My First Stab at Tech Punditry (Or: Internet Explorer Needs UI Skins to Compete with Netscape 6)

Back in 2012, old friends of mine such as Patrick O’Keefe, Brad Kelly, Ray Angel, and James Fintel somehow unearthed a copy of “XPreme Magazine.” It was, in essence, a tech blog distributed via .exe file (seriously).

I wrote an article for XPreme Magazine’s January 1, 2002 issue, originally entitled “Internet Explorer Over the Years”, which discussed a perceived slowdown in Internet Explorer development. It is remarkable in how prophetic it was while still being tremendously short-sighted.

With full permission (acquired in 2012, from which this draft is being updated), I have reprinted the article in its unedited glory. Enjoy. Continue reading “My First Stab at Tech Punditry (Or: Internet Explorer Needs UI Skins to Compete with Netscape 6)”

Clear skies

Where there’s smoke on visible satellite, there’s fire on shortwave infrared imagery.

There’s something about clear skies that makes looking at the satellite that much more interesting. You can pick out lots of features, such as the smoke from controlled burns that contributed to a killer sunset yesterday.

The GOES-R series, with its high temporal and spatial resolution, will never cease to amaze me.

iOS 11 Public Beta PSA

iOS 11’s public beta came out earlier this week; I installed it yesterday. I do this not only because I like having the new features early, but also because Apple makes it super-easy to get feedback to their developers.

If you are thinking about running the beta (or are already doing so), keep this in mind (from the perspective of a software engineer):

  • Expect bugs. There are plenty of them.
  • If you absolutely rely on your hardware to get your work done, this is not for you. Wait for the final release.
  • If you find bugs, file them. This is your responsibility as a tester. The engineers at Apple need your feedback. Use Feedback Assistant early and often — it’s a really great reporting tool and only takes 5-10 minutes of your time. Give detailed bug reports, with clear reproduction steps if at all possible. Use screenshots liberally, and use the built-in screen recording tool (available via Control Center) to your advantage here, too.
  • Ensure feedback is constructive. There are people on the other end of your message, and you bet they are reading these reports.
  • “It’s broken” is not a bug report. It’s a colossal waste of time.
  • If your third-party apps have problems, don’t berate the engineers of those apps. File reports within Feedback Assistant; Apple will pass them along.
  • Have fun. The Summer of Bugs is not for the faint at heart, but it can be pretty rewarding!

What’s old is new again

I decided to dust off my Twenty Twelve child theme for jaredwsmith.com from years ago and reimplement it with a little custom CSS. The more I look at Twenty Seventeen, the more I realize just how heavy it is. My aesthetic preferences lean far more minimalistic than they used to, and I find Twenty Twelve does an excellent job at scratching this itch — even in 2016 and beyond.

I love one tweak in particular: I’m now using system fonts for WebKit and Blink-based browsers. System fonts have gotten ridiculously good in the last few years. The performance and readability benefits make sacrificing some typographical creative license absolutely worth it.

Moving Day

BoomTown's old headquarters at 635 Rutledge Ave.
BoomTown’s old headquarters at 635 Rutledge Avenue.

Today, we at BoomTown said farewell to our headquarters of the last five-plus years at 635 Rutledge Avenue. When we report to work next week, we’ll be in a brand-new facility on upper King Street.

When I started at BoomTown in 2012, we had two suites of the repurposed Jabra’s grocery store. Over the ensuing few years our footprint in the building grew along with the business, and by late 2014 we had taken over all but one suite. However, we’re busting at the seams, and it’ll be great to be able to stretch our legs a little bit.

Thanks for the memories, 635. It’s been a good run.

Derived Parameters in Unidata AWIPS on macOS

I have a really big post in the works about how I’m using Unidata’s fork of AWIPS II for weather stuff these days on my Macs. It has come a long way in a year, and I’m really digging it. (In fact, I have it up on a monitor at virtually all times at home these days as a situational awareness display.) In the meantime, I wanted to share an important finding on its own that may help a lot of struggling AWIPS users out there.

Updated July 18, 2017: You don’t need to follow all these instructions anymore. With AWIPS 17.1.1, Unidata has provided a package with the required jep and gridslice modules. Download these modules from the Unidata website.

Continue reading “Derived Parameters in Unidata AWIPS on macOS”