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Random bits of technology

First Light for the Desert Lizard

The LEDs on my Desert Lizard board lighted up this morning! Thanks huge to Keith Packard for his extensive help in getting the board built and hooked up to the programmer. Thanks also to Jenner Hanni for collaboration and advice. Maybe the details are also interesting…


On Hiring Remote Developers

A friend of mine just posted a link to Alexander Dymo's LinkedIn post entitled 2 Tips for Hiring Remote Software Developers [sic]; she also posted a mild critique. I have to say that I'm not super-enthused about this piece either. Here's some of my concerns…


HOWTO: Fix missing Google Calendars on Android

I created a new Google Calendar calendar for myself using my browser recently. A couple of days ago, I noticed it wasn't showing up on Android. After a bunch of false starts, I figured it out. If you go to Calendars To Display in the Android Calendar settings, the new calendar will not appear…until you click the Calendars To Sync button at the bottom. The new calendar appears there, and when selected is automatically chosen in Calendars To Display as well. No idea why syncing with new calendars is not the default, nor why the weird, utterly non-standard UI for selecting calendars to sync. Ugh. Fob


HOWTO: Embedding a font in a Linux Inkscape SVG document

I wanted to embed a font in an Inkscape SVG document I created in Debian Linux and was about to email to someone today. With a lot of help from the web I figured out one way to do it. Here's how…


HTML Programming

NPR's Wait Wait… Don't Tell Me commented last weekend on a survey in which "11% of Americans thought that the programming language HTML was an STD." Hah hah. "Programming Language." Good one, Wait Wait.

My Dept. Chair and I were reminiscing a few days before about back when people would call themselves "HTML Programmers." I thought those days were gone. Fob


Project names

On Facebook today, a friend of mine was leading a discussion about terrible project naming. She asked "Why are you developing software and sharing it if you don't want people to use it?"… For me, there are a lot of reasons: I was developing it for my own use anyway, and put it up to show others what I have done; I'm really just sharing with my friends; I want my students to learn from it; I'm looking for a collaborator who might take it forward. In all of these cases, a poor name might be only a slight impediment.


There is no good pedal

As I noted earlier, I am looking for an electronic piano sustain pedal with a polarity switch and some kind of anti-skate. They don't exist. It's quite perturbing, actually. There's only about 5 pedals on the market that are not just foot switches, and all of them are either unipolar or just poorly made. Tomorrow I plan to re-buy a Roland DP-10 that I already returned once, and mod it using hints from the interwebs to add a polarity switch. Whee. Fob


Just-In-Time in Open Tech

It has become a commonplace in my circles that modern open source has a just-in-time nature that is rather amusing. One goes to look for an open source software package to perform some obscure function, and finds something that was just created last week that does the job perfectly. I have lots of examples…


Generating long random passwords

I decided to try to use as my SSL cert provider before giving up. They really wanted me to give them a truly random 32-character password string. Here's what I did to get them one…


No CERT for you!

I applied to get a free site SSL certificate from StartCom for today. After jumping through their stupid hoops, I was informed that "my application would need to be reviewed manually." Later, I got the email from StartCom reproduced below…



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