hifi by apg


Volume 10: You Must be Out of Blinker Fluid

In the 90s, some web browsers implemented a non-standard HTML tag, BLINK, that toggled its child elements on a timer–not unlike a blinker on a car.

Unlike a car’s blinker, the BLINK tag was not a safety device. One might argue that a local news website could save you by drawing your attention to pertinent safety information by blinking it, but let’s be real for a moment.

A blinker (or turn signal) on a car is a signaling mechanism that informs other drivers and pedestrians of an intent to make a turn (or not). This signaling, assuming the intent is upheld, benefits others by potentially reducing wait time, and drastically increasing safety, i.e., if I know the driver is turning right, I can continue going straight without a collision.

If everyone used their blinkers for every turn, I wonder what the impact would be on accidents and traffic? One can imagine that accidents at intersections would decrease. Throughput would increase, since drivers could continue quicker, resulting in less intersection crossing latency, and less backlog.

What’s the point of all this? I mostly wanted to get something off my chest–drivers in southern California suck at signaling. But, when I started thinking about it a bit more, there are obvious parallels to distributed systems.

Hackity Hacks (in pseudo random order)

Wireworld – Dan Prince

Wireworld is an implementation of, well, Wireworld, a Turing complete, cellular automaton that can be used to implement a logic simulator. This one is online, and written in ClojureScript!

gimli – Fredrik Wallgren

Utility for converting markup files to pdf files [like it says on the tin. – Ed].

keynav – Jordan Sissel

keynav allows you to use the keyboad instead of your mouse to navigate around the screen. Works in Xorg on various platforms.

pep – Charles L

A Vim-like clone.

goed – Thibaut Colar

goed is a terminal based code editor / developer environment written in the Go programming language that is heavily inspired by the acme editor.

kilo – Salvatore Sanfilippo

A text editor in less than 1000 LOC with syntax highlight and search. Links only against libc, no ncurses, or other things.

pinboard-notes-backup – Benjamin Esham

Efficiently back up the notes you’ve saved to Pinboard. [backup your data, folks – Ed]

Paper.js – Jurg Lehni and Jonathan Puckey

An vector graphics scripting framework for HTML5 Canvas.

kyuubey – Nicole Izumi

A functional emulation of QBasic! [because, why not? – Ed]

lecat – JT Olds

lecat is like socat (a simplified version), but can do the Let’s Encrypt setup process to securely listen on a port you might be proxying.

sshuttle – apenwarr

A poor man’s VPN over ssh, which doesn’t require root, and can even do DNS tunnelling.

viewdocs – Jeff Lindsay

A Markdown based project documentation system.

Easy Forth – Nick Morgan

Learn Forth! [so you can go onto Fifth and Sixth! – Ed]

Marp – Yuki Hattori

A Markdown presentation editor, using Electron.

Fun Reads

Stay Informed

In closing…

I can’t say when the next hifi will show up, and I have no real excuse as to where it’s been for the past 6 months. Really, I’m just elated that I pushed myself to produce this volume. I hope it lives up to your expectations!

In the interest of keeping it going, I love to hear about interesting hacks, projects, pieces of art, white papers, new conferences. Just reply to this email, and I’ll be sure to check it out. If you have nothing to share, but want to say hello–don’t hesitate! It is fun to hear from readers.

Happy hacking,