Keeping with the theme of using the software that comes with your Mac, I gave up using QuickSilver and other similar tools when Leopard came out. 10.5 made Spotlight much faster, and it now does 90% of what I was using third party launcher tools for.
I switched back to Spotlight recently. QuickSilver was nice at first, but it became sluggish to use over time. Since I feel at home using Terminal, a lot of QuickSilver’s awesome features were replaced with Bash or Python commands, so eventually all I used it for was launching applications.
This post will probably be completely uninteresting to 999‰ of you. If you’re a Python-coding MacBook user, however, it might be slightly less uninteresting.
So, to the Python-coding MacBook users out there: Have you ever been plagued by this little bastard?
SyntaxError: Non-ASCII character '\xc2' in file bloody_hell_not_again.py on line 123…
It turns up quite a lot when I’m not working with Unicode or Python 3. And it’s always on a comment line. I never thought too much of it before — if I delete the line and retype it, the error goes away, so it’s nothing to worry about, right?
Well, today I couldn’t stand it any longer. Invisible, nefarious characters turning up uninvited and breaking perfectly good code. I would not stand for it! I had to investigate.
After a quick Google search, there was much facepalming. As it turns out, the problem is caused by two quirks (or features?) of the MacBook keyboard:
I have to hit Alt-3 to type a #, because some fool thought it would be funny to include a key for § but none for #.
Alt-Space gives a non-breaking space (
So it looks like I’m just typing new comments too quickly. Another long-time mystery solved by an aha! moment and a minute with Google. Until I find a nice way to type # again, here’s a quick fix to replace non-breaking spaces in Vim: