India 2015

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I recently took a trip to India to visit some relatives and while I did bring my camera, I did not go all-out on taking photos during this trip. I did take some though and this gallery is a selection of them. Some photos are taken with my iPhone, others with the main Nikon camera.

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Referencing external tasks in OmniFocus

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Getting Things Done provides an excellent framework for managing all aspects of your life. What could easily happen in a professional work environment though, is that there is already an existing tool in place to keep track of tasks for the entire team, be it Trello, Pivotal Tracker or some other collaboration tool. While it is certainly possible to keep track of some tasks in separate systems, there will usually be an uncertainty in what goes where and if everything has been captured and taken care of appropriately. The worst thing that could happen, and usually does, is that you lose trust in the system and things fall through the cracks because you missed to check one system.

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Uninterruptible programming

Being a developer, or doing anything creative, usually requires being “in the zone”. Being interrupted usually makes one drop right out of that sweet zone of productivity, and it usually takes a lot of time getting back.

uninterruptible programming is an interesting post dealing with how to handle this situation by constantly keeping the current state, and is exemplified by a filesystem journal.

The way it works is simple. When you want to do a disk operation, first, you write down in a special place (called a journal) what you are going to do, at a high level. “I’m going to delete this directory and all its files.” Then, you go through the steps of actually doing that. Finally, you record in your journal that’s what you did.

Now when power is interrupted during a disk operation you simply look at the journal and you can complete any operations that were in-flight at the time of the interruption. For example if the journal says “Delete X folder” and you see it still exists, now you delete it. It’s eventually consistent, even in the face of power interruptions, assuming that the intent hits the journal. And since journaling a high-level operation is a lot faster than actually doing it, chances are you’ll die doing the operation, not doing the journal.

Sounds simple enough, but instead of relying on a physical notebook, I would use Evernote, since I already use that for everything remotely considered reference material.

Ex Machina (2015)

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Ex Machina (2015) is a sci-fi drama about the talented computer programmer named Caleb. He is fortunate enough to win a competition in his office, and gets to spend one-on-one time with the eccentric and secluded CEO of his company. Caleb gets to help out with a special project in the field of artificial intelligence, and his assignment is to determine whether or not the CEO’s home-built android passes the Turing Test. Passing the test would mean that its responses should be indistinguishable from that of a human being, and what he finds during this trial touches, in a way, questions on the essence of humanity. What does it take to be human? Is it having flesh and bones, or could a sufficiently accurate computer simulation be enough?

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Alternote Review

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One of the most prominent apps when thinking about productivity is without a doubt the green note-taking app with the friendly elephant called Evernote. There are apps available for virtually every platform and device imaginable, and it will sync virtually anything from photos to large files. There is one area where Evernote currently is lacking though — the actual note-taking and organizing notes into notebooks and the user experience to make that happen. The recently released app called Alternote has set out to change all that.

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Develop WordPress plugins and themes using Docker

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Developing plugins and themes for WordPress should be super easy — period. You shouldn’t have to care about installing a web server, fiddling with databases and virtual machines. It should be instantly available whenever the need exists. This is a small introduction to my setup using Docker when developing WordPress themes and plugins.

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The best PGP tutorial for Mac OS X

PGP is a popular1 way to send secure messages. It is however quite difficult to get started and to know what everything means. Since most people aren’t cryptography experts, it’s hard to get going and use it every day.

The best PGP tutorial for Mac OS X is a tutorial to change the technical hurdle required to get started, and makes encrypting and decrypting messages super simple.

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  1. I use the term “popular” loosely here, since although it’s quite popular in the tech crowd, its quirky setup and confusing usage has made it less appealing for “normal” people.