Categories
In Brief

2016 was good for something

2016 sucked in many ways, but at least we got new Metallica out of the deal. Can pretty safely say that after listening to it for a few weeks straight, Hardwired…To Self Destruct is one of their strongest efforts in the last couple decades (and has a really face-melting title track that really nails this year). “Now That We’re Dead” and “Spit Out the Bone” in particular are incredible, and I would love to see Alice in Chains cover “Dream No More.”

Categories
In Brief

Crow for Breakfast

This Is No Hugo

I’m very glad to say that I was very wrong about this. Gov. Haley has handled disaster response in South Carolina exceedingly well during two crippling ice storms and Hurricane Matthew, and I still have free credit monitoring.

When Gov. Haley is confirmed by the Senate as our ambassador to the United Nations, I think SC is going to really miss her. Nothing about Gov. Henry McMaster sounds appealing in any way.

Categories
In Brief

More like the Glenns, please.

Great Annie Glenn story in the Washington Post yesterday. America is richer to have had John and Annie Glenn.

Categories
As Per Whatever

So this is nice…

Twenty Seventeen is one hell of a nice new theme from the WordPress folks. You can see it running here now. I absolutely love the use of Libre Franklin — Franklin Gothic, or some variation of it, has a long lineage on my web presences dating back to the year 2000 and my original “Realm” personal website.

It’s been a long time since I tried to concoct any sort of custom theme for this site. I’m absolutely burnt out on design (and I’m not sure when that will recover), but it’s really nice to know that the WordPress folks continue to pump out high-quality defaults I can be happy with (no small feat considering my past history with default themes…phpBB, I’m looking at you).

Categories
In Pictures Technology

The Bad Old Days

Internet Explorer 4.0 and Netscape Communicator 4.08 displaying a simple Web page completely differently.
Internet Explorer 4.0 and Netscape Communicator 4.08 displaying a simple Web page completely differently.

It’s a good thing standards won out on the Web, huh? The difference between these pages is that IE 4 can interpret the <marquee> tag while Netscape 4 never understood it. Those late ’90s browser wars were not for the faint at heart.

It wasn’t all bad, though: The Windows NT virtual machine I ran this comparison on only was running 22 concurrent processes for the entire system, and was barely touching my MacBook Pro’s battery. Why can’t we get back there?

Categories
Technology

Real-world iOS 10 and watchOS 3

Apple’s big 2016 software releases start today with the introduction of iOS 10, watchOS 3, and tvOS 10 (the latter of which I’ve not had a chance to try).

Spoiler alert: They’re good upgrades (and in the case of watchOS, potentially a really great one).

Categories
In Brief

Downtime

Linode, where I have hosted jaredwsmith.com for many years now, has been under some sort of extremely gnarly and persistent DoS attack since Christmas. This has caused some downtime here as well as at chswx.com. This would also have impacts on weather data ingest on the LDM; fortunately, the server was reachable and relaying products when there was active weather. Sysadmin life is tough; hoping that there is some relief on the horizon for the great people at Linode.

Categories
Projects

New at @chswx in December 2015

I’ve made some updates to the @chswx maps and website to get ready for 2016. Here is what will be the first in a series of changelogs for @chswx in an overall effort to better document the product:

  • Website at chswx.com: Steph and I have been holding onto the chswx.com domain for years, but I have just now finally pointed it at the website. So, use that going forward. chswx.us will still work, too, if you like one less character in your life.
  • Map branding reflects new site: I’ve added the chswx.com domain to the map branding. Reasoning should be obvious.
  • Radar branding has changed: I’m calling GRLevel3 just “Radar” now, and am calling GR2Analyst “HiRes Radar.” The longer “Doppler Radar Super Resolution” title for GR2Analyst in particular was causing a lot of collisions with background elements and was overall just a smidgen obnoxious.
  • Velocity tables standardized on the RadarScope defaults: This will help with consistency in the velocity products when I switch between platforms. This table is also widely adopted at the National Weather Service and thus helps keep consistency with their products as well. I’m less concerned about reflectivity; I can handle some variation there (and the RadarScope table starting yellow at 30 dBz just doesn’t fly with me). For GR, reflectivity will remain appearing in a broadcast-like look; I reserve the right to make on-the-fly adjustments to reflectivity colors as situations dictate.
  • GIS: Interstates darker blue, city font sizes up to 17pt Open Sans Semibold: This change will help radar data shine and make cities easier to read on smaller screens.
  • Upgrades to GRLevel3 and GR2Analyst 2.30: While these releases primarily seek to improve HiDPI support, I like to keep things current. One consequence is that I’m temporarily back on the default hail icons until I can spend some more time with the new icon format.
Categories
Observations

Always be shipping

In a year and a half as a lead on a fairly massive software project with a very small and tight team, one axiom sticks out as the key to happiness — always be shipping.

It forces you to look at problems in smaller chunks. (Admittedly much easier said than done!) It gives the team a constant sense of accomplishment, as the thing they are working on is constantly seeing some sort of polish or improvement. For building larger projects, shipping components behind the scenes and letting them bake in production is a really nice and easy way to keep things moving.

Earlier this year my team without the aid of automated unit tests (we had some UI tests that were getting quite a trial by fire!) rattled off an admittedly stressful 33-day streak of shipping at least one thing, whether it be a bug fix, improvement, or new feature. The conditions were that the one thing had to pass QA before it went out — no shortcuts, no releasing for the sake of releasing. As I said, it was stressful, but it was a great exercise. (That being said, do not try this at home.)

I’ve been applying the “just ship” mentality to my weather projects recently and it has helped me overcome a lot of analysis paralysis of how to proceed. As a result, long-standing bugs in the @chswx bot have been fixed and the accompanying website finally got the mobile-first facelift it needed.

Shipping makes me happy. It should make you happy, too.

Just ship, baby.

Categories
In Brief

iTerm2 3.0 Beta is a must-have

If you spend any reasonable amount of time within terminals on Mac OS X, you need iTerm2. It’s been a constant in my Mac life since I switched. The 3.0 betas are ridiculously good and fit in so well on Yosemite and El Capitan. There are some outstanding tweaks in the latest betas that make me fall for this software all over again.