Blog Archives

Parsec Patrol Diaries: How To Avoid Smashing Into Things

I made a hero ship with beam weapons. I even built drifting asteroids that handle smashing into things. What gave me trouble was finding a way to teach enemy ships how to avoid smashing into things. You know, not perfectly, but just well enough to seem vaguely cunning and worth pretending to outsmart in a […]

Parsec Patrol Diaries: Entity Component Systems

The Entity, Component, & System design pattern is old hat for many game developers. But, keep in mind that I’m a web developer, and mostly on the server side of things for the past decade or so. One of my last big revelations was discovering the Model, View, & Controller way of doing things. Apropos […]

Parsec Patrol Diaries: Why a Game?

I decided to start writing a retro space game for the web, because I thought it might be a good way to exercise a lot of interesting technologies and have fun to boot. You know, like how sending rockets into space yields astronaut ice cream & anti-shock trousers back down on Earth. But, I’ve also […]

Parsec Patrol Diaries: Hello World

So, I’ve been working on a retro space game for the web. I planned it as a fun project to “sharpen the saw” and get myself more current on some newer technologies. I also planned to use it as blog fodder, writing little diary entries about what I’ve been doing & discovering along the way. […]

Looking for a Django app to manage Roles within Groups

I want to add some team-based features to django-badger. I was hoping that someone had already built a reusable app to do most of the work for me. This happens quite a lot when I’m working with Django. Unfortunately, I haven’t quite found what I’m looking for yet. Consider this blog post either the product […]

Naming Things: CamelCase vs snake_case

I’ve contributed code to a number of projects, often as a drive-by bug fix in a GitHub pull request. And, usually, I’ll try to do as the Romans do and follow the local naming and coding conventions. But, sometimes, I’ll fall back to my personal conventions and get dinged in the code review.

My experience in becoming a FirefoxOS contributor

Back in September, I wrote that I wasn’t leaving MDN. And, I’m not, really. But, it turns out that FirefoxOS needs some help to reach its first release milestones. So, some of us webdevs from around Mozilla are temporarily switching our daily efforts over to slay bugs on Gaia. That’s the layer of FirefoxOS which […]

Developing Open Web Apps: First, get it onto the web

I’ve been interested in developing [open web apps][1] (aka the [single-page app][2]) for years. But, it feels like the space is really on fire now, since the advent of HTML5 tech and the recent moves by Mozilla and Google toward truly “appifying” these things to compete with offerings from iOS and Android. Lots of pieces have come into alignment, and [great things are coming together][3]—[never mind what the folks at Facebook say][4].

So, I think I’m going to build a simple app and blog about it. And, these days, the first thing I think about when starting a web app is: How do I get it onto the web?

Aerostats, Base Stations, and the Cloud

In my thinking about things IndieWeb and user-supported cloud infrastructure, I’ve had a couple of notions bouncing around in my head that might help clarify some “products” I’d like to build if and when I have time. I guess this would be good to blog about, so maybe someone else can steal my ideas (if […]

Half-formed thoughts about Twitter, social silos, web APIs, and mashups

TL;DR: Turns out, the way to derive value from web APIs is to let your community run off and do free research and development. Harvest the results, and profit. We were never promised participation, but it felt like it was a 2-way street. Silly us. Where do we go from here?

How webdev has been getting better

So, in the last thing I posted, I wrote about how fixing problems on live web sites feels like fixing space robots. At Mozilla, though, things have been getting steadily better and more interesting: There’s still the sysadmin-as-remote-pair-of-hands-driven-by-trouble-tickets thing going on, but less so every day. More and more, we’re getting into continuous deployment. Our […]

How webdev is like space exploration

This isn’t so much a complaint as a set of observations: Sometimes, as a webdev, diagnosing and fixing issues on a live site in production gives me sympathy for NASA scientists dealing with remote space probes. And, that’s because I generally don’t have direct access to the servers. Instead, my access is mediated through sysadmins […]