Category Archives: Life

Why Curmudgeon Cafe?

I’ve setup a Mastodon instance called Curmudgeon Cafe. Why? Well, after creating a Mastodon account and learning more about it I really wanted to have my own instance, that’s why. It’s no big deal and was really easy to do using Masto.host. For five Euros a month I get a managed Mastodon instance and it was painless to setup. Now folks can find me @fahrni@curmudgeon.cafe on Mastodon.

The name Curmudgeon Cafe grew out of many conversations over the years with some old friends. I believe Christopher Hawkins once said we should have a Curmudgeon Conference and I know there have been many conversations between some of my old blogging friends about camping together — something we’ve never managed to pull off.

As a result my friends and I now have a Mastodon instance for us to play with.

If you’re interested in Mastodon please start off reading about it at Join Mastodon. It’s basically a federation of servers that behaves a lot like Twitter. In fact it’s so open and well defined Twitter could exist there as an instance among many instances.

Imagine that?

Gowalla Imagery

Back when Gowalla was still around I just loved their style. I used to visit their website just to look at all the beautiful imagery they produced. I kept some of it and thought I’d share it below. I hope that’s OK?

Some of these may not be from Gowalla, but I’m sure most of them are.

Enjoy.

P.S. – It seems a real shame Facebook didn’t keep the old site up just as an artifact. That would’ve been really nice. If the Gowalla site is archived anywhere and I can link to it drop me an email at rob.fahrni@gmail.com or reach out on Twitter to @fahrni. Thanks.

New York – Before Air Conditioning

It's a real scorcher here in the San Joaquin Valley!The New Yorker (by Arthur Miller): “People on West 110th Street, where I lived, were a little too bourgeois to sit out on their fire escapes, but around the corner on 111th and farther uptown mattresses were put out as night fell, and whole families lay on those iron balconies in their underwear.”

We have an expected high of 105 today. I cannot, for the life of me, imagine living without air conditioning in the San Joaquin Valley.

Help with Hugo

A wonderful boquet of flowers.A couple weeks back my WordPress weblog started doing funny things. Apparently someone was able to gain access to it via my Jetpack login and install a bitcoin mining service. Joy.

When you’d visit my site you’d occasionally get booted to another site, typically one that wasn’t nice, but on occasion it was what appeared to be a nice weblog. I’m not sure who’s it was but it wasn’t wanted.

So I disabled the site and put up a temporary placeholder page while I figured out what to do about it. This is the second time I’ve had to make changes because my WordPress site was broken into. It makes having a blog a lot less fun when idiots break you stuff.

I decided I’d install Hugo and figure out how to use it to automagically post on my server. I found a nice page documenting how to use git with git triggers to publish a Hugo based weblog and went about trying it out. It works fine, but there is something I can’t figure out.

When publishing I would like to have my front page contain some number of blog posts with permalinks to those posts. E.G. Clicking on the title would take you to a URL like

https://iam.fahrni.me/2018/01/08/2017-iphone-homescreen/

. Notice the yyyy/mm/dd format in the URL. I want that exact thing for my Hugo pages so I can import what I already have and not mess up links to my existing posts. Hugo looks like it can do this, but there’s one thing that bugs me and I haven’t been able to figure it out.

When you click on the permalink it displays a URL like the one above but the file doesn’t actually exist at that location. It must use some JavaScript to do the work, I guess? I have no clue because I don’t grok how web pages and JavaScript really operate.

Can someone please let me know if Hugo can generate a standalone HTML file and drop it into a directory with yyyy/mm/dd format so I can maintain what I already have? If I can do that I’m all in with Hugo. Otherwise it’s off to find a fully baked blogging system that can do what I want.

Accidental Tech Podcast 255

A wonderful bouquet of flowers.I love me some ATP. The guys consistently teach me something and I really love it when John and Marco get into their rants about the Mac Pro. If you’re not subscribed go subscribe now.

The guys have introduced a new feature to the podcast recently called Ask ATP. I really loved episode 255’s Ask ATP. They got three really interesting questions and I couldn’t resist talking about them a bit. Please listen to the episode for their answers. I’m going to give mine for two and talk a bit about the third one.

Question #1: What if you had to use iOS?

I love this question. With iOS 11 Apple focused a great deal of effort on iPad specific features, but it’s no macOS.

So, what would I need to use iOS as a daily driver? Assuming Xcode existed I’d like a version of iOS that can pair with a full size keyboard, mouse, and display. That’s right, I’d need a mouse. I’ve heard talk of a MacBook-like device running iOS. That would be pretty incredible.

The mythical iBook could be fine for developing iOS Apps, but what about Mac Apps? I suppose they could generate code for a Mac from an iOS version of Xcode but it sure would make testing difficult. I also use VM’s as a part of my day job. Those would go away and that’s fine for an iOS only development platform. I’d probably try it.

Question #2: What if you had to use Windows?

This one is easy for me. In the late 80’s I started my development career writing DOS applications in Microsoft BASIC (not GW BASIC.) In the early 90’s I started learning C and the Windows API — later moving to C++ — and spent the next 25-plus years developing native Windows applications.

I’d be fine moving back to Windows. I think it’s a great operating system. I prefer MacOS these days but I could go back to Windows quite easily. Heck, I still use it in a VM for some backend services work at Agrian.

Question #3: What if you didn’t have advertisers?

This question, in a way, was kind of a bummer. It’s clear the guys do this as a business. That is not a bad thing, at all. A fellas got to make a living but it would definitely stink to see it disappear or go to a subscription model. Not that subscriptions are bad because they’re not. I just have a bit of subscription fatigue so I’d have decide if it were worth subscribing to. Yeah, I’d most likely subscribe.

The Scorpion and The Frog

This telling of a classic story is so good I had to post it here so I could read it over and over and over.

Click on it to read the entire thread. It’s glorious.

Downtown Fresno – Fulton Street

The Fresno Bee: “But there is so much promise. Nowhere else in Fresno contains such great architecture, buildings that give you a sense of place and history. And few California cities, if any, boast Fulton Street’s amazing collection of mid 20th-century sculptures and fountains, all beautifully conserved.”

It’s been a long time coming but Fulton Street in Downtown Fresno is finally, finally, ready to be used. They’ve done an amazing job and I’m pretty excited about seeing the changes in person.

Old downtown Fresno Architecture
Old downtown Fresno Architecture

If I were looking to build I’d look downtown first. There are many beautiful buildings downtown just sitting empty. The architecture is varied and beautiful. There is also a great opportunity to fix some of the mistakes of the past, like covering beautiful materials with ugly facades — watch the video with shots of old Downtown Fresno and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I hope building owners take this opportunity to improve their buildings and make the “less ghetto” as one of the folks in the article put it.

If you live in Fresno you owe it to yourself to spend a bit of time downtown with open eyes. Focus on the improvements. Check out Bitwise South Stadium and Hashtag Fresno in the old Hotel Virginia on Kern Street.

If you’ve ever lived in a vibrant city you’ll understand my desire to be a part of downtown. I continue to hope it can become a thriving place in the valley. It sounds like it has a chance. We have some true believers, we just need that extra little push to get over the hump.

Downtown Fresno streetcar.
Downtown Fresno streetcar.

Check out the video of years past. Fresno had a vibrant Downtown, complete with street cars! How cool is that?

Cities are fun when they work. I had the pleasure of working in Downtown Seattle for a number of years and it’s so nice to step outside the door of your business and be able to choose from hundreds of places to eat and shop without getting in your car and dealing with traffic.

Like I said above. If you have a business and are considering a move, or want to build your own place, you should consider Downtown Fresno. Become part of the solution, restore a building, or a floor in a building and help attract others downtown.

If I were a business owner you can bet I’d build downtown.

My Medical Records

Medical records need disrupting. I’ve made little quips here and there on Twitter about this. I should own my medical records and they should be shared with physicians and their facilities as needed.

Why? In the words of Joe Biden “None of your business.” Seriously though, why should our medical records be locked in a system we cannot access? We can learn something from Twitter, Facebook, and Google. We should own our medical records — via an open standard — and allow doctors and hospitals to ask our permission to see them. Much like friending someone on a social network. The doctor looks me up, asks if they can see my records, I get a message saying the doctor would like access to my records, and I choose to let them or not. My choice, my records.

Case in point. I have a problem with one of my knees. In 2004 I had surgery to remove cartilage, a bone spur, and some arthritis from that knee. It was a fantastic decision. It made my day to day life much better. Fast forward to 2017 and that knee has become an issue. It hurts — constantly, it swells, on occasion it fails causing me to stumble, and it’s unstable. I don’t trust it and I’m tired of the constant pain it causes.

Getting to the point. I made an appointment with my family doctor to discuss the problem. Before going I tried to locate the doctor that did the surgery back in 2004, but she’s moved on. I contacted her old group to see if they had my records. Nope. All they have are records dating back to 2006. Ok, no proof of the surgery and more importantly I don’t have a record of what was done to the knee. Swell.

I visit my doctor last week. Tell her what’s going on. She puts the knee through some tests and understands there is something going on. Great. I explain there is a history here but I cannot tell her exactly what was done. My only explanation is I had surgery in 2004 to do X, Y, and Z. But I don’t know the exact terms nor do I know where the cartilage was removed or how much.

She orders and x-ray and while she’s doing this she explains she’d like to do an MRI but the Insurance company requires she order an x-ray and order physical therapy before doing the MRI. What?

She knows it’s wrong but her hands are tied. She can’t see what’s already been done to the knee and to top it off the insurance company has it’s checklist she has to fulfill before she can order what she really needs.

Now I get to go through — what I imagine will be quite uncomfortable — physical therapy because my records are lost.

I have to believe if a service existed, based on open standards, I’d be able to share these records with my doctor so she could see exactly what was done in 2004 and the insurance company would also have evidence physical therapy didn’t work back then so why not go right to the MRI and avoid the expense of the x-ray and physical therapy.

This is broken.

I know the EHR is only a tiny fraction of our dated system but I’d like to have a complete medical history. It’s my history.

To fix this will take eons. Medicine is so far behind when it comes to technology. Look at systems like Epic. It is seen as a leader in its field, but it’s a closed system. How does that benefit anyone but Epic? It doesn’t.

We need an Open API with services offered by many providers that are patient driven. Allow data to move between systems. Don’t make your money by holding patient data hostage. Make your money by building the better service.

Hopefully, someday, we’ll have a Single Payer System in America. As part of that system it’s my sincere hope good patient outcomes becomes the center of attention and data is allowed to flow between systems at, at least, national level.

Someone please disrupt this industry with an open system.

Wearing Pants poll results

73% of respondents agree wearing pants does not make you a better Software Developer.

The only puzzling thing to me about this poll is the 27% that voted Yes. Must be management types?