Author Archives: Ross

In Support of the Outrage Machine

In Rage Against The Outrage Machine, published by The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf industriously picks apart the umbrage taken against an article by George Will published in The Washington Post titled, “Colleges become the victims of progressivism.” In his article, Will puts forward the notion that colleges are “conferring privilege” (Will’s words) – perhaps in the […]

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The (Web) Skills of Leonardo da Vinci

For the craic: if Leonardo da Vinci were a software developer sending his cover letter to that hot new startup. Adapted from Letters of Note: The Skills of Leonardo da Vinci. My Most Illustrious Lord, Having now sufficiently seen and considered the achievements of all those who count themselves masters and artificers of software, and […]

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Pontoon – A Digital Ocean CLI (and library) in Python

Digital Ocean has been an excellent way for me to spin up test Ubuntu VMs for testing my expanding collection of PPAs, build scripts, and various other bits and pieces. While I do stack testing with kitchen, chef, vagrant, and frequently AWS, it is really nifty to be able to boot a fresh VM on […]

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Pivoting yourself

In the startup world, it’s common to talk about “pivoting” a business; that is to say, taking what you are doing and refocusing on some aspect of the opportunity you hadn’t spent a lot of time on before. We aren’t all founders, though. Today, coders have a lot of options when it comes to what […]

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Musical floppy drive maintenance –

I was going over journal notes from last year, and spotted my scribbles for working out MIDI notes from corresponding standard musical notation (C1, C#, etc). Maybe my Google-fu was weak, but I couldn’t find anything that described, in algorithmic terms, how to convert between these two systems at the time. Beyond some brief flirtations […]

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ArchiveTeam Yahoo Messages Followup: Success

The response to my post last week was amazing. As I write this, there are nine items left processing out of what ended up being more than 200,000 – a mixture of groups of threads and forum pages. For some perspective, when I posted that there were only eight days left, about 5,000 items had […]

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Shell blindness

I wonder how many programmers realize just how weird shell scripting is compared to pretty much every other programming activity one might engage in. I hadn’t really thought on it too deeply before, but I started digging into shell more deeply several months ago. Previously, I had been reasoning about it as just sort of […]

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ArchiveTeam + Yahoo Messages Shuttering + EC2 Spot Instances = MegaCrawl

Update (24th March) Stop your engines! The response has been amazing, in 24 hours we’ve managed to crawl almost everything, and are processing the final few batches now! No need for more instances! I’ve created a tool to help people who decided to fire up a whole bunch of spot instances slowly trim down their […]

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Programming is not my idea of “fun”

My motivation for learning to code was that I wanted to build things; not just anything, either, stuff that solved a problem I or someone else had. I don’t necessarily enjoy programming for the sake of programming, which seems to be unusual amongst a lot of developers I talk to. Which is not to say […]

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Naming things

I’ve been trying to articulate something which has been bugging me recently – the way we name software. There’s a well known quote attributed to Phil Karlton on the subject: “There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things.” Naming is hard, but there are some traditions and patterns we […]

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