From the Couch of Ben Johnson

Father, Staff Engineer at Prodigy Education, serial hyperbolist.

It’s like it gave up and was just like “yah, some winter stuff in a blender”.

Because YOU did that. You did it. It was you. You made the page look worse. You can fix it by taking the banner away. You have the power! Believe in yourself!

Overlay banner that says “this page looks better in the app”.

I’m old enough that it’s still amazing to me that with some simple HTML and CSS you can make something that everyone in the world can see. It’s incredible.

Someone needs to make a one-page site that displays the current best password hashing algorithm. Bonus points if it swears at you: “It’s fucking bcrypt.”

Update: Kristian Horwood pointed out the OWASP Cheat Sheet Series, which is basically exactly this. Amazing.

Today on Wikipedia, the “List of patron saints by occupation”. Favourites include patron saints of: pastry chefs, programmers, exorcists, locksmiths, medical record librarians, police dispatchers, poor students, and tax collectors.

There’s a thin but important mental line between “cold coffee” and “iced coffee”.

OMG I think Kaleidoscope may have solved the halting problem.

Screenshot of Kaleidoscope update window with the text: "all comparisons now actually end, in
&10;reasonable time."

This is now my favourite Tom Cardy song. I can’t get it out of my head. He sees us all.

End-to-end encryption for iCloud Drive has me considering moving from Dropbox, but I’m not sure I trust it yet. This is one of those things that needs to be bulletproof.

By far, the happiest I am as a programmer is when I’m writing tests. Not many things in life have such a fulfilling red/green feedback loop.

Before I had a kiddo, if someone had told me that one day my 7-year-old would ask for a mocap suit and a gorilla costume, I would not have believed them. (He’s making a homemade King Kong movie.)

Marvel’s Midnight Suns is very good. If you liked XCom, it plays all the right notes.

My kiddo is convinced that because his school buys Dell computers, “they are the best computers”. It’s the first time I feel I’ve seriously failed as a parent.

I can’t believe that weekly IAP is still a thing. Are there any non-scam apps where this is a real requirement?

What FastMail really needs is a button that finds the unsubscribe link in an email and clicks it for you.

✴ Scale to Zero with Machines

I’ve written a bunch of hobby apps over time that I use to keep my life moving forward. I’ve got some small side projects, like and Lemur that need web hosting. I also have utility apps that filter podcasts from podcast feeds, truncate my RSS news, or show me the swimming schedule for my local pool (their website was terrible).

I’ve been managing a Kubernetes cluster on DigitalOcean for this, but it feels like massive overkill in cost and resources. As an alternative, I’ve been looking at, a Heroku-like PasS. Fly has been great for an easy single-command deployment.

In the past…

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I’ve been looking for a replacement for Dash for documentation for a long time and just discovered Where has this been?! It seems great!

I don’t want to jinx Twitter downtime, and I hope everything turns out ok, but… should somebody go buy some lettuce? Can it beat the lettuce? Edit: Someone did it.

It’s sad watching talented Twitter engineers and designers with years of tenure be squeezed out the door. I did not always agree with Twitter’s product design but there was some exceptional engineering. I hope they find a good home that respects their contributions.

Paw, my favourite mac API tool was bought by RapidAPI. They defoxified the dock icon, which just makes me sad. Luckily, they knew I was going to complain about this, so there’s a setting in Preferences to change it back! Phew!

Old Paw Icon of a Fox New Boring RapidAPI Icon

Of course, my kiddo’s school is going remote again (CUPE strike). I’m so ready for a year where we don’t have to do this to him. He doesn’t learn as well through a screen (except when watching Minecraft videos on YouTube).

I need a bell that I can ring for every time AWS signs me into the wrong region and I freak out because all of production is gone.

✴ The Places of Mastodon

I’ve spent a few days diving into Mastodon and the ActivityPub Fediverse. It’s new to me, but so far there’s a lot I like about it.

I’m one of those old people who are still mourning the loss of blogs. The internet moved onto Twitter, but I’ve always valued having my own place online to write, think, discuss, and archive my thoughts (this website has existed in some form since 2001). In the past few years, I’ve been using to bridge my blog with the world of Twitter by cross-posting (I like and recommend it).

Domain names are really powerful. They communicate something more than just…

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Any politician who believes that daylight saving time is a good idea is welcome to come live with my 7-year-old this week. He woke up at 4am.

I should have known that someone actually DID make a box that bleeps language… back in the 90s…