Category: Asides


  • It should come as no surprise that I don’t like Microsoft. I grew up on Ubuntu Linux, but was forced to use Windows when my parents got married. We had XP on the family computer, and then I eventually got my own computer that had Windows 8.1 (later downgraded to 7 literally for Aero Glass) on it.

    In 2016, I switched to Mac and haven’t returned to using Windows as my primary OS ever since. macOS and I have become very well acquainted over the years. That said, I have always kept a Windows computer around, mainly just for games. The two Windows computers I have now still run Windows 10. There are good things about 11 (the design is actually really pretty) but I think the performance is a significant downgrade from 10 and 7. I have fast computers so that they go fast. 11 is not a “fast” version of Windows.

    I also hate how they shove Edge down your throat, disrespect your defaults, collect your data and advertise to you (despite the fact that the OS is literally paid), among other things. I worry about the implications of that fact…

    Until 2022, I used a 2014 Mac mini and 2011 MacBook Pro (the latter with patches to get it relatively up to date) in combination with each other for a while. Both had SSDs, and I kept everything synced over iCloud so it was easy to drop a project on one computer and pick it up on another. AirDrop was indispensable to me in high school, and having my Mac be able to interact (without setup!) with my iPad and other devices was super helpful.

    In 2022, I switched to Apple silicon — M2, specifically. My tiny 13-inch MacBook Pro absolutely obliterates both of my other x86_64 based computers running Windows 10. Combined. And the Windows 11 VM I have in Parallels also leaves those computers in the dust, too. ARM certainly isn’t a new thing — Linux enthusiasts like me have enjoyed the benefits of it for years now — but Apple has absolutely found their way here.

    Apple isn’t free from criticism. No one is. But they have an advantage here, and they deserve to be applauded for making decent software. (Even if the new System Settings app introduced in macOS 13 is a joke.)


  • In Loving Memory of my Great Aunt Rose

    For those who don’t know (find my first Tweet here and my follow-up here), my Great Aunt Rose unfortunately passed away last week. She was a beautiful and kind-hearted woman who truly loved her family, despite rarely getting to see everyone in-person. The first (and last) time I had saw her since I was a baby was July 2019. We had a wonderful time, and made so many memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

    Love you, Great Aunt Rose! We’re all going to miss you!

    1955 – 2024

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  • In case you were curious how I had my computer set up in this month in 2017, I found a screenshot laying around of a client’s website, but for some reason, it was my entire desktop. I don’t work with these folks anymore — so it’s blurred out here — but I believe the computer this was running on was a Mid 2010 Mac Mini running macOS Sierra!

    At some point down the line, I switched to an Early 2011 MacBook Pro, and then eventually upgraded to a 2014 Mac Mini and the 2022 M2 MacBook Pro that I currently use. macOS returned to a more skeuomorphic-inspired look. I believe they call it “neumorphic” or something like that.

    For giggles, here’s what my desktop looks like today! A lot has changed. I actually store files on the Desktop now, and I don’t keep my RAM monitor in my Menu Bar anymore. I went for a tidy yet functional set up.

    My Dock is hidden off to the right-hand side of my screen–with a Terminal tweak to make it instantly appear and reappear. For folder management on the Desktop (where I store in-progress projects), I use Stacks and I move the labels to the right. I use SoundSource to manage my audio interface, CleanShot X for screenshot management, and an app called Tiles to bring window snapping from Windows 7 and later to the Mac. Oh, and I keep Downloads in the Dock now, and don’t remove the shortcut anymore–it’s handy.

    I suppose the only things hardware-wise besides the machine that has changed was my keyboard–I’m using a model of the Logi Pop Keys line that’s red/pink/off-white. Reason being is that it supports macOS keyboard shortcuts. On my other computers, I use a SteelSeries Apex 5.

    Was kind of interesting to see this. Chrome certainly changed a lot, and macOS looks like a completely different piece of software. That screenshot I found was taken only about three months into my switch from Windows to Mac, too. Incredibly nostalgic! Wonder if I have any more old screenshots laying around somewhere…


  • Previously, I announced following Slade’s Corner‘s leave from Substack that this site runs on Beauregard, a content management system (and alternative to the Substack platform) that I’ve been building from scratch since the whole, er, situation blew up over there. Since then, I’ve built so many features into the site: native Cloudflare integration, linklog support, autoposting to Mastodon (and derivatives), and even native Cloudinary support for super fast image hosting!

    Beauregard is the successor to BeauCMS, which itself was based on WordPress 6.0 and 6.1. It was born out of wanting something less clunky, more fluid. Thus, it’s a more mature content management system, one that is modern, written from the ground-up in native PHP, JavaScript, and HTML, but still fluidly compatible with WordPress’s fancy Gutenberg editor, along with its blocks, plugins, and themes. Beauregard isn’t WordPress. It’s literally brand-new code underneath!

    There’s a lot on the roadmap for Beauregard. Paid subscription support (to have the ability migrate my friends still on Substack off at some point), native email support, among other things. But a question I’ve been getting a lot is “Will you be opening this up to the public?” Honestly, thinking long and hard about it, the answer’s no. There are a few reasons:

    • Running something like that for more than a few people I trust is expensive. Server hardware is expensive and while my point of presence being in DC now helps, it’s still costly. Beauregard is lightweight enough that I won’t kill a server or two with it, but it’s still a big piece of software.
    • Beauregard just wouldn’t be cost-effective or make sense for most people. I’m really looking for people who love writing to the same degree that I do–I’m talking essays, articles, that sort of thing–and want to make some money off of it. For some of my friends, the platform makes sense, and that’s why they have access.
    • Setting up Beauregard is a very manual and time-consuming process. I still have to go in and install each new instance fresh manually. It got to the point where I had to write a script to automate most of the setup for testing on my Mac because it was so time-consuming. To go public, I’d have to streamline that process significantly, potentially even figure out how to make that bodged-but-somehow-working script work at-scale, and I just can’t be arsed. (I learned the word “bodge” from Tom Scott. Because of course I did.)
    • Even if I could somehow resolve all those concerns, I’d need to make a lot money off Beauregard, too, when scaling the platform up to potentially hundreds of accounts for any of this to make sense. I’d need to make more than enough to cover development costs, hosting costs, equipment costs, contractual obligations, and more. I couldn’t afford to run at a loss. I’m a self-taught developer who learned through many thousands of hours of Google-fu and StackOverflow. I just don’t think it’d be good if I was the only one building this for so many people.

    To be clear, I wish I could make it make sense and build a side business out of it–but I’d be way out of my comfort zone and burning myself out in the process. I just don’t know how to make it work. That said, I plan to onboard friends onto the platform. I can do a few people that I know–that’s manageable. That’s what will happen.

    I’m sorry if that’s not the answer some were looking for. I wish I could offer Beauregard to everyone. It’s a huge passion project of mine and it’s absolutely brilliant! I love what I’ve done with it! This post is being composed and displayed to you by it, for God’s sake! But again it’s a niche piece of internet software, and I just don’t see any way I could make it profitable at that scale. I also just don’t want to deal with licensing crap. So we’re just not doing that either.

    Thanks for understanding, though. If it changes, I’ll let you know–but I think this is the final decision: Beauregard shall remain a friends-only accessible and usable project from now until the end of time!


  • Chayse Came to Visit [A Week Ago Today]

    A little late posting this, but my good friend Chayse came to visit me last Monday and spend some time here in good old Vermont.

    Chayse really is the best! <3

    We rode around the area, all the way to Williamstown, Mass. and back, and just chatted. We certainly broke the ice and are already planning our next hurrah! This was the first time we met in-person and I miss him already. Truly such a blast!

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  • An Ode to Elon’s Dumpster Fire

    Dear reader,
    This one’s a rant. I’m so sorry.

    I’ve been in a really weird place with my mental health lately. Winter is always hard–and as things have begun to clear up, and I am more communicative with my friends for the first time in a long time–it’d seem Twitter is on its way to making my anxiety worse. The other day I replied to one of my best friends, Max, on Twitter and immediately that Tweet disappeared, and I was met with this screen…

    Immediately, I had a panic attack. Every worst case scenario racing through my head. Honestly, as of writing, some of those thoughts are *still* going through my head. It’s going to take a lot to clear those.

    The one contact I still have internally at the company says their system is reflecting the block is indeed in place, and there’s nothing they can do. But reader, he never actually blocked me. His partner even verified that with him directly. I even moved myself to paid user status temporarily on the lowest tier, and still, that switch did nothing in their system.

    I have no idea what’s going on with Twitter. That place seems to be burning down by the day. Everything seems to be breaking slowly. Hell, we’re nearing a year since the name change to “X” (which nobody calls it) and nothing has moved over to “x.com” at all. Although, the DNS records for x.com did start pointing to Twitter’s servers recently, so maybe that move is coming… doubt it.

    Your guess is as good as mine as to what happened. It’s really frustrating that Elon has basically made it so I can’t keep in touch with one of my best friends on social media. And yes, I do blame him for this: he’s an idiot and has no idea what he’s doing. Has he made some good decisions for Twitter? Yes. But others are decisions that only a newbie would make–ones that are bad for business, like chasing advertisers off the site.

    I have no idea what I’m going to do. Thankfully, I can keep in touch with Max on other platforms… but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m so god damn frustrated with Twitter right now. There should be a solution for this! However, considering Twitter’s staff has no idea what’s going on here, I doubt there will be any sort of solution to my issue any time soon.

    And for the record, this shouldn’t have happened at all. Just so we’re all clear.

    Rant over.


  • I’m so excited that I can announce this—prior to my contract lapsing with the current company that handles my URL shortener—I will be bringing slade.link, my URL shortener, home to my own servers. It’s hosted on servers in Washington, DC and replicated to Keene, NH. Servers located in Albany, NY are being retired next month in favor of the Keene, NH datacenter. There are reasons for that—mostly performance related.

    And for those who were asking, I will be adding an additional server cluster further to the west later this year. I’m hoping the move will be completed within the next couple weeks.

    I do want to acknowledge the assistance that short.io gave in making my URL shortener possible for all these years. However, as I begin to care more and more about control over my web presence, I have decided that hosting things myself is the better way to go. Control and ownership over the whole stack means I can rest assured no company going bankrupt can destroy my work on the net.

    My URL shortener will be powered by the open-source YOURLS! There’s more coming home to my own hardware this year that I can’t wait to talk about, but we’ll talk about that another time.