Hodgeblot

Comics as a way of life

 •  Filed under Comics, Comic Shop, Writing

I've got big news! I'm opening a comic shop in my wife's store Mix it Up! at Lake Martin.

I'm planning to start small. We're located in a small town, and I'm just beginning to learn about the business of selling comics. The plan is to steadily build up stock based on what customers tell me they want. I'll also be able to order most anything people ask for. Our selection of new comics will grow as we learn what customers want, too.

I'm excited for the opportunity to do this. Doing something with comics has been a life-long dream of mine. I'm even planning to focus on my comics writing a little more as part of this. I have an idea going that I'll likely try to produce myself when I find an artist who likes the idea.

So it's all comics for me now, both on this site and all the social sites I'm using. I've still got my day job as a programmer, but I probably won't focus on that much online, except as it impacts the comics work.

All of that to say -- comics is a way of life now. And I'm excited about this new journey and sharing it with everyone online.

Check out Whitman, Alabama

 •  Filed under Poetry, Web, Video, Storytelling, Story

If you love Walt Whitman, Alabama, poetry, filmmaking, or the American South, you have to check out Jennifer Chang Crandall's awesome new work Whitman, Alabama.

I worked with Jenn on a project when we were at the Washington Post together, and we've been good friends ever since. I had a very tiny part in helping her cross the finish line on this Whitman project, and I'm grateful for the experience of working with her again, even if it was only as a sounding board or in a phone-a-technical-friend capacity.

There is tremendous story telling and video work on this site. Just take 3 minutes and read and watch some of the work on the site, and I bet you'll look up 30 minutes or an hour later and be longing for more. It's that good!

Check out the latest featured video below:

Never too old to computer

 •  Filed under Computers, Progamming, Mobile, Ios, App Development

What an inspiring story from Yi Shu Ng on Mashable about an 81 year old woman making an iOS app.

Masako Wakamiya is making the news for an app she created to show people the correct way to place their traditional doll displays ahead of Hinamatsuri, or Girl's Day, in Japan.

Wakamiya is a former banker who clocked 43 years of service at a major Japanese bank, and only learned how to use computers when she was 60.

I love the sense of tradition meeting the digital in both her life and the app. And also the obvious thought that you're never too old to computer.

Fascinating podcast on immigration from NY Times

 •  Filed under Podcast, Politics

I've already mentioned how much I love Overcast while writing about the Overcast 3.0 redesign. I turned ads back on even though I'm a subscriber because I wanted to check out the new podcast ad system Marco Arment created. In the process I discovered The Daily from The New York Times. This morning I listened to one of the most compelling podcasts on immigration I've ever heard.

The podcast begins with a gripping story about a man in Southern Illinois who gets taken by ICE agents, much to the dismay of locals who love and respect him. There is also an account of recent changes in immigration policy from the perspective of ICE agents. Really, fascinating stuff that accounts for both sides of this issue.

If you only listen to one podcast today, take 20 minutes and check out:

The Daily: Monday, Feb. 27, 2017

Don't be a "Did it work? Yay! Ship it!" coder

 •  Filed under Programmer, Programming, Software, Software Development

I'm working on a longer post on what it means to write high quality code, but until that's done, I wanted to call out what I see as the tell-tale sign of less experienced programmers. It's when you see that "Did it work? Yay! Ship it!" quality to code. Let's call the person who does this, the DIWYSI coder.

So what are the signs of the DIWYSI coder?

The most obvious sign is lint, lazy writing or code structure, and lots of notes to self that never get acted upon. I don't mean that code has to be perfectly structured. I'm really not a perfectionist. It's just that someone who is only trying to get the code working and not thinking of other programmers is going to just hack, hack, hack, and once it works, commit and move on.

This kind of code often looks like:

    const thing = function someFun(){
      If ( something)
          // How does this even work?!?!
          {
             Do_the_thing() }
    };

This is exaggerated, of course, but it's not far off some stuff I've seen.

Keep this in mind -- great code is much more than just writing something that runs correctly. "Did it work?" should be the first question you ask, not the only question. If it doesn't run, then yeah, it's not good. Anyone working as a programmer today ought to be able to write code that runs. Writing code that runs and that another programmer can pick up and understand is much better.

Overcast's app-design fashion

 •  Filed under Ios, Apps, Design, Podcast

Marco Arment's post on Overcast 3's new design is a fascinating read. My favorite line from the piece:

App-design fashion doesn’t stand still

I was also surprised to learn that so few people know how to delete podcast episodes. One of the biggest selling points of Overcast, for me, is how easy it is to scan and delete episodes. I agree, though, that the new version makes this better.

Overcast is the best podcast app on iOS, hands down. Get it if you don't already use it. And this post is a great behind-the-scenes read on the design of the latest version.

Via Daring Fireball.

For the Debaters: What Shall We Do About the Tech Careening Our Way? - The New York Times

 •  Filed under Politics, Economics, Technology

For the Debaters: What Shall We Do About the Tech Careening Our Way? - The New York Times

This is so spot on. Someone please ask a question like this during the debates. Everyone claims they’re going to repair our economy, and yet, none of them ever talk seriously about the role of tech in both advancing and displacing economies around the world.

This. Please. Yes, this.

Daring Fireball: Design as Branding

 •  Filed under Mobile, Apple, Design, Iphone

Daring Fireball: Design as Branding

I love Gruber’s take here, as he rebuts Manjoo’s belief that Apple design has gone stale. It’s actually shocking to me how many people mistake design as aesthetics only, rather than a combination of look, feel, and function. This is, perhaps, a good indicator for why so much much tech – software and hardware combined – is so often ridiculously clunky and unfriendly to everyday users.

And for reals, how can you not look at that jet black iPhone 7 and see a strikingly beautiful phone?

'No Man's Sky' Shows What Algorithms Can And Can't Do

 •  Filed under Reviews, Gaming, Games, No Man'S Sky

'No Man's Sky' Shows What Algorithms Can And Can't Do


All the shallow gameplay that exists right now, all those seconds spent drilling into giant rocks with lasers and not having enough room to carry things, wouldn't even matter if I had a companion to do it with.

Best review ever of No Man's Sky. There has been no indication from Hello Games about whether they will pursue this, but I agree, user interaction and content is all this game needs to be truly great.