Archives For Jason DeFillippo

My birthday is approaching! Even though I don’t generally get birthday cakes anymore this is a fantastic video for everyone who does. Science!

Tools of the Trade: vi/vim

Jason DeFillippo —  February 27, 2014

In the ever expanding world of graphical user interfaces, the arcane arts of the command line are going the way of manual transmissions. Driving a stick shift is becoming more and more unnecessary as automobile technology advances but it’s still an incredibly useful skill to have in a pinch. I believe that everyone should have at least a fundamental knowledge of at least one or two command line text editors.

My editor of choice is vi or vim. The first editor I learned back in the early 90’s was on the shared Unix machines at my ISP and it was called Pico. When I got around more seasoned nerds I had to make the choice between vi or Emacs because nerds can’t have nice thins without an unnecessary holy war. I simply chose vi because, no joke, the nerd that liked Emacs had TERRIBLE b.o. and I wanted to stay as far away from him as possible. True story.

There are a million vi tutorials out there to choose from. What I will leave you with is the most best cheat sheet I’ve ever come across. Once you learn the basics of navigation this little card will save you hours of banging your head against the desk. If you have a Mac vim is installed by default. Just open your Terminal app to start playing!

vi vim Cheat Sheet

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WWWKW: Rikki Tikki Tavi

Jason DeFillippo —  February 26, 2014

The title of our show is Grumpy Old Geeks but on occasion I’m going to post things that are neither geeky nor grumpy but are most definitely old. This is a feel-good oldie post and I’m so passionate about the subject that I even created a dumb new meme-y thing for it.

In this first ever ‘When We Were Kids Wednesday’ a.k.a. #WWWKW for those of you who speak hashtag-ese we’re talking about one of the best cartoons ever made. But first, a little history… “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” was originally a short story in Rudyard Kiplings The Jungle Book from 1894. Ok, history lesson is over. I want to talk about the 1975 cartoon from the unmatched master of animation, Chuck Jones. I was 4 years old when this cartoon came out and I must have seen it well over a hundred times. The story follows an adorable mongoose who is rescued, half-drowned, from a river and is nursed back to health. To repay the family who saved him Rikki Tikki Tavi protects the family from a family of badass cobras. Rikki is kind of badass and does some things which you won’t see in kids stories nowadays which is very sad indeed but a discussion for another day. If that’s not enough the story is narrated by Orson Freakin’ Welles!!!

Out of all the cartoons I watched over the years as a kid, and that’s a lot because we used to have Saturday Morning Cartoons like civilized people, this one is my favorite. If you’ve never seen it I can’t recommend it enough. Take a few minutes out of your lunch break, sit at your desk and pop on some headphones and enjoy. Get a tissue because you will have a tear fall up out your eye to quote R. Kelly. And if you have children you must have them watch it. Anything less is criminal neglect.

Get a copy of Rikki Tikki Tavi at Amazon to cherish for all-time or be a cheap ass and watch it for free on YouTube until someone has it taken down for copyright infringement.

A Look into the Past

Jason DeFillippo —  February 25, 2014

I was going through old photos tonight and found this gem. This is the bookshelf from my office from over 11 years ago!!! I shot this photo January 20th, 2003 so it’s kind of a time capsule of the languages and operating systems I was into and working on back then. Although I have no idea why I had Flash manuals though. I’ve never gotten into that steamy pile. Anyway if you want to see the minutiae click on the pic to get the full size.

Click to see the titles.

Click to see the titles.

Last week I was listening to The Frequency, a podcast on the 5by5 network hosted by Haddie Cooke and Dan Benjamin. It’s a really nice and light tech news show that comes out every week or so that I recommend checking out.

In episode #157 they got into a deep discussion about the 1999 movie Pirates of Silicon Valley and how Haddie wasn’t aware of a lot of the historical significance of what went on back in those early days. I found myself screaming at my iPhone during the conversation quite a few times and felt compelled to write this post because dammit, people need to know. Pirates is a scripted biography movie. It’s a fictionalized re-telling of events surrounding the formation of the personal computer industry. Dan and Haddie were talking about it like it was a historically accurate documentary which it’s not.

Fortunately for us there actually IS a historically accurate documentary that was the inspiration for a lot of what was seen in the film. The documentary came out in 1996 and is called “Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires.” The documentary was written and hosted by Robert X. Cringely, a journalist and tech writer. I owned this on VHS back in the day and watched it several times. If you’re curious at all about the beginnings of the personal computer revolution and want to hear about it from the actual people who made it happen then this is for you. A lot of what ended up in Pirates was taken from this documentary and for my 2 cents, its way better.

You can buy “Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires” on Amazon Or watch the entire series for free on Part One | Part Two | Part Three

For even more fun you can check out the ancient website for the series. If you haven’t seen this piece of history you should.

On Friday Apple announced a bug in their implementation of SSL/TLS and released iOS 7.0.6 as a security patch. At the time of this writing the desktop version of OS X as yet to get a similar patch and remains vulnerable. The first article I saw that had an explanation of the bug came from Kevin Poulsen over at Wired and outlines what is the now famous ‘goto fail;’ bug.

People are coming down on both sides of the fence including John Gruber over at Daring Fireball. Yesterday he posted On the Timing of iOS’s SSL Vulnerability and Apple’s ‘Addition’ to the NSA’s PRISM Program which has some good points about when the vulnerability was introduced and when it was added to the NSA’s toolkit. John outlines a few possibilities for what happened but excluded one theory that I’ve been proposing since we started our show.

It’s well-known that there is a vibrant black market for software exploits and that iOS is the top-dog where payouts are concerned. I jokingly laid out a scheme in our earlier episodes where talented engineers go to work at Apple or Google with the sole intent to embed as many exploits as possible for a year or two, leave the company, then sell the exploits to the highest bidder. To pull this off you’d need to cover your tracks as best you can by making the bugs look like innocuous mistakes so if you were found out by your peers you could feign ignorance. Or better yet check in as a colleague so the repository logs don’t trace back to you. This goto bug could be as simple as a double-tap paste issue when the coder accidentally hit command-v twice OR a very clever way to bypass SSL without anyone finding out for a long time. I’ve scolded my junior programmers to bracket their if/then/else clauses because things like this happen all the time, which is what makes this the perfect cover.

Believe what you will, but if I was running Apple I’d be going over every single check-in the programmer responsible has ever committed. Just to be sure…

We’ll definitely be discussing this topic on the next Grumpy Old Geeks podcast. If you want to hear more about it then subscribe now to get it automatically delivered!

The Grumpy Old Geeks represent 40 years of website building experience and on occasion we’ll use that knowledge to critique sites or apps that we think are knocking it out of the park or stinking up the joint. If you’d like your site reviewed by us drop a note to [email protected]. This is the first in the series so I’m working out the format. If there’s anything you think is overkill or if I missed or glossed over things you’d like to see more of let me know in the comments.

The IT Security and training firm KnowBe4 announced a brand new news site on their Cyberheist News newsletter yesterday called Hackbusters.


They claim the site is a mix of editorial curation and algorithmically chosen stories. It also sports a “trending” section that’s selected when you first visit as well as a sort by popularity or story age. There is a “thumbs up” button on each post which is where we can assume that the popularity and trending sorts are being generated. It’s fairly straight-forward and what you’d expect a curated news site to look like in the very early pre-launch stages. The newsletter claims the site is in beta but there’s no mention of that on the website. The design is generic Bootstrap with very minimal customization.

This site falls on its face in many areas and the first of which is membership.

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This Phone is Tapped

Jason DeFillippo —  February 17, 2014

This week on episode 45 of the podcast we talked about some excellent stickers that we used to put on pay phones (remember those?) back in the early to mid-2000’s. They were a reaction to the over-reach-around that we experienced in the US after 9/11 thanks to the Patriot Act (remember that too?). I did some digging and there are a few of the classic ones with instructions left over on ebay.

The company that originally made the stickers still has them for sale along with some cool new stuff on their online store. I dig the free PDF’s of their Prism stickers that you can print yourself.


On the podcast we often talk about the troubles that the tech business are inflicting on poor old San Francisco. We generally assume everything is going to hell in a hand basket but maybe it’s not all that bad. Cartoonist Susie Cagle has a pretty interesting info-graphic style cartoon over on Medium (ewww) that’s worth checking out.

San Francisco’s Class War, By the Numbers by Susie Cagle

Fire! Fire!

Jason DeFillippo —  September 25, 2013

Jason got his hands on the new iPhone and burnt some stuff so we could give you a pretty video! Watch in 1080p fullscreen for the full effect.

The long overdue video demo of NeverWet that I shot after we used it on some boards for our outdoor furniture. There’s even a cameo appearance of my Mom’s idiot dog for the animal lovers out there.

While digging through the boxes of ancient photos I found in my Moms attic I came across a picture of our very first personal computer! We even had one of those wacky kneeling chairs. This was an IBM XT I believe. This may be after we upgraded it to have a very tiny 20 meg hard drive that we had to take out a 2nd mortgage for. I know we eventually had a hard drive because I accidentally deleted the entire thing one night. ‘del *.*’ from the top level isn’t a good idea kids. My very first store bought game was Zyll and the first thing I ever pirated was Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0.