Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hacker Newspaper: Temporary Editorial Decision

For the moment, all blog posts which appear on Hacker Newspaper will have their titles replaced with "TL;DR: tech journalists are dumb." I know for a fact that the guys at 37Signals have interesting things to say and I look forward to the time when they resume doing so.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Enhance Fifteen To Twenty-Three

You know how, ever since Blade Runner, every cop show and action movie has given its protagonists (and sometimes its villains) the ability to upscale and indeed refocus any image taken by any camera, ever? You know how that's complete and utter horseshit? Not for much longer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Coming Soon To Madison, Wisconsin...

Time for a sound check.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Absolutely No Brandcuffs

Do you know the guys from Gibberish Media?

I Never Thought I'd See The Day

The phrase seems like a contradiction in terms, but finally, a good reason to install Growl.

Web Comic Batching Ruby Script

My favorite web comic updates frequently, but not on a schedule. That makes it addictive and distracting, because I'm always checking it for updates. In the interest of productivity and focus, I wrote a Ruby utility to batch fetching updates.

More Legibility Improvements With dotjs

Bestest project ever.

Here's the code I use to fix igvita:

$("div.primary").css("margin-left", "20px");

And as much as I hate to say it, I do something very similar for Kyle Neath's

$(".main").css("margin-left", "20px");

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Deliberate Practice: Acting, Programming, Business, Hypnosis, And Music?

I was hoping to do a big blog post about this, but I don't currently have time.

  • My "miniapp per month" experiment in 2009 was a programming deliberate practice experiment.
  • My "mini-business per month" experiment in 2010 was a tech entrepreneurship deliberate practice experiment.
  • I'm constructing a deliberate practice system for my acting skills.
  • I might do the same for programming and music, but I'm concerned about diluting my focus. Hypnosis, however, is very likely.
  • You can construct a deliberate practice system around anything.
  • I highly recommend constructing deliberate practice systems around the meta actions of improving your life (e.g., visualization, schedule experiments, setting goals).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Always Remember You Have Options

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Migrations Hack: Migration Filename Into Paste Buffer (And Tab-Complete-Friendly Filenames)

Here's the hack version.

Here's the gist.

This would make a fun little gem, actually, especially if I somehow found the time to sort migration filenames out.

Update: swap echo for printf.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

How To Make Twitter's Web Client Suck Less

I use the web version of Twitter exclusively, even on the iPad. The reason is simple: it seems to be the only client which acknowledges its non-universality. If I use custom Twitter clients on any device, each such client assumes A) that I have no other clients running on the same device and B) that I use no other devices. Consequently, every time I use custom Twitter clients, I'm constantly getting notified as to the number of "new" and "unread" messages which are neither new nor unread.

No, goddammit, I don't. I really don't.

What this comes down to, basically, is a furious, hostile intolerance for clutter and distraction. Although I agree with Master Yoda that hate leads to suffering, distraction also leads to lost productivity, lost opportunities, regret, and a generally useless existence - and our world today is filled to bursting with distractions. Case in point: the Twitter web client. Although it sucks less than every other Twitter client when it comes to acknowledging and accommodating the patently obvious reality that people access Twitter on multiple devices, it still pelts you with useless distractions aplenty - specifically, inane lists of trending topics, suggestions that I follow Kim Kardashian, and similar pointless horseshit.

Fortunately, however, this is very easy to fix. You can have a much more serene experience reading Twitter with negligible effort. In fact, this is how the Twitter web client looks to me.

The secret sauce is dotjs, an absolutely fantastic project by Chris Wanstrath, inspired by a remark by his GitHub colleague Ryan Tomayko, which is ironic, because I've also used dotjs to fix GitHub.

After you install dotjs, all you need is a ~/.js/ file which looks like this:

The technique is simple: we insert inline CSS <script> tags which set display: none; for the relevant CSS selectors. We do this, rather than a simpler $("selector").remove(), because dotjs runs your ~/.js/whichever-domain.js file when the page loads, but Twitter first loads a skeletal page and then populates it via Ajax. This updated version of the file not only removes all the specific stuff mentioned above, it even wipes out the entire dashboard div, giving an even cleaner version:

Sesame Street Aliens Discover Dubstep

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Caving In A Little To BitCoin Mania

The main reason I ignored BitCoin for a long time is because I know from experience that online libertarians are absolute dipshits when it comes to questions like this one:

Bitcoin of course does away with the need for banks to create money (and maybe for banks in general) and probably in some small part for hard cash (hard cash will probably never go away, that’s why governments could chose to care not that much). I don't have to tell anybody that money is something banks (I'm excluding governments of my argument now because their decrease in profit is greatly smaller than that of banks) cherish or that having a lot of money equals power. But apparently I do. Bitcoin and their miners are cutting in on the profits of the banks. This has been the sole right of the banks for centuries now. They started wars with countries and discredited loyal government officials who tried to take that right away from them. This is not something they will let happen. They are already fighting it by letting their bought lackeys Sen. Charles Schumer of New York and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia discredit Bitcoin and push for a legal solution. Appreciate the real threat: Banks!

I don't think it's even a question of bought lackeys - the Senators probably just fear the Web and are stupid enough to honestly believe drugs are some kind of threat to America - but the BIG flaw in all those delusional technolibertarian blog posts is the hand-waving that occurs with respect to governments not being able to stop BitCoin. Because they allegedly can't stop illegal file-sharing.

News flash: I don't use illegal file-sharing, because I live in the United States, and over here, you can lose everything you own because you wanted to listen to some piece of crap Bon Jovi song and you didn't have the patience to go through iTunes. In fact, you can lose everything you own because some random person downloaded something without paying for it and the judge is too much of a dipshit to learn anything about technology before ruining your life - or because the lawyers are too expensive. I'm sure if I lived in a country with a less brutal oligarchy, I'd use illegal file-sharing, but I don't.

It's hard to look at the US finance bailouts without seeing a lot of government backup for the finance industry, even when it fucks everything up for people. I voted for Obama, like everybody in the United States who had sex even once in 2008, and I even volunteered a tiny tiny bit for his campaign, but it's impossible not to doubt that whole "land of the free" thing when the guy who extended the Patriot Act, assassinated a foreign national without hesitation, and ran the least transparent administration in history is your only serious choice if you want to vote for freedom of speech, due process, and open government. BitCoin looks to me a little like the kind of thing that people remember and laugh about having taken seriously, like my raver entrepreneur friend who tried to start an offshore data haven straight out of Bruce Sterling, and a little like the type of shit that gets people tortured for their good intentions, like WikiLeaks.

This is the before picture. You should see the after.

But it also reminds me of the stuff that got me excited about the Internet, back in 1995, when I was trying to persuade corporate middle management types and small business owners that yes, one day, people will actually buy things on the Internet, and some of them hired me while others laughed in my face. And the returns on investment (right now) are insane.


Silk Road and Bitcoins could herald a black market eCommerce revolution. But anonymity cuts both ways. How long until a DEA agent sets up a fake Silk Road account and starts sending SWAT teams instead of LSD to the addresses she gets? As Silk Road inevitably spills out of the bitcoin bubble, its drug-swapping utopians will meet a harsh reality no anonymizing network can blur.

Monday, June 6, 2011

ProTip: Don't Post On A Schedule

I follow a few web comics. All but one post on a regular schedule. My favorite posts on no reliable basis whatsoever; a day of ten updates can follow a week and a half of zero.

If you've read the blog posts on why checking e-mail triggers the addiction-related parts of your brain, you already know which comic I check most frequently.

Note that I say don't post on a schedule. Writing on a schedule is a really good idea.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Craziness: Autographing Tweets

this was at technologic toronto. a few hours later he told me he was going to sell my autograph for bitcoins.