3 months Ago

Avoiding Planned Obsolescence with a MacBook Pro

Published by marco on in Tips & Tricks

Some friends of mine have an older MacBook Pro, from mid-2010. I recently helped them upgrade from OS X 10.6 to 10.11 (El Capitan). The following article grew out of instructions I sent them for taking the next step: upgrading some hardware to increase the longevity of their laptop even further. I added a lot more detail after I’d upgraded my own end-2009 iMac with a new SSD.

By jumping five OS versions, you’ve got lots of new toys—better mail and calendar integration, a new Photos... [More]

Showing Pictures on a Map in OS X Photos (2016)

Published by marco on in Tips & Tricks

This feature is quite nice, but less intuitive than I’d expected. When I upgraded a friend’s computer, I was unable to figure out how to get to the map that I knew I’d seen before. With a bit more time and a web search, I was able to figure out how this thing works again.

Usability

In iPhoto, there was a “Locations” view to which you could switch to show the world map with pins in it. While convenient, Apple never figured out how to make this feature scale to tens of thousands of pictures so... [More]

4 months Ago

Carnival Cruise Lines and Security

Published by marco on in Technology

tl;dr: Carnival Cruise and American Airlines both have appallingly unprofessional web shops. While nominally secure (main page is delivered via HTTPS), neither appears secure in modern browsers and the console is littered with warnings. Terrible.

The Carnival Cruise Lines web site has a lot of useful information. It’s reasonably easy to find answers to almost any question you might have.[1] Their security—and the security of partner web sites—is a mess, though. It’s not as bad as it could... [More]

New England in a Nutshell

Published by marco on in Quotes

“All the towns up here are just two dirty piles of snow connected by a covered bridge.”
Dan Egan played by Reid Scott (HBO's Veep S05E07)

Updated my Curriculum Vitae/Resumé

Published by marco on in Design

 I am in no way looking for a new job. I’m very happy at Encodo. However, I hadn’t updated my project list or resume format since 2002. I’d also seen a lot of resumes cross my desk when we were hiring last year, with some good ideas and some bad. I wanted to try out some ideas I had to improve formatting, legibility and information density/comprehensibility.

There were a few main areas that I thought I could improve in the “standard” resume format.

I’ve got a strong first draft, but I’ll be... [More]

Windows 10 Windows Update Malfunction

Published by marco on in Tips & Tricks

tl;dr: If Windows 10 fails to install updates several times, you may have a corrupted update database. Follow the steps listed here to fix things. It will take quite a while, but it works out in the end.

Several months ago, I upgraded to Windows 10 on my laptop. Things went OK[1] and I was basically able to continue working uninterrupted.

Windows Insomnia

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that my laptop was almost always “awake” in the morning and seemed to be quite busy doing stuff when I... [More]

Is America Psychopathic?

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

I’ve just about finished reading The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. He’s a humor writer with a penchant for interviewing odd people. In the book, he discovers a checklist for determining whether someone is a psychopath. Throughout the book, he notes which checklist items a particular conversation with an interviewee triggers, even when that person is clearly not a psychopath. He gets kind of carried away with it, which is pretty funny.

It’s kind of easy to start doing it yourself, too.

We’re... [More]

Because she’s a woman

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

The article Democrats Will Learn All the Wrong Lessons From Brush With Bernie by Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone) includes this passage, right at the top.

“The arrival of the first female presidential nominee was undoubtedly a huge moment in American history and something even the supporters of Bernie Sanders should recognize as significant and to be celebrated.”

I can’t agree with this facile lip service to political correctness.

How can it be a huge moment when nothing has changed except for the genitalia? The ideas are the... [More]

ABD: Improving the Aspect-modeling API for Quino

Published by marco on in Programming

Overview

We discussed ABD in a recent article ABD: Refactoring and refining an API. To cite from that article,

“[…] the most important part of code is to think about how you’re writing it and what you’re building. You shouldn’t write a single line without thinking of the myriad ways in which it must fit into existing code and the established patterns and practices.”

With that in mind, I saw another teaching opportunity this week and wrote up my experience designing an improvement to an... [More]

ABD: Refactoring and refining an API

Published by marco on in Programming

We’ve been doing more internal training at Encodo lately and one topic that we’ve started to tackle is design for architecture/APIs. Even if you’re not officially a software architect—designing and building entire systems from scratch—every developer designs code, on some level.

[A]lways
[B]e
[D]esigning

There are broad guidelines about how to format and style code, about how many lines to put in a method, about how many parameters to use, and so on. We strive for Clean Code™.

But the... [More]

Hillary is the real Republican candidate

Published by marco on in Public Policy & Politics

Politics in America

When a politician sways with whichever wind blows hardest, it’s called triangulation. They try to find the combination of positions most likely to yield enough votes to win election. Those of us who don’t run for office call it being dishonest and unprincipled.

Americans have been told for years that such judgment is idealistic, that in real-world politics, there is no room for a person with principles. We are even happy to see our candidate doing what we interpret as... [More]

5 months Ago

Beware the Hype: .NET Core

Published by marco on in Technology

The article .NET Core, a call to action by Mark Rendle exhorts everyone to “go go go”.

I say, “pump the brakes.”

RC => Beta => Alpha

Mark says, “The next wave of work must be undertaken by the wider .NET community, both inside and outside Microsoft.”

No. The next wave of work must be undertaken by the team building the product. This product is not even Beta yet. They have called the last two releases RC, but they aren’t: the API is still changing quite dramatically. For example, the article Announcing .NET... [More]

Ruthless Introspection

Published by marco on in Quotes

“If others examined themselves attentively, as I do, they would find themselves, as I do, full of inanity and nonsense. Get rid of it I cannot without getting rid of myself. We are all steeped in it, one as much as another.”


Spoiler alert: This was the answer to the acrostic puzzle linked above.

v2.2: Winform fixes and Query Improvements

Published by marco on in Programming

The summary below describes major new features, items of note and breaking changes. The full list of issues is also available for those with access to the Encodo issue tracker.

Highlights

Quino Retrospective and Roadmap

Published by marco on in Programming

History

Before taking a look at the roadmap, let’s quickly recap how far we’ve come. An overview of the release schedule shows a steady accretion of features over the years, as driven by customer or project needs.

 Timeline

The list below includes more detail on the releases highlighted in the graphic.[1]

  • 0.1: Proof of concept with metadata, PostgreSql (data and schema-migration) and Winforms UI
  • 1.0: First customer product with PostgreSql, DevExpress Winforms UI and Reporting
  • 1.0.5: MS-SQL driver... [More]

Quino v3.0: Metadata builders and code-generation improvements

Published by marco on in Programming

The summary below describes major new features, items of note and breaking changes. The full list of issues is also available for those with access to the Encodo issue tracker.

Highlights

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726) (read in 2016)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2016.11

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of over 900 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV.

The Smashing Machine (2002) — 5/10
This is a documentary about MMA legend Mark Kerr. I was immediately... [More]

The Dead Mountaineer's Inn by Arkady &...oris Strugatsky (1970) (read in 2016)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Roadside Picnic by Boris & Arkady Strugatsky (1972) (read in 2016)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Factotum by Charles Bukowski (1975) (read in 2015)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (read in 2015)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Earthli is now 100% responsive

Published by marco on in earthli.com

Go ahead. Open earthli.com on a small-screen device. Get out your phone. I’ll wait.

Pretty cool, right?

I mean, it’s not rocket science, but it involves no small amount of work to come up with a design that works at both very wide and very narrow screens. Sure, I could have used Bootstrap, but then my site would look exactly like everyone else’s. Also, earthli’s stylesheets and components are much simpler and easy to use than Bootstrap.

Not only that, but with the redesign and the continued... [More]

C# Handbook Rewrite

Published by marco on in Programming

Encodo published its first C# Handbook and published it to its web site in 2008. At the time, we also published to several other standard places and got some good, positive feedback. Over the next year, I made some more changes and published new versions. The latest version is 1.5.2 and is available from Encodo’s web site. Since then, though I’ve made a few extra notes and corrected a few errors, but never published an official version again.

This is not because Encodo hasn’t improved or... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2016.10

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of almost 1100 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood. YMMV.

Auf der anderen Seite (2007) — 8/10
This starts the story with a Turkish widower Ali, who lives in Germany.... [More]

Books read in 2015

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Don Quixote (1605)

by Miguel de Cervantes

I liked part two even better than part one. Part II of the book starts with a discussion of the first part of the book, which in this second part has appeared as a publication already famous throughout Spain. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza discuss this book with a bachelor who is very familiar with it, questioning and probing to determine that it reflects the truth…but not too much of the truth. This part is really very nicely written and the... [More]

Wool by Hugh Howey (read in 2015)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Wyrd Sisters (Discworld Book 6) by Terry Pratchett (read in 2015)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

The Martian by Andy Weir (read in 2015)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn (read in 2015)

Published by marco on in Books & Movies

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]