Typical Technological Trickery

Linux programming tricks

Reading from stdin to an emacs buffer

Sometimes the way emacs utterly ignores standard unix conventions can be pretty annoying. In particular the fact that, unlike almost every other standard unix tool, you can’t give it - instead of a filename and have it read from stdin has always annoyed me (yes, I know emacs came from lisp machines not unix, but it’s been used on unix machines since before I was born). So today I’ve final sat down and figured out how to hack around this limitation.

Using foot pedals for modifier keys in Linux

The constant use of modifier keys in emacs can be painful, hence the term “emacs pinky”. A good way to reduce the strain on your hands due to modifier keys is to use your feet instead! With this in mind I bought a cheap set of usb pedals, and bound them to the control, alt and super keys. Since the process of binding the pedals to the appropriate keys turned out to be fairly complex, and not documented anywhere else, I’ve written this post as instructions both to myself in the future and to anyone else wishing to explore the use of pedals to reduce rsi.

jshint and emacs' compile command

jshint is a helpful static code checker for finding potentially problematic code in javascript. This post explains how to run jshint from emacs and easily jump to the errors using emacs’ compile command. The setup required is not especially complex but could be mildly tricky to figure out for people new to emacs.


urxvt is a lightweight, platform independent unicode-compatible terminal emulator. This is probably the least interesting of the various tools I’ve set up for programming so I thought I’d do it first.