Category: Thoughts



GitHub now has even better commenting on commits. Better UI (collaborator highlighting, comment preview), better functionality (repo collaborators can edit anyone’s comment), better aesthetics. I use Git. I’m not wild about using it. I could take or leave it, to be honest. But I would stand in front of a tank for GitHub.

There are many geeks out there with a soft spot for Mercurial, or Bazaar, or darcs, or an even-more-neckbeard-y DVCS, and they often wonder why Git is getting all the love. It’s because Git has GitHub. Mercurial seems to be feature-equivalent to Git (at least in my limited experience), and Mercurial has BitBucket, which seems to be pretty good. But it’s not as good as GitHub.

Nobody should be ashamed that they can’t replicate GitHub’s success. It’s really hard to do the web well. It’s hard even to really smart people, of which I’m sure there are a few at BitBucket. The only people who think it’s easy are idiots. You can spot these people easily: they’re the ones who comment on TechCrunch posts and chortle that they could build a Stack Overflow clone over a weekend.



Saints 31, Colts 17

The last 24 hours have been warm and tingly. Congratulations to Drew Brees — who finally might get treated like the best quarterback in the league — and to the rest of the team, too. The best part of winning the Super Bowl? The victory is preserved for posterity by NFL Films. It will be shown on countless TV specials and DVDs in awe-inspiring slow motion with orchestral accompaniment.

Saints 31, Colts 17



So I was in Mountain View last week, helping the Mozilla Labs team re-architect Bespin. Toward the end of the week, as we were doing some collaborative coding, I opened a terminal and typed j bespin to bring me straight to my checkout of the Bespin source — and Kevin and Joe simultaneously went, “Wait, what’d you just do?” I realized I’d been using autojump — the cd substitute that guesses what you mean — for over a year, and hadn’t yet pimped it to anyone. Use it! You’ll wonder where it’s been all your life.



Oh, by the way: I will continue to post the occasional bit of political opinion (and political silliness) on this site. But I’ve also started to write more sober analysis on the Filibusted blog. It’s going to be an eventful year in the U.S. Senate — hop on for the ride.



On occasion I surprise myself by writing an epistle on a subject I didn’t know I cared much about. I’m bad at writing blog posts, but I’m good at writing comments that become blog posts just because I won’t stop typing. I need to spot them more quickly and usher them back into the flock.



I understand that nothing gets people yelling at each other like a meaty discussion on accessibility, but I’m not getting why the idea of making alt optional on img tags in HTML5 is causing such a furor. The alt attribute is the lowest of the low-hanging accessibility fruit, and the number of people on earth who care about valid HTML — but don’t care even a little about accessibility — could fit into my pants. Get more people interested in validating their HTML; then we’ll talk.



Happy new year, folks. It’s been a while since I spoke in my own voice on this blog with any regularity; mostly it’s just quotations and links and such, with the occasional post about JavaScript. I will stop short of saying it’s a resolution of mine to reverse that trend. (Here’s a tip for resolutions: pick something small, sustainable, and quotidian. Don’t resolve to lose weight; resolve to drink one fewer soda per day, and start on January 1.)



CBS’s underlying problem… is the arbitrary and largely ineffectual nature of the fact-checking process employed by the mainstream media. I have written for perhaps a dozen major publications over the span of my career, and the one with the most thorough fact-checking process is by some margin Sports Illustrated. Although this is an indication of the respect with which SI accords its brand, it does not speak so well of the mainstream political media that you are more likely to see an unverified claim repeated on the evening news than you are to see in the pages of your favorite sports periodical.

Nate Silver



Belated note: in case you missed my Refresh Austin talk about Prototype/Scriptaculous, you can experience the slides without having to listen to my stammering commentary.



Here’s something I worked on for a few hours just to amuse myself. I’d develop it further, but I can’t see how this has any sort of practical use (also note the caveats at the top of the script). So here it is: a web page desaturator. Takes all colors in linked stylesheets and turns them into grayscale versions. Here’s a demo using a page from the Prototype site. Firefox only.

Painfully Obvious was built with WordPress, Prototype, Slicehost, and other accoutrements. Colophon →