Feb 2, 2013

I’ve been taking a course on Cryptography and simultaneously working through Learn C The Hard Way with some coworkers. I’ve put together a small toolkit of C programs I’m calling OneTimer to help with encrypting and decrypting messages with the one time pad. Just being able to take a string of the hexadecimal representation of a message and turn it into a byte array has been super useful. Sample use:

> ./encrypt -k f00bd00b -p "Derp"
> ./decrypt -k f00bd00b -c b46ea27b
> ./crack -p "Derp" -c b46ea27b

That’s some serious spy shit, huh? Just like those guys in Cryptonomicon.

Gratitude as Currency

Jun 11, 2012

A little incident that took place last week got me thinking about gratitude on the web. Without getting too far into it, some people I know launched a site that was heavily inspired by a thing I made last year. Great stuff, except that they made no mention of my work on their site or the announcements around it. I’m not upset; the world is a slightly better place for both of these sites existing. But I am confused.

It seems so obvious to me that you’d link to the site that inspired you. For those of us who make free things for the web, gratitude is the only currency we have. And unlike other forms of currency, which you have less of after you spend, when you give gratitude, you wind up with more than when you started. A tweet mentioning my work would have earned a retweet to all of my followers and a congratulatory reply. Share the love is all I’m saying. Otherwise, what’s the point?


Oct 24, 2011

A few weeks back, I noticed several paragraphs on this site ending with single-word lines, known as orphans in typographic circles. I took it upon myself to see these orphans removed, a problem which turned out to be much trickier than simply making the last space non-breaking. I got it nailed down, and the result is Orph, available as a Ruby gem. Check it out if you’re as selectively anal as I am.

Is Francesca’s Open?

Oct 23, 2011

Despite its popularity among Duke undergrads, Francesca’s has become my go-to coffeeshop here in Durham due to its late hours and reliable wifi. Only problem is that its website doesn’t include hours of operation or, really, any useful information at all. I got tired of calling them to find out how late they’d be open and decided to put up a website for that exclusive purpose, and thus: Is Francesca’s Open?

Whole thing took about five hours start-to-finish, and it was fun to dust off the old PHP skills. Font is Arvo from FontSquirrel, and the code is available on GitHub.

Typing Update 4

Apr 25, 2011

More typing! This is totally working.

Rounds: 10
WPM: 68.7
Time: 52.3 seconds
Correct: 299.0
Incorrect: 2.0
Accuracy: 0.9934

If only all skill acquisitiion could be reduced to free Flash games on the internet.

Typing Update #3

Apr 24, 2011

More typing practice today. Here are the results:

Rounds: 25
WPM: 62.72
Time: 57.8 seconds
Correct: 302.2
Incorrect: 3.28
Accuracy: 0.9893

Numbers up across the board, which is promising. I’d like to get the mistakes down before moving on to more than just the f and j keys.

Typing Update #2

Apr 23, 2011

I sat down for some more typing practice this afteroon, knocking out 40 rounds of the exercise I linked to earlier this week. Today’s results:

Rounds: 40
WPM: 58.6
Time: 61.45 seconds
Correct: 301.925
Incorrect: 4.375
Accuracy: 0.9857

I had two mistake-free rounds. I found that focusing on accuracy rather than speed led to overall faster times, which makes sense since mistakes really screw up the typing flow.

If you’re interested in doing something like this, I’ve been storing my results in vaguely Markdown-ish data files which I then process with a simple Ruby script.

Typing Update #1

Apr 20, 2011

To follow up on last week’s post, I spent some time today with some free online typing tutorials. I worked on lesson #1, which focuses on only the f and j keys. Here are my results:

Rounds: 5
WPM: 56.0
Time: 65.0 seconds
Correct: 302.0
Incorrect: 13.0
Accuracy: 0.9587

I’m feeling good about this — those numbers are right in line with how I see myself as a typist and there’s a clear path to improvement. STAY TUNED.

Learning to Type

Apr 11, 2011

I’m a shitty typer, which is remarkable considering how much time I spend doing it. I think I learned how to type with my index and middle fingers when I was a little kid and got good enough at it that I never had a reason to improve. That is ALL ABOUT TO CHANGE.

I watched this awesome Vim for Rails Developers screencast over the weekend, and while it was full of useful Vim tips, the thing that stuck with me the most was the authors encouragement to learn to touch type. He set a bar of 80 words per minute as the speed at which your brain isn’t slowing down to match your fingers. I’m not sure how scientific that is, but it seems like nice round number and a reasonable goal.

I spent some time with Typeracer and a few other online tools and I’m pretty close, hitting something like 75 words per minute with regular consistency. I feel like I backtrack a whole lot, though, and I almost never use my pinky fingers. I looked around for some good touch typing software, but the only thing that looks any good is Mavis Beacon for $40. Probably worth it, but a little pricey for an impulse buy.


Mar 31, 2011

I’ve been working on a little app called DOIT to manage my daily goals from the command line. Here’s my list from yesterday:

> doit yesterday

Wed Mar 30 2011

_ create
X exercise
X meditate
X practice
X read

It’s all written in CoffeeScript, one of my favorite little languages. Check it out on GitHub.