Nicknames are awesome.

When I windsurfed, you could usually tell who was out sailing on the water based on what cars were parked in the parking area. When we ended up with two "Bobs" at my usual launch, it was logical that we ended up calling them Trucker Bob and Pink Car Bob. Trucker Bob was an over-the-road trucker and Pink Car drove an old pink Delta 88 the size of a really short four bedroom house. Pretty soon Trucker Bob moved away but with only one Bob around, we still called him Pink Car, then later Pinky. A good nickname evolves. Probably when they bury Pinky, someone will ask why everyone called him that and no one will know or remember. The greatest nicknames have no recognizable source.

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December 3rd, 2015

Cool little Live Looping trick

I've been on a musical kick for most of the year, learning about live looping. I've long written and produced audio stories, and I have a cool vision for being able to do this with live looping in a live performance. So, I've been paying attention to people who do this well and it happens that the hottest musician at the moment, Ed Sheeran, also sports some chops with the looper.

Sheeran isn't the vanguard, there are plenty of people doing this, but he does it in a unique way and works hard, with plenty of natural talent, and it just works for him.   I watch his performances closely for some tricks and tips and while some of the stuff he does will take a lot of practice, here's a little thing I noticed yesterday.


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October 16th, 2015

How being functionally deaf has been an advantage

I had a pastor who used to say "what other people think about you is none of your business."  The concept was, if you knew what people really thought, you would be discouraged because usually it's not that great.  Even if you are your own worst critic, what people think about you can hurt. And often, nothing good comes from what people think about you. It's either "you suck!" and you feel bad or "you are awesome!" and your head explodes.  Good feedback from people you trust and that are in a position to give you proper critiques is important, but outside of that proper criticism, you are better off not knowing what they really think.

I worked in radio when I was younger. It looked really fun and interesting from the outside, but it was hospital-sterile when you got into it and I got out of it about the time the Internet started to gain steam in the mid-1990's. But when I was working to get myself through the skinny door with ten other people trying to get in, too, I went in an made a demo tape.

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January 1st, 2015

Guzzle Http Client Socks5 Proxy setup (and bonus non-200 response code handling!)

In one of the apps I own at work, we have had some issues with consistent page loads. We are behind an F5 router with a list of iRules that would handily win the "wow, that's way-long dude!" industry award. Every now and then they redirect to weird places or won't load at all. So I wrote a script pulling several hundred URLs from an XLS and passing it to GuzzleHttp (github), which has a lot of handy features so you don't have to code them into curl yourself.

I ran this script over my VPN, and off the VPN and then I wanted to see how it handled other points on the globe, so I scrambled up several Amazon EC2 instances from various places in the world like Singapore to run it through. I set up ssh tunneling

ssh -i ~/.ssh/my.pem -D 2001 -f -C -q -N ec2-user@IP

but it took a few tries to get the proxy stuff to work. I tried naked curl just to verify environmental proxies, passing -x, then --socks5 (which finally worked). Then I read up on Guzzle to set the proxy up there.

Guzzle's client documentation indicates you just have to pass ['proxy' => '<proxy details>'] when instantiating the client, but that didn't seem to work. I put up ip.php to output my IP, expecting to see one from Singapore or Russia but, nyet, it wouldn't work.

use GuzzleHttp\Client;

$client = new Client([
    'base_url' => ['{version}/', ['version' => 'v1.1']],
    'defaults' => [
        'headers' => ['Foo' => 'Bar'],
        'query'   => ['testing' => '123'],
        'auth'    => ['username', 'password'],
        'proxy'   => 'tcp://localhost:80'

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December 19th, 2014

No OpenID End Point found

OpenID is wonderful when it works, but it's a little mysterious when it doesn't. A lot of web sites will let you log in using your Facebook or Google accounts, but only a few let you use your own OpenId provider, which stinks because it would be better if they all did. The only site that I use regularly that allows me to log in using my own is Stack Overflow and I love them for it.

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November 25th, 2014
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