Category Archives: Personal

.sig File Upgrade: Variable Weather Reports

codesnip(tl/dr: Michael is a geek.)

For a very long time I’ve had a comment about the Miami weather in the last line of my email .sig file, something like “It’s hot here” or “It’s cool here” or occasionally “It’s @#$@#$ hot here.”  This started out largely as reaction against the pretentious .sig files I ran into surprisingly often in the early days of the net.  But it was also driven in part by our remarkable weather in Miami: way too hot six months of the year, lovely five months of the year, and pot luck on the balance.

I had imagined that the right way to do a .sig file modifier on a unix box would be to do something to the mailer daemon to instruct it to pull the weather data in real time.  But because my mail is on a university machine, I don’t have the privileges to do that, and even if I did I don’t think I’d mess with their mailer.

So for 20+ years I did the weather line by hand, changing the last line of my .sig file a few times a year to reflect the change in the seasons, at least when I remembered to do it.  And from  time to time I wished for something automated that would check the weather every time I sent an email.

This summer I finally broke down and took a few hours and wrote a little script that grabs weather data from a public source  and re-writes the text of my .sig file every hour based on the temperature and humidity.  It’s not elegant, but modifying the text of the saved version of the .sig file means I don’t have to tangle with the mailer itself. It also means I use a lot fewer system resources when sending mail, plus it limits my lookups of the weather data.

It shouldn’t have taken a few hours, but I had to learn about how to handle arrays in PHP, plus my data source was badly documented and somewhat inconsistent in what it returned.  Overall, a silly thing to do, yes, and rather late to the party, but I’m happy about it anyway.

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Research Assistant Needed (2016)

Apologies, blog readers, but this announcement is for UM Law 2L & 3L students only:

I would like to hire a UM Law student to be my research assistant for 10-15 hours/week during the coming semester. If things work out we might continue into next semester, the summer, and/or next year. Continue reading

Posted in Personal, U.Miami | 2 Comments

Notre Temps, Autres Mores

Think of the children is a cliche, but it works.

Meanwhile, I’m not sorry to be in France during the GOP convention. The other day the French had a big celebration about Brexit or something and I enjoyed the fireworks.

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Off to Brexitland

I’m getting out of town for a while. I will be in various places in the UK and France for a while, concluding with a visit to Amsterdam in late July.

Please note that I have a 6′ 7″ (2 meters) tall house-sitter, so my friends from college – I’m talking to you, Paul – can lay off with the emails warning me about posting my travel plans being an invitation to burglars.

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Back from Amsterdam

Back from a great and helpful conference in Amsterdam. Lots of interesting papers, a chance to reconnect with many European colleagues especially from Amsterdam and Tilburg, and lots of useful comments on the draft paper I presented.

Now I have to deal with jet lag.

And tonight, if I can stay up for it, do I watch the GOP debate, or the first game of the Miami Heat’s potentially interesting season? So far I’m leaning towards the basketball. The first two debates had enough hate and fantasy to hold me for a long while.

Posted in Basketball, Personal, Talks & Conferences | Leave a comment

Just Busy

The “Mom Rule” says I have to post every so often to show I’m not dead.

I’m fine. My office keyboard, on the other hand, decided it doesn’t feel like typing certain characters.

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