My 2018 Developer Relations Year in Review
January 15th, 2019
2018 was a pretty good year. Jesse loves 2nd grade, Jen earned a new car (her 10th?), and it marks my first full year at Mozilla. Professionally I feel like I’ve been all over the place. I’ve tried lots of new ways to reach people, some successful and others less so. The teams I serve are happy so I guess I’m doing things okay, but I want to prune in 2019. I want to stop doing things that have not been effective and double down on the things that seem interesting. 2019 should be a very interesting year for WebXR, but before we get to those plans, let’s review 2018.
A Drive Down Memory Lane
November 2nd, 2018
$ cat incident.dat | convert -t per56 | filter -level 'external' | more
auto13: Hello @firehydrant76 . How are you doing today?
Manga Guide to Cryptography
October 9th, 2018
The Manga Guide to Cryptography by Masaaki Mitani, Shinichi Sato, Idero Hinoki is a rather improbable book. Can you really teach crypto, a notably math heavy subject, through a graphic novel? The answer is: sorta.
Lego Power Functions Idea Books
October 6th, 2018
If you have a kid who loves Legos, or are a Lego nut who just loves Legos (or both, like me), then you know about the Technic line, a set of kits with motors and gears for building crazy contraptions. My son and I both love them.
ScratchJr Coding Cards
October 6th, 2018
If you haven't used it before, Scratch is a programming environment for teaching kids. It's a real programming system with loops and conditionals, but it uses visual blocks rather than textual syntax, making it *far* easier for kids to learn. Recently the Scratch team created Scratch Jr, a simpler version for younger kids that runs on tablets like the iPad. One of the problems with Scratch and Scratch Jr is that once you have completed the in-app tutorials you are left to your imagination to come up with new things to build. Some kids need a bit more guidance. That's where No Starch Press' ScratchJr Coding Cards come in.
One Year at Mozilla
August 14th, 2018
One year ago today I joined the Mixed Reality Team at Mozilla.
Fluke, by Christopher Moore
August 6th, 2018
I just finished reading Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings by Christopher Moore. I’m a fan of Christopher Moore. I really love his mixture of humor and the fantastic. I consider him a modern day Douglas Adams. Lamb is an amazing book that I encourage everyone to read. But Fluke? Well, Fluke fell short. While it was mostly enjoyable it had some major flaws that sort of ruined it for me. Needless to say. Spoilers are coming.
How Bezier Curves Work
July 11th, 2018
Today we are going to take a break from creative procedural generation and talk about a very useful graphics primitive, the Bézier curve, and learn how to render it from scratch.
Being an Independent Researcher
July 10th, 2018
Recently Nadia Eghbal posted about the history of independent researchers. One crucial point (hinted at in her article but I don't think is explicit enough) is that to be a researcher you don't need to have a big organization behind you or credentials, but you do have to publish. Sharing research, both the successes and failures, is what makes science work. If you hoard away your research and keep the results a secret then you aren't a scientist, you're an alchemist.
ProcGen: Playing with Color
June 11th, 2018
Welcome back to my series on procedural content generation. Today we are going to learn how to play with color. Generating textures is great, but it's so much better when we can generate new color schemes to go with our textures. First, however, we need to do a little clean up.
I'm Afraid Your Daughter is a Vampire
June 11th, 2018
"I'm afraid your daughter is a vampire". The words still rang in Bob's ears. The content of the words were less shocking than the calm and straightforward manner the old man said them. Vampires are the fictitious villains of medieval fairy tales, yet the man used that word so casually, as if her were describing a case of the flu.
In the Year of our Lord
June 11th, 2018
The captain stared into the abyss through his cabin window pensively. So many stars. So many possible worlds, yet so empty. He took another swig of a drink. It's hard to get the good stuff in space, he mused, but captains rations were decent.
ProcGen: Gradients and Lerps
June 7th, 2018
We've built a lot of stuff so far. In part one we built some tools and noise. In part two we created patterns with sine waves, then mixed them with noise. However, so far our images are essentially black and white, or occasionally hard coded to a particular color like red. Today we're going to lerp through some colors. Don't worry, I'll explain that this means in a minute.
ProcGen: Sine Waves
June 6th, 2018
Now that we've got a little toolkit from part 1, let's draw a simple sin wave. As you may recall from your trigonometry, the sin function goes from -1 to 1. It also loops forever. That's going to be very handy.
Procedural Generation Challenge
June 6th, 2018
Thanks to a project I'm doing at work I started reading a book on procedural content generation. ProcGen (as apparently the cool kids call it) is all about creating interesting systems with randomness, which inevitably brings up texture generation, which brings up Perlin Noise, one of the most useful sources of randomness.
Introducing AMX: a simple node process manager
June 3rd, 2018
Or rather, re-introducing. I created AMX a few years ago when I needed to run some crash prone node processes on my server. I looked at existing tools and found them all overly complicated. In my mind a process manager is pretty simple. There's a list of programs that should keep running. If one stops, start it again. That's it.
Beat Saber Rawks
May 19th, 2018
It's not a secret that I am unimpressed by most VR games. While I am excited about the potential of VR & AR for education and enhancing human cognition, games simply bore me. Or the did. Now I stand corrected. Beat Saber rawks!
Mobile VR Problems
May 15th, 2018
I tried to use my sparkling new Oculus Go on an airplane yesterday, since it seems like the obvious place to use it. The number one thing I think people will want to do with this device is download some Netflix movies for a plane. I mean, who wouldn't want to leave the cramped loud environment of an airplane for the calm of their favorite movie over a fun moonscape background. Sadly, Netflix doesn't support downloads in their VR app, even though they do in their mobile ones. Hey Netflix! Turn it on!
Heading out for some MR fun
May 14th, 2018
Holy carp, we've been busy.
My Cut of the White Album
May 12th, 2018
I have always loved The Beatles, even when I was little. I'm too young to have known about The Beatles in a cultural sense. I was 5 when John Lennon was murdered, far too young to remember, so to me The Beatles were always just music that existed. While I love their entire catalog I've always felt the White Album was their weakest effort due to lack of editing. Today we're going to fix that.