Author Archives: Skud

You don’t need to change all your passwords

This is probably going to be a wildly unpopular opinion and IDGAF. So many of my non-technical friends are freaking out that I feel the need to provide a bit of reassurance/reality. First, an analogy. In 2005 we learned that you can open a Kryptonite U-lock with a ballpoint pen. Everyone freaked out and changed their bike locks ASAP. Remember that? Now, I wasn’t riding a bike at the time, but I started riding a bike a few years later in San Francisco, and I Continue reading →

Seeking a volunteer for 3000 Acres (Melbourne, Australia)

As you might know, I’ve been working on 3000 Acres over the last few months. My time there is almost up and they’re looking for volunteers to continue developing the site. If anyone in the Melbourne area is interested in working with me on this, and then taking it over, please get in touch! It would be a great way to get involved in a tech project for sustainability/social good, and the 3000 Acres team are lovely people with a great vision. Feel free to Continue reading →

Post offices in the US: a guide for Australians

This holiday season I’ve had a few Australian friends travelling in the US, and something I’ve seen repeatedly on Twitter is, basically, this: America, Y U NO HAVE POSTOFFICES?! — lianaskewes (@lianasmooz) January 2, 2014 So, here is a guide for US post offices, aimed at Australians. I’m qualified to write this because I had exactly this experience when I moved there. It went something like this. Me, to office manager: “Hey, where’s the nearest post office?” Office manager: “Uh… I think there might be Continue reading →

Ballarat!

I’ve been kind of rubbish about posting life updates over here, so I just thought I should make a note that I’m planning to move to Ballarat by the end of the year. Why? Well, my current housemates are going their separate ways and it was either find two new ones, or get a place by myself. Ballarat has cheap rent (not much more for a full house than it currently costs me for a room in a share house), fast internet, is only an Continue reading →

Clicky web analytics: highly recommended

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I just discovered they have an affiliate program and, well, that’s an excuse to mention it again. I’ve been using Clicky for web analytics for Growstuff, and I’m delighted with them. They are basically a drop-in replacement for Google analytics, but run by a company who care more about, you know, analytics than selling ads. Clicky gives me all I need in terms of pretty charts and reports, and I can see where Growstuff’s visitors are coming from Continue reading →

What is a spike?

There was some discussion on the Growstuff IRC channel last night, while I was asleep, about the term “spike”. I use it a bit on the Growstuff project but I don’t think everyone knows what I’m getting at, possibly because I picked it up by osmosis from the Extreme Programming community over a decade ago, and the term’s fallen out of favour since then. So here’s a quick definition as I use it: A spike is experimental. It’s for writing something you’ve never written before, Continue reading →

A couple of interviews

I’ve recently been interviewed by a couple of different blogs, and thought I should link them here: The Ada Initiative blog interviewed me about Growstuff, pair programming, and social justice. They’re having a fundraising campaign to support their work with women in open technology and culture, by the way, and if you care about those things you should definitely donate. Maciej from Pinboard interviewed me for the Pinboard blog, also about Growstuff, which (as you may recall) he funded to the tune of $37 back Continue reading →

Start your commit message with a verb

I’ve been pair programming with a lot of different people, with a variety of skill levels, on Growstuff over the last year. One thing I’ve noticed is that some people freeze up when it comes to writing a commit message. They type “git commit” and then sit there for a minute going “uhhhh”. I understand this. It’s hard to convert maybe an hour’s hard work in code into a short sentence of English. How do you compress such complex ideas? How do you even make Continue reading →

Clicky Analytics with Mediawiki

This is one of those posts I’m making for the benefit of anyone who googles, wondering whether there’s a Mediawiki extension to integrate Clicky Analytics. As of right now, there’s not, but there is a good explanation of how you can put some custom code in your LocalSettings.php to integrate any analytics stuff that you like. Here’s a generic version that will work for any analytics system, hopefully cut-and-pasteable. It works fine on my Mediawiki install right now (version 1.20.x) but is not guaranteed for Continue reading →

The problem with doing one thing well

You’ve probably heard the tech startup aphorism “do one thing well”, or a variant on it. “Don’t try to do too many things”. “Focus.” Whatever. I’m not very good at following it, as is pretty apparent from what I’m working on. Growstuff has several things it’s trying to do (crops database, garden journal, seed sharing, community building), all interlinked. Every so often someone points me at a website that does just one thing of the set of things we’re trying to do. For instance, the Continue reading →