From the Couch of Ben Johnson

Father, Principal Engineer at Prodigy Education, serial hyperbolist.

My 7-year-old does not understand the “Hello Computer” joke from A Voyage Home. You can just talk to computers now… it’s no longer funny. (Unrelated: I’m old.)

The Besties 2022 Game of the Year two-part podcast was excellent. Lots of discussion about why people even like games at all, and some quality behind-the-scenes critical evaluation.…

I’m trying to resist learning Rust SO HARD, but spending time on Hachyderm is not helping. Can’t. Fit. Another. Language.

Survivor, but to get food contestants need to write correct regexes.

The constant difficulty I have in choosing between programming languages makes me think I just really like programming. This must be how some people feel about shoes.

✴ A Fresh Coat of Paint for 2023

I love personal blogs as a place to experiment and play. In my day job, I don’t get to do much design work anymore, so my personal blog gives me a place to stretch those (very atrophied) muscles.

For this year my goals were to make something simple and clean, with more whitespace. The last few years have been somewhat suffocating. It’s time to crack open some windows.

The theme uses the Rosé Pine Dawn colour scheme (for both light and dark modes). It’s typeset in the same type as last year, Capricho by Hoftype. Check out those italics.

This site is powered by is hard to…

Continue Reading…

A Hanukkah gift from my mother and father-in-law. Happy Jewish cats!

Mug with happy cats wearing Jewish clothing surrounded by menorahs.

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…

Continue Reading…

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.