Hoder is free

I’m elated to hear that Hossein Derakhhshan, otherwise known as Hoder online, is finally free from prison in Iran. I used to read his blog and I would get worried whenever he talked about being harassed by the Iranian gov’t while in Canada. I remember him talking about his trip back to Tehran and worrying about it, but I was shocked when he was thrown in prison for a nearly 20-year sentence.

A couple years ago a friend was working on a campaign to try and get him freed and asked for my help. I said yes and we talked about the case and he had to remind me at that point Hoder had been put away for 4 years, while I had thought it only happened a year or so before. I felt devastated for a few days after as the whole thing felt so hopeless.

I was ecstatic to hear he has been freed today after six years. I went to look up his Twitter and Facebook accounts and found out it appears he joined Twitter two weeks before his trip, in October 2008. He has only tweeted five times, three times leading up to the trip, one tweet when he got to Tehran, then six years later upon his release.

I hope he gets back to Canada safely soon and can start talking about it. It was a horrible thing and I can’t imagine the horrors he has endured but I’m curious what kept him going and how he finally convinced them to free him.



I checked into my hotel in San Jose today and the staff warned me that the hotel was completely booked, and they’d be adding higher security procedures, on account of everyone being in town for the opera.

The lobby was filled with people dressed up fancy, so I agreed to show my key to enter the building later that night. For hours afterwards I wondered why everyone was so into the opera. Was someone from movies or Broadway crossing over into opera? Is opera really big in the bay area or something? Why would people stay at a hotel to see an opera anyway? I wracked my brain for hours thinking about opera, how I didn’t understand it though I found small bits of it I heard really beautiful, especially sung live. I eventually chalked it up to the continuing saga of all the mysterious things about the Bay Area these days -- apparently they’re way into opera now.

It wasn’t until the evening, when the lobby was filled with middle-aged women in nice outfits, but not opening night ball gowns and where were all the dudes in tuxes? Why was there literally only women in the hotel lobby? Then I saw someone holding a printed program in the crush of people waiting for an elevator.

I had misheard the hotel front desk earlier that day. It wasn’t the opera causing all the ruckus. It was Oprah.



Threes is the most enjoyable game I’ve had on my iPhone, since the device debuted over 7 years ago. I’ve had 2 or 3 games I’ve played during idle times over the years but Threes is easily the most enjoyable, still almost a year after I started playing it daily.

I play it every night before bed (in dark mode aka inverted colors from Apple’s accessibility options), and occasionally during downtimes in the day. I quickly got to about 20,000 points as my high, but couldn’t really improve beyond that for a few months. I eventually found a Threes playing robot on Twitch.tv that everyone was linking to, since it was playing live games. The bot was easily scoring in the 50-60 thousand point ranges so I watched it for a couple hours and realized it was playing very defensively, and as soon as I changed my game a bit I was getting in the high 20k range. My highest score was about 32k points for the last 6 months. Day after day I tried and tried again, but could never quite get two 768 tiles together.

Today was that day, and after a few games I had a good run going and saw the two 768 tiles were coming together a few moves before it happened. I don’t think two 1536 tiles could ever fit on the small field so I’m happy with getting just one of them. I’ll still play it nightly, though I doubt I come close to this again anytime soon.

html 5 rewrite

Ignore this post, just testing out new layout template changes.

Day two

Today I wrote a Rock, Paper, Scissors game in javascript and after three hours of completing tutorial lessons, I was happy to say I completely understood the whole top half of Paul Ford’s Actually.js code here.

Paul also wrote this thing on Medium that desperately makes me want to go back in time and give 12 year old Paul Ford a hug and to tell him everything works out OK later on.

Day one

This is the first javascript I’ve ever written from scratch. It still needs work, but you get the idea.

Drop dead

I’ve had a Dropcam for the last six months or so, mostly to keep an eye on my house and pets when we’re gone. It has a couple monitoring features where it records video loops when it detects motion and takes photos when it detects motion as well. You have to pay a monthly fee to get access to both, but you still get periodic emails when the camera senses activity and it’ll send a medium sized low-res picture several times a day embedded in the message.

I never thought much of this until I opened an email to see a photo of me completely naked walking by the camera, on my way to grab from a pile of recently folded clean clothes after I took a shower.


Obviously, that’s a bit of a shock, but I was home alone and I’m the only one that opens my email, so I wasn’t too disturbed by it. But then I realized that image is on Dropcam’s system. And Google bought Dropcam so my photo is somewhere in Google’s cloud. There’s a web-accessible photo of my naked ass (with no black bar added above) somewhere and I have no idea where it is or how easy it is for anyone to find. Wonderful.

It’s at this point you ask yourself if having a net-connected camera for monitoring your house was a good idea after all.



I liked the movie Chef more than I thought I would. I think I’m getting sappy in my old age, as I’m really starting to dig any movies with a good family relationship story in it, and I thought Chef’s family story line was more than the typical one-dimensional story you normally see in films.

There’s this one scene that blew me away. Jon Favreau’s character explains to his son everything entailed with running a restaurant business as they start a food truck. At one point, they both take a break from the line while there is food prep going on and customers lined up and he says to his son something to the effect of “Look at all this, this is what I’ve spent my life doing and I’m proud of it and I’m really good at it, and I hope you can appreciate that” and they have a moment, and it’s really great.

Then I thought of my own life and how I could impart that same lesson with my own daughter.

I’ve spent over a third of my life building communities online and designing applications and their interfaces, but what concrete thing can I point to as proof? I suppose someday I’ll have the same Favreau talk with my daughter. We’ll stand next to a laptop showing the typical comments section at the bottom of a newspaper article and I’ll say “for the last 15 years I’ve done everything in my power to prevent that kind of shit-slinging you see on this site. It’s what I’m good at and I’m proud of it, and I hope you can appreciate it now that you’re older.”

Going back to nerd school

The one big thing tilde club has taught me is that despite nearly 20 years spent building websites, being dumped back onto the command line reminded me that I know very little about actual programming. To remedy that, I just enrolled in a college night course in javascript and python for web development that runs all through November.

This is going to be fun.