Ramblings of General Geekery

Announcing SiloRider

Lately, I’ve been spending my free time making PieCrust (the static website generator powering this blog) support Indieweb things like Micropub and (incoming) Webmentions. But while being on the receiving end of things requires intimate knowledge of a CMS’ storage format, other Indieweb concepts put your website on the sending end, and that generally doesn’t rely on anything else than the final HTML markup… it’s therefore CMS-agnostic.

To implement that side of the Indieweb coin, I decided to write a new tool, independent of PieCrust: it’s called SiloRider1!

What it does right now is let you adopt the POSSE model with your website. After you’ve published a new article or post, you run SiloRider and it will syndicate (or “cross-post”) that out to “silo” services – right now it supports Twitter and Mastodon.

For instance, this recent update from my blog was syndicated like this on Twitter and like this on Mastodon:

In the future, it will probably send Webmentions out to websites you’re replying to, and other such things that can be done by parsing the just-published pages on your website.

In PieCrust, I integrate SiloRider simply by making my default publisher run a script that bakes the website, rsyncs it to the publicly served folder, and invokes SiloRider – this way, it works whether I post from a client app like Micro.blog’s iOS app, from the PieCrust admin panel, or after pushing my blog repo to my server (since I have a hook that runs that same publisher). You can similarly run it after your Hugo deployment, or whatever it is you use to make your website.

As with all my other projects, the documentation is up on BOLT80, and the code is available on GitHub and Bitbucket, depending on whether you prefer Git or Mercurial.

  1. It’s named like this mostly because I’m bad at naming things, and after
    spending a long time trying to come up with a name, I suddenly became very
    frightened I might take longer to name it than to code it, so I picked
    whatever popped in my head next. ↩︎

Southpaw Keyboard

I was recently made aware of a group buy for a “Southpaw Full-Size” keyboard that has its numeric keypad section moved to the left-side of the keyboard:

As a southpaw myself, I… just don’t get it.

I mean, sure, as a keyboard nerd, I get it – it’s a cool looking keyboard, it’s customized to someone’s needs, and, in the mechanical keyboard community, more form-factors are always welcome.

I just don’t get it that it’s marketed at left-handed people – or at least marketed as a “left-handed” keyboard. If anything, it should actually get marketed at right-handed people. See, most right-handed people prefer “tenkeyless” designs, since it keeps their mouse (which is on the right of the keyboard) closer to the the main part of the keyboard. This means they don’t have to move their right hand too much between typing and moving the cursor.

Now, left-handed people don’t get this problem – if we consider the proper left-handed people who put their mouse on the left instead of living a lie1. So getting a keyboard that puts the numeric keypad on the left does nothing much besides bringing a right-handed people problem to left-handed people! For
right-handed people who are conflicted about standalone numeric keypads, however, this might be a good option to consider.

Either way, if you’re interested in this so-called “left-handed” keyboard, for whatever reason, head over to the group buy page, you still have a week or so to order.

  1. It’s estimated that almost half of the left-handed community is living
    a lie, using their mouse with their right hand. Most of the time this is
    because they have to share their computer with right-handed people. ↩︎

We Should Build Cities for People

This article on urban development by Devon Zuegel is a good primer on why prioritizing walkability over vehicle traffic is important in urban development. It reminded me how I really appreciate that downtown Vancouver has a wonderful waterfront made of beaches, bike lanes, and an almost endless promenade1, while, say, downtown Seattle has a highway instead.

We could have had highways instead too, back in the late 1960s when the city had plans for several of them going through downtown. The plans included the partial destruction of the Vancouverite Chinatown, so of course the local residents revolted. Less than two decades since the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act, these Chinese immigrants were actually joined by many other residents elsewhere around the city and, together, managed to cancel the project entirely…. although the project’s cancellation may have also been greatly helped by the federal government’s refusal to invest any money in it. But hey, either way, I’m happy.

Devon’s article also had this interesting video-game-related tidbit:

Fun fact: SimCity was forced to pretend that all parking lots were underground, because the game would be “really boring if it was proportional in terms of parking lots”. SimCity’s lead designer explained, “I was blown away by how much more space was parking lot rather than actual store. That was kind of a problem, because we were originally just going to model real cities … We had to do the best we could do and still make the game look attractive.”

  1. the whole seawall path is around 30kms long, wrapping around the downtown area and continuing past several other neighbourhoods – it’s really awesome. ↩︎

It’s a Good Time to be a Geek

News of movie or TV adaptations come and go all the time but today my io9 RSS
feed brought me a trio of titles that are directly related to my tastes:

Not only are those 3 opportunities for me to say things like “I liked it before
it was cool
” and “the original material is better”, but it’s also 3 things
that will bring some additional cash (hopefully) to the original authors whose
work I enjoyed.

These days, adaptations can often bring, at best, a lot of geek backlash, but
I find that even if I don’t like the adaptation, I’m happy that it’s bringing
attention to the original material, and money to the original authors. It’s
almost always good news in my book, except for the uncommon case where those
original authors get fucked for some reason.

After the Fall Of Delta Green last month, I now received the new Delta Green’s Handler’s Guide slipcase, which is equally gorgeous. It’s a good time to be paranoid and chased by eldritch monsters!