I’ve often come across comparisons between JSON, MessagePack and Protocol Buffers (protobuf) for transfer and/or storage. The conclusion usually ends up being: after compression, it doesn’t matter. But when faced with the choice on my own project recently, I couldn’t help thinking that reduced verbosity on the input could only be a benefit. Plus is just seems only proper to tightly pack integers and binary data, remove formatting that only benefits humans, etc.

I started working at Garmin shortly after Google announced the introduction of Google Maps on Android with free turn-by-turn directions. The effect on Garmin’s stock price was severe. Pundits quickly predicted the death of personal GPS navigation devices (PNDs) as smartphones offered a free, superior solution. The introduction of these apps did permanently resize and refocus the PND market, but it definitely didn’t destroy it. And these devices may still have an important purpose in your vehicle.

I’ve never benefitted from Django’s multi-app architecture and find the hijacking of a precious project name pretty annoying. The details and a remedy are described well in Single-App Django Project Anatomy. I’ve referred to this simple but easily-forgotten process of flattening the Django structure so many times that I’ve finally automated the process described therein in a simple script: django_init

One thing I’ve learned from many years of using different task management approaches is to keep expectations in check. It is unlikely that any system or software is going to bring meaningful change to core problems of disorganization, lack of motivation, or just plain laziness. But that shouldn’t discourage one from trying different tools as part of the quest to get organized, get more done, or just get some peace of mind.

One Year

I’m here to acknowledge that it has been exactly one year since my last post. And that’s all I have to say about that.

I’m very happy to have just ticked off a really old to-do. I converted three old WordPress blogs to static sites: Oregon Life (2010–2015) (moved 11/24/2017) NZ Life (2005–2007) Peoria Dispatch (2008–2010) Peoria Dispatch (Garden) (2009–2010) These sites aren’t just old, they’re in read-only mode and are virtually never visited by me nor anyone else. They are also precious. They capture their respective periods better than photographs alone, and I didn’t want to import or modernize them, since the design is an important part of the capture.

Text-based Taxes

It’s that time of year again: I start thinking about how inefficient the tax preparation process is. And this is not targeted at the IRS (though it deserves it), but rather tax prep software. Every year I think, “Why, when there are so few bits of actual data that I need to feed in, does this take so damn long?” I think the answer is that I don’t fit the TurboTax/TaxAct profile very well.


I’m in Malaysia for a couple of weeks (Penang to be precise, my wife’s home island). It has been years since my last visit and this is the first time travelling here with the kids. It is also the first time I’ve had two weeks off of work in at least 5 years, so I’m only slowly used to getting used to having a reasonable amount of free time. My usual inclination is to try to either read a novel (something I rarely budget time for) or learn something new, programming-wise.

Fossil to git

A while back I dabbled with Fossil SCM. I liked parts of it but ended up returning to git. During that experiment, I created a fair bit of content in Fossil and wanted to get it out. I assumed this would be easy because I’d used the Fossil export command previously to create a git-fast-import-compatible text file with all of the repo contents. This time, however, I was met with this error upon import:

In defense of DVDs

I’ve just re-enabled my Netflix DVD service for the umpteenth time. Streaming is usually enabled (though it’s of dubious usefulness), and whether I’m getting DVDs is a matter of how much time I’m spending on movies at all. As a general rule, DVDs are the only way for me to watch the movies I want. I use various movie recommendation sources and my wishlist is filled with things that are not available on streaming services, at least not Netflix nor Amazon.