Out with the old

I received an e-mail the other day about a Konfabulator project that I hadn’t even thought about since 2007: over five years ago! The widget in question was one developed for a “4k contest,” one in which coders try to make something interesting with a minimal amount of code. One of my submissions was a pseudo-3D rubik’s cube widget.

The person who contacted me had the submitted version of my code and was trying to use it as a basis for another project of his. Unfortunately, the submitted version was not designed to be human-readable, and was a bit annoying to work with.

Now, a lot has changed for me in five years. Back then, I was in a different career – freelance web development. Now I’m a computer science teacher. Back then, I used SVN to store and track changes for my work. Now, I use GitHub. Continue reading

Getting started with vim

I decided it’s finally time that I learn to properly use a terminal-based editor other than nano, since nano is rather limited when it comes to editing source code. vim seemed like a good choice, but I was so daunted by it. Then I discovered vimtutor – it’s a tutorial that takes place entirely in vim, and it’s nicely paced!

If you’ve got vim installed on your machine, just run vimtutor at a command prompt and follow the instructions from there. Hello, cursor movement using letter keys!

PogoPlug as a Siri Proxy

UPDATE 2012-02-03: I realized I forgot about installing the certificate on the non-4S device. Fixed!

UPDATE 2012-02-04: amanpatel pointed out on the ArchLinuxArm forums that you need to make sure base-devel is installed. I’ve updated the prerequisites section to include this.

My wife got an iPhone 4S recently, which of course features Siri, the virtual assistant. I didn’t think I needed a 4S, but I was pretty jealous of Siri. Unfortunately, I don’t qualify for a discounted upgrade since I got my iPhone4 less than a year ago.

Enter Spire by @chpwn. Spire lets you install Siri on a jailbroken iPhone, but it requires the use of a proxy that lets non-4S devices pretend to be a 4S. I found lots of instructions for getting a proxy up and running as a virtual machine, but I don’t like leaving full computers running all the time. I decided to figure out what would be required to make it work with what we had: a PogoPlug server. Continue reading



I’ve been working on restoring old arcade machines as a hobby since 2010, and to document my work better I started a blog called 1up Arcade. Since it doesn’t really fit with the types of things I post over here, I won’t be cross-posting, but if you’re interested in that sort of thing, you might want to check out www.1up-arcade.com. I take lots of pictures and I don’t speak in code! ;)

Practical Computer Science (Education) with Python

Yesterday I gave a presentation at the eTech Ohio conference titled “Practical Computer Science with Python.” For the past two years, I’ve been teaching computer science to upper schoolers at Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, OH, and in the presentation I shared some of the reasons why I think Python is an excellent choice for a programming language in an Intro CS course.

I’ve uploaded the slides from the presentation for your convenience – next year, I’ll try to record any presentation(s) and put them online as well!

Slides: Practical Computer Science with Python (eTech 2010)