Longer Content on a Variety of Topics:

What Is Love?

October 20th, 2014 | Posted at Frozen Toothpaste 

Love has a number of forms. There’s the love of a parent for their child. The love of friends for one another. The love of two people who are committed to each other romantically. The love of a keeper for their dog, cat, or other animal. But all of them, I think, have something in […]

WordPress Basics: Understanding And Making the Best Use of Your functions.php File

October 14th, 2014 | Posted at WPShout 

One of the hardest things about teaching is the things that you’re blind to. There are whole things that you know, that are important for others to know, that you just kind of forget to ever explicitly teach. Case in point: I just realized that in all my writing about WordPress I’d never tackled as Continue Reading

The Obligations of the Lucky

October 13th, 2014 | Posted at Frozen Toothpaste 

Every once and a while, something makes me realize just how lucky I’ve been. After I was born and before, a lot of fortunate things broke my way. A short list: I was born as a naturalized citizen in the United States, at a time when the country was near its height in world prestige and importance. […]

The Two Fundamental Elements of Computation: State and Transformation

October 8th, 2014 | Posted at Press Up 

I was recently having a conversation about how computers work. And it was in the course of that conversations that I understood quite how ignorant I’d been my whole life about the real fundamental elements of computation. I don’t think there’s a ton to be gained from writing an article on a programming site all [...]

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Never Assume You Know Their Reason

October 6th, 2014 | Posted at Frozen Toothpaste 

One of the most valuable lessons I learned in my life was to stop assuming that I understood a person’s motivations for doing something. I used to think that the obvious (and usually malicious) motivation that I first came up with to explain another person’s behavior was probably theirs. That is, if someone was driving in […]

How To Modify The Behavior of Other People’s Server-Side Code in WordPress

September 30th, 2014 | Posted at WPShout 

If you’re picky like me, using WordPress—the core software, as well as third-party themes and plugins—gives you a lot of occasions to think: “This is perfect, except for [REASON].” This leaves you with a few options: you can accept the imperfection, you can search for existing solutions for the imperfection, you can tell the maker Continue Reading

Mistakes I Made in My First Ember Project

September 24th, 2014 | Posted at Press Up 

I recently was presented with a completely greenfield project. We were making a not-uncommon CRUD (create-read-update-delete) app for a business that was looking to move beyond the constraints of their Microsoft Excel-based data-tracking system. We also had a limited but important numbers of use cases where data from all over (what was Excel sheets) would [...]

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Understanding the JSON API, XML-RPC, and Remote Publishing to Your WordPress Site

September 16th, 2014 | Posted at WPShout 

One of the hallmark features of WordPress 4.1 — yes we just got WordPress 4.0, and you’re right, it is really awesome — is likely to be a new way to remotely publish to WordPress: the hallowed “JSON REST API.” But for a lot of people, I know that that sounds like a whole lot of Continue Reading

Programming is About People

September 10th, 2014 | Posted at Press Up 

It’s easy to think about programming as an exercise of computers, or of languages and design. But at its heart programming is just about people. I bring this up because it’s so easy to lose sight of the fact that people are who you’re really programming for, and I just need a reminder sometimes. Maybe [...]

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A Crash Course in AJAX for WordPress

September 2nd, 2014 | Posted at WPShout 

Fred and I were just talking the other day about how initially-confusing the way you do Ajax requests in WordPress was to us. Both of us, completely independently, encountered a plugin we were trying to understand, knew was using Ajax, and couldn’t for the life of us tell how. It’s just not obvious when you’re Continue Reading

Programming is Storytelling

August 27th, 2014 | Posted at Press Up 

I was pair programming recently, and I had a bit of revelation: programming is just storytelling. I was “leading” at the time, the more experienced of us in the problem space we were in, and my partner seemed to need the most help seeing how all the little bits fit together into a coherent and [...]

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Everything You Should Know About Using Custom Scripts and Styles In WordPress

August 19th, 2014 | Posted at WPShout 

One of the most important things about WordPress is also one of the more initially confusing parts: how exactly do I add my own JavaScript files and CSS sheets in “the WordPress way”? The WordPress way of adding stylesheets and script files has a number of advantages, but it’s also a bit complicated and confusing Continue Reading

From Link Banana

# Spurious Correlations

July 2nd, 2014 | Posted at Link Banana 

Spurious Correlations →

Spurious correlations are a common and obvious problem that afflicts a lot of science. Tyler Vigen’s site is dedicated to collecting them. They’re pointless fun to see. Here’s how the divorce rate in Maine is driven by the consumption of margarine across the US:

spurious-correlation-divorce-margarine

# Angelina Jolie’s PR Prowess

July 2nd, 2014 | Posted at Link Banana 

Angelina Jolie’s PR Prowess →

At BuzzFeed, Ann Helen Petersen makes and elaborates a really interesting point: Angelina Jolie’s PR in the last 10 years has been amazingly good. Don’t believe it, consider Ann’s great hook:

What was Angelina Jolie best known for in 2004?

a.) Wearing a vial of Billy Bob Thornton’s blood around her neck.

b.) Making out with her brother on the red carpet.

c.) Being the offspring of ‘70s star Jon Voight.

# View from the Peloton

July 1st, 2014 | Posted at Link Banana 

View from the Peloton →

I love riding bikes. I’ll probably never ride one in a race, and certainly not in a race as competitive as this. Very interesting to see though, and very hard to follow:

(via Mr. Kottke)

# The Lost Art of Shorthand

July 1st, 2014 | Posted at Link Banana 

The Lost Art of Shorthand →

I was recently talking to some friends about how lost the idea and practice of shorthand is. Dennis Hollier has a great summary of how it works. For those not familiar, it’s a bit like cursive writing on overdrive. here’s a quick picture of a Gregg shorthand paragraph:

shorthand-sample

# Squirrels Are Tracking You

June 30th, 2014 | Posted at Link Banana 

Squirrels Are Tracking You →

Having studied them pretty casually over the last few years — did you know squirrels bark? — I wasn’t really shocked that a scientist has found that squirrels definitely are able to differentiate among human behaviors:

Squirrels “can tell if a human is looking at them,” or if a person behaves in an unusual way, Bateman found. Squirrels were 40 percent more likely to scoot if Bateman focused his attention on them. And 90 percent of the squirrels leapt away if the scientist left the sidewalk to stalk them across the grass. “They don’t get scared by humans all the time,” he explains. But they always seem to pay close attention to what people do. Bateman published his results June 12 in the Journal of Zoology.

(via Virginia Hughes’s Gray Matters Newsletter)

# I dare you to watch this entire video

June 30th, 2014 | Posted at Link Banana 

I dare you to watch this entire video →

I dare you to watch this entire video. It’s neat, I promise: