wesley tanaka


Haskell unicode character and byte string conversions


Run "System Settings" in Ubuntu Unity from the command line


To run "System Settings" control panel from the command line in Ubuntu, run:


It is possible to launch the window with a specific group selected, like:

unity-control-center display

Setting an external monitor as default on the Ubuntu login screen


In /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf, add these lines to the SeatDefaults section:

display-setup-script=xrandr --output VGA1 --mode 1280x720 --primary
session-setup-script=xrandr --output VGA1 --mode 1280x720 --primary

If the external monitor is not detected, this may cause an error:

The system is running in low-graphics mode

Back up a git repository in a single file


This page contains a comparison between different approaches and file formats for backing up a git repository in a single file.

Summary: The best method is probably git bundle

R quick reference cheat sheet


Here are some notes I took while learning about R:


  • ?matrix -- gets help on "matrix"
  • ls() -- lists variables that exist
  • rm() -- deallocates a variable

Run script from command line

Rscript hello.r

Common data types

Memory usage in Haskell is difficult to predict


Laziness [in Haskell] makes it much, much harder to reason about performance, especially space.

Consider a very long list of 'a's called long which we play with in GHC 7.6.3:

largenum = 10000000
as = repeat 'a'
long = take largenum as

Light Painting With Drones


8 things to learn in school if you want to go into computer game programming


A young relative of mine might be interested in computer game programming. I'm not in the game industry, but I drafted a list of things that I thought he might focus on in school.

  1. Basic computer science (algorithms & data structures). Historically, the most groundbreaking games have used clever tricks to accomplish previously impossible effects.

Wisdom of the herd


The hammer principle lets you crowdsource your opinion about gin, martial arts, version control systems, web browsers, databases and programming languages.

Turning an external monitor on by default in Ubuntu


To use a specific resolution, or turn on or off certain displays by default when you log in, you can create an .xprofile file in your home directory which runs xrandr commands.  For example, this .xprofile will turn on an external VGA monitor and set it to 1280x720 resolution and then turn off the internal LCD monitor on a laptop.

xrandr --output VGA1 --mode 1280x720
xrandr --output LVDS1 --off

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by Wesley Tanaka