My belated 2022 recap: blog posts and articles

In the last post, I shared the books that I found worth recommending that I read in 2022. The next post shares podcasts that I found valuable. In this (longer) post, I will share links to the blog posts from 2022 that I think are recommendation worthy. I’ve broken it into sections based on content.

Company/Team Culture

As a CTO, I spend a lot of my time thinking about building effective technology organizations, and I’m always looking for new approaches or lessons in the space.

The pandemic has caused nearly two years of collective trauma. Many people are near a breaking point.

An airplane passenger is accused of attacking a flight attendant and breaking bones in her face. Three New York City tourists assaulted a restaurant host who…

If you are wondering why people are such jerks now…

How Flat Should An Organization Be?

Musk Restructures Tesla… Many books and articles have documented the relationship…

I didn’t necessarily agree with everything here, but I think it is worth reading if you are responsible for organizational structure at any level.

How HashiCorp Works

Learn about the How HashiCorp Works project and why there are links to internal HashiCorp materials in this article. Our…

I like the movement in making how companies work transparent. It is useful to read as a leader and a great recruiting tool for those companies. I always wonder how much reality matches the shared documents. If you know you will share with the public, you are likely to be a bit more aspirational than actual, but it is still useful to read.

Medium sees more employee exits after CEO publishes ‘culture memo’ – TechCrunch

by Natasha Mascarenhas @nmasc_

By now, every CEO should know better than to publish a “Culture memo” to address employee behavior. Have any of them gone over well?

Netflix to Its Techies: Shut Up

by Zoë Schiffer

The sign that Netflix’s culture had irreversibly started to…

The genius of Netflix as an employer was that it has always been very upfront about who it is and how it works, with the understanding that anyone taking a job there knows what they are getting into. This works great until the culture starts to change, so this isn’t about an individual employee being unhappy. It will be interesting to see how Netflix navigates this (or doesn’t).

Culture as a Product: How HubSpot Built its Famed Startup Culture

Around Boston and beyond, HubSpot is known for its strong entrepreneurial culture . The company has received many awards over the years and was recently named…

Hubspot is an interesting company. Having read Disrupted ( I am a bit skeptical of how they talk about themselves, but of course, one always should be. That said, even if the public face of companies’ cultures is more aspirational than real, there is still something to be learned. I didn’t decide that the 37 Signals books were worthless because when under stress, the company didn’t live the values they proclaimed.

Bolt Loaned Employees Thousands to Buy Stock—Then Laid Them Off

by Condé Nast

The challenge of startup options is that employees rarely are allowed to sell them. When a startup has been around a long time, and startup options are starting to expire, but employees have had the liquidity event necessary to have ready cash to exercise their options, what are they to do? A company I was in also considered a loan program for employees but decided it was potentially problematic. Bolt learned that lesson the hard way, and their former employees are worse off for it.

A big 32-hour workweek test is underway. Supporters think it could help productivity

by Wynne Davis

I keep hearing that the 4-day workweek is imminent. Maybe someday, but I doubt it will be soon.

Etsy Engineering | Leading your engineering team through an unexpected…

By Najla Elmachtoub May 26, 2022

This article was originally written for LeadDev . In tech, we talk a lot about failing fast: implementing small, incremental…

I talk a lot about failure, failing fast, etc… This article is an actual case study in how to recover when your team has a big failure. I always like real-life stories instead of vague opinion pieces.

Career Development: What It Really Means to be a Manager, Director, or VP

by Umesh

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of big-company HR practices. I’m more of the First Break all the Rules type. Despite my general skepticism of many standard…

There are tons of posts and books about being a line manager. There are substantially less about levels beyond that. I’m always looking for informative articles or books about more senior leadership levels. This was a decent one.

Tech’s Talent Wars Have Come Back to Bite It

by Erin Griffith

What Tech People Should Learn From This Era of Excess

by Martin Peers

We’re in the Finding Out part of the FAFO scale-up tech boom/bust cycle. We didn’t learn in 2001 or 2008. We probably won’t learn now, either.

Twitter is suffering from mad bro disease

by Rupert Goodwins Mon 14 Nov 2022 // 09:30 UTC

There is a euphemism in rocketry often heard at SpaceX – Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly. A catastrophic explosion, in other words. Until now, it was not…

The speed of Elon’s decline from “genius who can see a better future and bring it about” to “asshole snake oil salesman with a narcissistic personality disorder” was sudden by any measure. How do we keep people like this from ruining our favorite apps/sites? By keeping ownership and infrastructure distributed…

Remote Work/Return to the office

For the last couple of years, the push and pull of remote vs hybrid vs back-in-the-office has been a major story in the work press. I’ve already made my decision that I’m going to keep working remote and will choose companies that allow me to do that, but in all of this discussion I’m also looking to understand how other companies are approaching things.

Why workers are calling BS on leaders about returning to the office

by Kimberly Merriman and David Greenway and Tamara Montag-Smit

There have been SO MANY TAKES about returning to the office post-pandemic, but I found this one decent.

Remote-working jobs: Disaster looms as managers refuse to listen | ZDNet

by Owen Hughes

This may be losing some of its value as it ages, but speaking as an all-remote company CTO, if you don’t listen to your employees about how they want to work, I’ll be happy to take them off your hands.

The Future of Work Isn’t Fancy Tech. It’s Remote Work and Smarter Management

The remote/office debate is dying down any time soon. There is more pressure on returning to offices now, but there is also more resistance. Given the layoffs, employees may not feel empowered to resist the call to return to the office, so maybe that will gain ground.

The Worst Part of Working From Home Is Now Haunting Reopened Offices

by Alison Green

Few people are as knee-deep in our work-related anxieties and sticky office politics…

If a primary driver for bringing people back to the office is better collaboration, you may want to consider how your hybrid remote/office system is set up.

How to embrace asynchronous communication for remote work

How to get started with async GitLab believes that…

The secret to successful remote work (especially if the team is spread across time zones) is moving to be asynchronous first. The companies that have been distributed for long periods and have scaled have embraced this, but it is harder than it seems, and many companies struggle. Even those that have always been distributed. This GitLab guide is very helpful.

Web Technologies

I spent much of 2022 learning more about WebAssembly as we launched PyScript at Anaconda. I think that it has some amazing potential and is one of the most important technologies of the last few years.

The rise of WebAssembly

by Scott Carey

WebAssembly Concepts – WebAssembly | MDN

This article explains the concepts behind how WebAssembly works including its goals, the problems it solves, and how it runs inside the web…

If you are in technology, you need to understand WebAssembly and how it can be used. It can potentially be more transformative than many of the technologies we depend on for software development today.

A short history of Flash & the forgotten Flash Website movement (when websites were “the new emerging artform”)

This post is a transcript of a talk I gave at UCSC. Thank you for inviting me! I’m sharing it here because It’s a GOOD summary of the history of a technology…

If you were active on the web in the 90s and early 2000s, you will remember the explosion of massively creative web experiences propelled by the Macromedia/Adobe technology Flash. While you can still create those kinds of experiences using modern web technologies, it now requires a level of coding expertise that puts the programmers in the driver’s seat instead of the artist/designer and requires a team instead of a single creative person.

The genius of Flash was that it made complex interactivity and visuals easy for many artists to create, and the result was beautiful chaos. The web is just a bit more boring for the death of Flash.

Spotify’s grand plan to monetize its open source Backstage project via premium plugins

by Paul Sawers

Backstage was created when I was at Spotify. Even in its earliest days, it solved many problems for us in a massively micro-service architecture. It’s cool to see how it has developed over the years, and it was also cool to see that Spotify had open-sourced it. I think it is interesting that Spotify is doing this experiment, but also disappointed because I know of at least one company formed by ex-Spotifiers that were trying to build companies on top of Backstage.

Google: The Model Your Site Was Built On Is No Longer Feasible

SEO is tough, and Google can accidentally kill your site, and if it happens, they will tell you it is your fault.

Why Elon Musk Is Blowing Up Twitter’s Business

by James Surowiecki

Hours before Elon Musk closed his deal to buy Twitter, he published an open letter to advertisers. Musk knew that big companies, in particular, were anxious about…

“Free speech” and an advertising-based revenue model are incompatible.

Web3/Decentralized Web/Metaverse

When blockchain emerged, I spent some effort to really understand it. Then I realized that it was a technology searching for a use case fueling a tulip-like baseless speculative market. When Web3 started to emerge, I delayed judgment until I could understand it better. While I believe that there are people who believe that it can fuel a world where creators have more ways to be paid for their work and other such lofty goals, the practicality of it is that very little of those schemes require the blockchain, and most of the people in the space are just trying to make a quick buck before the tulip market collapses.

Web3 is Bullshit

by Stephen Diehl

You’ll probably hear the fuzzy term web3 bandied about in the press if you read tech journalism. Sprinkled around, all these articles are all manner of…

The title says it all.

Crypto and Twitter Are Imploding at the Same Time and It Is Glorious

Many good takes: eating popcorn, and watching the crypto bros burn down their empire.

5 key lessons after a week on Mastodon

by Sandra Gutierrez G.

I’ve been on Mastodon since 2017, but my usage really increased since the acquisition of Twitter. There have been a lot of stories talking about how people are abandoning Mastodon, but even if it doesn’t become what Twitter was, it is still a vibrant community.

There’s No Fixing Meta’s Metaverse, Scrap It, Start Over

by Paul Tassi

I spent 6 years working on the metaverse at Microsoft during the 90s. While the technology has drastically improved, the reason we didn’t get the metaverse back then is that no one could figure out something to do in the metaverse except shoot each other or have sex with each other. All the folks working on metaverse now have learned nothing from the multiple generations of attempts that preceded them. There is still a smug belief that “if you build it, they will come.” The problem is that there is still nothing to do once they show up.

The Battle for the Soul of the Web

by Kaitlyn Tiffany

If these problems are intrinsically linked to consolidated tech giants like Meta, Google, and Amazon, why not embrace technologies that decentralize power? This has become a key issue for Brewster Kahle, the 61-year-old founder of the Internet Archive…

Having participated in various forums and working groups for decentralized web stuff over the last few decades, I’m consistently excited by the possibilities and enthusiasm of the folks who work towards those goals and disappointed by their naivete about what people are willing to put up with and how commercial entities are incentivized to coopt and pollute the technologies that do gain some momentum.

Your organization should run its own Mastodon server

by Martin Fowler

Whether you are a large company, a political party, an international news agency, an NGO or a government institution, you should seriously consider running your…

What is the point of having a decentralized web if you don’t own your own part of it?

Twitter Turmoil: We Need an Open Protocol for Public Discourse

by Richard MacManus

Do we want to stay on a social network that shows such callous disregard for its own people? That is the question many of us have been asking as news hit this…

Protocols > Platforms

Software Engineering

Maybe it’s time we re-think docs

by Kathy Korevec

GitHub Docs are open source, and you can contribute to the project by visiting the GitHub repo . You’ve probably heard…

I liked this approach to documentation.

Agile Projects Have Become Waterfall Projects With Sprints

by Ben “The Hosk” Hosking

All the agility has been sucked out of agile projects Doing agile is not the same as being agile Agile projects have become bloated, lazy waterfall projects…

One of my biggest pet peeves is people deciding that a bad experience they had with a poorly implemented framework or process must mean that that framework or process is clearly bad and that anyone who had a good experience is lying. So many of the “I was involved in a poorly run agile project and so agile must all be a lie” or “my company tried to do the Spotify model, and it didn’t work; therefore, it must not work at Spotify either” type posts just show the ignorance of their authors and nothing else. While I was worried this article was just another one of those, the author is concerned more about poor agile processes and not agile itself. He even gives some good advice. So worth a read.

Machine Learning

Mozrt, a Deep Learning Recommendation System Empowering Walmart Store Associates with a Personalized Learning Experience

by Qixin Wang Nov 4

We developed Mozrt, a deep learning recommendation system for Walmart Academy App, the training content portal for Walmart store and Supply Chain associates.

Walmart built a massive technology team in its fight with Amazon. It is good to see them sharing their work.

Will Julia surpass Python in popularity?

by Sreejani Bhattacharyya

Short answer, probably not, but it will be interesting to see Julia evolve.

How to play with the GPT-3 language model

by Simon Willison

ChatGPT and the Google and Microsoft chatbots get all the attention now, but before that was GPT3, which also remains the only LLM with the ability to train on your own corpora.

Building Communities

Why Communities Are the New Business Currency | HackerNoon

July 6th 2022

We’re no longer content with one-way interactions with businesses. We want to feel like…

If you can’t tell from the previous post, I spent some time updating myself on building virtual communities last year. This is a good starting place for folks looking to understand the value.

Your words are wasted

It needs to be said again, perhaps this time more strongly. Your Blog is The Engine of Community . Dammit. Blog More You are not blogging enough.…

Scott Hanselman thinks developers should be blogging more, and when they do blog, it should be on their own platforms. And he’s right.

Music Industry

I’ve been involved in music as a musician, radio DJ, label owner, and streaming software creator since I was 15. I was delighted to rejoin the music industry in December when I took on the role of CTO at DistroKid.

With 100K tracks uploaded a day, a longtail music cull is coming – Hypebot

by Music Business

Lucian Grainge doesn’t like that people aren’t listening to Universal Artists as much, so he’s putting pressure on the streaming services to remove content he doesn’t think is good. The problem is deciding what content is good and what content is bad. Streamers already remove fraudulent content. So, who decides if your band shouldn’t be on Spotify because you might take a stream away from Justin Bieber (who himself was discovered because he uploaded his songs to YouTube). Gatekeepers are all about protecting their interests at the cost of innovation and getting others a shot.

Why Amazon VP Steve Boom just made the entire music catalog free with Prime

by Nilay Patel

It’s never been clear how much Amazon cares about music streaming as a business. It’s always been an also-ran in the streaming wars that only has listeners because it is an add-on to Prime and is the default service with Alexa. Amazon hasn’t invested much in the service, but maybe that is changing now…

Presenting Remotely

While I am an experienced video-conferencer and a reasonably experienced presenter, presenting to a remote audience is still something I am learning how to do. Having just given a talk this morning, I did want to share some things that are working well for me at the moment.

The Tools

Today I presented from my Mac Mini, and so used a separate webcam. The important thing here is that it was placed above my eye-line and not below. This is a lot more flattering of a view (i.e., not up your nose). If you are presenting from your laptop, raise it so that you get a similar angle.

I only have a single screen, so in presentation mode, I would lose my presenter view. Personally, I heavily rely on the presenter’s view. So I used my iPad with Duet to have a second screen. I use keynote primarily. I’ve noticed that Google Slides doesn’t work well with this setup.

You see my headset mic. Obviously, for a presentation to a group, you want the highest quality audio, an inexpensive headset mic works well. I prefer this over the iPhone style headphones (corded or cordless). The sound is better. If you use a wireless mic, make sure it is fully charged before you begin. At some point, I may switch to a podcaster desk mic, as the headset isn’t that flattering.

What is missing here is a good light. I have a big window to my left and a smaller one in front of me, so I get some natural light. However, most of my lighting does come from ceiling lights, which is not the most flattering on video. I ordered a you-tuber-style ring-light, but it is taking a very long time to arrive. I’ll need to find the optimal place for that light so that it isn’t casting weird shadows on my face.

Presentation Style

If you see me speak in person, you will know that I have a tendency to walk around on the stage and use my hands.

When presenting from a desk, I “bring in” my movements a bit so that they don’t go beyond the video frame. I watch myself out of the corner of my eye to know the edges as I am talking.

I have sometimes used a standing desk configuration to be a bit more natural. Still, given the constraints of standing in one place when speaking versus sitting, I think I prefer sitting.

You need to be more effusive, more visible when presenting with slides through a video conferencing system. You will be seen in a small video window in the corner, so you want to be more than a “talking head.”

The Environment

Before I talk, I will usually check what the background behind me looks like using zoom or Photobooth on the mac. That gives me an idea of what is visible behind me when I am talking. I generally try to clean up, so that there isn’t a mess for people to focus on. I will sometimes add a few small things of visual interest in the background, though. I think that is more humanizing and also gives some easter eggs for the audience.

Be careful when previewing what you think the audience will be able to see in your environment. On multiple occasions, I have cleaned up to the edges of what I saw as the video frame. Only to find that zoom had been showing me a cropped view of what everyone else could see. Quite embarrassing to watch a recording and see a pile of stuff on your floor that you didn’t realize other people could see.

Substance Over Style

In the end, everything above is about polish, not content. If you have something novel, something interesting, to say, that is the most critical thing. If you have a limited time to prepare, focus on making sure that what you present will be useful and informative to your audience. Rehearse your talk so that you feel comfortable presenting it and can smoother over any hiccups with technology or literal hiccups.

If your content is right and you are comfortable presenting it, your audience will remember it as a good talk. Then you can focus on cleaning up that pile of t-shirts in the corner of your room or make sure that you don’t look like a vampire because of the lighting.

If you are upping your remote presentation game, I’d love to hear your tips in the comments.

Can’t get a government website to validate you? Here is possibly why.

I’ve had multiple problems with multiple State of Washington or Government websites in the last year. Strange, inscrutable errors when trying to validate my identity, with no clear solutions.

Trying to get my updated social security info? It’s right there on the website. Except that the website won’t let me log in. I get a weird error. So, I have to go to the office to wait in line and talk to a person.

Trying to sign up on the state health care exchange? The dreaded: “Due to No Security Question Answer available. null” error. That error is well documented on the internet. The solution suggested every time? Upload all your documents to the website. That answer is wrong. In both cases, the government was trying to contact a credit bureau to get your personal information to test you on your knowledge about yourself.

I figured this out too late for the social security office, but figured it out for the health care exchange.

I froze my credit. You should too. It is a good (not perfect) guard against identity theft.

However, that frozen credit prevents anyone from trying to use your credit history information to validate your identity. This isn’t a great way to validate identity anyway since a lot of that information is available publicly.

The only solutions are to deal with their support teams (the front line folks never know about this and so you need to explain it to them), go to an office and wait in line to show them a physical ID, or temporarily unfreeze your credit.

Luckily, the credit bureau sites let you easily unfreeze your credit temporarily. However, that is a very poor security solution, since it is a blanket unfreezing. That is bad if you are doing it to apply for a new credit card. It is even worse if you are using it for ID Validation on some random website. In the case of the government sites, I couldn’t tell which credit bureau they were using, so I had to unfreeze all of them. Really bad.

We need better identity validation solutions that work securely over the internet for government to use. Luckily, I’m now in a position to help.

Slides from my talk on Distributed Teams

Compare the Market was nice enough to invite me to speak at their tech managers’ off-site about distributed teams. This talk reflects my own experience leading distributed teams.

I was presenting to them over video. Their meeting included people in two different offices and also folks dialing in from home. Ironically, in the middle of my talk, I got disconnected from the video conference. Because I was sharing my slides full-screen and had my speaker notes on my second monitor, I didn’t notice. So I spoke to myself for about 15 minutes before I realized what happened and dialed back into the meeting. It was a bit mortifying, but the folks in the UK were extremely nice about it. I can’t think of a better example though of the challenges around working with teams who have to communicate over electronic means constantly, so it was a good illustration of the issues I raised. 🙂


The release of the first Intonarumori album in a few years gave me a good excuse to redo the website and bring it into the modern internet age.

The release of the first Intonarumori album in a few years gave me a good excuse to redo the website and bring it into the modern internet age.

The old site (still available here) had served me well and the design mostly was still working, but since the updates had been infrequent and minor, it seemed like a big redesign would also be a good way to signal that the site (and band) had not been abandoned, just quiet for a while.

The old site:
Old Intonarumori Site


The old site was also using a lot of stale HTML tricks (yes tables for layout!). I did do some prototypical responsive design though (resize the window on the old site and watch how the title area resizes smoothly). The site itself also was really bad on mobile devices, and even was using a lot of (horrors!) Flash for audio playback. It had been in place for eight years though, replacing the second design which was from the mid-to-late 90s.

I also thought that the information design was pretty lacking, superfluous information and overly complicated navigation for a musical artist site, ie: way too many pages.

I decided that I was going to try and do it right this time. CSS-based, responsive design, a reasonable layout, retina and mobile ready. I also wanted to follow a true process where I would spend some time sketching and wire-framing before I started in.

I didn’t want to go overly fancy though with unnecessary javascript or dynamic pages, since the site itself should not change too significantly once it is deployed (the last one was in place for eight years).

I spent a bunch of time sketching ideas for layouts and looking at other artist sites to get a better feel for what others had done. Musicians sites are fairly staid I found. Usually relatively minor affairs with a small number of pages and mostly links out to other sites with the content. I didn’t want to make into a big destination site, but I wanted to make sure that it had enough information for a curious visitor to get a feeling for the project and it’s output.

Once I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do, I got into coding the first page. I started in with Dreamweaver CS6. I have been using Dreamweaver since it was a Macromedia product, almost since it was released. My earlier sites had been done completely in notepad and e-macs, but I loved being able to do WYSIWYG HTML and having a built-in FTP server. Dreamweaver also has really good CSS. I had been finding its’ limitations though on some projects over the last few years. Especially on sites like and parts of where I was mixing PHP elements in. Dreamweaver started to be more of a hinderance than a help there.

I decided that I didn’t want to use Dreamweaver’s built-in support for responsive design. Not that it wouldn’t have made things much easier, but I wanted to really understand how to do it right myself before I started using tools. Also, I had just had to rip out a lot of old Dreamweaver template crap from one of my old sites and I didn’t want to get stuck into anything Dreamweaver-specific.

I did want to use JQuery, so I could learn it better. So, I did use that and I also spent some time looking at different responsive design libraries. They were all a lot more than I needed, so I decided to do stuff myself. Again, a goal was to really wanted to understand responsive design better.

As I got into using more Javascript for messing around with the DOM, Dreamweaver immediately became useless for viewing the content. The split view, which I had really loved, was basically worthless. Dreamweaver became a pretty-good text editor with pretty-bad FTP support added in. (aside: the FTP support in Dreamweaver seems to have been stuck in maintenance mode for the last several releases, which would have been fine if it actually worked well, but it never has). I found myself editing code in dreamweaver and then having to FTP it to my server to test. Dreamweaver used to let you preview in a browser locally, but either that got removed or just moved to where I couldn’t find it. This process became unworkable to me. I decided that it was time to move on to a different process.

I have been using TextWrangler for a bunch of different code editing projects, so I decided to try it out for this. I came up with a new process where I edited the code in TextWrangler, previewed by reloading the page in Chrome, and then pushed it to the server to check on other devices by using SFTP in a terminal window. While this might have seemed like taking a big step backwards, it actually worked ok. At least as well as Dreamweaver, if not a bit better. The lack of code completion was starting to bug me though, and having to type FTP commands constantly was also getting annoying. So, I decided to look into better tools now that I knew I had to drop Dreamweaver.

My first change was buying a copy of Transmit 4. I have to say that I love this app! Being able to mount the webserver as a virtual drive and edit the files directly was awesome as I was messing with the media queries in the CSS and modifying the layout for mobile. It was also amazingly faster and more reliable than Dreamweaver or shell FTP.

I wanted a better editor though and I asked on Twitter to check with the zeitgeist. Of course my pals at Adobe put in plugs for Brackets:

I had known some of the Brackets guys and I liked that Adobe was doing this kind of open source project, so I grabbed a build. For an early build of a code editor, I thought that it was pretty good, but I found some of its quirks a bit frustrating. I was doing a lot of refactoring of layout code at this point and I was finding myself fighting the tool a lot. It was better than Text Wrangler and Dreamweaver, but it wasn’t really working for me. I decided that I need to keep looking. I did like the live update in the browser feature though, that is pretty cool.

Of course I was well aware of Sublime text, but I had never actually tried it. The videos on its site scared me a bit. It seemed way overly complicated for my needs, and the idea of having to use code and to hand-edit preferences files to use a text editor were not really appealing. I might as well have dug up my old .emacs files and started there again. I decided to give it a shot though given multiple recommendations from folks I trust.

While Sublime isn’t perfect, it is definitely the best one I’ve tried yet and seems to work. I’m using Sublime 2 now, but will probably check out Sublime 3 soon.

I also realized that rather than use my devices all the time to check out how the site worked on mobile I realized I could just use the iOS Simulator that comes with X-Code. That was a massive improvement to my workflow as well.

So new workflow is:

  1. Edit code in Sublime
  2. Test in Chrome locally for desktop
  3. Test in the iOS simulator for mobile
  4. Push to the web server using Transmit
  5. Double check on mobile devices
  6. Use a local version of git for version control

I didn’t mention GIT before, but I’ve been using it on all my sites for a while now. Especially the WordPress ones. In addition to being able to roll-back a site and try out some stuff worry-free, it is also great hacker repair. If any of my sites diverges from the local HEAD then I can figure out what files have been messed with. I haven’t used this to actually use remote repositories as ways to update a site, but I may eventually.

With my workflow in place and a few pages done, I pretty much had the process of building responsively going pretty well.

At first, I was trying to make the site smoothly re-lay itself out for different sizes dynamically. This was way too much work for too little gain as HTML does a pretty good job of that on desktop and it isn’t an issue on mobile. So, after wasting some time on that I switched to doing more with CSS Media Queries. This was fine, but I got way too narrowly-targeted there which meant a lot of work targeting different mobile platforms. Eventually, I switched to having a few basic layout for different widths, roughly one for phones and one for tablets and then one extra one for phones in landscape mode. This worked well on the devices I have, and it kept the effort to be reasonable, but I still need to test on friends devices to make sure.

Now the new site was pretty much done:

The new site
The new site

There are still some things I’m going to tweak and probably a few issues here and there, but overall I’m happy with it as a new starting point.

There were a couple other resources that I used that I want to give a shout out to. One was the icon set I got from G. Pritiranjan Das. For the photo page, I used the Camera Slideshow JQuery plugin. I also used Matt Kersley’s Responsive Design Testing tool and found it useful.

Development is more fun with kittens – three fun placeholder tools

Place Kitten gives you place holder images that make you wonder if you should bother ever replacing them, like:

Cupcake Ipsum generates much better Lorem Ipsum text that your run-of-the-mill tools, like:
Cupcake ipsum dolor sit amet. Toffee I love cake I love gummi bears cotton candy I love cookie. Wafer dragée lemon drops jelly-o jelly I love lollipop.
Fruitcake lollipop sweet roll muffin caramels. Cake I love macaroon biscuit candy canes dessert pie. Sweet apple pie lollipop jelly beans cheesecake gummies biscuit. Wypas I love croissant macaroon halvah.
Sweet roll tart toffee lemon drops candy canes soufflé bonbon. Ice cream tart cupcake I love icing tootsie roll jelly. Soufflé biscuit topping topping caramels pudding sugar plum cheesecake.
Halvah ice cream macaroon lollipop donut. Dessert gingerbread toffee gummies I love gingerbread applicake. Icing marshmallow cupcake.
Topping jelly beans fruitcake tootsie roll. Faworki soufflé chocolate cake. Dessert sesame snaps biscuit tiramisu cookie I love sesame snaps. is where got their idea, it is also useful, but not quite as fun

(via Chuck Rose)

[Update 2/29/12]
Adding also PLACESHEEN.COM, yow!

(via Bob Archer)

Having problems with the Adobe Connect add-in on OS X? Here is how to uninstall it.

I’m posting this here because it took me more than 20 minutes of googling to find the answer (and I’m an Adobe employee).

The Adobe Connect uses Flash and sometimes if you do an update to Flash on your system, Connect gets into a bad state. The way you’ll see this is that when the Add-in tries to launch it will get stuck with a small window that says “Loading Adobe Connect…” that never finishes.

The way to fix this problem is to uninstall Adobe Connect. Unfortunately, Adobe doesn’t make it easy for you to do that. there is no uninstaller and no information on the Adobe web site. Here is where the add-in is installed

~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/Flash Player/

Delete that directory and you have now uninstalled the add-in. Your connect sessions will now be hosted in your web browser until the next time you need add-in functionality, at which time you’ll be prompted to re-install it.

Hopefully this solves your problem and you found it faster than I did.

(tip of the hat to Aral Balkin who had to do this a few years ago too)

HPC on the (relative) cheap using public cloud providers

For the past several years, I’ve been working on leveraging high-performance computing techniques for high-throughput data intensive processing on desktop computers for stuff like image and video processing. Its been fun tracking what the multi-processing end of HPC has been doing, where the top 100 super-computer list has been very competitive and very active. Countries, IHVs and universities vie for who can generate more teraflops; spending millions and millions of dollars on the cooling plants alone for their dedicated data centers. These super computers exist to solve the BIG PROBLEMS of computing, and aren’t really useful beyond that.

At the same time, I’ve been following the public computing clouds like Amazon’s EC2, Google’s App Engine and Rack Space’s Public Cloud. These have been interesting for providing compute on the other end of the spectrum, occasional compute tasks, or higher average workloads with the occasional spike capability (like web apps). The public clouds are made up of thousands of servers and certainly rival or best the super computers in numbers of cores and raw compute power, but they exist for a different purpose.

This article in The Register really got me excited. Especially when I read this:

Stowe tells El Reg that during December last year, Cycle Computing set up increasingly large clusters on behalf of customers to start testing the limits. First, it did a 2,000-core cluster in early December, and then a 4,096-core cluster in late December. The 10,000-core cluster that Cycle Computing set up and ran for eight hours on behalf of Genentech would have ranked at 114 on the Top 500 computing list from last November (the most current ranking), so it was not exactly a toy even if the cluster was ephemeral.

The cost of running this world-class super computer?

Genentech loaded up its code and ran the job for eight hours at a total cost of $8,480, including EC2 compute and S3 storage capacity charges from Amazon and the fee for using the Cycle Computing tools as a service.

Real world HPC is now coming into price points where it is accessible to even small companies or research groups. This seems like a ripe opportunity for companies who can apply HPC-techniques to solve real problems for others, and for tools vendors who can make using these ephemeral clouds easier for companies who want to take advantage of them without having to build up high-end expertise in-house.