Recent blog entries for superuser

27 Aug 2015 (updated 9 Oct 2016 at 21:10 UTC) »

TIL: Keeping SSH connections alive

It's actually fairly simple. In your SSH config file, you add this:

Host *
    ServerAliveInterval 240

The * after the host can be whatever host you want it to apply to, and * simply means to apply this to all hosts. So you could also apply it this way:

    ServerAliveInterval 240

Also, if you aren't sure where your SSH config file is, on a UNIX based system, it's generally in ~/.ssh/config.

Syndicated 2015-08-27 14:24:59 (Updated 2016-10-09 20:40:36) from Jason Lotito

7 Aug 2015 (updated 9 Oct 2016 at 21:10 UTC) »


So, we looked at JPEG image encoding, which is a very popular image codec. Especially since our image is going to be blurred heavily on the client, and thus band-limiting our image data, JPEG should compress this image quite efficiently for our purposes. Unfortunately, the standard JPEG header is hundreds of bytes in size. In fact, the JPEG header alone is several times bigger than our entire 200-byte budget. However, excluding the JPEG header, the encoded data payload itself was approaching our 200 bytes. We just needed to figure out what to do about that pesky header!

The technology behind preview photos

Syndicated 2015-08-07 13:27:25 (Updated 2016-10-09 20:40:36) from Jason Lotito

4 Aug 2015 (updated 9 Oct 2016 at 21:10 UTC) »


  1. Given what I know of this person’s performance, and if it were my money, I would award this person the highest possible compensation increase and bonus.

  2. Given what I know of this person’s performance, I would always want him or her on my team.

  3. This person is at risk for low performance.

  4. This person is ready for promotion today.

From the Washington Post

Syndicated 2015-08-04 13:39:08 (Updated 2016-10-09 20:40:36) from Jason Lotito

Highlighting code in presentations

Before I started using this method, I always struggled with ways to highlight parts of code I wanted to talk about when giving presentations. This method, I've found, is at once the easiest method to employ, and provides context to the viewer. They can easily follow along, and where the code is in relation to other code you are talking about is made apparent.

Add two square shapes to your slide

A picture is worth a thousand words, and this one should show clearly how to highlight lines of code on a slide. You just add two shapes, and set the opacity to such a level that code can still be viewed, but it's dimmed out.

You can also generate nice transitions between highlights of the same code using Magic Move as your transition.

Silvrback blog image

The result is a fairly simple transition as you highlight specific lines of code.

Silvrback blog image

This works with code that cannot fit on your slide as well. Simple add the code to your slide, and allow it to go beyond the edge of your slide. When you want to highlight code that is partially hidden, simply move the text box up as appropriate.

Silvrback blog image

While my examples use Keynote, the technique can be applied in other presentation software using their own appropriate features.

Syndicated 2015-02-27 22:11:34 (Updated 2015-02-27 22:14:05) from Jason Lotito

10 things to improve your tech talks

  1. Practice your talk before speaking. Several times. Record yourself. Watch it. At a conference, people paid $$$ for this.
  2. Assume wifi is unavailable for your talk. Don't depend on it to run demos.
  3. Assume you'll get few or no questions. Given a 45 minute slot? Aim for 40 minutes.
  4. If you insist on live coding, make sure you've written down the code ahead of time. We don't want to watch you debug in real time.
  5. If your talk title says it's about X, don't make the first quarter/half not talking about X. We probably came to listen to you talk about X, not your life story. Exceptions exist, but do so carefully.
  6. Waiting for audience participation is awkward. "Can anyone see what's wrong?" Just move on.
  7. The best slides are ones that are useful after the talk. You can export with speaker notes! Have speaker notes!
  8. Be professional. Know how your computer works. How the presentation software works. Show up ahead of time, make sure tech is ready.
  9. Don't save your talk for a big conference. Run through it at a user group or meetup. Adjust. Improve. Repeat.
  10. You can't please everyone. Present for a target audience. Title and description should aim to entice that target audience.

Syndicated 2015-02-27 21:18:24 from Jason Lotito

TwoDo Privacy Policy

TwoDo, the app, has a simple privacy policy.

Simply put: we don't sell your data, we don't mine your data, we don't look at your data and we don't share your data.

We do not share your data with any third party. The only third party involved with storing your data is Parse, who we use as our backend hosting provider.

We do not collect any data about you except for your email address, which you provide when signing up. Your email address is only used for logging in, as well as password recovery. We do not share this email address with any 3rd party. We aren't going to spam you. Your list data is also provided to us, but this isn't shared with anyone outside of what the app provides. You can delete this data at any time, and it will be deleted.

We are not responsible for the content you store, nor are we responsible for any content deleted by you, or by people you share your list with.

This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on September, 23, 2014. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly here:

Syndicated 2014-09-23 21:11:39 (Updated 2014-09-24 13:01:10) from Jason Lotito

Mac's Expose

Having used it on Piera's eMac, I can say that I really don't find it useful. In the world of Virtual Desktops, Expose doesn't do much for me. I mean, seriously, if you have a disoragnised desk, than it probably makes sense, with little notes all over the place. This reminds me so much of "Where's Waldo". You know the book, the one where you have a thousand illustrations of people in an area, and you have one guy, Waldo, who you need to find.

Expose feels like that. Sure, when you only have a few windows open, it is probably nice. But ALT+TAB is so much faster. I can go back and forth without a problem. Expose might allow me to take a look at everything I have open, but I am only looking for one thing. And Expose doesn't know what I am looking for. With Virtual Desktops, I find it much easier to say "Hey, Email goes here on this desktop, generic web browsing here, development stuff here, graphic stuff here,..." and so on. I keep my life organized.

No doubt that Expose is a neat feature, it looks cool, and people probably use it. But as I see it, it's a Band-Aid on a larger problem. Window organization. Taskbars are the same thing. The computer can multitask, but the user is only ever actively using one application at a time.

No, really, that's it. Even if you are using a PHP IDE and checking the results in the browser, their is only ever one active application. You are writing in your IDE, and then switch to the browser. This makes a Virtual Desktop environment much more suited to getting stuff done. A virtual desktop allows you to setup "workshops", and in this workshop, you can get all your tools out ready to use. You are only ever going to use one tool at a time.

But with something like Expose (and as far as I know, Mac OSX doesn't have virtual desktops), it's like having one workshop, with all your tools laid out at once. You are only ever going to use one at a time, but now you have all your projects in one workshop. This means your life is much less organized, and you have just increased the number of choices you have to make whenever you want to switch tools.

And this coincides with something I saw on Daily Planet the other day: we have too many choices.

On a side note, Piera will probably beat me up for all of this. After all, she loves her Mac like any good Mac Addict does. And she freely admits her addiction.

Discovered my companies server IP addresses are blocked by Spamhaus for something I don't know anything about. These are my servers, and I am on these IP addresses. And everyone here knows I wouldn't spam. Anyways, sent them an email. Let's see how this goes.

hadess: The point of my post didn't meant to imply he was telling people to use Microsoft over Linux. Though I admit, maybe my choice of words wasn't all good.

However, that had little to do with the meaning of the rest of my post. Simply put: Whatever the Red Hat CEO says, whatever SuSE and Novell are up to, whatever Microsoft says doesn't make a difference to the whole scheme of things. Every where I was reading about these events, people were treating it like it was the end of the world, or bad omens.

They aren't. It's evolution. Things happen, businesses change focus.

If you think that everybody should be using Linux, you're an idiot who can't see the missing bits. Probably as stupid as that Windows user who downloads warez, and uses mIRC thinking he's l33t. Just about.

Now, where do I even make this suggestion? Would I like everyone to use Linux, or alternative OS's? Of course. That would be great. Do I think we are at a state where this is possible? No. Do I think it's going in that direction? Yes.

Please don't suggest I am saying something I don't, nor believe.

It seems that Novell buying SuSE, and Red Hat only doing enterprise stuff is causing a big storm. Of course, the fact that the Red Hat CEO is saying use Windows for the desktop doesn't go over well with your normal open source crowd.

But even still, people are acting like this is the end of the world. As if suddenly Linux has no more support on the desktop. I've been using Linux as my sole desktop OS for more than a year now, and I have found that I don't need support. Well, I don't need support as much as I didn't need support on Windows.

So Red Hat isn't supporting the home user anymore. Big deal. Unless I am mistaken, Microsoft doesn't provide support to home users. If you want to pay for it, you can, of course.

And then there is the big Novell buys SuSE stories that go around, people proclaiming it's the end of KDE, or that SuSE is dead because Novell will kill it off. You know, because SuSE was the only supporter of KDE. And because Novell is going to ax KDE. I mean, you know Novell bought SuSE just to destroy it, right? And that there are no other desktop linux choices out there.

People, get over it. This is all for the better. Now Red Hat released Fedora. This means I can burn copies and sell it, and call it Fedora. And it's an open source distro of the Red Hat OS. The development is opened up.

What's going on now with SuSE and Red Hat isn't bad. It's good. It's evolution.

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