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cleverdevil

cleverdevil

cleverdevil

cleverdevil

cleverdevil

cleverdevil

 
 
 

Owning My Memories

1 min read

My quest to own more of my digital identity continues, as I continue to search for ways in which I depend on social media silos like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. One feature of Facebook that I actually find quite delightful is On This Day, which shows you content and interactions over the years on the current day of the month. I like this feature so much, I felt like I should have it for my website, in the spirit of the IndieWeb. I'm happy to say, I've got an initial implementation in place on my site!

I've created a plugin for Known, the CMS for this site, that collects a few of my own customizations, including my On This Day implementation, and its available on my GitHub. Currently, the On This Day functionality requires a patch to Known core that isn't yet open source, but I'm hoping to polish that up and attempt to get it into Known sometime in the next few weeks.

Three cheers to owning my own memories!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sharing what I watch...

1 min read

As I get deeper into the IndieWeb, I've been loving exploring more ways to share and publish my activities. Having a timeline that includes where I have been, what I've been eating and drinking, my recipes and reviews, along with photos, and social interactions helps me remember where I was and what I was doing on any given day.

Last night, I had trouble sleeping, so I decided to attack a new problem. I'm a big movie enthusiast, and enjoy collecting and watching great films. I decided that tracking what I'm watching would be a fun and useful way to enrich my activity stream.

I'd like to introduce Watching, a plugin for the Known CMS that I use for running this site. Using the plugin, I can publish a record of which movie or TV show I just watched. Earlier this evening, I watched a few minutes of Mad Max: Fury Road, which I absolutely adored, and it's been logged on my site.

Better yet? I've written experimental support for Plex webhooks, which create these records automatically on my site whenever I click or tap "play." How fun is that?

 

Restaurant Review: Astro Is Epic

5 out of 5 stars

One dozen assorted doughnuts from AstroA few weeks ago, Astro Fried Chicken and Doughnuts opened up a location only a few blocks from my office in Downtown Los Angeles. Astro was founded in Washington, D.C., and quickly built a reputation as one of the best doughnut shops in the United States. Their move into L.A. is a big step up for the fledgling empire. Astro offers four "daily" doughnuts that stay on the menu – classic glazed, maple bacon, peanut butter and jelly, and creme brulee. Astro also offers a rotating menu of "special" doughnuts, including such delights as meyer lemon, smoked almond, strawberry rhubarb, and rocky road.

In addition to their sweets, Astro makes some incredible fried chicken, including both breakfast and lunch sandwiches, served on savory doughnuts or cheddar biscuits, topped with a variety of delicious toppings and sauces, including kimchi slaw and buffalo sauce. The combination of sweet, savory, and fatty is pretty much perfect for my taste.

Today for lunch, I enjoyed two pieces of dark meat fried chicken, a cheddar biscuit, and a creme brulee doughnut. I was very impressed! My DreamHost coworker and I brought back an assorted dozen doughnuts to share with the office, and they were also tasty.

I'm delighted to have Astro in the neighborhood, and I will definitely be back. Highly recommended!

 
 

Movie Review: Disney Recreates a Classic

4 out of 5 stars

The family hit the theater today for a matinee viewing of Disney's new live-action remake of its 1991 animated feature, "Beauty and the Beast." The original is one of my all-time favorite Disney animated films, with great animation, a strong story, and a musical score that has become a classic. The live-action remake isn't as good as the original, but is a worthy take, with a strong performance by Emma Watson as Belle, reprises of all the catchy songs, and plenty of personality.

The film drags a bit in the middle, and could stand to be cut down by about 15 minutes. There is a bit too much exposition about the respective family histories of both Belle and the Beast, as well. That said, I really did enjoy the film and would recommend it for any fans of the original.

 
 

Recipe: Roasted Spatchcocked Chicken with Potatoes and Onions


Ingredients

  • 1 roasting chicken, 4 lbs
  • 2.5 pounds sliced red or whole fingerling potatoes
  • 2 sweet onions, sliced
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1 Tb dijon mustard
  • 1 ts minced fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary
  • Black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil

Takes . Serves 4-6.

This is an all-time favorite in the LaCour household. I believe that the original recipe came from America's Test Kitchen, years ago, but it may have been an Alton Brown creation. 

  1. Pat chicken dry. Cut out backbone and keel bone to spatchcock the chicken.
  2. Make a compound butter with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, the minced herbs, garlic, and dijon mustard.
  3. With your fingers, loosen skin across breast and as far down drumsticks and thighs as you can, being careful not to tear the skin. Spoon butter under skin and work across as much of the chicken as possible.
  4. Apply additional salt and pepper to the top and bottom of the chicken.
  5. Toss the potatoes and onions with olive oil and salt and pepper. Add additional herbs and garlic, if you want.
  6. Line bottom of broiler pan with heavy-duty aluminium foil. Spread potato and onion mixture across pan evenly. Place grilling rack on top, and arrange the spatchcocked chicken on top, folding drumsticks inward so they cover part of the breast.
  7. Roast at 500 degrees for 20 minutes, turn pan around, roast for another 20 minutes or until internal temperature in breast is 150. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Part out the chicken into portions, and serve with the potatoes and onions.

Enjoy!

 

 

The Deck is Shutting Down

1 min read

Innovative ad network The Deck is shutting down for good. From their announcement:

In 2014, display advertisers started concentrating on large, walled, social networks. The indie “blogosphere” was disappearing. Mobile impressions, which produce significantly fewer clicks and engagements, began to really dominate the market. Invasive user tracking (which we refused to do) and all that came with that became pervasive, and once again The Deck was back to being a pretty good business. By 2015, it was an OK business and, by the second half of 2016, the network was beginning to struggle again.

The consequences of walled gardens like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Medium soaking up the majority of internet traffic go well beyond data ownership and privacy. A more decentralized world wide web creates more opportunities for innovation and a system that is harder to "game."

 

Tweetstorms vs. Publishing

2 min read

Today, I read about the launch of an app to make it easier to create "tweetstorms" on Twitter. I'll start by saying that Stormcrow seems like a well-designed, very useful app, and my commentary here isn't meant to take anything away from the developer. That said, the fact that this app needs to exist is a sad indictment of the current state of personal publishing on the web.

From a user experience perspective, tweetstorms are an absolute disaster, both from the creation perspective, and the consumption perspective. Twitter is not designed for long-form content, and tweetstorms are a dirty hack, at best. Nevermind the issue that people's carefully crafted communications are then sent off into the void of Twitter, where the conversation is difficult to follow, algorithmically curated, and controlled by a corporation.

I'm really proud to work for a company who's ultimate purpose is to help people own their digital identity, and its becoming clearer to me that its possible to also provide a better user experience for all involved in the process. I've shared some of my thoughts on user experience and the IndieWeb already, and I plan to continue to think (and write) about the problem in the future!

Also posted on IndieNews

 

Other Review: Hello From the Magic Tavern

5 out of 5 stars

I recently discovered Hello From the Magic Tavern, a spectacular podcast with a ridiculous premise.

Hello! I’m Arnie. I fell through a magical dimensional portal behind a Burger King in Chicago and found myself in a strange magical land called “Foon.” I’m still somehow getting a weak wi-fi signal from the Burger King so I host a weekly podcast from the tavern the Vermilion Minotaur, interviewing monsters, wizards and adventurers.

The show primarily features Arnie and his "boon companions" Chunt, a shapeshifter usually taking the form of a talking badger, and Usidore, a wizard with a ludicrously long name. The show is silly, hilarious, and nearly completely improvised on a weekly basis. My commute has been massively improved by listening to Arnie, Chunt, and Usidore, and I highly recommend you join in, too!

Photo Credit: Hien Pham

 
 

Movie Review: Sing

3 out of 5 stars

It was movie night in the LaCour home theater, and the family hunkered down to watch Sing, a 2016 animated feature from Illumination Entertainment.

Sing tells the tale of a struggling theater owner Buster Moon, voiced by Matthew McConaughey, as he tries to save his theater from financial ruin by hosting a signing competition. After a mishap by his assistant, Moon ends up advertising that the show will feature a $100,000 prize, rather than a $1,000 prize, and chaos ensues.

The movie features average animation and some decent voice work from McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, and Seth McFarlane. It drags a bit in the middle, and could lose about 15-20 minutes of run time to make it tighter. That said, great music and some decent laughs make it a worthwhile rental for the family.