Monthly Archives: September 2017

Best Text Editor for Coding?

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Posted on September 20, 2017 by

I’ve been using text editors for coding, since I have been coding.

When I got started with Unix, of course it was vi. I never was an emacs user, there was just too much going on with it.

For a long time, in the early days of  Windows NT, I used TextPad as a trial version. With Windows 2000, it has been Editpad. I needed an editing app that could open bigger files than Notepad, like app log files.

I gravitated back to TextPad in 2003 and started using the plugins for syntax highlighting, and learned to love the Regular expression search and replace.

When I went to the Build conference in 2014, it was Sublime Text everywhere. That was quite a nice transition, because Sublime is multi platform, Mac and Windows, pretty smoothly.

However, in 2015 Sublime was disappearing and Visual Studio Code was on the scene. It is the de-facto editor for all the Microsoft folks, and many others. It also is multi-platform, with the Mac version working nicely.

Today I switch between Sublime text and Visual Studio code. I use Sublime text as the text editor, and default viewer for .txt and .log files. I use Visual Studio Code as the default editor for all sorts of code files, when I do not want to open them up in their native UI. Sometimes it is more convenient to just open a .cs file in code, than to fire up the whole project in Visual Studio. Visual Studio 2017 is great, and probably the best IDE at this time, but it can be over kill if you just want to review a few lines of code.

I just got word about Geany, from someone who is learning C++ as a college freshmen. As a collegue pointed out, “they are still teaching C++ as a beginning language?” Of all the editors available, I cannot figure out why that one, other than it has some traction in the Linux community.

I don’t see myself switching to that real soon, as I don’t work on much C++. But I don’t think there is a Geany vs. Sublime vs. Visual Studio Code vs. TextPad. Each has a possible place in the toolbox.

What is a #2 Pencil?

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Posted on September 1, 2017 by

The answer varies widely by manufacturer. In this scale from Wikipedia, the pencil known as a Number 2 is also known as an HB, a middle grade of pencil. It has less graphite and more clay than a B and the 2B through 10B. It has more graphite and less clay than the H and therefore 2H through 10H.

Henry¬†Petroski , in his Pencil book, claims that pencil grades vary “depending upon the manufacturer, when the pencils are made, and the source of graphite and clay. One analyst found that graphitic carbon content, for example, to vary from about 30 to about 65 in a variety of different pencils bearing the same designation.

The Number 2 pencil is the standard for test taking and writing, and is the most commonly available pencil. Pencils that are not marked with a grade, like promotional pencils or fun giveaway pencils are also likely within the acceptable range of graphite levels.

School pencils in the 21st century in the United States are most commonly the Dixon Ticonderoga, as teachers are now asking for them by name. And sometimes, teachers even require that each student supply 50 pre-sharpened Dixon Ticonderoga pencils! One assumes that not all students can or do comply, or that the teacher is doing a lot of writing during the summer.

These pictures show a wide variety of #2 school pencils –

Yellow #2 Pencils

Yellow #2 Pencils

– as well as other HB pencils, including brands from other countries, or ones that belong to drawing sets.

Variety of #2 HB Pencils

Variety of #2 HB Pencils

I separated out the yellow/orange ones, which take their color cue from the Koh-i-noor pencils, and have become the de-facto color for school pencils. In fact the yellow pencil is a symbol for schools and learning.

I have covered many other pencil sets in previous posts that have HB pencils not pictured here.

As you can see by these samples on Strathmore drawing paper, the pencils lay down graphite in a noticeably wide range.

#2 pencil comparisons

#2 pencil comparisons

More #2 HB Pencil Comparisons