FiveThirtyEight just pre-negotiated Lionel Messi’s next contract

FiveThirtyEight shows the data that explains why Lionel Messi is worth more than any other player.

Love me that breakdown.

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40% of your Team’s Effort….. Wasted? always has interesting material, presented in an attractive, accessible manner. Highly recommended.

I’m currently looooovvvvving this post entitled “40% Of Your Team’s Effort Is Wasted.”

One point that particularly struck me:

Being great is full of unexpected hurdles. So, what you have to have on a team is people who are willing to say “We’re screwing up.” “You’re doing that wrong.” “We need to change.” “We have to do something different — and here’s my idea.”

Anyone out there ever catch a ton of flack for being that guy?

I love having that guy on the team. (or that girl). I love people on the team who, at one point or another, refuse to roll over, refuse to just accept everything as it currently is, and challenge the current plan, even if everyone else would like the current plan to just remain stable for a little bit so they can breathe easy. We’re not at work to breathe easy. We’re at work to solve hard problems, over-constrained problems via creative approaches that deliver imperfect, but close-enough results. We’re here to challenge ourselves! And that’s the fun part, dammnit!


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Management ,

Moving to – bare domain and www


I moved to this week, from It is much faster, and now I won’t get popup ads.

While moving the site, I took the opportunity to upgrade to the current WordPress. I think I was on WP3.3 previously; now it’s on the current release. And now I’m on the current PHP, too. Nice.

Everything went pretty well. I had some fun with the wordpress part – updating the existing plugins, using wp-cli, fiddling around with my own plugins which had a few problems using deprecated WordPress functions…, doing surgery on other plugins, now abandoned.

I had to update from the old Twitter widget I had been using; it was still using the Twitter v1 API, which did not use OAuth. This API is no longer supported, so the widget wasn’t able to retrieve any tweets. I found a new one called… really-simple-twitter-feed-widget. And it was pretty simple, in the end. But I did have a problem: when pasting my token secret into the configuration box, I inadvertently had grabbed a leading space. Instead of pasting “XYZABC” as the token, I had pasted “_XYZABC”. But I didn’t realize this, because the textbox was masked, and all I saw was those dots.

The incorrect token secret caused all of the signatures generated by the widget to be invalid; therefore the Twitter API was rejecting them. I had to crack into *that* code as well, to diagnose this. Only printing out the token secret just before it was used to generate the OAuth1.0a signature showed me the light. After that, the new Twitter widget just worked! Sweet!

Finally, I got all the PHP squared away.

NFS is a cheap hoster, but easy? No. I don’t mind the lack of cPanel. I love the SSH access to my machine. Everything is possible on NFS; the trick is figuring out HOW to do stuff.

The last thing I got stuck on, in the move to NFS, was configuring to redirect to The FAQ for NFS says that you can do it using “a hard canonical name”. But doesn’t say HOW to make that effective. Back and forth through the FAQ on the NFS site, to no avail.

At last, this blog post helped me.

  1. Go to the Nearlyfreespeech UI ->Site->Select the site in question->Add a new alias e.g.
  2. Once appears under the Site Name and Aliases table in the site menu, click the “Set Canonical Name” (on the menu on the right)
  3. Select HARD Canonical settings and select

Thanks, Keith! I don’t know why this isn’t in the FAQ doc for NFS.


Comparing Graphite and Flot

Producing a dashboard with charts generated by Graphite using its render API I kinda liked the results:

Sample TP95 chart from Graphite

But then I thought, I wonder if I could produce the same dashboard from the raw data, using jquery flot?. And the answer is, of course:

Sample TP95 chart from flot

Which do you prefer? I kinda like the flot version better. As a developer, I have finer control over the look of the chart. This means, for one thing, the fonts are nicer. Also, I can move the title around, style things differently. And I can make the chart interactive, too. Using graphite involves significantly less labor, though. Less custom code.

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Developer , ,

NodeJS vs Ruby on Rails popularity

Everybody’s favorite indicator, the Google search trend chart, shows that Nodejs is overtaking Ruby on Rails:

Nodejs search trend

From a recent webinar on


Welcome to 1998, Apple! JavaScript will soon be usable for automating OSX apps

via Reddit, I learned that Apple is introducing JavaScript as a way to automate inter-app communication in OSX. JavaScript continues it’s growth.

Just a couple notes:

  1. Windows had this in 1998 with WSH which was first available in Windows 98. Just sayin.
  2. Microsoft has also recently published a sample for using JavaScript as a scripting language for any .NET app. Kewl.

Developer , ,