Mark Grealish

the life and code of a crazy cat man


Glitchy Sandymount Strand

in ireland

Taken from the number 47 bus on my way into town. :)

Glitchy Sandymount Strand

UX Matters

in design

We read left-to-right. We’re trained to click left-first. Worse, the fucking unhappy path is green. I clicked this “unhappy” three times on three orders before I realized their shit.

Edit: On second thoughts, this is asshole design. Make it easy for customers to leave negative responses, then use the bogus data to upsell on services.

Shitty UX on a Rating Form

Clarkian Magic

in science fiction

I live in somebody’s fictional future. Science fiction writers follow a process. First, they decide where their story will be on the spectrum of happiness-utopia or dystopia? Second, they construct a narrative history which links here and there. And finally, the writer exaggerate their made-up tomorrow for dramatic effect.

The writer makes sure you know that This Is The Future. Their future. If the setting wasn’t enough by itself, the cast of larger-than-life and self-consciously future characters hammer the point home with their glittering silver jumpsuits, nutrient pills, cyber implants and fancy made-up words. They inculcate a dramatic sense of wonder, future shock, difference and Not Now.

Truth is, now is now and now is normal. Death and taxes are still inevitable. Whatever we grow up with is normal, however the fuck strange it looks in any other context. Take aliens. For the sake of the story, most science fiction describes alien life in contexts that are uncomfortably Up Close and Personal. In fiction, somebody cracks faster-than-light travel, or otherwise makes the Long Hard Journey Across Space. Either way, aliens turn up on our doorsteps in order to invade, meet, greet, teach or fuck us. Maybe all of the above.

Real alien life will be small and far away, enough that, after we find them, the story of how we found them will be “dumb blind fucking luck.” They won’t change anything either. Take Tabby’s Star, KIC 8462852.

We will find aliens and nothing will change because they are so far away. They’ll answer a philosophical question or two, sure, but, we cannot ever talk to, visit, copulate with or otherwise in any way learn more about them.

I lead with this because I live in a digitally-interconnected global society. We are more at peace now than we have ever been before in history. Most major economies have moved toward a post-industrial base. Powerful interests have begun to recognize the necessity of environmental stewardship at a planetary scale. There remain fundamental-and maybe unsolvable-problems, but let’s stop for a moment to give ourselves a pat on the back. We did this. We created an astonishing science fiction future that deserves to be pointed at wondered over.


Sietch

in me

The new (and soon to be old) bedroom

The beauty of transience

in ireland

I’ll be dead some day, dead and gone and left to decompose in a hole in the ground. Everyone has their time. But what’s more beautiful than transience? You have a summer day, and then it’s gone forever. It’ll never be again.

Ruined house in Sandyford Village, Dublin

Pretty Stack Overflow-style resource URLs in Rails 5

in code

Stack Overflow uses routes with the format /:id/:title for questions like this one, which I find to be more memorable than simply a terse ID. I’ve decided that I want this for my new project, a rewrite of this blog in Ruby on Rails 5. Small changes to a model and its routes are required to permit this:

Routes

A post on Stack Overflow led me to a GitHub issue which outlined breaking changes in the to_param object method and a need to glob the route.

get '/ponies/*id', to: 'ponies#show', as: :pony

Model

Add your custom slug:

class Pony < ApplicationRecord
  def to_param
    "#{id}/#{name.parameterize}"
  end
end

And that’s it, simple as.