Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Love Goes Beyond Civility

I head the other day one rule of life being expoused was "To do no harm to others".

And while being good in itself, it is not the same as "to do good" or "to love your neighbour".

Having a philosophy of doing no harm does not compel a person to do good. It is not a proactive way of life. It is a passive way of existing in the world.

Whereas on the other hand, to love your neighbour, to do good is a proactive way of living life. It is a way of living life that means getting involved even when it is uncomfortable.

Just as a dentist may cause pain while extracting a decayed tooth, loving your neighbour may mean that you may even cause pain while doing good. It won't harm, but neither will it be painless.

In this modern world of comforts, we have come to shy away from discomfort, from painful realities that must be faced. Life in the post-modern age has shied away from ideas like bravery, boldness, and responsibility creating an unbalanced moral structure.

Love means going deeper than mere civilities, than just discussing the weather and being good in small-talk. I need to ask myself, how have I done things that caused me to go beyond my comfort zone, to do, to give, to ask, so that a greater good can be done more than for my own selfish convenience.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Best Programmer Font To Use

programmer_fonts.pngTeaching helps to keep you sharp. You never know what sort of problems students may give you that cause you to question, "Why so?"

One of the problems in class was that some of my students decided to change their fonts to whatever they fancied, anything from Arial bold in 20pts, to Comic Sans! I told them programmers used a monospaced font to correctly gauge indentation and formatting.

I asked them to change it back to Courier New, the only monospaced font I knew. However, that set me researching. What is the best programmer font to use?

It has to be monospaced and easy on the eye. But which?

In all, here's my winner after testing the various fonts:

Consolas which is a ClearType font shipped with Microsoft Windows Vista is actually the best. It's a new font specifically built to help programmers. It's also shipped with Visual Studio 2005 onwards. If you don't have it, download it here.

First, it has nice rounded curves and not hard edges. Compare Consolas's periods, commas and semi-colons. They are rounded and not drawn with straight lines like the other fonts. Secondly, the zero character has a slash, which helps us to distinguish it from capital-O. Finally, it is the most compact of the fonts, saving horizontal space.

The runner-up for me was LIberation Mono. Which is a GPL licensed TrueType font used in Linux.

Consolas font used for Java code in the Eclipse IDE: