Re: Why Most Developers Should Avoid Apple's New Swift Language

I don't agree with this article, at least on the points he made.

> Swift is irrelevant to the majority of mobile audiences

Yes, but so are iOS apps, and so are Android apps. These are all much smaller than the total smartphone market... but they are larger than other software markets.

> The best use case for Swift is iOS exclusive games

This is true, though "exclusive" doesn't need to be part of it.

My Favorite Backup Device: Raspberry Pi NAS

Last year, I got one of those little Raspberry PI (R-Pi) devices. It's pretty cool, but in the end it's a little PC. Since there's a big bad PC under the desk, the R-Pi didn't get much use. Also, I'm a chicken hardware hacker and so I never put anything onto the GPIO pins.

R Database Connection Class in RS (R5 S5)

I'm learning R, and it's been interesting. The weird part is that I don't know stats. Yes, I know standard deviation, mean deviation, and easy stuff, but those are one-liners in the R tutorials. What I know in stats amounts to around 1/4 to 1/2 a page of the R tutorial. So to compensate, I have a stats text from the thrift store, so I'll eventually be less than a total ignoramus about what I'm reading.

One of the twists of what I'm messing with is that all our data is in a database. The normal mode of operation for R users is to load the entire data table into memory and do awesome reporting on it. Where I'm at, for better or worse, is more like a traditional web application with a database back end.

A problem with this is that MySQL lets me have only 16 connections going at the same time. I'm not sure if it's the driver, but I'll assume that. Since RStudio holds the connections, coding a lot of changes eventually leads to a lot of lost database connection handles, and eventually running out of connections.

Weird Network Fault Due to Unknown thing on the End of the Wire

I was called in to help fix a network that had been discombobulated. I didn't end up fixing it, but one staffer there did the trick by disconnecting a switch with a bunch of wires plugged into it.

Using Muriatic Acid (Pool Acid) to Clean the Toilet

We're in full drought mode in LA, and that means we follow the eleventh comandment: if it's yellow, let it mellow, and if it's brown, flush it down.

2:13-cv-2326 Rodrick Rickert v. Kurt Francis (and John Kawakami, LA Indymedia et. al.)

If you happened to come across my name in a web search, and found this lawsuit, I'm putting this page up to explain a little bit about it. For more details, contact me via If you're interested in the IMC and this suit, in general, I'm preparing a listserv to send updates.

Salsa Petition Counts with Scrapy the Python Web Scraper

I was feeling like crap, so after taking the day off and taking a nap, I spent several hours learning Scrapy. Scrapy is a pretty awesome website scraper. This example logs into a website, extracts some data, and stores it locally.

Radeon R5 230 on Ubuntu Linux 13

It works. Haven't bought a graphics card since the mid 1990s, but did this because Gnome 3 feels a lot smoother with some extra cycles and memory. All the eyecandy effects now seem to run at around 20 fps, and the colors are nicer. Before, they were more like 10 fps and jumpy. This shows up in lspci as VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] Caicos [Radeon HD 6450/7450/8450]. Seems to be a bit of a power hog, but it doesn't use a fan, so it's not going to burn too much coal.

Infographics in Inequality for All (Robert Reich film)

I had to spend time logging a video. It's always a little bit of a pain, and always takes longer than just watching the thing... so if you care about inequality, and want some really pretty graphics, and risk some potential copyright violation (though I suspect that Fair Use allows it), here you go: List of Infographics in Inequality for All.

Inviting Pope Francis to Los Angeles

I'm working on this at work - using CSS to alter Salsa's rigid layouts. :/ Yeah, it's here because I wasn't in on the issue of building backlinks.

Inviting Pope Francis to Los Angeles

TPCalc for Android

A while back, I made a little program called TPCalc to do one of my favorite mundane activities, which is to determine the best price for toilet paper at

Password Management and Two Factor Authentication: LastPass and Yubikey

LastPass is a password management add-on for web browsers and mobile phones. Yubikey is a 2-factor authentication device that pretends to be a usb keyboard, and types a one-time password when activated. LastPass integrates with Yubikey, protecting your password vault.

The integration is smooth, and I like it, but there's a risk if you lose the Yubikey, or it breaks. One fix is to buy two Yubikeys, and store one in a safe place.

I Was Robbed of Bitcoins at MtGox: Good Passwords and Site Trust

Enforcing strong passwords is a good policy, because it increases users trust in your site. I think the same applies to 2-factor authentication.

Simplifying NTFS File Permissions

I've avoided NTFS file permissions for the better part of two decades. First off, I'm not an enterprise admin, and secondly, it seemed like every network I came across had virtually no permissions. Unix, which has a primitive permission system, was usually more "locked down" in most cases.

Lately, though, there have been some mean malware in the wild, including one that encrypts your data, and then charges a ransom to decrypt it. Imagine that getting into your file servers. Yikes.

One corrective is to use those file permissions to protect your files from changes.

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