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Welcome to my new blog

So after some trouble porting the content I am now running my blog on Squarespace. My main motivation is to get out of the server management business and also clean up my messier and messier self-hosted WordPress.

Jury is still out whether this will be a keeper but for the moment I am happy and really like the fresher look of the blog compared to the previous incarnation. I will certainly keep you posted!

Passion vs. Professionalism: Everyone has to take the garbage out some times

Interesting article with a provocative title: "The Designer's Notebook: Passion Versus Professionalism". This is a topic that interests me. He says:

"Passion" is an excuse used by employers to mistreat their employees. Your passion is supposed to make up for the insane hours and low pay for which the industry is notorious. Many job ads emphasize the importance of passion in applicants; few emphasize the quality of life that the employer offers. (from Passion vs. Professionalism")

Reading the whole article, in the end I don't agree with his argument. I think in general passion is a very important thing, and one should strive for it in your chosen profession. Without it, with just professionalism, I think no matter what your work is, it will become drudgery. I say "strive for it" because it's true that no matter how much you love your job, some days you will really despise it. And as my friend Pat used to say about an unpleasant work assignment: "Everyone has to take out the garbage some times"

The Impending Flash Crisis?

An interesting article about this impending crisis. Although it's impending, I had never heard about before, despite the claim that "This impending “flash crisis” is well known in system circles. It’s almost like a mini Y2K." Ok, tell me more…

The core does make a great point:

"What happens when you blow up the “slow disk” assumption is that your entire software stack begins to crumble. When the cushion provided by those 10 ms of seek time goes away, CPU becomes your bottleneck. You have to start rethinking a lot of design choices." (from Impending Flash Crisis)


Khan academy to the rescue

If you haven't heard about Khan Academy, let me be the first one to introduce you to its wonders. There is a huge library of 10-12 minute educational videos on high-school and college level topics from matrix math to trigonometry to how mortgages work. You need to read the background, it's an unbelievably prolific individual guy, Kahn, who records each one of these. From what he says, he's not an expert in all of them, he just 'bones up' on the topic and then records the session. The quality of the teaching is really amazing.

Case in point. A few weeks ago I had to recall how and why matrix multiplication works. I knew that stuff cold, 40 years ago. Yesterday I had to bone up on sines and cosines and the simple math there. I didn't even remember that this stuff is called trigonometry (I was looking under geometry.) In each case I thought, oh I will just google it. I will look in wikipedia. I spent 15 minutes without success and then I went to Khan academy. Another 20-30 minutes later and I was up to date on the basic trigonometry and matrix knowledge that I needed.

Amazing. Check Khan Academy out.

[GEEKY] Moving away from self-hosted blog

Running my own Linux server has lost it's sex appeal. Now I am going for simplicity and so I am exploring simply not having my own server but using one of the several cloud services. It turns out that there are lots of little bumps in the road to move from one to the other:

  • I like Tumblr. But there are no good ways to move from WordPress to Tumblr. Worse, when you move from one to the other, you have to deal with images yourself, in other words, Tumblr doesn't let you upload your embedded images into their service. Hence I would not be able to Kill my old server.

  • Posterous looks interesting. That's what you are looking at here. They imported my whole old blog apparently without a problem. But: they don't have an API that BlogBridge works with (yet) and my other favorite posting app, Marsedit doesn't support their apis either.

  • is another option that I am still exploring. They accepted the whole thing on from my old blog, but then promptly smacked it down because their algorithms decided that it contained spam or other badness. So it's currently in pergatory. Still pursuing that one.

  • SquareSpace: did a very nice job importing my stuff and seems to do a nice job in general. But it is not free. Looks like about $12 per month. Well right now I am paying around $25 per month so it's less but still, not free.

So you see my friends, things are never simple… I will keep you posted.

[GEEKY] Possible Decision to move to SquareSpace

I finally got my new blog on working. That should have been the simplest but their automatic spam detector encountered a single post referencing some free iPhone upgrade service I once mentioned. I had no idea that they were not legitimate at the time but anyway, I deleted that mention and all was well again.

So now looks like a good candidate. I know wordpress and I can run my blog, essentially unaltered on their site, for free, and ditch my $25/month server that does almost nothing other than serve up my blog.

Oh but there's a fly in the ointment. does not allow me to keep my TextLinkAds. And I make over $100 per month on those so there goes the 'free' aspect of It turns out that has no so restriction, so they are once more in the lead.

Just wanted to update you … and have an excuse to post so I can see how I like this which at $12/month seems like a pretty good alternative just about now. Right now I am waiting to see whether I will be able to import my whole (6 years) of wordpress posts, while preserving the urls so my link juice and ad revenue does't evaporate on me. I am optimistic.

Designing a game soundtrack – kind of like we first got to pick the fonts in our documents

Can you compose crappy music? I had a field day today 'designing' a bit of music for my "Game Of Life" Android game. In the old old days, when computers for the first time allowed you to choose a font for your text. we all became bad amateur typographers and book designers. Do you remember the "ransom note" font in the original Macintosh (yeah, that was 1984?) It looked like this:

Ransom note

We loved it and everyone played with it. And there were lots of other ugly fonts but how did we love them.

Well now (for me) the same thing is happening with music. Yeah I am an amateur piano and guitar player but designing a sound track is not something I have a clue about. So I went digging through tools and toys and, more or less like those early days of customizable fonts, here's what the tools allowed me to create for my video game.

I have to say it's awful and makes me want to bash my head in but, for your listening pleasure:


[GEEKY] Mac Sound Converter Utility

Apparently (not sure why yet) on Android, sound effects files using the OGG format work better than those using wav or mp3. It might be an AndEngine thing, I am not sure. Anyway, here's my result of half hour googling and experimenting for a reliable way to convert the files. I tried a bunch of things, and I finally settled on MediaHuman AudioConverter. Use it. It really works and is nice and simple.