Monthly Archives: April 2008

Reading a File on the Internet with vi

Enter the fully qualified name of the file that you want to open in the current buffer, for example:

Place the cursor over the name somewhere. In Normal Mode (not Insert Mode) type:


vi will use the appropriate unix utility (in this case, wget) to download the file and then read it into a new buffer.

Healthcare Systems Compared

I love America! I am American through and through. Do I think the US is perfect? No,it is not. It is important to change and adapt as human capabilities increase and with the global marketplace. As a country we have pursued global competition the best available path for the well being of the United States and her citizens.

For all these reasons, we must study the very best systems and product in the world and improve upon the best and adapt it s our own. The US spends over 15 percent of GDP on healthcare, but does not cover every citizen in a systematic and rational fashion. The US is ranked 35th (!) in quality of care and coverage by the World Health Organization. The US is ranked 37th in infant mortality in the world.

Can we improve our healthcare?

Frontline (on PBS), this week has an excellent comparison of five top ranked healthcare systems from around the world in relation to the US. The show, Sick Around the World, is very well done and interesting. In particular, Switzerland is an interesting case, as it is one of the countries covered that is privately based.

It may be beneficial for us to dispassionately study the world marketplace and to adjust to new realities. Can GM compete with competitors that pay much less for healthcare? It is unfortunate that this is a political hot button, because it may very well be that we could improve overall health in the US at a lower cost.

Google Gadgets

This weekend I researched Google Gadgets, while looking for an alternative web widget framework to the one I used for The Curious Dreamer widget I created. I have been educating myself on these semi-autonomous chunks of code that can be dropped in other sites. I want to be able to offer the creation of such things in my freelance developer business.

I looked at the Microsoft version, but it is, as may be naturally expected, sort of tangled up with Windows and Microsoft development tools. At least the expectation is that you will use a Windows development system and do things the Microsoft way. There is nothing wrong with that, but I’m more comfortable in a Unix style environment, using vi as my editor and a combination of shell scripts and commands with Nautilus. Also, some research revealed that Google Gadgets can be repurposed as Microsoft widgets.

I delved into Google Gadgets with the thought that I would try to get a hello gadget working and start to understand the framework. Fortunately, my experience with Prototype was useful in my understanding of how Javascript is used in Google Gadgets. I started late Sunday morning, and my five o’clock I had a working prototype that duplicates the functionality of The Curious Dreamer web widget.

After I complete my current client project this week, I will flesh out the gadget I’ve created and test it. Google’s framework is a pleasure to use and is really well designed and practical. I’m going to be able to finish this gadget and I’m keeping notes on some others that I think people will find to be useful. I want to be able to approach site owners and offer a service to create such work for others.