Hugo 2014: The Novels

July 28th, 2014

This year for the first time I’m making a real effort to read all the Hugo nominees. First up: the novels.
Read the rest of this entry »

Best Series Finale Ever

April 3rd, 2014

Monday’s final How I Met Your Mother episode is going to go down in the history books as the best wrapup to a series ever. It goes to prove what can be accomplished when the show runners really know where they’re going and plan it out in advance. It’s particularly impressive coming off of the worst season of the show ever.
Read the rest of this entry »

Web Hosting with WYSIWYG Editing

March 29th, 2014

I’m looking for a simple HTML web host that is suitable for non-technical users. Here are my absolute requirements:

  1. Must support custom domains (no
  2. Must have a built-in editor that is sufficiently WYSIWYG for someone with zero HTML skills to use. (Google Sites would meet this requirement, for example.)
  3. Must allow me to import an existing site of static HTML pages with all links intact. (Google sites fails this requirement.)
  4. Must not add any sort of header, footer, JavaScript, sidebar, or other junk to the pages. (Google sites also fails this requirement.)
  5. No lockin. All pages must be served in and easily exportable as plain vanilla HTML.

I don’t need databases, JavaScript, or a lot of other advanced features. #1 is commonly met, but everything I’ve looked at so far fails either #2, #3, or #4.

Is there such a product on the market?
Read the rest of this entry »

Best of 2013

January 1st, 2014

An idiosyncratic list of the most intriguing, most mind altering, and just plain fun books/movies/games/etc. I read/watched/played in (not necessarily published in) 2013:
Read the rest of this entry »

Disk Utilities are Worthless

August 26th, 2013

Yesterday morning I had to hard reboot my Mac Pro when it wouldn’t unlock from the screensaver. When it came back up there were a few question marks in the task bar, some surprising warnings about full disk space from an extension I thought I’d turned off years ago, and unexpected software update messages. I eventually realized that my 480GB OWC Excelsior SSD had died, or at least was not being recognized. This is my primary boot drive, but instead my Mac had booted off another system disk with an older group of apps and Mac OS X 10.6.

Not a disaster; my data is backed up and my home directory never lived on this drive in the first place. I sent a message to OWC support (27+ hours and still no response, by the way) and then fired up Disk Utility. Disk Utility could not see the missing drive.

Next I launched TechTool Pro. Completely worthless. It found a few corrupt files on other drives but had no idea that the SSD drive even existed. And then it occurred to me that this is a common pattern. Although I have about one personal hard drive failure a year, I have never been able to use TechTool, DiskWarrior, Norton (back in the day) or any other such repair utility to fix anything ever.
Read the rest of this entry »

What Software do Coursera Instructors Use?

June 20th, 2013

I’ve been out of academia for a few years now, but lately I’ve been watching a lot of random Coursera courses. One meta-thing that’s become apparent is that presentation technology has moved forward since I stopped teaching. So far I haven’t been able to figure out exactly how these courses are put together, and Coursera seems surprisingly tight-lipped about exactly what they’re doing. In particular there are three parts:
Read the rest of this entry »

Currently Reading

Hello Footer!