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.


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.)


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.


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.


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.


technology is awful #3177.1

Yesterday updating a VM ruined being able to connect to it reasonably from Windows Hyper-V.

VirtualBox was refusing to install Arch, because it couldn’t verify PGP signatures that seemed valid when checked by other machines. It was also refusing to install Ubuntu due to “damaged CD/DVD media.”

I got the smart idea to get the free VMWare Player, because VMWare is obviously the best company in this space. VMWare absolutely required me to disable Hyper-V before I could start a VM, but then the networking wouldn’t connect.

Don’t be shocked, but after disabling Hyper-V I was able to get an Arch and an Ubuntu VM working without issue under VirtualBox.

So I mean, I’m not surprised, but the solution ended up being push Microsoft’s nonsense out of the way.


technology is awful #3177

I had planned to do two streams today, but mine completely bombed out when windows Hyper-V decided that “dist-upgrade” meant “stop being able to connect to this VM in any reasonable way.”

Hyper-V’s “magically create an Ubuntu 20.04” button generates a VM in that same state: I can boot it and connect at a worse resolution than I had twenty years ago, and good luck changing that.

VirtualBox has some kind of strange bug where whenever Arch tries to install it can’t verify any PGP signatures and bails hard.

VirtualBox also has some issue where attempting to install Ubuntu complains of a damaged CD/DVD two seconds into actual installation which is amazing since this md5sum-verified ISO file seems to have no scratches on it at all.

So apparently virtualization works super for servers and stuff but damned if I just want to work on a Linux VM on my Windows 10 machine.

EDIT, the next morning: Problems have been solved in the manner in which anyone involved in computing during the 90s could have guessed.



I’m not quite #1000mphclub, since I’m not actively pursuing contracts, but today seems busy anyway.

At 3pm ET I’ll be streaming some more Phoenix and LiveView game development. We’re trying for a mobile-controlled version of Jeopardy, kinda the way Jackbox games work. It’s very much me stumbling around and trying not to write Ruby in Elixir. Check it out.

At 7pm ET I’ll be joining Guy Royse, pairing on development of a MUD powered by Redis Graph. It sounds amazing, so I’m reviewing code and trying to remember how Redis works so I don’t completely embarrass myself. Catch it on Guy’s stream, or it should also be playing on mine.

Also I’m trying to smoke a rack of ribs, which I haven’t done in at least a year.

And I still have normal kid and house stuff I gotta do.

So yeah. I’m not busy, objectively, but it sure feels like it today.



Supposed to see my sister yesterday, one of the only people I think are taking social isolation as seriously as we are. The plan was to make some delicious food and hang out on the back patio — them on one side, us on the other, outdoors with plenty of space and a drinks cooler between us.

It ended up not happening. They were having some nausea and some other symptoms that we’re pretty sure weren’t COVID-19 but they weren’t going to bring some kind of sickness around and we weren’t going to let them.

So another week goes by where we’ve only seen people over computer screens, and precious few of those.

At least we ended up making Rusty Chicken, which you can see in-progress. Look I saw that marinade recipe with mayonnaise and maple syrup and I had to see if it was as vile as I imagined. Reader: it was absolutely delightful.

I stayed up too late last night and worked on the script for GUMBO DAY, which is literally just me in the kitchen making gumbo, but I’m being peer-pressured into making this video at long last. Which also means I get to play with lav and shotgun mic placement and please stop me from buying a wireless lav system and prompter setup I probably don’t need.


kitchen improv

  • Leeks, just the white/light green parts, ditch the dark green leaves. Slice them in half, rinse all the sand and dirt out, and slice them.
  • Onion, sliced.
  • Garlic, crushed or minced.
  • All that goes in a bowl. Then:
  • Potatoes. Wash ’em, skin ’em — or don’t if you like the skin on — and chop them up. Put them aside for later.
  • Stock. I’ve got some homemade beef stock my brother dropped off, and it’s fatty and smoky and delicious. Learn to make stock. Or just use boxed, it’s fine. The kind doesn’t matter. Beef or chicken or vegetable, whatever you’ve got on hand.

How much of these things to use depends on how many people you intend to feed, how much you like each ingredient, or how much of it you let sit in the back of the fridge and it’s about to spoil so you’d better cook it up soon.

Drop some butter into a big soup pot or dutch oven or whatever you’ve got. Melt that on medium-low heat, then toss the leek/onion/garlic in there, salt it a bit, and let it sweat down until everything’s soft and smells amazing.

Once that’s good, put some rosemary and thyme in there. If you have fresh, obviously that. If all you have is dried, it’ll work just fine.

Put the potatoes in.

Pour in stock, just enough to cover the ingredients.

Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Cover the pot and let it roll on medium-low until you can crush the potatoes easily with the back of your spoon.

Now, Nat, when he made this, also put in some cream and then used an immersion blender to puree the soup. I don’t like pureed soups and I can do without the dairy, so I skipped those steps and the soup turned out delicious.

I considered putting in some celery and carrots, but I was strapped for time. Might try that next go.


may 2020 crb day

I sincerely miss in-person meetups. Columbus Ruby Brigade hasn’t hosted an in-person meetup since February. I’m obviously not advocating we rush back to holding meetings full of infectious computer dorks, but I do miss it.

And of course, this has brought up a bunch of weird feelings because CRB used to be hosted at CoverMyMeds and probably never will be again. I’m looking forward to finally getting to see our new sponsor Root‘s space though.

But hey, we can at least video conference. This month we’re doing a Demo Day, or Grownup Show & Tell. You can always join us and show off something cool you’re doing, or a library or tool you’ve found, or whatever. I guarantee you have something interesting to show.