James Mead by James Mead

Monday Links - Week 230

Code Guide - Interactive Explanations of Example Code

This library allows you to embed tutorial documentation within source code using specially formatted comments. The source code and these special comments are converted into an interactive HTML tutorial which explains how the code works in a step-by-step manner. View this example and click the “Explain” button to see it in action. It was generated from this source code. JM

Fish Shell

Pairing with new people always introduces new tools. Last week working with Nicky Thompson I saw she was using fish as her shell. It looked great - things seemed to ‘just work’. I’m a long time ZSH user with a few customisations but even so I’m tempted to switch. TW

BitTorrent Sync

We use Dropbox a lot at Go Free Range, but cramming everything into that single directory can be a bit onerous. I’ve been experimenting with this as an alternative/augmentation, and currently have it syncing my ‘Documents’ and a few other directories from my laptop to one of my VPS machines “in the cloud”. So far it works pretty well; the only problem is that most VPSes don’t actually have a huge amount of disk space. JA


As we approach the Google Reader shutdown date, I’ve started to look at alternatives. This seemed like a good candidate because Reeder (my RSS reader of choice on my phone) already syncs with it. However, the experience of using it isn’t fabulous. Maybe that’s just the friction of adjusting to change? Maybe. Is there something that you would recommend? JA


A “plug-and-play” database explorer for your Heroku app. If you’re anything like me and you use Heroku for silly little things without actually building any proper admin interfaces, this can be a good way of poking around in the database and fixing any bad data that’s crept in. The free instance will only let you view five tables, but for the sort of stuff I deploy there (printer-mail and so on), it’s perfect. JA

Anatomy of a zero-knowledge web application

With the news that the NSA can access your online data whenever they feel like it, it was interesting to read how the developers of the Clipperz on-line password manager have built a web application that claims to know nothing about their users or their data. I’m not sure how realistic it is for every application, but I did wonder whether it might suggest a way to provide a hosted version of Chris’ excellent MoneyTracker app. JM

Google Keyboard

I’ve been using this keyboard with its gesture typing on my Nexus 7 for a while now, and it really makes a difference. If you’re still using a stock keyboard (particularly the standard one on the Samsung Galaxy S2) then I’d highly recommend installing this alternative. CR

Media for Thinking the Unthinkable

Bret Victor is amazing. Pretty much everything on his site is packed full of thoughts and ideas, and unsurprisingly given his areas of interest, they are all deep but accessible. This talk given at MIT continues this tradition. Watch it! TW

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