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focus, shifting

So I probably won’t get back to streaming on Twitch anytime soon. I had a good clip going, but it’s hard to keep up sans interest, and when my routine’s been interrupted for so long it’s hard to get back into the swing of it.

Streaming only really works if you’ve got folks who are interested in watching. It’s a surprising amount of work, and if you can’t be consistent it’s hard to build an audience. And it’s looking like for now I’m unable to be consistent, so.

I’d like to continue doing stuff with my setup though. Longer form video stuff might be the ticket there — not “watch me do this thing live” but “after I’ve figured out this thing, watch me do it and explain it in one or more scripted video sequences, with pauses for explanations and stuff.” It’s less conditional on the time of day, too — if I’m streaming at 3:00pm EST, and you’re busy working, you can’t watch live, which kind of matters when the goal is live broadcast.

Not saying I’ll never do any more live work, but for now it’s looking like I’ll be trying some new stuff.

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streaming / trickling

I’ve been streaming software development stuff for a while now.

I started just writing a meaningless Ruby app, but that wasn’t fun for anyone — even me. Then I pivoted to writing a Jackbox-style Jeopardy clone in Phoenix LiveView. Not only does this let me get some more experience in a language I haven’t used, it’s also just plain fun.

Hard to keep going though.

The past two weeks have seen significant disruptions to my streaming schedule. Family plans, technical difficulties, and once just plain old “eh, don’t feel like it today.” Whatever minor viewership I’ve managed to build isn’t going to last if I can’t keep to a published schedule.

I’m considering moving back to longer-form, recorded video. It’s more work up front vs. just slamming the “BROADCAST INIT” button on the StreamDeck, but also there’s a longer tail on each. Folks can watch, enjoy, subscribe based on a video I published years ago.

Or maybe the trick is to only stream once a week but to make it a more polished product? Right now I’m winging each and every stream. I have a vague idea of what I want to do with the code, but no idea of how I’m going to accomplish it. Half the time I run into a bug that takes half my time budget to fix anyway.

Maybe I should spend the week putting together an outline for how the show should go, do a little rehearsal so I can do what I intend to do, get the production values up a little — my [streaming setup](https://flavortown.tech/t/livestreaming-on-twitch/14/3?u=joncanady) is pretty beefy as it stands but I could use a decent intro/outro and my main layout could also use some lovin’.

All that to say, if you like what I do, hit me up and let me know.

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boiled veg water

I had half a bag of frozen kitchen scraps, too much celery to reasonably eat, some carrots that were on their last legs, and some forgotten garlic cloves that weren’t going to get used.

So, I plonked it all in my biggest stockpot — that conveniently had the built-in strainer — and covered it with water. Threw some salt in. Now I’m bringing it to a boil and eventually I’ll take a look at it and see if it’s any good.

Making chicken or beef stock requires bones, the good marrow-y ones ideally, and hopefully nicely smoked or roasted. But vegetable stock? Just take the peels/scraps of used vegetables (freeze ’em up and use them later, it’s fine), and maybe some veg that you know you won’t get to eat before it’s no good, and boil and season until it tastes decent.

Don’t use starchy veg (no potato scraps) or anything you wouldn’t want to drink a broth of. I’ve got some zucchini and cauliflower that were on the border, but I can’t imagine either would taste good boiled to hell. At least mirepoix stuff — celery, carrot, onion — would be edible.

I’ve posted Chef Becky’s Provencal Vegetable Soup recipe to flavortown.tech. If this turns out well I’ll be making a big batch of that!

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covid birthdays

Earlier this year, my wife had her birthday. We celebrated as best we could — made a homemade cake, from scratch, with the kids. None of us had ever done that before! And presents were left on our porch by kind family members, which always helps.

Later in the year my youngest son had his birthday, and we video chatted with family and ordered him presents and decorated the house and made cupcakes this time. He said he wanted to go see people but we explained that we couldn’t and he’s young enough for that to be Good Enough.

My oldest son’s birthday is in a few weeks. Doing a grown woman’s birthday is pretty easy — it isn’t like we go wild for her birthday parties anymore. Same with a little kid, they’re excited about whatever you do special. But my oldest is old enough to remember having parties and celebrations with family and friends and also is probably a little ADHD and has a strong sense of “fairness” (despite his feelings having little relationship to the actual concept of fairness) and so yeah.

I’m expecting that day’s gonna be a little tough. But we’re gonna do our best with it and show him he’s loved and celebrate what an amazing person he is and will be. And it’ll be enough.

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flavortown.tech

This morning I launched flavortown.tech, a discussion forum for Columbus OH tech folks. Or Central Ohio tech folks. Or Ohio tech folks.

I’m tired of every single user group only having a Slack. Realtime chat is not the best way to build a community. Some of the Slack teams I’m on I can’t even follow anymore, they’re so busy. If I turn on mobile notifications my phone’s blowing up all day. If I turn them off and miss a day, I have no idea who’s talking about what.

Screw that.

Forums are persistent. You can put a thread up, come back to it a few days later. You can follow threads or categories you care about, and ignore the ones you don’t. Turn on email notifications and try to pretend its a listserv if you want.

This isn’t a Columbus Ruby Brigade thing, because it isn’t Ruby-specific. This isn’t a “sponsored tech hangout” kind of place. This isn’t supposed to replace Techlife Columbus, or your user group, or your conference. It’s supposed to be the conference hallway, or the bar after the user group. It’s run by my company Third Star Technology LLC, which promises to not narc on you.

Come bitch about the office, promote a side project you’re doing, tell us you need work urgently or tell us you’re looking to hire folks yesterday. Or just chill out and vibe. It’s at flavortown.tech.

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why do i still listen

NPR has someone on Morning Edition, I didn’t hear who, who has a “wonderful plan” for dealing with Confederate statues in the United States: leave them up, just with placards that tell us “the cause this person fought for was wrong.”

Why the hell I turn NPR on still is beyond me.

The interviewer, to her credit, did tell the guy that she goes to museums and never reads plaques or placards. His response was to “make them and place them so they cannot be ignored” which makes me believe he has never gone on a school field trip, dicked around, and only gleaned the most surface-level information from everything.

Look, there’s an easy question that can be used to resolve this: would you erect a statue of Hitler or Goebbels in the middle of a Jewish community, and claim it was educational because you put it in front of a giant STATE THE OBVIOUS plaque?

[Editors note: if your answer differs from the “no” we’re clearly alluding to here, you may proceed to the station exit marked AIRLOCK.]

The Confederacy turned on their country and waged a horrible civil war so that they may continue to enslave other humans. They lost.

Statues erected many years later by sympathizers deserve to be toppled, crushed, safely blown up, dissolved in acid, or just plain ol’ thrown out.

If you demand that there be publicly available information about the Confederacy, congratulations you have finally discovered museums and history books. I’m truly sorry it took you this long to learn about them, they’re amazing.

If you want a reminder of how awful slavery was, please consult your basic fucking morality.

(Photo credit: Alexa Welch Edlund/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

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fif. teen.

My eldest son is playing ChaseCraft on his iPad. It’s an infinite runner by the Unspeakable folks. My kid’s really into their stuff — mostly Minecraft streaming — and they seem to keep it clean enough that I don’t have a problem with them.

But wow, this game is up there with the trashiest mobile games ever. My kid asked me to “turn on ads” (our PiHole successfully blocks most of the ads on most of his games) so he could do stuff in-game. One thing he wanted to do was unlock a new skin which was 15 ads.

FIFTEEN.

Fif. Teen.

I don’t have a problem with games subsidizing development with ads. But I do have a problem with games targeted towards kids that ask them to waste ridiculous amounts of time watching ads.

Especially those games (and I don’t know if this is one of them) that don’t care about their ad network and so my 4yo starts seeing “snipe people on a corner” ads which is…no. Just no. Your game gets uninstalled immediately.

(Kid and I had a good talk though, so at least something good came out of it.)

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black lives matter

I posted this to an awful social media site earlier, because it’s the kind of place where people who need to read it will read it.


I don’t log onto Facebook very often anymore, because I don’t like contributing to platforms run by amoral manchild billionaires. I’ve seen posts from folks I respect — family, friends — and I want to make sure we’re clear here.

Police murdered George Floyd. Police continue to assault our friends, our neighbors, my fellow Ohioans, and our fellow Americans. You don’t have to look far to find videos of uniformed, armed, and armored police shooting CS canisters into peaceful crowds, or spraying people in the eyes with pepper spray when they obviously pose no threat, or firing rubber bullets at credentialed journalists.

I support protest against these violent institutions, and I support my fellow Americans who are brave enough to put themselves in harms way.

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we must be brave

Look if you haven’t watched SHE-RA AND THE PRINCESSES OF POWER on Netflix, just go do that. It’s five seasons long, the last of which was only recently released, and it’s now done. I sincerely wish it weren’t. What else are you doing with your time? You can skip a sourdough loaf just once.

Need more reasons?

The first episode, it was obvious that one of the main supporting female characters was thicker than the others, but it’s literally never mentioned once, and she’s presented just as competently as anyone else on the show.

In later seasons, they introduce a non-binary character. Every single character on the show uses they/them pronouns to refer to them, and it’s never spotlit or lampshaded, it just is. That character, Double Trouble, is voiced by a non-binary person and friends they’re perfect.

The entire show pivots on the obvious love between two women: the protagonist who grew up in harsh conditions and realized she could do better, and one of the main antagonists who rejected leaving and feels abandoned. I mean, c’mon.

Also the showrunner recently had a bunch of stuff to say about a fan theory that the only male main character was a trans man:

“It’s a fan theory that I’m very, very fond of. I think that if anyone – especially trans people – can see themselves in Bow, it’s incredible,” she said. “And I’m very, very happy to be able to bring a masculine character who redefines masculinity in just a very positive, aspirational way.”

However her love for the theory doesn’t mean that we’re about to see Bow confirmed as a trans character on the show, with Stevenson explaining that she would have approached things differently initially if that had always been her intention.

“I will say, it is something I’m a little hesitant to canonise, because, honestly, I would have cast a trans actor if that was something I wanted to [do]. If I wanted that character to be very canonically trans, I think that would have been a really cool thing to do,” she said. “It’s just something I want to be a little cautious around, because I don’t want to be adding to things after the fact – you know, pulling a JK Rowling, essentially.”

So yeah just go watch it. If you have kids, watch it with them.

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dungeons & dungeons & more dungeons

My eldest, nearly 8, is expressing a very minor interest in tabletop roleplaying games, and apparently I never owned a D&D Players Handbook, so clearly this is permission to buy some books!

I started by picking up Pathfinder, pictured here. I thought Pathfinder would be a reminder of how fun Dungeons & Dragons 3E was from back when I played most actively, a reminder of fun times for me and something I could introduce my son to.

HAHA NOT A CHANCE, I now have a five pound monstrosity that repels my son because it looks and reads like a college textbook. I can imagine, with the right context and a group of folks who are all into it, that this could be fun. I recall this kind of gaming being fun.

But I can’t imagine sitting my 8yo down to roll up characters, a process that looks like it takes a solid twenty minutes.

Ah well, here’s a good excuse to order up Savage Worlds, which might be more accessible.