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Ian McKellar

software and opinions

Last Build Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2017 15:56:50 +0000


Generating Noise Textures

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 15:56:50 +0000

My current play-with-random-web-tech side-project is is a solitaire game. Well actually it’s a framework for implementing solitaire games because I’m a programmer and a side project is the right place to exercise my desires for needless abstraction. I want a nice felt-looking background texture and the way to do that is you add some noise … Continue reading Generating Noise Textures

Reusing Passwords

Sat, 26 Nov 2016 19:33:35 +0000

I have a confession. Sometimes I reuse passwords. Not for anything that “matters”, but I’ve ended up using a couple of passwords a lot of times. And inevitably some of those sites get hacked. But where did I use them? Chrome remembers all my passwords but unfortunately doesn’t seem to offer a straightforward API to … Continue reading Reusing Passwords

Partisan Divide

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 17:57:48 +0000

There’s an American election on Tuesday. Whatever the outcome of the races, the partisan polarization is disturbing. Roughly 40% of the electorate considers each presidential candidate to be unqualified to even run. I don’t have the right to vote but my perspective is just as absolute. I’m right, but I’d say that wouldn’t I. Each … Continue reading Partisan Divide

Tyranny is mostly pleasant

Thu, 09 Jun 2016 00:55:33 +0000

In my life I’ve been lucky enough to visit some brutal military dictatorships. From Suharto’s Indonesia as a child to Mubarak’s Egypt more recently, they’ve been really pleasant to visit. My impression is that most citizens of these countries were fairly unencumbered by the political system they lived under. Some people had terrible time – … Continue reading Tyranny is mostly pleasant

Decentralized Web: My Thought Experiment

Wed, 08 Jun 2016 22:11:16 +0000

I’m at the Decentralized Web Summit today and it’s all very interesting. There are some big picture ideas of how the future should be. There are all sorts of interesting disparate technologies filling all kinds of holes. But I have a thought experiment that I’ve used to understand where we need to go and what we need … Continue reading Decentralized Web: My Thought Experiment

Low Fidelity Abstraction

Thu, 26 May 2016 00:53:03 +0000

It’s only through abstraction that we’re able to build the complex software systems that we do today. Hiding unimportant details from developers lets us work more efficiently and most importantly it allows us to devote more of our brain to the higher-level problems we’re trying to solve for our users. As an obvious example, if you’re … Continue reading Low Fidelity Abstraction

HTTP/2 on nginx on Debian

Mon, 23 May 2016 03:41:16 +0000

I run my web site off a Debian server on GCE. I like tinkering with the configuration. I hear that HTTP 2 is the new hot thing, and that’s going to mean supporting ALPN which means upgrading to OpenSSL 1.0.2 and nginx 1.9.5 or newer. But they isn’t supported in Debian 8. I used apt pinning … Continue reading HTTP/2 on nginx on Debian

Writing ES6 without a transpiler

Fri, 18 Mar 2016 18:03:47 +0000

I like modern JS features. I’ve been using some like const and let for a long time in specific contexts like Gecko chrome (when I worked on Flock & Songbird). Recently I’ve been playing with the features that have been standardized as ES6. I tried a bunch of different build-system and transpiler approaches but I found … Continue reading Writing ES6 without a transpiler

Australia Days

Tue, 26 Jan 2016 17:46:38 +0000

Photo credit: Finn Pröpper I really like Australia. I was born there, I grew up there, my parents brothers and sisters all live there. I don’t have a single national identity, but ‘Australian’ is the one I put above the others. It’s a physically beautiful and inspiring country. At their best its people are generous, … Continue reading Australia Days

Brief first impressions of Rust

Sat, 23 May 2015 18:19:29 +0000

I had a little play with Rust this week. I’d been meaning to for a long time, but the arrival of 1.0 motivated me to spend a few hours playing around with the tools and the tutorial. I haven’t actually written anything myself yet – I’m sure I’ll have some different, perhaps more valid thoughts … Continue reading Brief first impressions of Rust