News | November 9, 2015 ⋅ 8:19pm
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Hi all! I suppose it’s not hard to notice that this site hasn’t been updated in a while. Truth to tell, I’ve been kept pretty busy with social media, not to mention that most of my time over the last two years or so has been taken up by my day job as a reporter for The Register.
Still, since this site is the quickest way to find me with a Google search, I thought it worth mentioning here that I’m no longer with El Reg, so you needn’t bother trying to contact me there. I wish the gang at the Vulture Annex in San Francisco all the best.
As for what I’ll be doing next, that’s actually undecided at the moment. (If you have any ideas on that score, let me know.) For the time being, though, I’m content to take a breather, enjoy some hobbies, catch up on some reading, and so on. I’ll post any significant updates to this site (and I also plan to do some general housekeeping, because it’s sure looking dusty around here).
Thank you to any visitors who have stopped by while I was away, particularly those of you who took the time to drop me a line. Sorry if I was late/unable to respond. All the best!
News | January 17, 2012 ⋅ 4:07pm
Comments Off on Handwritten code
I just love this. Comicraft is one of the companies that pioneered digital lettering for comic books. These days, they earn some of their income selling their custom-designed fonts, most of which resemble hand-lettered comics text and sound effects. Among their latest additions is Code Monkey, a hand-lettering font for computer code! Code Monkey lets you add a little bit of humanity and flair to your code listings by making it look as if your output was written by hand. Unlike most of Comicraft’s fonts, it’s fixed-width, making it ideal for text editors and terminal windows. It’s also available in a proportionally spaced version, if you prefer that.
Writing | January 5, 2012 ⋅ 2:37pm
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Welcome to 2012! Once again, I’ve been remiss in keeping this blog updated, but I’ll try to do better this year. Remember you can always follow the latest from my Fatal Exception blog for InfoWorld in the box to the right!
My first feature article of the year is another piece for InfoWorld. This time, I’m looking at up-and-coming programming languages. You’ve heard of C, Java, Python, Ruby, and maybe even Haskell, OCaml, and Scala … but have you ever heard of Zimbu, Fantom, Chapel, or haXe? Probably not — but you may, soon. Some people say we already have more than enough programming languages. Others say the computing field is changing so rapidly that the same old languages can’t move fast enough, and the only way for developers to gain the agility they need is to start over from scratch. In this feature, I look at ten experimental programming languages, why they were invented, where you can get them, and why they matter.
Writing, Reviews | August 23, 2011 ⋅ 11:01am
Comments Off on First look at Adobe Edge
Opinion, Writing | August 8, 2011 ⋅ 4:53pm
Comments Off on Tough times ahead for Google?
Seven years after its IPO, Google is entering the next phase of its growth as a company. It’s impressively large by anyone’s standards, with $29.3 billion in revenue in 2010, nearly 30,000 full-time employees, and offices in 42 countries. And yet Larry Page, now Google’s CEO for the first time since 2001, still seems to view the company as a cross between a startup and his old Stanford University grad project. It’s neither, and it faces difficult challenges. The legal environment around Google is tightening even as it goes head-to-head with the industry’s largest companies, and the changes it must make to remain competitive may mean tomorrow’s Google little resembles the fun-loving Silicon Valley darling of yesteryear. Read on for the rest of my analysis of Google and the road it must travel, this week at InfoWorld.com.
Hacks | July 24, 2011 ⋅ 7:14pm
Comments Off on LibraryLookup for Google Chrome
I’ve written a new version of my LibraryLookup script for the San Francisco Public Library that works with Google’s Chrome browser. If you’re running Chrome, you can try it out by clicking this link. It should work regardless of your OS platform — in fact, it even works on Chromebooks! Note that this version of the script is a substantial rewrite from the Firefox version, so I’ll be especially interested to hear any bug reports. It works pretty well for me so far, but I still don’t use Chrome as my main browser.
Also, note that because LibraryLookup uses cross-site scripting, it has to run as a Background Page in Chrome, because of the way the browser was designed. That means it’s consuming some small amount of memory all the time, even when you’re not browsing Amazon. The amount of resources used should be negligible, but you should be aware of this before you install it. Enjoy!
Writing | July 24, 2011 ⋅ 6:50pm
Comments Off on Review: Samsung Chromebook Series 5 3G
One of Google’s many big ideas is Chrome OS, an operating system that essentially is a Web browser — nothing less, but nothing more. A Chrome OS computer, called a Chromebook, can’t install any software and it has very limited processing power and onboard storage. All the applications you use on a Chromebook are running “in the cloud,” which is to say they’re Web apps. Acer and Samsung are now shipping Chromebooks, and I recently spent some time working with Samsung’s latest model to see whether it has a place within my normal computing workday. The results weren’t particularly encouraging, unfortunately, though I think a Chromebook can be useful as a secondary way to access the Web around the home or office. Click through to InfoWorld.com to read my full run-down of the Samsung Chromebook Series 5 and how it stacked up in my tests.
News, Hacks | July 9, 2011 ⋅ 4:50pm
Comments Off on Comic Book Color Swatches for Photoshop
A recent blog post by Ed Piskor generated some interest in the old craft of coloring comic books in the days before comics were printed using full-process color. Ed created a chart showing all 64 colors available in most comics of the bygone era. I also enjoyed an article at the CO2 Comics Blog that went into depth on the classic comics coloring process and how it evolved over the years. What I thought was missing, however, was an easy way for folks to use the same colors to get a “Silver Age” effect in their own comics. To that end, I wrote a script to generate a swatch palette for use in Photoshop, Illustrator, or other graphics software. But I didn’t stop there! I also created palettes that recreated the even-more-limited Golden Age palette, as well as the expanded palettes that began to appear in the 1980s. You can download my palettes here. » More... »
Writing | April 18, 2011 ⋅ 1:34pm
Comments Off on Flash for Android 3.0 tablets is no “iPad killer”
Wow-weee! It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this site. Other than the RSS feed for my Fatal Exception column (to the right), I haven’t posted an update in nearly a year. I guess I must have been distracted.
To rectify that, then, take a look at my latest work for InfoWorld. This time it’s a review of Flash Player 10.2 for Android 3.0 tablets, and the results were hardly inspiring. Although Flash is still technically in beta for Android 3.0 as of this writing, it’s available on the Android Market for any Android 3.0 device owners to download. I did just that on a Motorola Xoom — the first Android 3.0 device to hit the market — and set out to see how it worked in real-world situations browsing Flash content. I was almost universally disappointed (though Flash Player certainly does a good job of displaying animated ads)! Click on over to read about the various frustrations I encountered in my trial run with Flash on a tablet, and why I think Apple’s decision not to support Flash on iOS devices makes a whole lot of sense.
Writing | July 1, 2010 ⋅ 1:01pm
Comments Off on Office 2010 Web Apps disappoint
Boy, was I ever let down when I saw the final version of the Office 2010 Web Apps, the Web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote that shipped with Microsoft Office 2010. My early impression was that they were amazing — they could display Office 2010 files flawlessly, something no competitor could do. But I should have been more suspicious when Microsoft seemingly kept showing half-finished versions of the products as the ship date approached. I realize now that Microsoft was toying with us; the reason it wouldn’t show reviewers a full version is because the final Office Web Apps aren’t that impressive. Click through to read my full review at InfoWorld.