Finished 2666

I finished reading a novel. Been a long slog. Five years to read a novel? Some blogger said they immediately began re-reading it, to see and experience the rich intertextuality etc. Thanks, Evan, for the reminder that it’s been so long. PS: the book was grand.

IndieWeb clubbery

Tonight, I made it to Homebrew Website Club hosted at inUse in Malmö. I was greeted by three kind souls, among them a proprietor of a Lego fan website with a 176 contributors – and Pelle and Emil.

The club format is the same every time: first an hour of social or at-your-computer time. Then an hour of show-and-tell explanations, demoing and showing stuff.

Emil showed us CSS and SVG techniques, some of them brilliant. SVG is a deep well to drink from. Read more at Sara Soueidan’s website.

Pelle made a very nice hands-on demo of a system of services he’s built, which involved commenting on any page using his telephone.

We had talked about Node.js a fair bit, and I showed what the private caching npm server sinopia looks like when installed. Its claim to fame is its file-based caching – don’t fetch packages from the central repository more than you need.

When I had showed that, we had used up our time, and it was time to put the crisps down and go home. How kind, to have time limit, so that people on tight schedules won’t miss stuff.

On the way out, I asked: “Pelle, do you have a exercise for me to take home?” He responded immediately: “Make your site receive or send WebMentions.”

I look forward to next time.

Aiga forward and left arrow, an example of a random SVG

Git Pre-commit hooks!

Not even once!

Run relevant code-checking tools on your code, before it is even checked in locally. Using the Ruby project Overcommit, you can set this up on your own machine in a jiffy. Or, read more about git hooks.

I took these steps:

  1. Install the overcommit gem in your active Ruby. gem i overcommit
  2. Install overcommit in your system Ruby, using this neat trick:PATH=/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/sbin sudo gem install overcommit – This makes it available to tools like SourceTree! (On committing, it opens a bare shell, without your cool settings.)
  3. In your project directory, where you wish to begin using Overcommit to run Git hooks: overcommit --init
  4. Configure the resulting .overcommit.yml to enable/disable the checks you want run.
  5. Try committing a file which would fail a check.
  6. Profit!

PS: Here is an example .overcommit.yml:

    problem_on_unmodified_line: warn
    enabled: true
    enabled: true

PolyConf experience report

Yesterday morning, the ISS was resupplied, in a textbook example of a great space-station docking. I had just woken up, and saw the last 2 minute of the docking. Very exciting. Then I began trying to finish this conference overview. It’s more stream-of-consciousness than report. You’ve been warned.

So, outside the bubble of conference again. My tweeting will be less frequent. The friendly #polyconf hashtag has lots of tweets. The weather will be less scorching.

The place: Poznan is getting better and better every time. Weather, shopping, eating.

People, a very small sample:

Felix and Karolina. My people. Conferences are meeting points, folded in spacetime, so that when you meet again, it’s as if no time has passed. (Terms and Conditions apply.) Cheers, you magical unicorns.

Robert Virding. Gave me a short personal Get Started tutorial with LFE (in Swedish) after we’d lunched, and ruminated on How Much We Got Right when defining the core principles of Erlang (when he was designing the language). A generous, thinking, caring community member.

Virding runs the LFE – Lisp-Flavored Erlang – project. So, the small community of people using Erlang, cut to a smaller piece by removing anyone who wouldn’t use Lisp – those people must love this language. And I believe they do. Being confident about your choices and tradeoffs, is a wonderful thing.

(There are more little on-top-of the Erlang-VM languages. Some of them even go outside the Erlang semantics, against the grain. Luerl, for one. Wow, I didn’t realise that was his project, too. And Erlog, too. Wow.)

Alban & Julien. On the evening of the last day, we got to talking about films. The two Frenchmen with their real French accents, me with my Cahiers du Cinéma fake accent. Tips of movies to watch: Raise the red lantern, Still the waters, Departures, and The Saddest Music In The World. We talked of Jodorowsky, Virginie Despentes and Gaspard Noé. How some films make you angry.

Stefan Karpinski. A friendly programming languages person who could speak Swedish. Also part of making Julia. A pierogi-eater. Much exciting is going on with the Julia language, which is a quite modern way to write fast programs. It was interesting to hear about the formation of the Julia company. Heady times.

Stefan just before his talk
Stefan just before his talk

Brendon McLean. A pierogi-eater. Great story-teller with a big heart. His work involves some scientific computing. He made a show-and-tell of his S-expression-based communications channel between Ruby and Python, by way of IPython Notebooks. Very grounded, calm in his presentation, but a very lively and present human being in conversation.

“My four-finger swipe isn’t so good with this thing on my finger.”

Brendon lives in beautiful Cape Town, where he sits in front of a computer all day.

Alex P. A pierogi-eater and monoid monger. Fine Clojure talk on timeseries work.

Alex, explaining this image

Pierre-Yves Ritschard. A pierogi-eater and maker of cluster management software around Mesos. Programmatic access to the cluster made easier using Clojure. “mesos interaction in idiomatic Clojure” as the repository succinctly states. Great slogan: mesomatic: the cluster is a library.

Amir Chaudhry. Not a confirmed pierogi-eater. MirageOS’er who introduced that ecology of tools. Slides from his talk can probably tell you some of the story. We had friends in common, and said hello over the ether to them.

The very pleasant and generous miniKanren evangelist William E Byrd: a home computer hacker. We talked of the Commodore 64 and of the 1541 (William described with disgust the design failures of that drive; read the details in the wiki article). He also shared insight on racing the beam programming in the Atari 2600. And, his 3-hour miniKanren tutorial was just stellar. The people in the room got the hang of the lingo, the thinking, the machinery, just by following along Will’s session. Quite a feat.

On Will’s generosity: every Sunday, he records an “uncourse” Hangout, which he publishes for free.

(Interesting: A CoffeeScript miniKanren – in literate CoffeeScript! Written in 2013 by fogus, with a name to honour Will.)

I guess I now need to put the Reasoned Schemer onto my book list.


Conference apps must be offline Web apps. No more fiddly App Store have-to-update-app-to-update-schedule. Hoodie could be used to kick off that Web app.

About marketing: Make Tweets linking to your website more visible: Any content surfaced as shareable links should have a Summary Large Image Twitter Card to be more visible. Perhaps something for public software documentation, too.


Different fantasy: Dying Earth quote

The typical inhabitant of the Dying Earth speaks and behaves differently from characters in other fantasy series or people in real life. He is arrogant, greedy, indolent, and rakish. He loves fine food to excess and can’t resist the urge to correct others on obscure points of fact. Your character will differ from the norm only if you spend creation points on Resistance ratings. A Resistance rating allows the character to disregard one of these universal temptations. Each of the six major temptations requires its own rating.

Sleep was overrated, the welcoming amazing

Thanks Nukomeet, for a chatty pre-conference event!

Thanks Alexander, Lukasz, Agnieska, Alban, Zaiste, Arsenia, Marcin, Johanna. And Robert and Christoffer. You are awesome, welcoming and interesting.

(Quickly ordering rhubarb desserts just before the kitchen closed – top of my good-life game. The place with the kitchen open was Nifty No 20.)

PolyConf 2015 Travelogue

Dear reader, this whole note is a travelogue.

Flight finished. Able to avoid the coffee, which I think they even ask 20 DKK for. Their bottled water was better.

Spied @chvest (business card title: “Dragon Keeper”) and @jankrag (“Continuous Improvement Engineer”) at the baggage claim. Rode a cab with them to our hotel. Told them a story about how C and I’d seen John Hughes at this airport six months before. And, damn it, I think I saw him through a glass wall today, too.

Having arrived at Hotel Ikar, I found the wifi connection, and C went to sleep immediately. Power-napper, while I unpack, and log a little in my Leuchtturm1917 notebook.

Oh, a matrix of dots! I have the plain version, with only the page number.

Someone claimed there was a pre-conference event (aka sponsored open bar) at seven o’clock. (Web searching.) Oh, I see the sponsor is the Nukomeet company (with Alban and Zaiste in it) and that the event is not far from my location. Perhaps sleep will have to wait.

Looking forward to PolyConf 2015

On Wednesday, I once again journey south, to Poznan in Central Europe, to participate in the PolyConf programming conference.

Poznan Glowny

As every year, it is about getting new perspective on things, from happy and grumpy people in the field. The field of computering.

I’m lucky to see some familiar faces in the list of people going there, and I’m travelling with qerub, a good friend. (Now, by visiting his website, I saw this wonderfully Acme-hacking project: an S-expression interface to his iTunes library. It’s a year old. I feel like a bad friend for not having seen it before. And, his casing utility camel-snake-kebab has a nicely communicative README.)

Last year, some major themes that stayed with me were property-based testing, functional everything and formal verification (software proofs).

People I met were curious about things, curious about history, curious about sub-fields near their own special field of interest.

To be able to catch the ideas and whims of this three-day madness festival, I will bring a Leuchtturm note-taking book. I’m pretty excited about using it. You may see photos of it on here. Update: inspiration from Bocoups blog, which is covering CSSConf using art.

You’ll hear more from me.