Philosophy

The Evil System

Someone on social media posted that they received a message saying something similar to:

What happened to George Floyd is a metaphor for how the system holds black folks down; people don’t care.

It is horrible, appaling, tragic, and frustrating to learn how Floyd lost his life. However, I don’t understand the quoted response that sees the incident as a metaphor for a greater, more heinous, yet more vague and nebulous evil. What specifically is the “system”, how specifically is it keeping you down, and how specifically can it be fixed?

As with the notion of privelege, people tend to point to statistical disparities as evidence of racism. But statistics in and of themselves never explain causes; one can always interpret the numbers to imply victimhood. Nor do they determine probability; each point of data is the sum of a vast number of unique variables. That is, your chances of being murdered by police, for example, cannot be calculated with statistics. It makes no sense as a foundation of fear.

Nor will the “system” ever be perfect. Another incident is bound to happen. We humans are stupid, sinful, and imperfect. That doesn’t justify the next incident or morally excuse those involved. But the quoted mindset preconditions one’s response to be that much more torment, as the incident will once again provide metaphorical evidence for the evil of the “system”. (Should supposed evidence to the contrary, such as police brutality against non-black folks or the success of other black folks, be ignored?)

That is, if what you require to be unafraid is a world without incident, you will be afraid forever.

(On a side note, there was once this guy who told his followers that they’d be unjustly hated and persecuted, and yet he encouraged them to not worry and to be at peace. Wow, that’s a tall order! Who was that?)

So what’s a person to do? Well, there are a few ways to help. You can post a black square or something on social media to show you care. You can donate some money to some organization that will hopefully do something. You can vote for the socially approved candidates. If you’re white, you can be racist against yourself to help equalize things. And of course there’s always protesting. If you feel that none of these seem to help much because the problem is too vague… (answer to be inserted here)

my virtue

By S P Hannifin, ago
Programming

Note-taking app launched at Trovedex.com!

I spent Friday and Saturday launching the first version of the note-taking app I’ve been working on, live now at trovedex.com. Woohoo! I’m glad I was able to get it up just before the end of May.

As stated before, there are still quite a few features I’d like to add. But even before I go about adding new features, there are a number of glitches that need fixing. It’s really annoying how some things that work fine in production (when running on my computer) suddenly stop working or glitch out when live on a server.

Deploying the Vue app wasn’t too difficult in and of itself, though I will need to develop a more efficient deployment strategy than just uploading files. The trickiest part for me was getting the API back-end server, which manages requests from the app to the database, to use the more secure “https” protocol. The front end, built with Vue, was easy; you can just set a variable in its config file and *poof* it works. The back-end API, however, needed info about a valid SSL certificate to be recognized as secure. Googling around, just about all the info I could find involved creating a self-signed certificate, which most browsers won’t trust, so that didn’t help me much. I finally figured out how to get the “key” and “cert” files from my server’s certificate. A simple solution, but difficult to find. Also, if you know how to look at your browser’s javascript console, you’ll see that my implementation of firebase, which I’m using for user authentication (hence why you can log in with Google or Facebook without having to create a new account), outputs a warning about my code using a “development build” of the SDK. I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of that. It probably also has a simple solution I just haven’t found yet.

At the moment, I know this note-taking app is nothing amazingly innovative, but it’s been great for learning “the stack” (the layers of tools used to build a web app) and I think continuing work with it (and on it) will be fun. Now that this is up, I’m going to switch my focus back to TuneSage, my in-development music-writing app. I’ll still work on Trovedex to fix the current glitches, add features, and make improvements, but I’d like to launch TuneSage before Christmas and there is a ton of work to do on that.

Happy note-taking!

By S P Hannifin, ago
Interesting finds

Monk in Quarantine

Read an article somewhere that said Tony Shalhoub was recovering from COVID and couldn’t help being shocked, shocked! that Mr. Monk would allow such a thing to happen. But I thought this little skit featuring Monk was funny.

They really need to do a TV special or something.

By S P Hannifin, ago
Programming

Note-taking app update 5

My note-taking app is almost ready for release! Upon release it will support the following:

  • tag notes and filter by tags
  • embed html
  • create todo lists
  • create timers
  • create info tables
  • insert or embed images (from url or upload)
  • create flashcards (for self-studying, e.g. language learning)

My current todo list before release includes:

  • Design for mobile (make it responsive to browser width)
  • Get links to other notes working
  • Finish basic search functionality
  • Create a “reminders” icon (which only works with the reminders set by the flashcards widget at the moment)
  • Add click & drag to re-order stuff functionality
  • Create a “storage space” check (so limits can be set)
  • Create an “about” landing page / log in page
  • Create a sign-out button
  • Finalize API back-end settings

So quite a bit still to do. Some of that stuff won’t take long, but some stuff may (like designing for mobile, especially since design work tends to be slow and tedious for me; I’m not so great at it). I still hope to launch it before the end of May.

Of course, even after launching there are quite a few features I’d like to add, but I want to launch it first and see if anyone else even finds it at all useful. (I definitely want it for myself though, so I’ll be using it regardless.)

By S P Hannifin, ago
My life

1 Second Everyday : April 2020 & App update 4

1 Second Everyday

Here’s my 1 Second Everyday for last month. Lockdown made for another boring month with mostly programming and cats (though I guess most my months are pretty boring anyway). But I did buy a used 3D projector from eBay which is great. It’s too bad 3D blu-rays (and 3D movies in general) are quickly becoming a thing of the past just as used 3D projectors become actually affordable. Oh well.


Quick note-taking app update 4

I’m just about done the functional programming for the initial release of my note-taking app:

  • Complete functionality of the sub-menu
  • Allow attaching or inserting media (at least images) to notes
  • Sort / search notes by tags
  • Create note with tags pre-filled (like adding a post to a category)
  • Allow some js widgets in notes, at least checkboxes and timers
  • Allow creation of new notes with bracket links (e.g. “[[]]”) as in MediaWiki (standard wiki feature)
  • Open related notes by clicking on these bracket links (without opening a new page)
  • Search and sort notes by content / data / date (only basic queries for now)
  • Create user login / registration system
  • Create user stats page (notes created, storage space available, etc.)
  • Collect user usage stats (for studying how users use the product)
  • Overhaul / finalize designs, make responsive and usable on mobile
  • Write Terms of Service, privacy, cookie use policies
  • Offer subscriptions, launch!

I mostly just have to work on the design and then the final launch preparations! There are plenty of features I’d like to add after launching, of course, but development will probably slow so I can get back to work on TuneSage. Building this note-taking app has been a great experience for learning how to develop a web app using Vue and MongoDB, which I can definitely use while continuing to build TuneSage. (Plus I hope to use this note-taking app for my own note-keeping purposes.)

By S P Hannifin, ago
Programming

Quick note-taking app update 3

Made some decent progress this week and knocked out a few of the todo’s; here’s what the list looks like now:

  • Complete functionality of the sub-menu
  • Allow attaching or inserting media (at least images) to notes
  • Sort / search notes by tags
  • Create note with tags pre-filled (like adding a post to a category)
  • Allow some js widgets in notes, at least checkboxes and timers
  • Allow creation of new notes with bracket links (e.g. “[[]]”) as in MediaWiki (standard wiki feature)
  • Open related notes by clicking on these bracket links (without opening a new page)
  • Search and sort notes by content / data / date (only basic queries for now)
  • Create user login / registration system
  • Create user stats page (notes created, storage space available, etc.)
  • Collect user usage stats (for studying how users use the product)
  • Overhaul / finalize designs, make responsive and usable on mobile
  • Write Terms of Service, privacy, cookie use policies
  • Offer subscriptions, launch!

Working on a simple user login / registration system now, so that should be done soon. After that, the last piece of actual functionality to add will be some sort of usage-data gathering system. The rest of the todo list mainly concerns design and content.

And it definitely needs some redesign because it looks very bad at the moment. I’ve been much more focused on coding functionality than finding visual appeal. Ultimately I want it to look as minimal, simple, and intuitive as possible, on both desktops and smartphones.

I will have to go back and polish some functionality though; I’ve been skipping over some of the finer details.

Anyway, I’m guessing it may only be two or three more weeks before the app is ready to debut!

By S P Hannifin, ago
Programming

Quick note-taking app update 2

Been a while since I gave an update on my note-taking app progress, so I shall proceed to do so.

I’ve been able to knock some things off the to do list:

  • Complete functionality of the sub-menu
  • Allow attaching or inserting media (at least images) to notes
  • Sort / search notes by tags
  • Create note with tags pre-filled (like adding a post to a category)
  • Allow some js widgets in notes, at least checkboxes and timers
  • Allow creation of new notes with bracket links (e.g. “[[]]”) as in MediaWiki (standard wiki feature)
  • Open related notes by clicking on these bracket links (without opening a new page)
  • Search and sort notes by content / data / date (only basic queries for now)
  • Create user login / registration system
  • Create user stats page (notes created, storage space available, etc.)
  • Collect user usage stats (for studying how users use the product)
  • Overhaul / finalize designs, make responsive and usable on mobile
  • Write Terms of Service, privacy, cookie use policies
  • Offer subscriptions, launch!

Not nearly as much as I’d’ve liked to have finished by now, but progress is being made. Uploading files turned out to be a bit tricky (and there are still some small issues with it to work out), as was supporting javascript in each note. And looking ahead, I’m thinking everything else will also be tricky. But we’ll get there!

By S P Hannifin, ago
My life

1 Second Everyday : March 2020

The two highlights of the month are the coronavirus pandemic (an obvious major disruption to everything) and our adoption of a new kitten called Emma. So plenty of kitten footage this month.

Captions:
1 – Playing with math
2 – Scout through the looking glass
3 – Voted on Super Tuesday
4 – Our sad empty local mall (pre-pandemic)
5 – Delicious fried calamari (and unknowingly one of our last out-to-eats for a while)
6 – Bought this book on Amazon
7 – This is delicious!
8 – Another new Nightwish track!
9 – Saw the new Pixar film at the theater (just in time before theaters close for the pandemic)
10 – Watching Netflix
11 – Creepy possum on our fence
12 – The frogs are out
13 – Stocking up on groceries amid coronavirus concerns
14 – Sadie playing a toy
15 – Virus news aaahhh
16 – Sadie in a window
17 – Dinner for the turtle
18 – Mall still open, but many stores are closed (I only go there for the post office)
19 – Watched the Mr Rogers movie
20 – Reading
21 – New kitten Emma meets the other cats
22 – Tiny kitten Emma
23 – Bought some new 3D blu-rays on sale
24 – Sleeping kitty
25 – Playing kitty
26 – Jumping kitty
27 – Duck eggs in our bushes… never had those before
28 – Yawning kitty
29 – Costco trip
30 – Playing with paper
31 – Obayashi’s film “House”… very weird movie

By S P Hannifin, ago
My life

1 Second Everyday : February 2020

February flew by quickly. It was pretty unexciting; mostly continued programming and eBay selling, which I’ll continue this month.

Days:
1 – Playing with Sadie
2 – Super Bowl Sunday!
3 – Reading a Jungian book1
4 – At an antique shop
5 – Programming
6 – Sadie playing with a shoe
7 – Stormy weather
8 – Cat sitting on my back
9 – Watching Locke and Key on Netflix
10 – Listening to some classical music (can you guess the symphony?)
11 – Need some stuff at Walmart
12 – Doing some web app development
13 – Found at a used bookstore
14 – Sadie knocks over a bin of ornaments
15 – Programming
16 – Learning about Vuetify
17 – Really enjoying this show
18 – Sadie plays with a new toy
19 – Enjoying the new Nightwish track
20 – Doing some web dev with Vue ui
21 – Found at a used bookstore
22 – Still reading “Farlander”
23 – Sadie playing
24 – More web dev
25 – Sadie staring at me
26 – Watching NiNo Kuni on Netlfix
27 – New PS4 game!
28 – Cleaning my laptop with goop
29 – Testing out a RokBlok

By S P Hannifin, ago
Programming

Note-taking app update

Fortunately the nightmares have stopped and I’ve managed to get on a more regular sleeping schedule, going to bed at about 1 AM or so and waking up at about 9:30 AM. So that’s good.

Programming-wise, I spent much of last week just learning more about modern web tools; I’ve been away from web development for a while, so there’s a lot to learn. I switched from Feathers and React to what’s called a “MEVN” stack, which consists of MongoDB for the database (which I find easier than MySQL1), Express.js for the back-end framework, Vue for the front-end (which I find easier to learn than React), and of course Node.js for the back-end platform. In particular, this little tutorial on setting up a MEVN stack was super helpful.

Beyond that I’ve only just started programming some actual functionality. At the moment, you can create a note and delete it. And that’s it. Pretty boring. Much left to do.

As seen above, when you hover over a note, you get that little side-menu with edit, copy, and delete options. Looks a bit bland, but the design is definitely not final. Here’s my current todo list before making the app public:

  • Complete functionality of the sub-menu (the delete works, but the edit and copy buttons don’t yet)
  • Allow attaching or inserting media (at least images) to notes
  • Sort / search notes by tags
  • Create note with tags pre-filled (like adding a post to a category)
  • Allow some js widgets in notes, at least checkboxes and timers
  • Allow creation of new notes with bracket links (e.g. “[[]]”) as in MediaWiki (standard wiki feature)
  • Open related notes by clicking on these bracket links (without opening a new page)
  • Search and sort notes by content / data / date (only basic queries for now)
  • Create user login / registration system
  • Create user stats page (notes created, storage space available, etc.)
  • Collect user usage stats (for studying how users use the product)
  • Overhaul / finalize designs, make responsive and usable on mobile
  • Write Terms of Service, privacy, cookie use policies
  • Offer subscriptions, launch!

I have some other big features I’d like to add, but I’d like to launch it first, just to get it out there. So how long will all that stuff take to do? Assuming I can tick one off every day, only two weeks. But some will be easy and some will be difficult, and you never know what task you might get stuck on. So we’ll see. I’m going to aim for two weeks. Though I do have some family stuff going on that will likely also get in the way.

Plus this really awesome guy sent me the PS4 game Dreams that I’m eager to try…

By S P Hannifin, ago