Start your week off right

So I’m finding that it is good to start my week by watching a presentation on computer programming. It really sets the tone for the days to come. Today, I have my co-worker Enej to thank for sharing the following presentation by javascript developer Angelina Fabbro:

There are a lot of nice things to say about this presentation. It taught me what “grok” means, and it is a fine word. You can use it even if you are not a programmer. Look it up. The nicest thing I can say, though, is that is a helpful piece of advice for any intermediate programmer who is looking to get to the next level. Some key bullet points:

  • Ask “Why?” obsessively
  • Teach others, and speak a lot about the work you do
  • It is okay to be reckless when experimenting
  • Have opinions & principles
  • Think like a programmer when AFK

I’m thankful that this video fell into my laptop at this precise time. It is very inspirational and just what I needed. Let me know if you watch it.

Span tag paintings

My pal Chris is artist always experimenting with new mediums. He was excited to find that if instead of a traditional canvas, you were to use a web browser, and instead of paints and paintbrushes, you were to use HTML span tags, you’d get an interactive image resembling 8-bit artwork. What the heck is that? Here’s the Mono Lisa, for example:


Note how the appearance changes dramatically if you resize the browser. Span tag paintings are responsive.

In trying to create a photorealistic span painting of President Barrack Obama, Chris found that it was a rather tedious process. Thanks, Obama! I told Chris that using PHP I could teach a computer to make these paintings faster than he could. He was thrilled when my script produced the following image before he could finish his painting.

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 6.52.27 PM

I then extended my script into this neat Backbone.js app, allowing Chris to upload any image which would automatically be changed into an HTML painting. I even built a color picker so you could limit the colors in your painting to a pallet of your choosing. Here is an image of acclaimed painter Bob Ross which was produced by script. Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 6.56.01 PM

I’m glad that Chris made these paintings.  You can see some of his favorites here. I like how you can make different patterns by resizing the window, and then BOOM! the image jumps out at you as soon as you find the right size. We also discovered that image will repeat itself at regular intervals.


Pretty good. Pretty neat. Please reply with your own painting.

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