Planet Chris

Posts from people I like written today, yesterday, and the day before.

Today — Thu, 30 Mar 2017

Automatically converting PDF to Keynote

Rob Allen — 

I use rst2pdf to create presentations which provides me with a PDF file. When it comes to presenting on stage, on Linux there are tools such as pdfpc and on Mac there's Keynote. Keynote doesn't read PDF files by default, so we have to convert them and the tool I use for this is Melissa O'Neill's PDF to Keynote. This is a GUI tool, so I manually create the Keynote file when I need it which is tedious. Recently, with Melissa's prompting, I realised that I could automate the creation of the key...

Yesterday — Wed, 29 Mar 2017

When debugging doesn't suck: beautiful errors

Alessandro Nadalin — 

Exceptions happen everyday: the bigger (and the more distributed) the system, the higher the chances for things to go south. Most of us already learned the lesson when we idealized architectures and they bit us back in the form of a catastrophic downtime that could have been avoided, maybe by just adding a required timeout or keeping a few best practices for distributed systems in mind: we are now better architects, who understand that failures are an option and we have to bu...

Copy to Clipboard from Command Line

David Walsh — 

If you’ve ever been debugging with a fellow developer, you’ll hear “OK, execute that and let me know what it says”.  In this case, you can either manually copy the output and instant message the text over to them, or you can write the output to file with >> , open the file, manually copy the contents, and paste it into IM.  I experience this for a few hours recently and it was way to much work!  Shouldn’t there be a way t...

How to Skylark – the class

Kristina Chodorow — 

I’ve heard a lot of users say they want a more comprehensive introduction to writing build extensions for Bazel (aka, Skylark). One of my friends has been working on Google Classroom and they just launched, so I created a build extensions crash course. I haven’t written much content yet (and I don’t understand exactly how Classroom works), but we can learn together! If you’re interested: Go to Click on “Join class”. Put in &l...

What to do when an employee moves overseas

WonderProxy — 

A lot of effort goes into building a great team, so when a member tells you they're moving to another country, it's a bit of a shock. Hopefully you've got a bit of time to consider your options. If you haven't deduced, one of our WonderFamily has recently moved 8 time zones, so we thought we'd share how we've tackled this. Options: 1) The job is here. This one's easy (in some ways): they can move or keep their job, not both. Your company is set up in $country not $otherCountry, so it's e...

Understanding Stacked Bar Charts: The Worst Or The Best?

Smashing Magazine — 

    Data visualization has become an important part of our everyday life, allowing us to quickly assess information. And with so many chart types out there to choose from, it should be possible to effectively solve almost any task, whether it's exploratory (i.e. researching and analyzing data to better understand it for yourself) or explanatory (i.e. reporting and communicating data to end users). However, variety can also ca...

JPEG Compression with Guetzli

David Walsh — 

A little while ago Google released its Guetzli JPEG encoder, which claims an 20-30% improvement in file size over libjpeg. Being intrigued, I decided to give it a go. My tool of choice for optimizing JPEGs has long been jpeg-recompress, one of the binaries available in the jpeg-archive project. It’s highly configurable, reasonably fast, and really delivers on optimizing JPEGs. But how does Guetzli compare? A rudimentary test case To get started, I used a portrait of myself: What you ...

Style Guide Audience

Brad Frost — 

In his talk Designing Inspired Style Guides, Andy Clarke discusses the importance of creating digital style guides that go beyond being humble containers for UI assets and instead operate as beautiful vehicles that evoke the essence of the brand. When it comes to the current look of many UI pattern libraries, he says: They look ugly enough to have been designed by someone who enjoys configuring a router. Sick burn. In a bit of a rebuttal, Jer...

Plainness and Sweetness

Susan Robertson — 

“Adaptability seems the key here. Many believe that normalcy and consistency breeds monotony, but what about the trap of an overly accentuated, hyper-specific identity? When the world changes around you, what do you do? Personal identities are not corporate communication or software, though now we prescribe all to have brands. All contain the aching desire to be noticed when instead they should focus on being useful. Which leads me to something my grandfather used to say occasionally w...

McCall’s 6102 or Why I Sew

Susan Robertson — 

“When I make my own clothing, I think about each stitch and every color. As I pass fabric through the machine, I think about my friends, my week, my mom. Turns out developing consciousness around one thing makes you conscious of lots of other things. You think about the things that really matter to you. Or sometimes you remember the theme to Gilligan’s Island and that’s a thing too.” I really love this piece, so much. I don't sew, but I crochet now and I've been draw...


Susan Robertson — 

It’s taken me a long time and it’s been a gradual process, but slowly, ever so slowly, I’m caring less and less about doing what I think I should be doing and more and more about doing what’s right for me. The results have been amazing. I’ve let go of guilt, of shoulds, and of thinking there is some magical they out there who are dictating how one live one’s life. It’s resulted in changes, less webbish life, more real life. Doing more to meet people ...

The Day Before — Tue, 28 Mar 2017

Open source

Jeremy Keith — 

Building and maintaining an open-source project is hard work. That observation is about as insightful as noting the religious affiliation of the pope or the scatological habits of woodland bears. Nolan Lawson wrote a lengthy post describing what it feels like to be an open-source maintainer. Outside your door stands a line of a few hundred people. They are patiently waiting for you to answer their questions, complaints, pull requests, and feature requests. You want to help all of t...

Creating my first HTTP server in Node.js

Charlotte Jackson — 

Until now, my job as a front-end developer has been writing HTML, CSS and JS... I'm referring to the kind of JavaScript that affects elements in the browser, like adding behaviour to a site. That's what I considered a front-end developer to do. For a while things have been changing, as Gina Trapani points out in her fantastic post about learning modern JavaScript. My role has changed too; now I need to write server-si...

A sticky situation.

Ethan Marcotte — 

Ran into a tiny little design bug yesterday. Maybe it’d be of interest to you. Last week, I thought I’d clean up my blog entries a bit. (Yep. I’m that fun.) Before, there were a couple short but dense paragraphs, each containing a truckload of links: one linking to my archives, a couple links to read either the previous and next posts, and then a few trillion links to “share” the “entry” on “social media” “web-sites.” Now,...

Christine Herrin

The Great Discontent — 

Following an unconventional path, San Francisco-based designer, Christine Herrin, fought to stay true to her inner voice despite outside expectations and traditions rooted in her Manilan upbringing. Here, she opens up about finding her community by embracing her introversion, how she’s grown during her time as one of this year’s Adobe Creative Residents, and her desire to help people document their lives and engage with the world in fun and creative ways. ...

A Matter Of Self-Perception

Tobias van Schneider — 

Let’s do a quick experiment. Take out your phone, turn on your self-facing camera and look at yourself on the screen. Don’t take a picture. Just look at yourself. You look pretty damn good, right? Now take a photo. It’s weird. You’re in the same light, it’s the same angle, you’re going for that same soft, slightly skeptical smile. But you don’t look the same, do you? It’s not nearly as flattering as before you tapped that button to take the pi...

Format Video Length in HH:MM:SS from Command Line

David Walsh — 

In my experimentation with audio and video manipulation, I’ve found that most tools prefer to handle time in HH:MM:SS (hour:minute:second) format.  I always presumed that using seconds would be easier but I’m barely a novice media tool user, much less a tool creator. When I wrote the Create Short Preview from Video post, I calculated the video length in seconds with the following command: length=$(ffprobe $sourcefile  -show_format 2>&am...

How to get a job at Kickstarter

Tobias van Schneider — 

The spirit of Kickstarter, a popular funding platform based right here in Brooklyn, is one that I can get behind. It’s about helping people bring their ideas and creative projects to life. It’s what I strive to do with this blog. So I was especially excited to talk to my friend Zack, head of design at Kickstarter, about what it takes to get a job where he works. Hey Zack, let’s get right to it. Looking at your current design team, what’s the split between i...

Writing on the web

Brad Frost — 

I’m in the process of redoing this site with the intention of ramping up what I share and how often I share things. Jeremy is of course a huge inspiration for me, so his post is serving as a fire under my ass. Looking forward to sharing more soon!