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Archive for the ‘Tech & Science’ Category

This Blog’s “Design”

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

I really, really dislike this blog’s appearance. I hate the layout, the fonts, the titles, everything. There are a few things standing in the way of me changing it:

  • Not worth the trouble: almost no one reads it, and there isn’t much reason for anyone other than some friends and family to read it. There are a few posts that get regular hits, but it’s a very small number.
  • I have no taste. Or, to be charitable, I’ve not developed my taste beyond realizing that this looks hideous.
  • A new design will have to accommodate old posts. Image alignment, lists, maybe other things.
  • No time. What little free time I have I’m spending with my kid and wife, or sometimes on video games. Also, I try to read, so I can arrest or at least slow my descent into mental mediocrity (it’s not working).
  • I would be too ambitious. It would have to work in every browser in the history of the multiverse. It would be responsive. Et cetera.

Maybe I’ll buy a template? I don’t know.

Steve Jobs

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Everyone knew that the resignation of Steve Jobs was imminent. But it’s still sad.

Last weekend, while rearranging upstairs bedrooms to prepare a nursery for our son (he’s due in less than 3 months!), I found myself looking at my old G4 iMac. It’s the one with the goose neck and the dome base. This one has a nice 21″ screen. It’s got a problem now where it’s a pain to turn it on, but it’s otherwise in great condition. It’s still a stunning computer.

Seven years ago, I moved from Flagstaff, AZ to the midwest. Things weren’t going so well. I talked my parents into buying that iMac for me. It wasn’t cheap — along with Final Cut Express it was around $1,600.

My interest then was video editing. But it was more than that. For years I was a UNIX nerd. Linux in particular. I still have a soft spot for it (I use Terminal.app and vi every day). But Mac OS X took it to an entirely new level. They somehow managed to combine UNIX underpinnings with solid UI and UX. It was, and still is, amazing.

But, as I said, my interest was in video editing. Through this, I eventually re-connected with an old friend from middle school and started an internet comedy group. We made very few waves (there were some very small ones), but the personal implications were far-reaching. I got a job at IB (where I worked for 5 years) through a recommendation from several of the guys. Shawn officiated my wedding with Kelly. These are people I never would have known if the state of tech on the Mac had been less awesome. They’re all good friends (and we still miss you, Eric).

My current employment can be traced back to it as well. Not because I use a Mac at work (I do), but because the Mac re-ignited an interest in computing for me. Keep in mind, I was not a fan of the mac in the pre-OS X days. It might have been a decent OS, but it was severely lacking in many respects. OS X, though, was a breath of fresh air. It was a technically competent OS with a nice, even wonderful front-end. People forget just how shitty GUIs were 15 years ago.

I still own a shirt that says, “I dig Mac OS X”.

I carry around 2, sometimes 3 iOS devices every day. Which is ridiculous, of course.

I remember thinking, back in 2008, how strange it was that just a year before I didn’t have EVERYTHING at my fingertips. The iPhone and iPad have drastically altered my lifestyle. I can’t even imagine life without them now. I use my iPhone more than I’ve ever used any computer or phone. Or any device, really.

iPhone, and iPod Touch and iPad have had such a huge effect on the market that it’s really hard to gauge. People lately have taken to saying that there’s no tablet market: there’s an iPad market. And it’s true. Apple is so far ahead of everyone else that it’s a bit embarassing. They’ll all catch up eventually, but right now the competition is completely incompetent.

So. Here’s one guy who managed to create and shepherd some seriously world-changing technology. I didn’t even mention iPods or MacBooks. He’s probably going to die long before his time. But a large part of modern life is shaped by what Steve Jobs has done. He changed the world for the better.

Here’s wishing him the best.


Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

I’ve been working on a little bit of javascript in my spare time. The New York Times has recently employed a bit of code that allows you to highlight sentences or paragraphs using a hash in the story’s URL.

I think that’s a fantastic idea. I’ve thrown together some JS to do this. It’s available here. As a happy bonus, it allows for a range of sentences and it doesn’t require a page reload to highlight parts. The sentence selection, however, is terrible. So if anyone has any suggestions, please fork and put in a pull request.

My code does allow highlighting some stuff while jumping to another part, which I think is pretty neat. That is, “Read starting here, but really pay attention to this.”

(Also, Ken: No, you’re a nerd)

Ultra Update 2010

Monday, October 25th, 2010

I’ve been really slacking on Flapping Crane skits. It’s really all my fault. I’ll try to turn that around this week. We have a bunch of good ones queued up. And by good, I mean awesome. And by awesome, I mean kinda gross.

The last few months have been fairly trying. Two friends of mine have killed themselves since July. One was a partner in Flapping Crane, and the other was a childhood friend I haven’t talked to for a very long time. I went to Eric’s funeral. Couldn’t bring myself to go to Nick’s.

My dad sometimes tells stories about friends who killed themselves. It always seemed so alien to me before. I guess as you get older and meet more people, the chances of someone you know killing themselves goes up. Those are just the odds. That doesn’t make it easier to deal with. But it does help explain it, sort of.

There’s been some other crap that’s made life a bit stressful, but I won’t talk about it here, because I like being mysterious, like a squirrel with a cape. Why does he have that cape? Does he realize how badass it makes him look? Squirrels are nuts, yo.

I’m currently mulling wiring my house with Cat 6. Probably going to do it through air ducts, with a wiring closet in the basement. Seems like a nice way to avoid some of the more confusing pitfalls of wireless.

This Thursday, the wife and I are going to a live(ish) Riff Trax show, which should be a blast. Friday night, my dad and I are going to enter a poker tournament. I fully expect to last at least 15 minutes, though I’m possibly being overly optimistic.

It’s raining outside now. Dig that sound.

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