Make a site, NOW!

A month or two ago I registered and set up a WordPress site on Pantheon. The eventual goal was to make a web presence for my friend Billy, who restores the historic amphibious cars, and gives rides to folks whenever he can.

Today he called me to let me know that he’d be filming tomorrow for CBS new out of New York. He said he’s doing it for the exposure, that they’d plug his email and phone number at the end of the segment.

Wait, what? His email is at, and his phone is a land line, no texts. Sounds like he needs that website, and he needs it now!

So I took some drone footage a friend captured, some photos I’d scanned from Billy, and made an MVP for And hopefully in another hour, once Namecheap renews their DNS records, I’ll have a nice professional email address for Billy to give CBS.

Oh, look at that. It’s past midnight. Off to bed!

Idle Hands are The Hipster’s Plaything

I’m a pretty modern person. I work remotely for a tech company, I’ve lost count of the number of computers in my home (laptops, old towers, Raspberry Pi’s, etc), I even have Tux tattooed on my arm.

And yet I find myself falling into the hipster trappings of my generation; I have a turntable, I vape, and I just bought a french press. And I wonder to myself, why am I doing this? I’m a scarf and v-neck shirt away from hipster bingo!
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Organizing Photos

This post is on quickly sorting photo libraries. If you want to skip the backstory and jump right to the commands, click here.

I recently switched my personal file hosting/sharing to NextCloud,  from OwnCloud. Among other features and improvements, it will automatically sort uploaded photos from my phone into folders by date. 

This great new feature created a glaring contrast with the many years’ worth of previous photos, mostly all in a single directory, some sorted manually by event.  The process of grammatically identifying, sorting, and deduplicating was simple enough once all the tools were lined up, but finding them was not. What follows are the tools I used to get my photos in order.

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How to ask for help on IRC

Anyone there?
My server broke, can anyone help?

As a regular IRC user, I’ve seen this message many times. I’ve also seen the hateful responses these intrusions generate. IRC is an older communication form (relative to the Internet), mostly inhabited by those who’ve used it for decades, and are set in their ways.

IRC is also where you’ll find large communities of people all interested in specific topics, usually tech-related. If you’re an expert on MySQL, Ubuntu Linux, Python, etc, you’re most likely found in #TOPIC on at least one IRC network.

Which is why there are newcomers everyday, logging on to seek the wisdom of these software gurus. If you’re one of them, this post is for you; the IRC amateur who’s venturing to Freenode or OFTC for the first time to ask for some much-needed help.
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Using Nest’s API – Part 1

I’ve been made an interesting offer by Nest – they will give me one of their spectacular thermostats (and a smoke / CO detector), if I can find a fun open-source use of their API and write it up.

Challenge Accepted

I already explained that I’m not a programmer, although I’ve been experimenting with python for the last couple of weeks, but I’ll happily give it a shot.

Step 1: Brainstorming.

What would I want to build to extend the functionality of a wifi-connected smart thermostat? The first thing that comes to mind is making a twitter account for it, and having it tweet the temperature in my home. I figure’d that would have been done so many times before that there would be nothing left to create, but a quick google search told me that was not the case.

What else? Well, I have a promo code for Twillio, and Nest’s API has functions for smoke and CO detection. I see an opportunity to create an alert to my phone if there’s an emergency at home. If the detector is downstairs, I’d rather it call the phone on my nightstand then sound an alarm where it is.

Do you, the avid reader, have any suggestions? What would you want your thermostat to do for you?



Penapps XII

From now through Sunday I’ll be at Pennapps with Linode, giving out swag, Linode credit, and mentoring where I can! I may also try to do some hacking myself, but I’m not sure if I should be reorganizing my services across different servers, or working on a new project.

These hackathons run 48 hours straight, but I don’t know how long I’ll last. I’ll try to update here as the hours pass.

EDIT: This is what I’ve come up with so far: Python Prime Number Generator

EDIT #2: I’ve made another couple of useless site: GET SCHWIFTY! and MR MEESEEKS


Hello, avid reader! (Don’t question the adjective, let a man dream). The good news is that I’m back up and running with a site that’s more than just HTML edited in nano. The bad news is that my older posts are probably not coming back. I may be able to recover the text from a backup somewhere and manually re-import them, but no one should hold their breath over it.

As I type this, my coworker and I are entering the dreary early morning hours of a hackathon in Brooklyn, where we are stationed as mentors. My personal hacking has been the recreation of this blog, and installing CyanogenMod on my phone.

The Red Bull is calling out to me, but with the Starbucks and Monster already coursing through my veins, I’m saving it until I start to nod off, in the hopes that I’ll make it through to the judging and still be sane enough to choose a worthy winner for our sponsor prize.

The following hours will probably be filled with further CMS and ROM tweaks, while fighting the sweet embrace of sleep that seeks to pull me away from my duties and into the warmth of nothingness. Toodles!