- March 26, 2023
- Lots of interesting astronomical data such as seasons, eclipses and navigational stars available through the U.S. Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department. They also have an API if you'd like to pull and process your own information. I spent way too long playing with the API last night....
- March 18, 2023
- Pro Tip: When you find a brand of bologna you like, it's worth paying the extra money for it.
- March 7, 2023
- Two short thoughts for the day:
When you mess up, accept responsibility, apologize and then fix what you did wrong.
When someone does something nice for you, thank them as soon as possible. You may not get another opportunity.
- February 22, 2023
- One of the hardest things about long-term projects is that it's easy to lose yourself in the day-to-day grind and forget about the big picture: that what you're doing right now is just a page in a bigger book, a single drop in a large jar. One bad day can seem insurmountable.
One of the best feelings about long-term projects, though, is when you're finally done and can look back over the weeks and months and say, "Wow. I *did* accomplish a lot, didn't I?"
- February 17, 2023
- The few examples I've seen of the answers these new AI chatbots spit out have been interesting: glib, coherent, but often wandering off topic or into the territory of untruth. If a program shows the biases of those who created it, what does it reveal that the AI's seem to be unable to simply say, "I don't know?"
- February 12, 2023
- Interest always comes first. Finding out everything about and spending every minute with a new romantic partner. Learning all the new features of the latest gadget you just purchased. Sometimes that interest fades. You discover that now that you know everything about the other person, there was nothing other than newness holding you together. Or you find out that the week-old gadget doesn't do everything you wanted it to do, or does it in a way that's not exactly how you wanted.
And sometimes that interest doesn't fade, exactly, but matures into commitment. You learn everything about your romantic partner and still become a gray-haired couple together. You use the gadget--despite its occasional annoyances--every day for years and when it breaks, mourn that they're no longer manufacturing anything like it.
The joys of interest are intense but short-lived; the joys of commitment are lower-key but endure. This is because the thing separating interest from commitment is time.
- February 5, 2023
- I've started a page to share some of the quick-and-dirty (and ugly-and-buggy) scripts I've written.
- January 27, 2023
- I guess it says something about my love of the antique that my favorite candy is Necco wafers, which were first manufactured in 1847.
- January 24, 2023
- I'm beginning to notice a back-and-forth between how I move around on the command line in Tilde.Club and on my desktop at home. A couple of months ago, if you asked me if I spent most of my time "in the command line" I'd have said yes. But in reality, I use a lot of command line programs inside terminals inside a window manager, so no, not really. But TC has forced me to up my tmux game and now I'm finding myself using it inside of a single terminal at home, rather than using multiple terminals. My home use is getting more TC-like.
- January 18, 2023
- I don't work with computers in my day job, so HTML and Linux are my hobbies. I studied the Great Books at school and one of the oft-used terms was "ad fontes:" go to the source. Read a book. Then read the person who influenced the first person to write the book. Then read the person who influenced the second person to write the book that the first person read. (This always seemed to lead back ultimately to either Plato or Aristotle for some reason.)
I like to do something similar for computer-related stuff--go back to the basic, foundational sources. Bash, sed, AWK, and grep. Text files written in vim. I use mutt to read email on my laptop and now find myself idly wondering if I could do the same with fetchmail/sendmail and mailx. Lowest-common denominator computing. Of course, this sometimes complexifies things that could be simple. But to be honest, I *like* spending hours figuring out how to write a shell script that hammers RSS feeds into text, even though I know newsboat does it better. For me, though, it's ad fontes--going to the source--even if it's not the most efficient way.
- January 13, 2023
- It's amazing to me to read the early HTML documents at CERN and see how little there was in terms of structure and scale. A dozen basic tags. A web server written in three lines of shell script. A list of every computer connected to the World Wide Web (less than 30) as of late 1992. Here are the mud-brick, walls-of-Uruk foundations of the internet as we know it today. Yet even now, those dozen tags are still recognized and rendered by modern web browsers. (Just have a look at the source code for this page to prove it.) Out of curiosity, I decided to see what I could (and couldn't) do within the constraints of the earliest HTML. Here are the results of my experiments, along with links to the CERN documents.
And just for the heck of it, here's the code for the web server:
read get docid
echo Here is the data
- January 10, 2023
- Getting settled in to my new account. This is going to be interesting, educational, and fun.
- January 6, 2023
- The web of the early- to mid-1990's was much smaller and messier; finding something new meant you had to read about it on someone else's page or in a text-file you downloaded via gopher. You could spend hours going from page to page or file to file and each visit online was an ephemeral, idosyncratic web-ring. God, I miss those days.