John Kawakami's blog

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Movies about the Great Recession / Real Estate Bubble / Economic Crisis

2010 is upon us, and unlike the Arthur C. Clarke sequel to 2001, wherein the world is exploring space, in the real 2010, the world is trying to find a goddamn job and avoid a huge, double-dip recession and rapid price deflation.

Online Ads - oh s- they really work on me

I've been putting ads on here for years, and they have basically failed. On other sites, it's actually OK, making a little trickle of money, which is so weird. Lately, I've been looking at the ads on this site, and sometimes I click them. It's not click fraud because I'm actually interested. So they are working. Then I put up this hideous ad with a big stack of text ads, and I wanted to click more than one of them.


These ads work on me now.

Python Packaging, Development, Git, and an Epiphany about Contemporary Development

So, I have this library, and it's always a pain to release it onto my internal computers (or any computers). Unlike the web apps it's not running from a virtualenv. It's right on the system. Maybe it shouldn't be :/

Anyway, that was my motivation for learning Python packaging. It's not hard, but you have to follow every step in the tutorials, and really repeat them a few times. After a couple tries, I had my "eggs" working locally. I also found out that I'm supposed to use pip to make "wheels" instead. I was behind the times.

Making Some Promises (in Parse, but also relevant to jQuery and Backbone)

What a confusing topic. Unfortunately, if you start wanting to add "library" features to your code, like I did, you have to study Promises.

These are notes about Parse.Promises, and the end product is a small object that caches models.

Pupilary Distance

The technique here is cool. You can find out how much your eyeballs pivot, and how far apart the lenses need to be.

I got 65mm and 70mm.

DOM tests in Jasmine

This continues some notes about working on sf-active-js, moving it to a contemporary Javascript development environment.

Here's a Jasmine spec to instantiate an HTML5 widget and test a few of the method calls. These method calls cause changes in the DOM, and these tests verify that the changes happened.

describe("comment", function() {
    var comment;
    beforeEach(function() {
        var elements = $('<div id="disclose"></div><div id="edit"></div>');
        comment = Comment('#edit', '#disclose');

Browserify libraries that can be tested with Jasmine... before they are rolled up by Browserify

This is part of a series of notes about bringing a JS project, sf-active-js, over to a contemporary Javascript development environment.

This is a trick to write modules that are testable in a browser, without subjecting the test to Browserify. Why?

I want to develop without the compilation step. It's easier and faster to work in the browser. (This particular app is mostly DOM manipulation, so headless isn't important.) Once the module has settled down, it can be added to the library.

The rest of this note assumes you know the Jasmine sample test runner included with the distro.

Notes on migrating to a contemporary javascript development environment

I'm writing this after writing the first two notes in this series about migrating sf-active-js to a contemporary Javascript development environment.

I wrote the original experiment a couple years ago. It's a JS client that retrieves some json data from the server, and displays it. I ran out of time, and didn't finish it then.

Upon revisiting the code, I found it a little confusing. It was around 800 lines of jQuery-style JS.

One Event Bus to Rule Them All! d3 dispatch, the d3 event system, notes

Learning d3 events this afternoon. These are the notes I'm taking while I'm learning it. I hope it helps.

It's called d3.dispatch. d3.dispatch('eventname1','eventname2') returns an object that manages setting event handlers, and dispatching events. The event system isn't global (unlike in most frameworks, where the event system appears to be globally available)- it's contained entirely within the object.

How many steps are there in a simple user registration and login?

We all take it for granted that most sites will have a user registration system, and way to log in. We're used to it, and most people are unaware of how complex it is.

So, how complex is it?

It's around 15 different steps or screens.


I've done it a dozen times, and I think that's about right.

Bitten by the "this" scope issue in JavaScript callbacks

I took a step away from Angular and jQuery style coding conventions and dropped back to the traditional JS-style OOP, mainly because I wanted to get familiar with regular JS programming using the MDN docs, and learn the new HTML5 calls (which aren't new anymore).

I ended up coding using an MVC style, and consequently, added an event handling system. It was easy-but-cheesy so I eneded up using Backbone's event system. (It makes me look more hip.)

BTW, here's one way to use Backbone events within traditional JS code:

FooController = function() {
  var obj;

Parallax Effect

This is a short snippet of code to do the popular "parallax" effect for headings. This code has two boxes. The second box helps you see how to deal with a box that's not at the top of the page.

There's not much to it. You make some boxes and set the background-position based on the window.scrollY value.

        <style type="text/css">
            #box1 {
                height: 350px;
                background-image: url(trafficjam.jpg);
            #box2 {
                height: 350px;

Shorter code with functional-style programming in PHP.

So, I'm doing wordpress programming, and one of the headaches is that they store serialized objects in the database with the update_option() and related functions.

This makes querying some data difficult. Here's an example of the data structure I was dealing with (it stores sidebar settings).

    [wp_inactive_widgets] => Array

    [sidebar-1] => Array
            [0] => search-2
            [1] => recent-posts-2
            [2] => recent-comments-2

PulseAudio Microphone Not Working in Skype or Gnome PulseAudio

This took forever to fix. I upgraded the computer two versions of Ubuntu ago, and ever since then, the front mic stopped working.

It could be the mic's wire or the mic, but even a standalone mic wasn't working. It worked OK with Audacity, which uses Alsa.

It turned out the problem was that the Sound control panel in Gnome didn't work. Somehow, the system decided to change the input from Analog to Digital SPDIF. I don't use SPDIF.

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