Blog

Welcome to my blog.

Website Redesign

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If you've been here before, you may have noticed the website redesign. The dark blue background and yellow text is gone, some links have been rearranged and others updated. One big change is a philosophical one: I've started to become more lenient on my war against web bloat, and actually loaded a font. I've even begun considering using basic Javascript! Sincere apologies to the children in Africa who can no longer visit my webpage.

This doesn't mean I've abandonded everything. The font is still open source, and loaded locally without some redirect to Google. No bloat like React or Node.js will ever touch this site either. I just wanted to freshen the room up a little bit. Hopefully the changes look nice, and things are still easy to get to. On my todo list, I need to better modify my blog writing script to my needs, as well as finding some way to stop using MathJax.

If anybody is interested, the font is mononoki, which I like a lot and use for my terminal emulator. The colors were generated by pywal off an image of a campfire, which is supposed to give a "cozy" feel. This is modular so the colors can and possibly will change at will.

Sat, 10 Jul 2021 23:51

Books I've Read

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I like reading books. My favorite author is Haruki Murakami (my favorite novel of his is 1Q84), my favorite poet is T. S. Eliot (oh how my hair grows thin), and I do a lot of my reading on a Kindle Oasis, which has no Amazon account linked and is always in airplane mode.

This is a (probably incomplete) list of books I've read, with the year I finished the book in parentheses. If I own a physical copy there will be a "P" in parentheses, and if I previously owned a physical copy (I often give away old books) there will be a "PO" instead. Note that I didn't necessarily enjoy every book here, but I did like the majority of them. Bolded books are highly recommended.

Currently Reading

Fiction

Non-fiction

Books I Own (but haven't read yet)

Mon, 07 Jun 2021 00:22

Running Log: Bike Commuting

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Date Location Time Distance
1/21 Apt to UT 30? min 11 km
1/21 UT to Apt
1/22 Apt to UT
1/22 UT to Apt

An update on my cycling progress. If you've been following my updates, last time I was talking about fixing up an old Schwinn world sport. I gave up on that, it was way too hard and not worth the investment. Instead, I got myself a new (used) bike, attached some lights, a kickstand, and we're ready to ride!

I've been bike commuting to campus the last couple of days, even though my in person class is no longer in person. It's nice to be back on the UT campus for a little bit, even though it's dead and nothing's happening. Seeing a provocative preacher arguing with some freshman (I assume) on Speedway reminds me of the good old megaphone BLB preacher at UNT, who was eventually replaced by a nicer man with a corgi.

The ride itself isn't too long, only thirty-ish minutes, but you also have to factor in the return route. Austin as a whole is a lot more bikeable than my hometown, there are bike lanes everywhere and the roads are quite nicely paved. Sometimes the bike lanes can be a detriment, like when I want to switch to the road because everyone leaves their trash cans in the bike lane. But I get afraid of the possibility of a car yelling at me, along the lines of "There's a bike lane right there, why don't you use it!!" So I just swerve around the trash cans.

I don't really know how cycling works, but I do know how running works. The general idea is to run a good amount each day, and slowly increase your miles per week. On weekends, you try for a long run, and spend Sunday resting (like intended) so you're ready to roll again when the week starts back up. As your miles go up, so does your base fitness level, which lets you run longer, and the positive feedback loop continues. Hopefully it works the same way for cycling, and I'll be able to join my old English professor (in spirit) on the century rides to the sun.

Sun, 24 Jan 2021 12:46

MathML, Javascript, and the Future of This Blog

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It's the new year, which means I've shifted all my previous posts from 2020 to an alternate file, to make loading the rolling view blog page faster. The year is just a number anyway.

When I first started making this website, I had a vision of having cool and accessible math posts about a wide variety of subjects, with a sprinkle of miscellaneous topics peppered in. The blog has evolved in the opposite direction, becoming a collection of random musings with the occasional informative post. Writing math posts is hard, especially in text format to an unknown audience. What makes math explanations cool in video form or in person are the little details you add in, tidbits that shed light on foreign concepts, illuminating them and making their ideas transparent to the world. These kind of things are incredible difficult to express in text form, nobody wants to read walls of text (looking at you Allen Hatcher). I think the biggest limiting factor is the author's own ego: when writing math, the product almost becomes a representation of their mathematical prowess of sorts. So like proofs or papers, the mathematician wishes to make their prose as concise and beautiful as possible, to avoid being represented by "bad" work. Hence posts are detailed and concise, and don't elaborate too much on things that really should be elaborated on. At this point, I might as well write a textbook.

There's also the technical aspect of these posts. Currently math posts use MathJax, which is incredibly bloated and slow (load this page for an example). There seems to be no other way to embed math online that isn't a janky workaround, like embedding images into your text (this breaks if you want to change your text color). I've been digging around online, and I thought I found my "perfect solution", which is MathML. It's fast, clean, functions like text, and is natively supported by reasonable browsers. Unfortunately, the list of reasonable browsers does not include Google Chrome, which is what most people use. So Google's evil antics in eliminating a reasonable web standard for science have screwed us yet again. Also, I would still need Javascript to convert LaTeX to MathML, since MathML code is incredibly long and tedious. This rules out my vision for a perfect bloat free website, that works perfectly with Javascript disabled.

You can see why I decided to give up on writing math posts. If I come across something particularly interesting I might still write math posts, but they'll be on hiatus for now. Now I can focus full time on boomer posts about social media, minimalism, running/whatever, and anything else that comes to mind really. Until next time.

Sat, 09 Jan 2021 21:22