Tag Archives: Site updates

Where I navel-gaze at the fun of my recent site updates.

Granny Squares, Now in Color

A pretty ugly blanket generated by the Granny Squares app.Many moons ago, I debuted my Granny Squares Color Pattern Generator, a utility to help crocheters randomize their blankets, which can be a daunting task.

I recently got a request for a way to help visualize the blanket that’s generated. It’s hard to work from a list of “r/h/p”-type entries. Not very user-friendly.

So I added in a color picker today, and the generator now shows the colors of the squares. As a warning, if you have a lot of very similar colors, the generated image may be difficult to work from. Then again, if your blanket’s in 15 shades of purple (yes, please!), you may not need this utility.

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Chewing on Granny Squares

My knitting colleague E. made the (arguably) goofy decision to refresh her crocheting skills by taking on a granny squares blanket.

It’s a great idea for using up a ton of scrap yarn.

It’s not a great idea if you enjoyed the level of sanity you had when you started.

She quickly ran into the classic self-randomizing problem: given 20 different colored yarns of different weights, how do you put 3 different ones in each square while trying to keep the colors as random as possible? Sounds easy enough, but after 15 or so squares, it gets tricky. If you’re aiming for randomization, the last thing you want is a big diagonal of purple in your blanket when you’re done.

So E. appealed to me and asked me to write her a “script” to randomize her colors. I was on board, look forward to some Python/Django fun before I realized that what I’d been handed was a graph coloring problem with some fun restraints. (Turns out it was easy, but fun to think through.)

Before I get into the technical bits, go make a blanket or two. Then go find some esoteric method to contact me (or comment here) and let me know what you think, especially if you run into an issue.
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Deployment Automation with Fabric: Bee’s Knees

One immensely valuable thing I learned at Skookum was the value of automated deployments. I worked with a gent who took the time to work up Capistrano scripts for each staging and production environment of the whale of a project I worked with him on.

I appreciated it during development, but I didn’t appreciate it until we were deploying single tweaks out to production on Amazon EC2 in rapid cycles. I haven’t worked with EC2 since then (second half of 2009), but let me tell you, deployments were for the birds.

With his scripts though: run the script, enter your SSH or git password(s) a few times, and you have an automated deployment that runs for each person on the team, despite all our separate setups (Mac, Linux, cygwin, etc.).

It sounds trivial and obvious, but how many deployments did I do by hand, or try (poorly) to document for someone else, or forget how to do before that really sunk in?

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Google Apps: Migration to New Services

As of yesterday, I had two Google accounts: my irrsinn.net Google Apps account and my regular ol’ Google Account. Both had the same email address, but the Google Account let me into services like Reader, Voice, and Feedburner.

Having two accounts was annoying, but not unbearable. It meant that Google Voice, for instance, had none of my preciously-maintained and iWone-synced contacts. I just created contacts within Voice as calls came in, no biggie, but I’ve definitely been using the service less as a result.

Turns out that Google’s been working on this, and recently added a boatload to services to Google Apps users: Voice, Feedburner, and Reader being the three I’m more interested in. AdSense was tricky, and was only moved for posterity. Continue reading Google Apps: Migration to New Services

Happy Bir’day to Me!

There's no end in sight for this.Saturday was my bir’day! I’m a ripe young mumble-something years old, and I don’t feel like I’m getting old–I feel like I’m running out of time.

Advertising that I didn’t want gifts (hello, getting rid of stuff) meant that the gifts I did get were thoughtful and amazing. A set of writing books covering memoirs, grants, motivation, and fictionwriting techniques. A shorthand manual. Weber and Neal Stephenson books. Amazing and creative fancy-pants yarn (color 12).Greg says this yarn could kill me and that I should ask for a pale man to save me.

I picked up yarn for a new project myself on Saturday–an afghan to be finished by Feb 13 and begun after I finish my current afghan. Greg, being Greg, picked a pretty, soft eggplant-colored yarn for the blanket, and it’s going to be beautiful. I’ll have to relearn how to knit for that and the wavy scarf I’m doing with the fancypants yarn.

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