomas Broyer's profile photoIsmail Marmoush's profile photoMatthias Wallner-Géhri's profile photo
+Christine Mecklenborg ... or any raw data at all, really :)

Ian Hickson

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Help the WHATWG by signing the patent commitment form for the URL standard!
The WHATWG is starting down the road of getting patent commitments for its standards. You can be part of this!

First, create an account with the W3C's community group system

Then, join the WHATWG community group:

Then make the patent commitment by following the instructions on this page (pick the first radio button, then click "Record my choice"):

That's all there is to it! Google, Mozilla, and Opera have already signed the patent commitment agreement. Anyone can sign up, but it's even more useful if you are an employee of a big patent-holding company and can convince your company to sign up!
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Ian Hickson

Planning a layout  - 
For now I don't have much room for a layout, so I'm stuck trying to fit all my rolling stock onto two big IKEA tables. So I'm trying to find a layout that maximises the amount of space I have for trains, at the cost of having no room for anything else. (This is not meant to be realistic. It's just temporary until I can get room for a real layout.)

Here are my goals and requirements:
• It should have lots of room for freight rolling stock storage.
• It should have room for storing a couple dozen engines.
• It should have interesting yards that are not frustrating to operate (e.g. the yard leads should be at least as big as the A/D tracks).
• It should have a mainline that goes from somewhere to somewhere. Loops are acceptable since I've got such limited space, though a long non-loop mainline might be better. Two-line mainlines are more interesting than one-line mainlines.
• Ideally, it should have room for a 2.3m passenger train, namely the TGV from the Märklin 2014 catalogue. I don't have a train that long yet, but I'd love to get that one eventually, and I can't justify getting it if I don't have anywhere to put it.
• I have one Märklin 7951 crane to place somewhere.
• The tables are 2600mm × 950mm (the lengths can be adjusted to 2180mm or 1750mm). I have room for these tables in more or less any configuration, though some of them (e.g. an L shape with both tables fully extended) are a bit awkward. I can probably figure out how to bridge between the tables if they're not touching.

I've made some attempts at designing layouts within these constraints, as shown below. In these layouts, light green track is the mainline, and the other colours are just to show what tracks are related (e.g. one yard will be one colour). When measuring storage space, I don't count switches, buffers, the mainline, tracks that lead to sidings, yard leads, A/D tracks, or run-arounds; I count everything else. So far, my longest mainline (not a loop) is 14.9m, the most storage space I've managed to pack onto one layout is 32.65m, the longest A/D track is 1.7m, the longest siding with a buffer at one end is 2.14m, and the longest station (what I call a siding that connects on both ends to the mainline) is 2.7m. (All on different layouts, sadly.)

Can anyone do better? :-)
Brad Bates's profile photoSean Selley-West's profile photoSnow Andrews's profile photoAlozie Nwosu's profile photo
I like design number 8.
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Ian Hickson

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FYI, I updated Acid3 today to disable test 67, originally contributed by Sylvain Pasche, since it was testing attributes.removedNamedItemNS() which has since been removed from the DOM specification.

This change was requested by Ms2ger, who is affiliated with Mozilla.

People who are using archived versions of Acid3 can obtain an updated copy of the archive here:
JS/? To pass the test, a browser must use its default settings, the animation has to be smooth, the score has to end on 100/100, and the final page has to look exactly, pixel for pixel, like this reference rendering. Scripting must be enabled to use this test.
Mart Rootamm's profile photoPaul Henning's profile photo
To clarify a bit: I found out this April that the test worked in IE7 on early September 2011, but not soon after that.
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Ian Hickson

Questions  - 
I write code in FreePascal. There's a delphi-mode, which is close to FreePascal, so I tried using that. But it forces certain indentation behaviour (even once you turn off as much as you can).

So... is there some way to unbind keys like RET and tab and so forth so that they don't do anything special? Really I'd just like the delphi-like font-lock colours, and nothing else from that mode.
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I looked there long before coming here. :-)
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Ian's Collections
HTML spec editor
  • Google
    Spec Weenie, 2005 - present
  • Opera Software
    QA & Standards, 2003 - 2005
  • Netscape
    Intern (QA & Standards), 2000 - 2001
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non-binary ally
Other names
Hixie, Hixie the Pixie
✔ Verified Geek and Cat Lover
  • Bath University
    Physics, 1998 - 2001
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Mediocre nachos, friendly but dubious service, unconvincing kid options.
Public - 7 months ago
reviewed 7 months ago
Food is mediocre. Atmosphere is great, lots of happy activity, lots of light, good location. Friendly and helpful staff.
Public - 9 months ago
reviewed 9 months ago
Prompt, courteous, and professional
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
The broccoli omelet tastes bland and watery. The home fries the same. The menu has items they don't sell. The juices are Tropicana bottles. On the plus side, the wait staff are very nice and friendly.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
29 reviews
More interactive modern art museum than interactive educational museum, bit still fun. IMAX theater could do with a good cleaning.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Food is barely edible.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago