oho's Backstory

I’m going tell you the tale of oho, a program which is arguably the world’s greatest ANSI text to HTML converter, and how it solved a real business problem. I’m sharing this because, as a geek, it’s important to remember that you can frequently solve work needs, while having fun creating open source tools that interest you. Side note: ANSI escape sequences are the things that cause text to be colored, bolded, etc when displayed in a terimnal.

Your Own God(s)

I’ve had an idea buzzbuling around my head for a while, that I’d like to share with you. If you’re a devout follower of any religion, I ask that you set aside what your preconceptions for a few minutes, and listen openly to this somewhat heretical thought. Premise All, or at least most, gods are created by people. Maybe I’m wrong, and there is one true deity, but logically if one is true, then all the conflicting gods must be the creation of human minds.

100(ish) things

Many would not guess it, but I am a minimalist at heart. I don’t like looking around and seeing all the crap I’ve accumulated. So this year, I’m going to do something about it. This year, I’m working towards only owning 100(ish) things, and I’d like to encourage you to too. The 100 is easy. The “ish” requires some explaining, but I feel it is the key to making this workable.

Setting the Atomic Clock

This morning’s shower brought me an interesting series of thoughts that I thought you might appreciate, and it all started with the simple question of “How do you set The Atomic Clock?” My first thought was that at some point you have to find some other clock and precisely sync up with it. Then again, they may have said “fuck it” and just had Bob press a button when some other clock flipped over, but then I wondered “How do we know what time it is in the first place?

There's always more to learn

My mother was an incredibly talented artist. For most of my life, she made here living teaching private students, and getting them ready for entry into art colleges. Once upon a time a student of hers got her a present. It was a Horse-hair calligraphy brush, a solid ink stick (add water and rub), and an instructional book on Chinese calligraphy. She was very worried about giving the gift though. She didn’t want to instruct a teacher she greatly respected by giving her an introductory how-to book.

I love the internet

Something kind-of amazing just happened. Background: Unglue.it is a really cool site, that I’d never heard of until Amazon decided to stop processing payments for them. Think Kickstarter for freeing out-of print books. They get people to create a wishlist of books they’d like to see released as Creative Commons licensed DRM-free ebooks. They then talk to the authors and publishers of the books people want to find out how much money it would take to “unglue” them.

Turning Down Apple

I just turned down an interview with Apple. There are a few companies who, when they call with a job offer you’ll respond with “fuck yes”. Apple is on that list for me. And yet… A recruiter called me the other day. Apple needs someone and my particular skillset and background. It seemed to be a pretty good match, and she’d been looking for a while. An internal tool building kind of job, in a language I enjoy, for a company I admire?

Why your tiered password scheme is flawed, and what to do about it.

First, let me explain what I mean by “tiered password scheme”. Many perfectly smart people I know have one strong password they use for one or two online banking type sites. They’ll then have a “medium security” password they use on sites that kind of important to them (maybe those sites have their credit card info stored), but not critical to day to day stuff. Then they’ll have one or two passwords they use on all the other sites like Twitter, Yahoo!