“Gumption traps” are a term introduced by Robert M. Pirsig in Chapter 26 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as a detail of his Metaphysics of Quality. They’re probably one of the most approachable topics in that book, and also one that can be acted upon very quickly, even (or maybe especially) by beginners. A newcomer to software engineering, motorcycle maintenance or any other craft job will definitely find something there that they struggle with and that they can work on.

Gumption and gumption traps

“Gumption” is a Scots word similar to English “courage”, but its meaning is a little broader. …

If you follow my Ricer’s Diaries series, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of having a unified colour scheme across all of my system applications. I use a lot of different web applications and also develop them during my day job so having a way to theme them would be quite nice. Unfortunately, web apps are notoriously resistant to any sort of user customization in the name of some ephemeral and to me incomprehensible concept called “branding”.

I use a tool called wpg to generate and manage my colour schemes. wpg in turn behind the scenes uses a smaller…

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The fact that React has entered the JavaScript world for good is nothing to be disputed. Because of this, newcomers to JavaScript often don’t question the need for front-end frameworks and libraries like React and immediately assume it’s a requirement for any browser application.

While it is true React is immensely useful, you may not immediately realise why that is. So, let’s go on a little journey through a hypothetical application to understand how you may have come up with the fundamentals upon which React is built.

Photo by Alif Ngoylung on Unsplash

Today is gonna be short, because the subject matter is not very complicated. However, after reading this article you should understand how various parts of Linux programs play into the UNIX philosophy of doing one thing and doing it well.

I’d like to be able to take screenshots. There are many fairly nice and simple tools for that, such as scrot which I’ve been using with pretty good results for a while. However, I recently discovered a more interesting script that does the same thing — captures screenshots — in a slightly more appealing way.

The script is called maim

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Welcome to another issue of Ricer’s Diaries. Today we’ll have a look at dunst, a simple, lightweight and customizable notification daemon.

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Vim is an excellent text and code editor but it’s not very useful without plugins. It still provides the best editing experience out of any editor I’ve ever used, but it still lacks quite a lot of functionality one would expect from a modern IDE.

Thankfully, VimScript, while being “nobody’s first choice of a programming language”, is still quite powerful and provides the ability to write really good plugins and Vim’s integration with the shell only extends that.

Today, let’s take a look at some of the Vim plugins that I find essential in my everyday work.


Managing plugins yourself…

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Hello and welcome to another issue of Ricer’s Diaries. After a short, two week illness break, I’m back with polybar.

I remember once reading a comment on /r/unixporn, where someone said that choosing a good status bar for your rice is like picking a good tie for your suit. There is some truth to that, as a statusbar is generally a very good thing, providing the user information about the state of the system.

It’s worth noting that in my opinion status bars should be approached differently in floating window managers versus in tiling ones. For one, I don’t think…

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Welcome to the next issue of Ricer’s Diaries. Today, as promised, we’ll deal with compton, but there are a few things we have to fix first.


I frogot about one small detail with wpg — to refresh our colour scheme at startup we need to run a startup script whenever we load i3.

# .config/i3/config# startup
exec — no-startup-id sh ~/.config/wpg/wp_init.sh


When starting up our terminals and dmenu, i3 shows a loading cursor and it doesn’t go away after opening them. …

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Welcome to the next issue of Ricer’s Diaries, where we will start using wpgtk to generate pretty colour schemes for our system.


wpgtk is a colour scheme generator and manager, whose objective it is to integrate seamlessly with as many applications on your systems to create cohesive, replaceable and beautiful visuals that are easy to modify.

sudo pikaur -S wpgtk-git feh

In addition to wpg itself I also install feh, which is a tiny image viewer that also allows for setting wallpapers.

Usage of wpg is very straightforward.

wpg -a ~/pictures/wallpapers/wallpaper.jpg
wpg -s wallpaper.jpg

The first command actually generates…

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Welcome to the next issue of the Ricer’s Diaries. Today, we’ll start configuring i3.


i3 is a tiling window manager for Linux. The point of a tiling window manager is to ensure that all applications take up as much of the screen real estate as possible, so that none of it is wasted. Additionally, they are designed to be primarily controlled with the keyboard, often completely forgoing the mouse or keeping mouse controls secondary. …

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