Journal Entries

(Page 5 of 9)

Assorted journal / blog entries.

Career 2.0

TL;DR — Announcing my upcoming change in employment status.

👓 less than 1 minute

In case you hadn’t heard by now, I’ve decided to leave AT&T. After nearly 18 years with the company, July 30 will be my last day.

I have my reasons for leaving, and I may go into them once I am no longer bound by the company’s Social Media policy, but for the time being, I’ll have to remain mum about it (unless you know me in #meatspace , in which case, contact me elsewhere for details).

Due to the (relatively) generous severance and benefits package I’ll be receiving, I shouldn’t have to scramble to find a replacement job career too quickly. As such, I plan on taking a couple of weeks’ “sabbatical” during which I can spend some quality time with my family and (hopefully) get some of my side projects finished.

All that to say: When I woke up this morning, I was struck by how surreal it is that, after nearly 18 years working for the same company, at the same location, and seeing many of the same people every day, I only have a week left.

Loose Ideas for the Next Social Web

TL;DR — Some thoughts about what I would like to see next in the social media / web space.

👓 2 minutes

Inspired by both this toot and my recent dabblings in the Fediverse, I just wanted to take a moment and collect some thoughts about what I would like to see next in the #SocialMedia / #web space.

  • I like the idea of using a hub-and-spoke model, where each actual edge device (phone / tablet / etc.) connects to some kind of always-on server (either a cheap virtual machine or a home-based server), which would be run by a tech-enabling friend, like BBSes used to be.
  • All content creation and such would occur on the edge device, probably via a progressive web app hosted on the hub (to enable #offline creating), and which would connect to its hub when convenient to upload any newly created content.
    • Here, “content” means basically anything that you can create on a social media site - text, photos, replies, whatnot.
  • The content would be marked up with IndieWeb microformats-2 tags, enabling easy consumption / sharing.
  • Since the content creation / editing would occur on the spoke devices, the hub would be used primarily for caching and speedy connectivity (to prevent issues with asymmetric connection speeds that would prevent direct sharing between the edge devices).
  • The hub would collect incoming messages for the user and cache them until the user’s device can connect to the hub to pull them down into their edge device(s).
  • The hub would also support webmentions (both in and out), webfinger, and any other useful protocols (ActivityPub, to enable more clients?).
  • Ideally, each user of this kind of system would have a subdomain of their own (, which has their public info, profile pic, and public posts, and which could serve as a Web sign-in endpoint via the presence of an h-card (listing their OAuth2-compatible accounts).

I freely admit that this idea still has some issues, since it is both incredibly hand-wavy and would still require tech-smart gatekeepers to run the hubs, but eventually even that second issue could be mitigated somewhat by turning the software into a single-click install option for a Pi or similar device (or pre-installed on such a device, with a plug-and-play setup of some kind, or pre-built images for VPS hosting).

I’m open to thoughts / suggestions / comments.

Fixing Gedit

TL;DR — Notes about some of the settings that I recommend for gedit.

👓 less than 1 minute

I tend to use Atom when I’m working on code, but given the choice, I prefer to use more basic text editors when I’m just making / re-reading notes (something I do alot).

In my laptop’s previous life, it had a runaway memory issue with #gedit that made it impossible to use, but since upgrading to #Ubuntu 18.04, I haven’t had any troubles with it, so it’s been my default text editor once again.

Unfortunately, one issue I’ve continued to run into is that, no matter how many times I adjust the editor settings in the GUI (for tab size, auto-indent, and use-spaces-for-tabs-goddammit), those changes are lost on reboot.

So, this time, rather than making the same futile changes in the application, I decided to use (what I think are) the commands to permanently change those settings.

If you’re having the same problems, type this in your shell of choice (ENTER after each one):

> gsettings set org.gnome.gedit.preferences.editor tabs-size 2
> gsettings set org.gnome.gedit.preferences.editor auto-indent true
> gsettings set org.gnome.gedit.preferences.editor insert-spaces true

I’ve rebooted the machine since I put these commands in, and so far, so good. Of course, this may change by the next LTS release, but these settings should keep my happy for the next couple of years, at least (and I’m posting it here primarily as a #NoteToMyFutureSelf ).

The Mythic Wars Have Begun!

TL;DR — My new card game has been published, so I wrote a card database for it.

👓 2 minutes

TL;DR - I made a game and got it published, so I made an app to help people play the game, and published that, too.

ICYMI, the card game I designed and ran a Kickstarter for was finally published a few months ago.

<gratuitous-plug> It’s called Mythic Wars: Clash of the Gods, and it’s available now at many fine gaming stores, or directly from either the Excalibre Games website or Amazon! </gratuitous-plug>

I had alot of fun designing and playtesting the game, and I’m quite pleased with the finished product. While I admit that I found the entire Kickstarting and publishing process to be somewhat less fun (and quite eye-opening), overall, the fact that I can now hold my game in my hands (and see it for sale at my friendly local game store) makes me enormously happy.

My game, on a shelf, AT A STORE!

Since I am a code monkey by trade (and a web developer by choice), I wanted to complement the game’s publication with the release of a simple, searchable database of all of the cards available for it. Taking inspiration from the Gatherer, the official database for Magic: the Gathering cards (the best example of such an application that I’m aware of), I mocked up something over the course of weekend, tweaked it over the course of a couple more weekends, and soon, The Codex Mythica was born.

It’s my first publicly-available Node / Express application, so the code’s kinda ugly, but I think it has some neat features, like a responsive layout designed to work well on different screens and devices, and a category-based searching / filtering system for sorting and selecting cards (along with the obligatory word search functionality). Plus, each card has links to both its art and to the Wikipedia entry for the its subject (or the Lovecraft wiki entry, in the case of some of the Outer Gods and their minions).

It also (finally) gave me an excuse to share something on GitHub! You can find it at

<gratuitous-plug> So, if you like games about gatherings of mages, ascended beings, or worlds where war is crafted, check out Mythic Wars: Clash of the Gods, available now at many fine gaming stores, or directly from either the Excalibre Games website or Amazon! </gratuitous-plug>

(Sorry, I’m contractually obligated to get in one more of those.)

Anyways, if you have any suggestions for The Codex Mythica, feel free to open an issue on GitHub or drop me a line (I can’t guarantee I’ll implement it, but I always appreciate the suggestions).

Star Trekkin'

TL;DR — An amusing take on how the humans in Star Trek relate to their technology (and how other aliens relate to them).

👓 3 minutes

Today, in the “I never thought of it like that” file:

Random Headcanon: That Federation vessels in Star Trek seem to experience bizarre malfunctions with such overwhelming frequency isn’t just an artefact of the television serial format. Rather, it’s because the Federation as a culture are a bunch of deranged hyper-neophiles, tooling around in ships packed full of beyond-cutting-edge tech they don’t really understand… All those rampant holograms and warp core malfunctions and accidentally-traveling-back-in-time incidents? That doesn’t actually happen to anyone else; it’s literally just Federation vessels that go off the rails like that. And they do so on a fairly regular basis.

But apparently, others have thought of that, and its implications:

So to everyone else in the galaxy, all humans are basically Doc Brown… Aliens who have seen the Back to the Future movies literally don’t realise that Doc Brown is meant to be funny. They’re just like “yes, that is exactly what all human scientists are like in my experience”.


klingons: okay we don’t get it

vulcan science academy: get what

klingons: you vulcans are a bunch of stuffy prisses but you’re also tougher, stronger, and smarter than humans in every single way

klingons: why do you let them run your federation

vulcan science academy: look

vulcan science academy: this is a species where if you give them two warp cores they don’t do experiments on one and save the other for if the first one blows up

vulcan science academy: this is a species where if you give them two warp cores, they will ask for a third one, immediately plug all three into each other, punch a hole into an alternate universe where humans subscribe to an even more destructive ideological system, fight everyone in it because they’re offended by that, steal their warp cores, plug those together, punch their way back here, then try to turn a nearby sun into a torus because that was what their initial scientific experiment was for and they didn’t want to waste a trip.

vulcan science academy: they did that last week. we have the write-up right here. it’s getting published in about six hundred scientific journals across two hundred different disciplines because of how many established theories their ridiculous little expedition has just called into question. also, they did turn that sun into a torus, and no one actually knows how.

vulcan science academy: this is why we let them do whatever the hell they want.

klingons: … can we be a part of your federation

you know what the best evidence for this is? Deep Space 9 almost never broke down. minor malfunctions that irritated O’Brien to hell and back, sure, but almost none of the truly weird shit that befell Voyager and all the starships Enterprise. what was the weirdest malfunction DS9 ever had? the senior staff getting trapped as holosuite characters in Our Man Bashir, and that was because a human decided to just dump the transporter buffer into the station’s core memory and hope everything would work out somehow, which is a bit like swapping your computer’s hard drive out for a memory card from a PlayStation 2 and expecting to be able to play a game of Spyro the Dragon with your keyboard and mouse.

There is no phrase in Vulcan for “the particular moment when you understand that the true way to serenity is to embrace chaos as much as logic.”

Vulcans that work for Starfleet though, have a particular look that passes between them when sharing war stories featuring human shenanigans that might mean the same thing.

From / HT

<rant>I loathe the way Tumblr shows replies. It’s like the worst aspects of a single-page mailing list dump, but for the “social media age” (so, an excess of needless indenting that screws up both the text and the embedded images).</rant>