Category Archives: Humanitarian Foss

Setting up remote access on the Raspberry Pi.

So it turns out that the documentation of getting remote access set up on the Raspberry Pi is really straightforward.

I’ve  been using a combination of three articles, all through the same site.  Then end result is that this is a ridiculously easy setup, and the only annoying part will be switching between mouse and keyboard.

The second is the more complicated setup, but still fairly easy.  There’s little reason not to set up a graphical login for the Pi, unless you really like the idea of having only the command line and never even the option of using anything else.

I’m using wireless instead of ethernet, and I’ve unfortunately yet to see if that will give me any additional problems with the final step below.

All of this being said, the Raspberry Pi practically begs to be set up remotely, which is good, because setting it up physically with monitors, keyboard, internet, and mouse is kind of a pain in the neck.

One of the things I was worried about going into development on the Pi was that stuff like this would end up being a really annoying timesink that would get in the way of doing actual development.  Thankfully that’s not the case.

What I’m up to: Viral Functions

I’ve been working on a little side project for the past week that gets functions in Javascript to infect other functions and wrap them in custom snippets of code.   It’s modeled after how viruses in the body attack cells and reprogram them to build more viruses.

It’s largely an exercise in curiosity at the moment, I don’t really know how effective it will be or what I could end up doing with it.  I had a working version that I ended up forgetting to save on jsFiddle, which was a huge bummer because I don’t remember how the heck I made it work.

Recently I recreated the base using (I think) a different method.  Contrary to many other objects, functions in Javascript are passed around by value, not reference, because Javascript.  Normally you’d wrap the function in an Object, but since I won’t be able to do that with the final product, I use a different method to make sure I’m accessing the actual function and not just a copy.

I believe the below fix would only be necessary on functions in the global context, but I haven’t done any testing to confirm this.  I wish I could find my original code.


I’ll keep the blog updated if anything interesting happens with it.

FOSS posts: structure and content

I’ve signed up for two different courses at college dealing with Free and Open Source Development: Humanitarian FOSS and Advanced FOSS.  You know what that means: blog posts!

My format for these classes is going to be a bit different than how I normally write, so I want to give a heads up.

Just in case you’re unfamiliar with this blog, my normal posts universally tend to take on an essay-like format.  My usual approach is to spend around 1-2 weeks thinking through a topic to make sure that the subject is both somewhat interesting and that I have a clear point to make, and then anywhere from 3-4 days compiling those views and writing the post.

It’s not uncommon for me during that process to partially finish a post and then leave it for as much as a month while I rethink what I’m saying, or just check to make sure that my views don’t change.

When a post is finished, I’ll usually sit on it for at least another day both as a final check to make sure my views don’t change last minute and to try (often unsuccessfully) to catch any errors in my grammar or structure, as well as do a little bit of revision for readability.

With FOSS posts this semester, I can’t do that, because I’m going to need to do on average somewhere between two and four of them per week – and obviously my normal approach is not a good fit.  So in this section, we’re swapping things around a bit!  I’m looking to make much shorter posts: anywhere from around 2-4 paragraphs, or at max 400-500 words (yeah I know I broke it already).

My goal with the longer format has always been to make sure that I tackle every subject I present wit h a large amount of breadth and a large amount of detail. I like to address edge cases, and I worry about not addressing or clarifying possible points of contention – and I am more than willing to sacrifice brevity, clarity, and structure to avoid oversimplification.

One of the problems though is that these posts tend to be very weighty, not necessarily in content, but in tone and style.  With FOSS posts I want to focus more on brevity and on information density.  I’ll spend less time editing, and a ton less time on preparation.  In exchange, I’ll try to make the posts easier to read, and to cover a broader range of information – more code samples, ideas and theories rather than conclusions, and so on and so on.  And of course, the frequency of updates will pretty much skyrocket.

In case you like the old format, it’s not going anywhere; in fact I’ll probably cross-post between FOSS and my normal stuff occasionally if I run into a topic that I feel like would be interesting to tackle in more detail.

I’ll give some more updates with that as I figure out exactly what I want to do though.  I have some plans, but nothing concrete.

One last thing: I’ve always been clear in everything I write that my views on these subjects are highly dynamic – anything I write represents only a snapshot of me and what I believe, and nothing I write captures those views in entirety.  On top of that, many of the subjects I talk about are complicated, multifaceted and interdependent.  I write 1200 word posts because I can’t write anything longer – not because I ever believe that I have addressed everything that needs to be said about a topic.  I will frequently say things that are wrong and stupid, and it is perfectly OK to cherry pick views you agree with and disagree with.

I bring that up, because all of those rules go quadrupally true for anything I write in here.  One of my hopes with the FOSS page is to provide more of a steady stream of thought and less of a highly edited and self-censored message.  As a consequence, and indeed by necessity, I’ll be spending far less time thinking about what I post here, so you should know that going in and adjust your reading glasses accordingly.