How to Make a Good Cup of Coffee

How to Make a Good Cup of Coffee

Oh, Internet, why do you worry so much about making the perfect cup of coffee? You're overthinking it. There really isn't that much to it. Put some water into a tea kettle. Put the kettle onto the stove and turn the burner under the kettle to high. It doesn't have to be a Le Creuset — any kettle will do. Hell, even a little pot from Ikea will do. Just get some heat under some water and bring it to an almost-boil. While the water's heating up, grind some coffee. I use a hand grinder. It only takes a couple…

Possible

Possible

I love this quote from Philip Greenspun's book Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing (1997) that I noticed just before we decided to stash all our stuff and move to Ohio for a while: When the network infrastructure is powerful enough for most houses to enjoy video-rate bandwidth, the computer will be able to support your collaboration with other people. If you had TV-quality video and audio links to your collaborators and a shared workspace, you wouldn’t have to commute to work or fly around from city to city so much. Though I don’t like to predict…

Meet the Guinea

Meet the Guinea

This is a guinea. He lives with us. He's awesome. His official responsibility as an FTE Resident Animal of the Farm is eating ticks. I'm not sure how many he actually eats, but we haven't been bitten yet (although I understand we're a ways outside tick season), and he's cool and we like him and he likes to hang out and make guinea noises.…

I Made Some Things With Wood

I Made Some Things With Wood

My father and I are both engineers, but the kinds of things we make couldn't be different: he's a mechanical engineer, so he builds mostly physical things, whereas mine tend to be more virtual. Even my hobbies — photography, filmmaking, various flavors of design — are nearly all pixel-based and happen in front of a screen, generally at the direction of my fingertips. So whenever I get a chance to make something in the physical world, I usually try to have fun with it. My wife asked me to make her some candlestick holders for the holidays. Our in-laws are…

The Offspring

The Offspring

The Nunciato kids, in a photo (IMHO) worthy of the cover of their future début album. Not long after this picture was taken, somebody stole that stroller, right out of our front yard. We miss that stroller. It was awesome.…

Missing the Ship Canal

Missing the Ship Canal

We've been in Ohio for about a month now, and we're loving it, but we all miss at least a few things about Seattle. One of my favorites was Saturday mornings at the Ship Canal, where we'd eat our take-our breakfasts from PCC and watch the boats go by for a while. Yeah, I miss that a lot.…

Motorhead: Rhapsody for Me

I did a lot during my time at Rhapsody — rebuilt the subscription Web experience, built a solid little playback engine, founded the User Experience group, founded the Developer Platform group and then built the actual platform, etc. — but by far, the most fun I had was in designing and developing and then traveling around with a project I called Motorhead: a Chrome app aimed at demonstrating how good Rhapsody could be for both developers and users alike. Aside from the music e-learning app I made for Cengage a few years back, and maybe RealDVD (which was awesome, but…

Books Over Bits

Yesterday, as I was walking past one of the bookshelves in my office, I noticed Jakob Nielsen's Designing Web Usability just sitting there, still unread (like so many of my books) a couple of years after I nabbed it at the Seattle Public Library's annual book sale for a buck. So after the kids finally went down last night, I curled up next to the wife on the floor in their room and started reading. I'm still only about 50 pages in, but it's a surprisingly clear and applicable read, even at 15 years old and on the subject of…

Simple and Mechanical

This morning I ran across this article on ReadWrite about the coolness of home automation and all the wonderful things we have today to help us with that. These wonderful things, as it were, are all nifty and cool, and consumers would seem to be fairly excited about them. But for my part, I'm just not finding myself struggling with challenges like forgetting to turn off the lights around my house, or longing to be able to turn them on with my cell phone from miles away, or slumped over sobbing with my head in my hands because I've failed…

Soccer Season Has Begun

It's Oliver's second season, Sam's first, and we're indoors this weekend, mainly because this is Seattle and it's March, so it's still right around 40 degrees outside. You'll find me in the bleachers with my DSLR trying really hard not to look like a complete asshole. Oliver has a great time — he has the same coach he had last year, Coach Kat, which is a big deal because Coach Kat is a girl, and girl coaches are good; man coaches are not. This, apparently, should be obvious. Sammy is ecstatic, but has almost no interest whatever in what's happening…

Using Strings for Resource Owner IDs in Doorkeeper

I know I said I wouldn't do as much code-related posting here as I used to, but what the heck — here's one that had me stumped for a while that folks might find useful. I'm working on another OAuth 2 provider — my second in less than a year, actually — and this time around, I went with Doorkeeper, which abstracts away most of the tedium of working with OAuth, and which has been nice. It does make a couple of assumptions about how you're storing your user data, though — one of which is that your users have…

An Impromptu Snow Day

One of the things my wife loves most about me* is my penchant for hopping into a car (or better, onto a plane) without any idea where I'm going. She's a planner, and I'm — well, pretty much not, so it tends to drive her a little nuts when she asks what I'd like to do Saturday morning and I say something like, "Let's just go somewhere." Occasionally, when she plays along, we end up somewhere interesting. Yesterday, it was Snoqualmie, which is only about an hour from where we live. Despite living here for over five years now, I'd…

Buildin' Sets for the Coffee Table

This past Friday, I took a much-needed day off to help a friend, Scotto Moore, build some sets for Season Two of his Web series The Coffee Table. That contraption off to the right is a scale replica of his back porch, and in the lower photo, far back in the right corner, is a little coffee-house kiosk we assembled as well, both crafted by fellow programmer Ian Johnston. It was fun, and brought me right back to the short time I spent as a grad student making films (and with actual film!) at Chapman. Production started Saturday at Victory…

Gus Visser and His Singing Duck

So last night, while the wife was off having tea with with one of her friends, I was flipping through covers on Amazon Video and stumbled on a nice find — a documentary called These Amazing Shadows, which covers the creation and philosophy of the National Film Registry. There were a number of gems in there, including one very strange one from 1925 that I'd never heard of before: Hilarious and historically significant! Although it's unclear quite how much the duck appreciated the whole thing.…

D. W. Griffith's A Corner in Wheat

One of my resolutions this year is to spend more time with the movies. So after finishing J. Hoberman's book Film After Film (a book, yes — but a book about the movies), I dove right into David Thomson's The Big Screen, which re-introduced me to D. W. Griffith, whose work I only briefly glossed over in grad school. Here's one one of his more notable shorts, A Corner in Wheat from 1909, which tells a dramatic (and sort of comedic) story of flour and greed. YouTube is the best.…

Happy Holidays, Folks

It's been an interesting and cacophanous year for the Seattle Nunciatos, filled with many incredible blessings and a few of the usual disappointments. Lots and lots of pictures here, with a nice one below by my wife's friend Erin Lackey. Merry Christmas, friends, and here's to an excellent New Year for you in 2014.…

I Seriously Can't Say Enough About This Drive

So I recently purchased one of these: ... and like I said, I can't say enough about it. It's fast, it's light, it's very quiet, and I can store pretty much everything I have on it, including all (i.e., dozens) of my old Mini/HDV tapes, with plenty of room to spare for editing projects. It's also USB-powered, which means no external power cable, and it can run off my Mac's battery, which is just awesome. I could keep going. But then I'd just go on forever, and you probably have more important things to be doing, anyway.…

An Easy Way to Merge MPEG Video Files

Here's a handy tip if you, like me: Have a Mac or another Unix-like OS Have a bunch of MPEG video files you'd like to stitch together (say, if your camera battery, oh, happened to die halfway through your real-time capture — and yes, I do still use tape, thank you very much) Are too lazy and impatient to bother with a real non-linear editor Turns out, you can just use cat! Just pop open your favorite Terminal app and tap out this one-liner: $ cat file1.mpeg file2.mpeg file3.mpeg >> newfile.mpeg And that's it — you're…

Soccer!

Today, the boy had his very first soccer practice. Loved it! (I think he enjoyed it, too.) If you're so inclined, you can view the full set on Flickr.…

Feynman on Magnetism

This video's certainly made the rounds online, but it's still one of my favorites: Richard Feynman trying to explain, in layman's terms, how magnets work: Because of magic, kid. Just accept it. I love just listening to Feynman talk, because he sounds like the perfect vocal intersection of my father and my grandmother.…

Memoization in JavaScript and Ruby

So the other day, I ran into a situation in which I was calling a function recursively in JavaScript and needed to reduce its complexity. (And don't act like this doesn't happen to you constantly, too.) As it happened, the function was just performing a calculation, taking a number and returning a number, and because of the way the function was being used, the overwhelming majority of the calculations were redundant; in a hundred calls, maybe 90 of them would've been calculated at least once before. Then I remembered to memoize. What's Memoization? Memoization is just a computer-sciencey term that…

Installing and Running GNUPlot on OSX Mountain Lion

I'm slowly working my way through The Audio Programming Book (obtained on a recent trip to MIT), and on reaching the section dealing with plotting audio envelopes, I ran into a snag I figured others might run into as well. I'd downloaded and installed gnuplot, and when I ran the command to plot my file: plot "envelope.txt" with lines ... well, nothing happened. So Here's What I Did This fix assumes you've got XCode installed, which I do (version 4.6); I'm not sure if you actually need Xcode (although from this thread, it looks like you might), but I…

Speaking at Music Hackday @MIT 2012

This is a couple of months old, too — it's a not-so-great photo of me presenting my new music platform (powered by Rhapsody, yo!) at MIT, part of the annual Music Hackday Boston thrown by the EchoNest. There were about 300 developers there, about a third of whom were MIT computer-science students, and I think it's fair to say that I've never been so nervous in all my life. I taught for a couple of years in college, too, but that was nothing compared to this. I could barely speak — zero saliva, spotlit and sweating — and while I…

Happy Thanksgiven

We went simple this year — no traveling, no guests, just our own little nuclear fam, minus a snoozing three-month-old. Here's a classy little animated GIF for your enjoyment. Happy Holidays, dear visitor.…

Headhunters

I was relieved to discover I wasn't the only one who thought this little Norwegian thriller had some big plausibility issues. To be fair, I haven't read the book, but even so: Why not just tell your wife you're in a bit over your head? She seems like a sensible person. If that's not an option, still — why go for the complex world of high-stakes art theft, forgery, etc., when your main problem's keeping up with your house payments? Seems like a terribly complicated and dangerous solution to a fairly quotidian problem — like dabbling in drug smuggling to…

A Few Things I've Learned on Paternity Leave

As you'll no doubt derive from nearby posts, we gave birth to a daughter a couple of weeks ago — our third offspring in as many years (and likely, i.e., surgically, our last). I took three weeks' paternity leave, roughly half my annual vacation, and could easily take more, were it not for the mountain of work that'll surely be waiting for me when I go back. A few things I've learned so far: I could get seriously fat being around all this food all day long. Unless you constantly clean up after yourself and everyone else, your house…

Hello, Rosemary

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce the newest member of our little nucular family, Miss Rosemary Ruthanne Nunciato — born August 21 at a little past 10:00 PM. Many more to come, of course. (Pictures, not children.) PS: Three kids in three years! Holy shit!…

Weezer Covering Paranoid Android

I saw them perform this live at Adobe MAX in L.A. late last year (front row, bitches!), and it was amazing. Once I dig up the videos, I'll post whatever's watchable here. Rivers doesn't quite have the voice to pull this off, or the right kind of voice, or whatever, but it's still fun, and since I don't have much else to say this morning, this is what you get. Enjoy, Internet person.…