Most of my writing inside the browser is done with the combination of the It’s
All Text
extension and
Vim. During this writing, I use words whose meaning I know vaguely but don’t
know the exact usage, and in such cases, I usually open a new browser window and
look up the meaning of the word in an online dictionary. This process of looking
up the dictionary meaning was getting rather tedious, so I wrote a small Vim
plugin today to do this job with a simple command.

To use the plugin, first install
BeautifulSoup. Then, get my
lookup.vim script and
copy it to ~/.vim/plugin/.
. See the new version’s installation instructions, it now uses John Goerzen’s dict client implementation in Python.

Next time you use Vim, just place your cursor over any word and run :Lookup,
and you’ll see something like this:

lookup.vim screenshot

Since, this is the only command starting with L on my Vim installation, I just
end up running :L. Of course, you can always create your own keyboard
shortcuts to make it easier.

Update: Based on the comments, I’ve updated the script to now use the DICT protocol and talks to some servers. This avoids screen-scraping, is much faster to use, allows me to now use both a dictionary and a thesaurus which is very very handy because I can see what other words I can use, and of course, doesn’t violate any TOS (which screen-scraping could amount to).

Aug 10 2007 Fri 6 pm. After missing the last night
Azmi and Rishi went to, I wanted to
go for a night drive too, and Azmi was happy to oblige.

At 10pm, I was at his house. We opened up Google Maps, MapMyIndia and the We decided
to drive to Yercaud which was a good 205 km from
It involved Hosur Road, NH7 and NH68. Things looked good.

At 11pm, we decided to sleep for a couple of hours, get up at 1am, and start driving by 2am. We set
the alarms and dozed off.

Azmi wakes me up at 2.15am. We’re late. We realize that both of us didn’t set the alarm properly on
our mobile phones. Luckily, we didn’t wake up too late. As usual, Azmi, the chef, cooked something
fast and satisfying – boiled corn and maggi.

At 3 am, we took out his Pulsar and started driving.

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During the onward journey, Azmi did most of the driving, because he was more enthu, and I am not
that used to night driving yet. Besides, there was just way too much lorry traffic on the road.
Even at 4 am.

At 5 am, we had tea and dosa on a roadside shop. I wonder why food at such roadside places taste so
much better than swanky restaurants.

We continued driving on the smooth road and enjoying the scenery and the speed.

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I have a Windows laptop and a Linux desktop at office, and I had this
problem of interoperating between the two machines. That’s when I
installed a neat utility called
Synergy. Now, I can copy some text
to the clipboard in the laptop and paste it to my browser running on
the desktop.

Then, I discovered yet another nifty feature – when I move my mouse
cursor beyond the left edge of the desktop screen, the mouse moves to
the laptop (you can configure this for any edge). What’s useful is
that I can fully use the mouse and the keyboard and do almost anything
(yes, alt-tab works) on the laptop, and remember, all this from the
keyboard connected to the desktop.

What a thoughtful piece of software.

Tip of the hat to Vikram for telling me
about this software.

Update: For those who didn’t get it, the title was alluding to the
phrase “All your base are belong to