Telegram vs. Signal

It’s not about security, it’s about getting away from Messenger.

Every once in a while I recommend Telegram to my Facebook friends, mostly as a privacy-​centric alternative to Facebook Chat /​ Messenger. Recently a friend of mine pushed back against this recommendation, and suggested that I try out Signal instead. Incidentally, I use both, so here are some ramblings on Telegram vs. Signal.

Continue reading “Telegram vs. Signal”

Unit testing” a WordPress widget

Some thoughts on how to test the functionality of a WordPress widget.

I recently finished developing my very first WordPress widget. It’s called GR Progress, and it shows books from your Goodreads shelves together with their reading progress (which, to my knowledge, no other Goodreads or WordPress widgets can do). In this post I want to talk about how I went about “unit testing” the widget.

Continue readingUnit testing” a WordPress widget”

Uncle Bob and the importance of clean code

Review of “Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship” by Robert C. Martin.

One of my earlier functions was a true abomination.

It was 250 lines long, accepted 18 input parameters, and was nested up to 9 levels deep with highly complex conditions at all levels. It’s not only gross; it’s horrible, and I wish it would just go away. But it does its job, and I would need to put in significant effort in restructuring the whole program if I wanted to do something about it. And you can bet I’m not touching it now, not with a ten-​foot stick.

The worst part? It’s the central cog in an equally abominable class (written entirely by yours truly) producing these plots, which are still used during scientific rocket launches from Andøya to determine the optimal moment for pressing the big red button.

Continue reading “Uncle Bob and the importance of clean code”

Yes, you can get a software development job without knowing the relevant technologies

Soon I’ll start working with Xamarin. I just have to learn C# first.

I’ve heard it said that you can’t get a job doing something you’ve never done. What a load of equine droppings.

What follows is mostly a personal story of how I switched careers from academia to software development without really knowing the relevant technologies. More specifically, it’s about how I got a job as a C#/VB.NET/Xamarin developer when I started toying with those technologies just before the interview.

Continue reading “Yes, you can get a software development job without knowing the relevant technologies”

Quick-​save – impacts on playing styles and difficulty

Quick-​save has skewed my sense of difficulty and, surprisingly, made my playing styles more monotonous.

I was heading down a narrow corridor. My trusted KilLite 2k non-​lethal taser at the ready, a MegaBlast 3000 Plasma Rifle on my hip, and the Widowmaker sniper on my back. I stopped before rounding the corner and considered my options. I knew a semi-​open room laid just beyond. On the scaffolding up to the left, a sniper. I would have to take care not to be seen. Two guards with assault rifles patrolling the perimeter. The brute with the minigun lighting a smoke behind a crate, ready to jump into the fray if things got ugly. And at the far end of the hall – my target.

Continue reading “Quick-​​save – impacts on playing styles and difficulty”

Review: Twilight Princess HD

Can added pixel density give this Zelda classic new life?

I never reviewed the original Twilight Princess. This puts me in an odd position when reviewing its 10-​year anniversary HD remake. Should I make this a full-​fledged review of the game as a whole? Or would that be unfair, what with most of the game being 10 years old and all? And how do my opinions on the game, never fully articulated or brought into the conscious, impact how I feel about my experience with the remake? Instead of rambling on about these questions I’ll go back to basics and try to answer what most people reading reviews are wondering deep down:

Is it worth it?

Continue reading “Review: Twilight Princess HD”

Did Twilight Princess HD meet my pre-​play expectations?

I got something right and something wrong, for better or worse.

Recently, before starting Twilight Princess HD, I laid out some expectations for what I thought I would feel about certain aspects of the experience. I’m now about halfway through the game (just arrived in the Gerudo Desert), and I feel I have seen enough of the game to comment on whether I was right or wrong on the various points.

Continue reading “Did Twilight Princess HD meet my pre-​​play expectations?”

Pre-​play expectations: Twilight Princess HD

Pixels, mirrors, and stamps – here are my expectations for Twilight Princess HD.

Dagnabit, I’m already a day late! Anyhow, I’m thrilled to finally have Twilight Princess HD downloaded on my Wii U, and if I write rapidly, I’m sure I can jot down some quick expectations for the pastime I’ll be cramming in between writing my dissertation and attending job interviews before the game’s beckoning becomes irresistible.

Continue reading “Pre-​​play expectations: Twilight Princess HD”

Healing with fireballs in Divinity

Thawing AND healing allies using fireballs? Yes please.

In my review of Divinity: Original Sin I mentioned that you could thaw your frozen allies with fireballs, if they had the HP to withstand such a harsh treatment. Well, guess what? In Divinity, you (and enemies) can have more than 100% resistance to something, which means that you actually heal when “damaged” by that element or damage type.

So my co-​op partner upgraded/​found some gear that gave him more than 100% fire resistance, and now I can throw my mightiest fire spells his way and instead of waking from a frozen wasteland to a burning nightmare, he’ll wake from a frozen wasteland to a sunny beach with a warm summer breeze in his hair and a team of masseuses attending to his sore muscles.

You’re welcome.

Creative Commons is good, if you allow commercial use

Accepting commercial use of your works is necessary for a thriving, worldwide commons of free cultural works. Here’s why.

I have just chosen to allow commercial use of my photos through an appropriate Creative Commons license. This was a rather significant change in my thinking. My gut reaction has always been “I don’t want others to exploit my work and make money off it”. But while this is a valid sentiment with the best of intentions, it utterly fails to capture the complexities of the problem. I did some research and, as often is the case, my new-​found knowledge required me to completely change my mind and my conduct. Here is an overview of the problem and why you should allow commercial uses of your creative works.

Continue reading “Creative Commons is good, if you allow commercial use”