WildBill's Blogdom

Mongo only pawn, in game of life.

Textastic Templates

| Comments

So, I’ve got to drop a quick little plug here for Textastic. It’s a GREAT text editor, available on Mac and iOS (though there are separate versions for iPhone and iPad). If you do ANY coding or writing, this is the app to get, in my opinion. I use it on my Mac and iPad now as my go-to editor when I really need to sit down and write, though it’s got a lot of great syntax highlighting capability that I have yet to actually utilize.

A great tip about Textastic, though, is you can add templates to it via a “snippet” system. If you’ve used TextMate, it’s the same type of system. You construct a JSON file that you stick in a #Textastic/Templates folder, and then Textastic can pick it up and you can base new files off of it.

It took me a few minutes to wrap my head around this, but once I did I was able to construct a Textastic template to create a new Octopress blog post. Each Octopress blog post has some YAML-like headers at the top, and being able to automatically construct that, and have the ability to just tab from field to field and fill in the variables is a nice time-saver – particularly if I’m insane enough to compose a blog post on my iPhone.

If you use Textastic at all, check out templates – it’s powerful mojo.

Social Media and Reporting

| Comments

As the Asiana Airlines crash story unfolds, I am rather amazed at the speed at which the story unfolds on social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Path. Much like the story of the plane that crashed into the Hudson River a few years ago, it’s not the traditional news outlets that break the story – it’s each of us, acting as a crowd-sourced swarm of roving reporters.

In some cases, the first responders are the victims of the situation themselves:

Or they’re relatives of victims who happen to get text messages from their loved ones…

Sorry, you are not authorized to see this status.
Sorry, you are not authorized to see this status.
Tweet could not be processed

Sometimes, they’re bystanders, tourists, or sight-seers who happen to be in the area due to fate…

Occasionally you get a professional writer or website editor who’s coherent enough to post half-decent information…

Then you’ve got the people on the internet who just follow the incident and repost/retweet/spread the word…

But however the word gets out, it does – via our always-connected, instant-on, rapidly flicking fingers. The grapevine of the Internet Generation, our 4G LTE-powered, outboard brains. It’s odd, I simultaneously welcome and fear this new development in our social evolution. Never before has word spread so fast to so many – and also, never before have we had the crazy potential to spread the wrong message, misjudge the situation, or simply just plain old get the story wrong.

So, what does this mean for reporters and journalists? Where they used to research articles, and spend lots of time cross-checking sources… now they simply just run with the story and post it, lest the social cloud get the scoop on them? We’re starting to see this phenomenon already. There is a wind blowing – news as entertainment, damn the torpedoes, just fucking post the story already, the masses don’t give a shit about facts kind of attitude. Not sure I like the overall trend out of the pros.

Pretty sure “Uncle” Walter Cronkite wouldn’t dig it too much, either.

At any rate; I do hope the people touched by this accident come out of it all right. I’m interested in the continuing story of “public as press”, also – mostly because I’m one of them as a blogger.

Crash at SFO - AAR214 Flight Audio

| Comments

Looks like Sober Build Engineer was able to get the control tower audio from the crash of AAR214 that happened about an hour ago. His server’s dying - so I’m mirroring that MP3 file here.

Looks like some guy who’s on Path dropped a quick Path post about it, as well, along with a picture…

Path post

Hoping folks on this flight made it out ok.

Journalling With Day One - Personal and Social

| Comments

I’ve done journalling in the past, but mostly in fits and starts. I started after my grandfather passed away – I didn’t want to let the things I think go flying off into the ether of memory after I’m gone. However, when journalling, you’ve got to do it long enough for it to become a habit, and I never did stick with it. I tried again after each kid was born, but there’s enough turmoil in a new dad’s life that trying to build a new habit is nigh-impossible, so journalling never really happened.

Enter Day One, and their associated Mac and iOS applications. This application makes journalling easy – fun, even! I like the fact that I can jot down quick thoughts anywhere, at any time. Day One’s got a neat feature on their iOS apps, too – it captures the local weather, and your location (pulled via Foursquare’s database). Not that it’s necessary for journalling, but it’s a nice way to add a context-based flavor to your journal.

The really awesome part of this came when I stumbled on Brett Terpstra’s project, Slogger. In a nutshell, slogger can pull from all kinds of social sources and add those entries into your Day One journal, automatically. It’s not for the faint of heart to install, as it requires a fair amount of hacking around to get it running, but once you get it, you can have slogger automagically slurp up your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other entries, then push them to your journal. It’s neat to run back through the entries and see what you were doing and thinking at different times.

Thanks to Day One, I’ve been able to keep up the journalling habit, and it’s becoming ingrained now. Next up is writing ‘letters’ to loved ones here. Thinking it might be neat to write ‘letters’ to my kids, to be read at some time later.

Oh, and I imported all my old blog posts and social networking junk into Day One too. Rather scary… it found 11,530 entries, spanning 1260 days. Yikes. Some day, that data about my life might be important… or at least if it can’t be important, I hope it’d be interesting… to someone.

Day One Journal by wildbill

My Day One journal as it stands. Jeez.


| Comments

So, I attended the #ADNHackathon yesterday, at WeWork SOMA in San Francisco. If you know me at all, you know that I am NOT a city boy at all – I find the concrete canyons absolutely unnerving. Not being able to see the mountains to navigate freaks me out – and there are just too many different people there, if you get my drift.

For example, I’m usually “greeted” upon my arrival in the city by a bum relieving himself in the curb (I’ve seen both #1 and #2, and… yucko.) Apparently I got upgraded, because I got flipped off by a naked guy on a ten-speed bike. Awesome. Only in San Francisco…

Anyhow, parked the car at the giganto Fifth and Mission parking structure, mainly because I know how to get in and out of that thing, and walked the four blocks down to WeWork. Got greeted at the door by Andrew, Operations Engineer extraordinaire – he was playing bouncer. I sure hope someone kept that poor guy caffeinated.

On the way in, I saw a message from Brandon Mathis, lead dev of the blog engine I use to power this blog (Octopress). He needed a Mac Power Adapter, so I swung by my office briefly and picked up a spare – then sat next to him and chatted a bit. Really nice guy, and he’s been very helpful with getting things dialed in on Octopress – he even gave me a neat Octopress sticker, which now graces my Chromebook.

Met Paul Schifferer, and had a great chat with him – was great to put a name to a face!

Saw Steve Streza and his Google Glass. There were a couple other guys with Glass wandering around too. Strangely want one, but know that it’s the kind of thing I should never, ever try.

The architect of the whole thing, Dalton Caldwell, was wandering about, chatting with developers and getting to know folks. Was going to say hi but he looked like he was in deep conversations, so I didn’t bug him.

Spent about ten minutes chatting with Bill Kunz about his app, Felix. Awesome app and was a great chat with him. He’s doing some great work, and really pushing people’s ideas of how a user interface should behave.

Suffice it to say that I’ll be attending the next hackathon, if my schedule allows. A great time, all in all. Took a few photos of the trip, too, so I’m tossing them in here.

Beautiful day as I fly by Candlestick… by wildbill

Yes, I am in San Francisco. by wildbill

Hackathon Ahoy! by wildbill

What manner of madness is this? by wildbill

Random little park is kinda neat. by wildbill

Made it! by wildbill

Is something happening? by wildbill