I am way way way excited to be speaking at this year's FluentConf, an amazing front-end, web technologies conference in San Francisco, in mid-April. Last year was an incredible experience. I expect this year's conference to be fantastic, too. I mean, just LOOK at the schedule and speaker lineup! Wowza!

I'm going to be speaking about automating a number of the Front-End Site Performance things that you hear Paul Irish and Addy Osmani and all those other people say you should do. The advantage of automating the processes is that you don't need to remember to do them, AND you'll be able to see when something you changed adversely affects your site's performance.

The talk will end with a bunch of resources, and a completed setup that, in theory, you can drop into your current project and start automating right away.

Register Now for FluentConf→

Can't make it to Fluent? I'm way way way excited to be giving a similar talk at dev.Objective.

Register Now for dev.Objective →

Rant of the moment: three f---ing dollars

A reviewer on the app store gave an app a 3 star review with this commentary:

This app is kind of a disappointment. There is no demo version to try it first, which is sketchy for an app that costs so much (even when it’s on sale). I thought it would be able to do more but it seems kind of limited. If it wasn’t three dollars on sale and five dollars regularly, I wouldn’t be so disappointed.

The app costs three dollars.


Less than the cost of a cup of Starbucks coffee.

Three dollars.

I am stunningly disappointed in this review. No, that rather doesn't accurately reflect my full and complete annoyance at this guy. How much do I want to find the guy and say, "You're using likely a $500 phone, paying likely $50+ a month for the privilege of using said phone, and you're complaining about paying three fucking dollars for an app? Please, go find a clue stick and smash it on your head multiple times until it does something effective. Please."

Three dollars.



Any Other Name

Walt Longmire, Book 10

Yep. Keep reading the series. The next book is due out in about a month. Shock! I preordered it.

This Walt Longmire book is another mystery book. It starts with a death. I have to say, I find it a rather relief in contrast from the Bosch books where the bad guy is ALWAYS A COP. Not in this series. I'm still enjoying the wit, cultural references and history lessons in these books. We finally see some emotion in the man, and, holy shit, his visions are actual, real life, physical entities! Hot damn! No, wait, no they aren't. It's weird. Worth reading.

What I find amusing in this particular book is that while, once again, Longmire is stunningly impossibly super-human in his physical endurance and recovery, in this book, EVERYONE ACKNOWLEDGES IT. Hallelujah, praise Hey-zeus, and all that. One really doesn't get shot, walk miles in a blizzard dripping blood from the open carotid artery, and manage to function just two days later. Doesn't happen. Yet, sometimes you need a hero, so the author gives you one, but reminds you with another character that, well, getting shot in passing in the gut really is a mortal issue needing attending. Not that you can tell with Longmire.

Did I mention the worth reading part? Well, I meant it. This series is going on the list with the Dresden books. Speaking of, when is the next one due out? Has to be before the next Song of Ice and Fire. F'ing GRRM schedule.

Wired for Love

Okay, I found this book a bit hard to read. Not because the words or phrases are complicated or awkward; they aren't, it's an easy read, word- and style-wise. No, it was difficult because apparently I've been doing relationships all wrong. Well, primary relationships, anyway. At least according to this book.

Okay, maybe not ALL wrong. I'd been doing a lot correctly, tidbits and habits picked up over the years. The big things, though, those I'd been doing poorly. The one I smiled biggest at the recognition of doing well with is launchings and landings: a kiss good morning, a kiss good night, a kiss hello, a kiss goodbye. I've done will with seeking out the Boy when I return from our being apart, which goes with the kiss hello. That is my favorite habit.

The book has ten guiding principles, with ideas like the Couple Bubble, becoming expert managers of our partners, loving is up close so look your partner in the eye frequently (like all the time), and learning to fight fairly and never with a goal to win, but to understand better (well, fuck, where have I heard that one before). I've done some of them correctly, but failed miserably at the rest.

The book describes people's tendencies in relationships to be Anchors (securely attached, comfortable with who they are and the relationship), Islands (insecurely avoidant), and Waves (insecurely ambivalent). Having read Attached a couple years ago when it was spinning through the web development spheres, I recognized the different attachment styles. I've most definitely become an Island, though I hadn't really thought I had. This quote hit me in the gut, though:

People who are islands often confuse independence and autonomy with their adaptation to neglect.

I'm still mulling it over.

The happy examples in the book are great, as happy examples should be. The two-anchor couple sounds like bliss. Part of me suspects, however, that so much of that bliss sounds like choosing the right person in the beginning, and being lucky enough to be with someone not obsessed with the typical American cultural values, by which I mean youth over the wisdom of experience and the growth (read "aging") that comes with it, money over experiences, gratitude over consumption. Being with someone who is secure with who they are, able to be vulnerable, and willing to bring stability to the chaos of the Island or Wave, seems to be the way to a happy relationship for an Island, Wave or Anchor. Not really sure how someone manages to become an Anchor, though. And that's the kicker.

I recommend this book for anyone in a relationship. I'll likely read this one again. I expect to learn again in the next reading.

Powering a small country with Exit Sign juice

In passing, Luke asked the team, "Do you think that all the power that goes into lighting the exit signs in the US is more than that of a small country?"

I love questions like this. My immediate answer was, "No."

"They don't?" he responded.

"I don't know. You asked, 'Do you think?' and I think it doesn't." A much different answer of "I think" versus "It is."

I also love that instead of immediately googling the answers, we talked about it. The team had done some energy-related calculations at the beginning of the year, and was able to recall some of them. I was quickly wondering, how much does a sign use? How many signs are in an average sized building? How many buildings are there? WHO ELSE HAS ALREADY DONE THIS CALCULATION?

That last one was the right one to ask. The EPA had done the calculation (of course). You can't believe everything you read on the intarwebs, but let's go with this one:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there are more than 100 million exit signs in use today in the U.S., consuming 30–35 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually.

That number comes from, according to the Lighting Research Center of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute:

Many existing exit signs use incandescent lamps. Although the electrical power demand of each sign is small, approximately 24 to 40 watts each, each sign is typically operated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; so each sign consumes 210 to 350 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

And the quoted for the last 10 years value of "EPA says there are 100 million signs in use every year." Good lord, one sign for every 3.5 people in the US? Ugh.

Switching to LED drops the wattage to 4-5 watts each, or 35-ish kilowatt-hours per year. Better, but still sucky. And most signs aren't LED.

So, let's go with 30 billion kWh a year.

1 GWh = 1,000 MWh = 1,000,000 kWh That'll be important in a bit, noting 30,000,000,000 kWh = 30,000 GWh.

Okay, how much does a small country use in a year?

Well, hello Wikipedia (first pass at data) and the US government (authoritative for these purposes).

 Country      GWh/year
 Bangladesh   35,893
 Nigeria      21,110
 DR Congo     6,939
 Ethiopia     3,777

Right. I was way wrong with my "No." The answer is emphatically yes.

But, let's confirm with the US government. Here we have to remember that the US is one of the most retardedly backwards countries when it comes to measurements. Heaven forbid that we should SWITCH TO THE FUCKING METRIC SYSTEM ALREADY. Anyway, note also:

1 kWh = 3412 Btu, and
Quadrillion Btu = 1,055 PJ = 293 billion kWh = 293 TWh
1 gigajoule = 277.777778 kilowatt hours

In particular, 1 Quadrillion Btu = 293 billion kWh. Which means 30 billion kWh a year is roughly 1/10 of a Quadrillion Btu.


Now, look at the International Energy Statistics. Easy enough to find those small countries using less than one tenth of a quadrillion Btus (the units used by the incredibly MISNAMED "international" energy page): Bermuda, Antigua and Barbuda, Cayman Islands, and more. Heck, if you use the high end of the 35 billion kWh a year, El Salvador fits into the small country category.

So, yeah, I was way wrong, and yes, if you took all the power used for emergency exit signs in the U.S., you could power a small country.

Gentle reminder that donotcall.gov exists.