Topics include: programming, Apple, Unix, gadgets, large-scale web sites and other nerdy stuff.

About this site

This site is written by billo, a computer programmer. I have worked for many years in software development, doing all kinds of different things: factory automation, desktop publishing software, internet telephony, network protocol implementations, small business web apps, consumer web apps, and consumer mobile apps. I've worked VMS, MS-DOS, Windows NT/2000/XP, many Unixes including many Linux variants, and on Mac and iOS. LAMP, Java and iOS are most fresh in my mind as of 2015, but I have nostalgia for LISP, which was my favorite tool ever.

The blogs I like best are the ones that either explain some problem and a solution, or point to some useful resource online. I therefore promise to write mostly about problems I encounter, and solutions I find, with the occasional rant thrown in. My sincere hope is to create a useful, unread blog. If you found me here because you were trying to answer a question, and I answered it, then that is beyond my wildest expectations. If you are just wasting time, then get back to work.

What this site has become for me, more than anything else, is a living notebook, where I write things down that I learn. Otherwise my tiny, aging brain has no chance of remembering stuff. I suppose I could write them in a file on my computer. Or in my paper notebook. (I do have one, by the way. It's one of those unbearably pretentious and cliche Moleskines, which are becoming de rigueur for über-nerd wannabes like me.) But I don't always have my computer with me, and I tend to lose paper notebooks. But it's pretty freaking hard to lose a web site, so this works well.

As I've aged (er… 'matured'), I've become much more sensitive to snarky and negative criticism. I think there certainly is a place for rants, negativity and standing up against wrong in society. However, in our little world of creating software, I find that people who make products are almost always earnestly trying to do a good job. It's a really hard thing to do, and it's impossible to please everyone. I think it's better to give people the benefit of the doubt, unless it's really clear that something unsavory or unethical is going on. So I've made an effort to talk more about things I like, less about things that I don't, and to give gentle and constructive commentary where it is deserved. Kindness is probably the most important thing humanity has. Make more of it.

If you find anything factually incorrect here, I'd love to hear about it. You can reach me on the tweets @agentbillo