About TGRO
What Is 'The Great Radar Oven'

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About This Site


If you are wondering why I named a website after a radar oven; it is partly FonnD strangeness, yet mainly because I think radar ovens are superb. The predecessor to the modern microwave stood almost 6ft tall and could fry an egg in 12 seconds. How is that not great?


I built this web-page in Emacs' wonderful Org-mode with some custom CSS. Highly recommended for basic sites. I plan on putting some information about my Emacs setup and using lightweight markup for such tasks.



Why does it look basic? Laziness. But also because websites should load quickly. I took advice from HTML Hell (though I violate the 'pointless vanity pages', I guess).

WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get), drag-and-drop, website-creating, site platforms produce large, buggy websites with bad practices (usually). Some are especially annoying when viewing sites in a text-mode browser. I understand disliking typing raw HTML (heck, I don't like angle brackets either), but why not just export from some form of markdown/lightweight markup?. Like this site here!

Speaking of me…

About Me

I am self-proclaim-edly computer-nerdy (or should it be geeky?) and therefore spend way too much time staring at a screen. Swimming is my favourite (and only) sport and does not compliment my drumming ability. I do some OK origami (including a couple of my own designs) but juggle terribly. My future plans mainly revolve around programming in functional languages, especially Erlang, Haskell, and Clojure.

Prepare yourself for a long ramble-y bit.

About My System

Me and the Command Line

The command line (or CLI, or console), for those who don't know, is a way of using a computer by typing commands. There is no mouse or graphics, text is the only option (though there are exceptions). The CLI has fallen out of use in favour of GUIs, especially on Windows/Mac OS (bad), but is still very much encouraged in GNU/Linux.

My CLIming adventures started with a Raspberry Pi 1 B. I was thrilled with my first computer! Back in 2012/13, Starting the GUI required startx, which (being an inexperienced millennial) fascinated me. I thought that making a computer do stuff with commands was really cool, nothing like my previous experiences. It also made so much more sense when forum questions yielded a couple of commands rather than lengthy 'open that, mouse here, click this' instructions.

Over time, I started opening up a terminal or dropping to a console for almost everything, regularly not requiring startx. And one boring 2015 day, I challenged myself to a command-line-only week, with overall success, despite occasional online videos or school email (MS Outlook) usage.

One week received a permanent extension and, though I do keep a Pi with X for sporadic graphical use, my main computers run command line distributions only.

Me and Using Emacs

For those who don't know, Emacs is a text editor (but so much more!) that is highly extensible and excessively powerful. A common joke is that it is a great OS lacking only a decent editor (well, it's not a great joke). It even has its own package manager. I see Emacs more as a very good Emacs Lisp interpreter with some very handy built in functions for editing text. I have an Emacs Tips And Tricks page and an Emacs Lisp page.

Emacs is one of the oldest actively developed and used editors, and my preferred method of choice for writing almost everything. (By default) Emacs is shortcut driven, even functions like basic movement have shortcuts (e.g. forward = C-f). Although initially disadvantageous, this means that the fingers never have to leave the home row, making the typing-moving transition much more fluid and natural.

You also look like a wizard when you bounce around the page without seeming to stop typing. That is also fun.

Prior to Emacs, my preferred (code) editor was Geany, simple, but graphical. GNU nano handled basic text editing. I wrote homework in the CLI word processor, WordGrinder. After Emacs, I use Emacs.

Emacs is great (for me) because it is:

  • Open source.
  • In a command line (or in X, your choice).
  • Powerful (understatement).
  • Fast to use (once you get used to it).
  • Fast to run (perhaps slightly less so than Vim)
  • Customise-able and configurable (beyond belief).

I tried Vi/Vim, but didn't enjoy switching between insert and normal constantly. Plus, Emacs has two Vi emulators that I know of (Viper, Evil-mode) which I would probably use anyway. Sorry. While using shortcuts for everything took some time to learn, I am ultimately very very happy with Emacs.

Text Editor vs Word Processor

At first glance, they seem similar: They both edit text. The fundamental difference is that a text editor only interacts with raw textual data, whereas word processors add their own formatting to alter the presentation of the text.

Try opening a .docx file in notepad, you should see characters never seen in the document. This is the formatting and encoding of the file and controls how the text looks, like the font, colour and line-spacing.

Another advantage of a text editor is that it displays information according to the reader's preference (rather than the initial writer's preference) without changing the text data. Code is better written in a text editor as the formatting and encoding will most likely cause the program to fail. I might prefer my code coloured in a different way, and I don't want to have to go through the whole file manually changing each part to my preference.

Furthermore, text is pretty much universal. Almost every computer can read ASCII and UTF-8 text as well as others. That means your text editor can open my file written in a different editor without issue. Different word processors have different formats and require backends to be able to display the same data.