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Oleg Dolya's Generators; OpenAudible; Small, Sharp Tools
Oleg Dolya's Generators
I feel as if I'm stepping on Lynn's (@arnicas) toes (check out her newsletter!) with this entry, but I kept clicking on so many of Oleg Dolya's (@watawatabou) procedurally generated creations to see new, dynamic ones that I just had to tell y'all about it.
Procedural generation is "a method of creating data algorithmically as opposed to manually, typically through a combination of human-generated assets and algorithms coupled with computer-generated randomness and processing power. In computer graphics, it is commonly used to create textures and 3D models. In video games, it is used to automatically create large amounts of content in a game. Depending on the implementation, advantages of procedural generation can include smaller file sizes, larger amounts of content, and randomness for less predictable gameplay. Procedural generation is a branch of media synthesis."
Oleg's latest creation is a cave generator, a preview of which is in the header image. If you visit the site, click/tap the map to make a new one.
There are more generators and some full-on games at their site, enough to fill an afternoon nestled in the comfort of chilling air-conditioning whilst the climate boils around you this week.
Warning: this is a freemium tool.
I've been an Audible user for ages, long before Amazon sadly acquired them. I find the credit system both cost-effective and handy (read: supports wanton impulse buys), especially now that you can use credits to "purchase" books in the iOS/iPadOS Audible apps (FWIW this nickel-and-diming war between Apple and folks like Amazon has got to stop at some point).
While the core service is fine, I am
#notafan of the Audible iOS app, and despise the WatchOS app. There is no macOS Audible app-proper, and the Audible web player experience is fairly horrible. While it is possible to put Audible books into the Apple Books app, I’ve found it to be a painful experience on modern Macs.
There are some third-party, free hacks to remove DRM, but each is a bit hack-ish, and I'm at a life point where time is a premium, and would appreciate some things — like getting an audiobook that wasn’t purchased from Apple on my Apple Watch, so I don’t have to lug my phone with me on walks/hikes — to be a tad easier.
OpenAudible costs nearly $20.00 USD, so it really isn't "cheap", especially when said Jackson only gets you free updates for a year. The UX is fairly basic (it’s a Java app container that essentially presents a web application), but it did what it said on the tin (downloaded & de-DRM'd all my books, then moved them all to Apple Books automagically). I’m fairly certain that the interface and some instabilities on arm64 Macs may have me (ironically) carving out time to make a SwiftUI clone of it before handing over another dub.
I'd love to hear your solution to this "problem" if you've spent some time poking at it.
Small, Sharp Tools
This article by @brandur is "old" by internet standards, but discusses the idea of building minimalist, composable command line programs — or web services — that work in concert to a degree of effectiveness that was more than the sum of their parts.
The author pays homage to The Art of UNIX Programming, which is readable for gratis on the web (though it will feel a bit dated as you peruse the contents), and espouses the benefits of this composability quite well.
I think one can go a bit too crazy decomposing workflows into too many Linux pipes or REST microservices, but I'm always up for a reminder that I should be considering the inputs into any tool or service I make and ensuring that I make it possible for the outputs to be used effectively and seamlessly in other tools.
I take back 62% of all the bad things I've ever said about Denver, and Colorado in general. While I haven't gotten oot and aboot too much during our company all-hands, the city has been delightfully quirky, the food's been great, and the heat doesn't feel all that bad compared to back home. ☮