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Ministry of Intrigue Ministry of Intrigue

Dispatches

Coffee-stained dispatches from the Minister of Intrigue.

2019

Xia Jia on time
·97 words·1 min
Quotes
I gave a lecture on time travel where, using the “butterfly effect,” I explained that we cannot predict the weather or one’s trajectory in life accurately. Every second in our past matters equally.
NYT on the Secret History of Women in Coding
·297 words·2 mins
Articles tech history
The NYT recently ran a wonderfully in-depth story covering the history of women in coding. The issue of note for the article is that in the beginning of computer science the gender balance among programmers was basically equal.
Your prescribed dose of garden photos
·63 words·1 min
Articles photos personal
One of my favorite places to visit is Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. Exhausted from the gray and brown of winter, today my family made the trek out there for their Orchid Extravaganza.
The Terror of a Future America in Vigilance
·407 words·2 mins
Articles books reviews
Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett In his latest novel, Vigilance, Robert Jackson Bennett shows us the plausible terror of an America which has utterly given up preventing gun violence and instead embraced it.
Cal Newport on digital minimalism
·153 words·1 min
Articles tech
To succeed with this approach, a useful first step is to remove from your smartphone any apps that make money from your attention. This includes social media, addictive games and newsfeeds that clutter your screen with “breaking” notifications.
New Fiction: Memories of Stars
·259 words·2 mins
Articles fiction meta writing featured
There’s a new short story in ye olde fiction section. Well, I say, “new”. This is actually a couple years old, but it felt like a good time to share it.

2018

Migrating a Django application from Heroku to AWS Elastic Beanstalk
·3467 words·17 mins
Articles development heroku aws elastic beanstalk django python
Here’s the scenario you find yourself in: you’ve built and deployed a cool little Django app, and successfully deployed it on Heroku. You’ve followed all the great advice out there and are using django-environ to help manage all the various configuration variables you have to retrieve from your Heroku dynos.
Halloween is big money
·57 words·1 min
Articles halloween
Thus, a new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday after Christmas.
Numenera Discovery and Destiny: Lightning Round Review
·792 words·4 mins
Articles gaming ttrpg numenera
Numenera Discovery and Destiny in their slipcase cover Numenera Discovery and Destiny are here, and they do not disappoint. As always, Monte Cook Games nails the production quality, with some beautiful volumes filled with incredible art.
Saddle Up! We're on our way to the Ninth World.
·369 words·2 mins
Articles gaming ttrpg numenera geeklycon
This July, I’ll be running my first convention game of an RPG at GeeklyCon. I’ve been a DM for many years, but my focus has been running long term campaigns for my friends.
Warren Ellis and professional OpSec
·138 words·1 min
Quotes privacy satire
Warren Ellis on limiting your availability for both productivity and OpSec: When you reply to this, it doesn’t go to my main email. It goes to a public-facing email account that I have to manually go to.
Better scheduled posts for Pelican
··794 words·4 mins
Articles pelican meta bash
Pop quiz: you’ve set up a static web site like all the cool kids these days, but you still want to be able to do scheduled posts. There’s a lot of good reasons why you might.
New year, new nerdery
·1217 words·6 mins
Articles aws assorted geekery personal vps linux gentoo funtoo
It’s the January of 2018, and the sickness is upon me again. Sometimes you can feel it coming, like that first head fog that warns of a coming cold, or the klaxon of a stomach churn that alerts you to an impending flu.
2017 by the numbers
·741 words·4 mins
Articles personal meta
Yay, the obligatory retrospective post! Let’s face it, in many ways, 2017 was a dumpster fire of a year. The political and social climate has been toxic and frankly it’s hard to be effective in this kind of environment.
Writing Report Card: December 2017
·179 words·1 min
Articles writing submissions report card publishing
Continuing my recurring feature where I publicly post a report card of fiction writing activity each month. This series is inspired by Aeryn Rudel’s blog Rejectomancy. Each month I’ll post a report card summarizing words written, submissions, rejections, and hopefully acceptances.

2017

Merlin Mann on a better media diet
·54 words·1 min
Quotes social media politics
Politics, celebrity gossip, business headlines, tech punditry, odd news, and user-generated content. These are the chew toys that have made me sad and tired and cynical. — Merlin Mann, Better
Writing Report Card: November 2017
·122 words·1 min
Articles writing submissions report card publishing
Last month, I announced a new recurring feature where I’ll publicly post a report card of fiction writing activity each month. This series is inspired by Aeryn Rudel’s blog Rejectomancy. Each month I’ll post my results, summarizing words written, submissions, rejections, and hopefully acceptances.
Riding the Mastodon
·1713 words·9 mins
Articles personal social media twitter mastodon open source
Reader, I did it again. I joined another social network. I know, I know. I should know better, right? But this time feels different. There’s something special about this one. Maybe it’s simply the contrast from Facebook and Twitter that makes it so appealing, but I can’t help but feel there is great promise in Mastodon.
Tell a better story to improve your life
·1664 words·8 mins
Articles self improvement mental health
The tangle of human lives is spun with stories. Every relationship, every shared belief, and every history is made up of such things. More importantly, your stories are what define you, whether you are conscious of it or not.
Writing Report Card: October 2017
·246 words·2 mins
Articles writing submissions report card publishing
I’ve been writing a lot more lately, shifting my work from a secret passion to more of a serious pursuit. The last few months I’ve been making steady progress on project DARK CONDUIT, and producing short stories which I’ve been submitting to fiction markets.