The Second Computer I Ever Used

In a continuation of the theme, The 8-Bit Guy’s “Commodore History Part 3 – The Commodore 64” is great technical breakdown of the second computer I ever used. It’s really interesting to understand the technical reasons for the various features and limitations of a computer that you used as a child. The 8-Bit Guy’s channel in general is quite good, it’s particularly interesting if you have a technical background but aren’t really familiar with the specs and conventions of late 1970s to mid-1980s home computing.

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The First Computer I Ever Used

My elementary school had a number of Apple II, Apple II+, and Apple IIe computers in the early 1980s. This was my first exposure to computers in general and I’ve only started to appreciate how fortunate I was to have a few teachers who were quite interested in computers even though there wasn’t really any computer class offered until I was in high school.

In my search for interesting info on the Apple II, I came across this really interesting video from the 8-Bit Guy walking through a restoration of an Apple II+.

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Visual Studio Code

I’ve started learning Go, so I decided I’d try to get a good IDE.  It seems like there is some sort of consensus that Microsoft Visual Studio Code is the current hot thing in the Go developer world, so I figured I’d check it out.

I must say that I’m mildly impressed.  It’s available for OS X, Windows, and Linux and it’s pretty simple and extensible for most small projects.

Not only this, but it turns out that the source is all available under an MIT license as well!  Here I am going on about Microsoft’s latest cross-platform, open source development tool.  I never thought this day would come…

An Excellent Git Tutorial

I was searching for a walk through of a bit of a screwy merge I have to do in a Git repo tonight, when I came across these videos by David Mahler.  It wasn’t what I needed, but this is one of the best explanations of the core Git (and revision control) concepts for a beginner.

If you’re just learning Git, or looking for a refresher, check these out.

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An Advanced Introduction to GnuPG

If you’re loooking for a bit of light reading before bed, this might be just the answer: An Advanced Introduction to GnuPG.

Sleep tight!

On a mostly related note, I’m going to move all of my (admittedly trivial) secure e-mail to my ProtonMail account. If you have any reason to contact me securely, I advise you e-mail with GPG at gmobrien at protonmail dot com as of December 2018.

The Art of Writing Linux Utilities

I’m midway through a small project to migrate some old utilities I originally wrote many, many years ago for FreeBSD and that I’ve migrated from system to system over the years with small tweaks and various cross-platform improvements.  It’s been a while since I’ve done any real programming so I’ve been reading some refreshers on things like documentation best practices and I stumbled across a good article, that’s aged quite well I thought was worth sharing.

It appears to be an IBM document from back in the day when they were making a big effort to enterprise-ify Linux and improve the level of documentation and tools for developers, but somebody at Harvard saw fit to host a mirror.

Peter Seebach: The art of writing Linux utilities

The History of English Podcast

I’ve always been fascinated by languages in general and as a semi-competent English and an even less competent French speaker, I’ve always found the evolution of our mother tongue particularly interesting.

After reading Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf translation again over the Christmas holiday this year, I came across The History of English Podcast by Kevin Stroud.  It’s a wonderful examination not only of the history and linguistics involved, but also the cultural and political context.

I recommend it to anybody.


Aside from their political analysis, I really enjoy FiveThirtyEight’s other coverage.  Their roots are in statistical analysis of sports and they tend to cover a lot of obscure topics from a statistical perspective.  This article by Allison McCann is a great example of a side project, looking at the relationship between hip-hop and politics from a data perspective.

She includes some cool interactive graphics as well as a searchable database for political references in rap and hip-hop lyrics.  Plus the article showcases a pretty cool video which is easily my favourite political song of the 2016 campaign thus far.