3D Printer

I bought a 3D printer! It’s a FlashForge Finder, a fully pre-assembled personal-use model that is currently Amazon’s Choice and a leader in the reviews. The box arrived on Tuesday and it proved simple to set up. I clipped a few ties, added the spool and fed it through the provided tubing, then I turned it on. After a 5 minute leveling exercise I was up and printing. Subsequent reading has taught me to use a glue-stick on the printing area before starting a print.

Moving to Hugo (Part 2)

I’ve been able to secure matching permlinks in hugo to the ones that jekyll was generating. I had done some work in the old system to get rid of unnecessary folder paths and make the canonicals easy to remember. Now we’re doing the same awesomeness here. Thanks to @maiki for his help. There’s apparently a very simple setting I could have added to my config to do this for me, but I’m stupid and manually set up a url: header in every file.

Moving to Hugo

It’s been way too long since I’ve updated my labs blog, and that is sadly for the dumbest of reasons: I broke my jekyll install. Somewhere along the way I mixed things up and my ruby gems were all conflicting with one another. Sure I could have fixed it, but who has the time for that? Instead, I just wrote all my thoughts on gopher where the kewl kids hang.

Ascii Art Alt Text

I had a silly thought this weekend. “I wonder if I could serve the alt text of an image to be ascii art OF that image. Wouldn’t that be amazing?” Well, I don’t know about amazing, but it works. It wasn’t as obvious as I thought at first, though. You can style alt text, that was nothing new. I’ve been doing it in HTML emails for years. I thought I could style the text to be white-space: pre formatted and maybe size down the font a bit and that would do it.

Touring my terminal

My configuration: I live in the terminal. Whether I’m at work on my MacBook Air, or at home on my Dell XPS13, I’ve got at least one full screen window that’s all terminal. Here’s a rundown of what I’m using. Where appropriate, I’ve linked to my configuration files. Terminal: st / iterm2 Shell: bash Multiplexer: tmux Editor: vim / neovim Chat: weechat Terminal In my terminals I either use Inconsolata or FiraCode, a beautiful fixed-width font with ligatures that will blow your mind.


I’ve been kicking around an idea that comments–public feedback systems in general–are not helpful to the development of social systems. The scope of my thinking is fairly limited to online media like blogs, social networks, and media sharing, but it may hold some truth beyond the digital boundaries as well. Quick disclaimer: I have Disqus comments enabled on this blog. I’m aware that writing about the negative impact of comments is a strange thing to do when I’ve got an open comment field below.

Hugo on Mint

I author this labs blog in Jekyll, but my personal blog uses the Hugo static site generator. Jekyll has wonderful plugin support, but it’s incredibly slow. My meager labs blog takes a full minute to compile. Hugo is written in Go and is screaming fast. Thousands of post? BAM compiled in less than a second. It’s all driven by a single binary, too. No external dependencies to worry about. No obscure ruby gems that don’t version together well.


We build a lot of websites with superscripts in pharma. Whether it’s a registration mark ® or a superscripted reference number1, getting them to properly underline is a real issue. Usually the underline on the superscript will move up off the baseline. In the past, we’ve solved this by adding a border-bottom to the text instead of an underline, but that will only work on single-line text. It blows up badly when your text is multi-line or rags off the end of a line.

Convert Video for Windows PPT

Recently we’ve had a number of client presentations and pitches where my team has wanted to use video in their PowerPoint presentation. I develop on a mac, and so it’s not difficult for me to render something up real quick, whether through screen capturing it myself or some quick video editing work. The problem inevitably comes when I try to deliver a beautiful, high-quality, well-compressed video to the person who will be presenting it.


I made a fairly major modification to my dotfiles yesterday when I revisited the structure and installation by leveraging the gnu utility, stow. I was introduced to the idea thanks to my partner in dotfile-crime, Stephen Tudor, who in turn found it off one of his other config-crazy people. In short, stow is designed to take a package of files and symlink them into another directory as if they all belonged there.