Things I read in October 📚

Non-fiction:

  • Play Anything, Ian Bogost. I like his shtick on twitter, @ibogost. (I skimmed the heavier philosophical bits.)
  • Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages, Gaston Dorren. One of those fun books that comes around every now and then, full of language factoids. (It was near the Bogost book; I have a habit of grabbing one random-nearby-book for every book I intentionally seek out.) I just noticed while grabbing a URL for this entry, that other versions have different subtitles. Weird.

Fiction:

  • The Municipalists, Seth Fried. Loved the premise (sort-of Laundry Files humor-tech but focused on civil infrastructure instead of Cthulhu) but it dragged a bit; felt like a clever idea for a short story, stretched into a full-length novel.

Gatsby & images in RSS

Gatsby uses plugins to transform markdown and images into HTML. (I think they have parents or cousins that work more broadly, but I’m familiar with them inside a Gatsby context.) One of them, gatsby-remark-images, does a lot to improve performance (transforming images into different sizes, handling placeholders and using ”blur-up” tricks, etc).

This is great for a blog with images. BUT… when all of the HTML that wraps those images gets stuffed into an RSS feed, the result doesn’t always look great. In particular, when my feed is displayed on micro.blog, my images’ aspect-ratios are distorted based on the app’s window width.

The hack-y solution I came up with was to do a string-replacement inside the RSS query. All the html in that function gets run through

html: html.replace('width: 100%; height: 100%; ', '')

and my images become fixed in size. Fixed!

(But wait … now I’m looking at the same image in my regular web-based feed reader, and the aspect ratio is fine, it’s just that the image remains 700px wide at all times regardless of window width. I wonder if setting CSS width and height to auto instead of just wiping them clean, would work?)

Next day, even more update: In inoreader, on the web, the image is always, always fixed-width. In micro.blog, it scales correctly. In the new NetNewsWire it also scales correctly. So there’s something about the app-ness (as compared to web-ness) that makes it work.

It’s okay, it’s just not perfect.


Python & mac OS

I’ve touched Python in extremely limited ways, over the last couple of years, and always been frustrated at the version-weirdness and my lack of understanding (”I have 2 and 3 on my machine already? Should I change from one to the other? Is this gonna get into bash shell stuff I’ve never really grokked?”)

Anyway this article, The right and wrong way to set Python 3 as default on a Mac, looked authoritative so I followed it, installed pyenv (equivalent to nvm in node-world, I gather), and got it working. Shout out to commenter Arturo Mascarinas for noting the extra space in the final command, which was indeed stopping me from crossing the finish line.


Serious question

gobledeegook

This is a “Promoted” tweet. An ad. But… for… ?

I assume it’s an ugly political-deception ad trying to pass as A Regular Twitter Grandpa. Still, what signal is generated for the ad buyer? “Twitter users who click this are valuable targets for our messaging about _.”

?


What I read in August 📚

The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn, Usman T. Malik - I went looking for more M.E.-flavored short SFF and found this, which I liked.


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