Jarrod Overson

Wanton Hackery, a guide to things you probably shouldn't do

Jarrod Overson - Wanton Hackery, a guide to things you probably shouldn't do

The Single Worst Thing about JavaScript

There are many weird things about JavaScript, the DOM, and related web tech. Many quirks, oddities, frustrations, and wtfs.

But there is one “worst thing” and the worst thing in JavaScript is String.prototype.split() (es5

String.prototype.split() is defined to take a separator and a limit as its arguments, operating on the “this” object internally for the string object to operate on. The way “limit” works is what makes this the worst thing about JavaScript.

In ruby, The separation at the split is done at most limit-1 times, with max limit number of elements returned.

> "a-b-c-d-e-f".split("-",3)
=> ["a", "b", "c-d-e-f"]

Java has the same behavior

String[] parts = "a-b-c-d-e-f".split("-", 3);
=> ["a", "b", "c-d-e-f"]

Perl has that same behavior as well

=> ["a", "b", "c-d-e-f"]

In python, the limit is the number of times the string is split on the separator, with the final element of the array being the rest of the string (split max limit times, max limit+1 elements returned). It’s not the same, but you’re still getting all the parts necessary to do what you need.

>>> "a-b-c-d-e-f".split('-',2)
=> ['a', 'b', 'c-d-e-f']

In JavaScript? Well, this is what you get in JavaScript:

=> ["a", "b"]

What happens to the rest? Who knows! Who cares, right? That isn’t useful at all! Don’t even pay attention to the fact that the limit is completely irrelevant and can be easily (and more intuitively) attained by “a-b-c-d-e-f”.split(‘-‘).slice(0,2).

And that is the worst part of JavaScript.

Everything else is mostly OK.


Over the years i’ve amassed a decent amount of git knowledge but still find myself googling obscure details rather than hitting the man pages. The search results inevitably lead to stackoverflow where I need to figure out which answer is relevant to the my problem (pro tip: it’s rarely the accepted answer) or some blog where the solution is described in great detail though without an actual command line example.

I can make do, but I’ve found people new to git struggling over and over and over again.

So I started to organize all the answers to the questions I received and put them together on a website : gitfaq.org.

The goal is to have concise, linkable answers to common problems and very little more. It’s hosted on github at jsoverson/gitfaq, appropriately, so changes can be made in the form of pull requests.

Hope it helps!

Animated GIFs in Keynote

The Keynote update has blown my mind with its lack of functionality ever since day one, but I’ve finally found out how to get animated gifs working in it now.

Rename your gif’s extension to .mov and drag it into keynote. Keynote will warn you about not being able to play that movie on iPad or iPhones, prompting you to optimize it, which will turn the gif into a legit movie which Keynote will play just fine.

OSX ping & Cannot allocate memory

[09:58:20] 2 $ ping
PING ( 56 data bytes
ping: sendto: Cannot allocate memory
ping: sendto: Cannot allocate memory
Request timeout for icmp_seq 0
ping: sendto: Cannot allocate memory
Request timeout for icmp_seq 1

I’ve been having a pain in the ass time troubleshooting a laptop’s sporadic issue with connecting when waking up after sleep. I narrowed it down to sleeping when on VPN and, previously, only a restart would help.

My routing table looked like this.

[10:10:23] $ netstat -nr
Routing tables
Destination Gateway Flags Refs Use Netif Expire
default UGSc 28 4 en1
127 UCS 0 1 lo0 UH 5 1211656 lo0
169.254 link#5 UCS 0 0 en1
192.168.1 link#5 UCS 3 0 en1 0:25:9c:67:d1:5c UHLWIir 26 58 en1 1146 ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff UHLWbI 0 28 en1

I was able to solve this by removing all routes to my local network, then turning off wifi and reconnecting to my home network.

[10:10:40] $ sudo route delete

Hope this helps someone else!

Using github pages on github enterprise

Most github enterprise solutions I’ve seen didn’t configure subdomains per-user like github public does, and I didn’t find any obvious documentation as to how to use gh-pages outside of that style.

For anyone in the same boat I was in, the url structure for github pages without using subdomains is :

http://[your github domain]/pages/[username]/[repo]/

Fix for League of Legends not opening on Mac

There are different fixes for different problems. My problem occurred while trying to open league while connected to wireless but behind a hotspot login gate. I got a UserKernel popup and then the launcher never started again.

I still had the .dmg from install, and the fix (after mounting the .dmg) was to copy the UserKernel.app directory from the dmg to the installation dir.

$ mv /Applications/League\ of\ Legends.app/\
Contents/LOL/RADS/system/UserKernel.app \
/Applications/League\ of\ Legends.app/\
$ cp -R /Volumes/League\ of\ Legends\ NA/League\ of\ Legends.app/\
Contents/LOL/RADS/system/UserKernel.app \
/Applications/League\ of\ Legends.app/\

I sent this off to relevant people, but wanted to post a fix here in case it helps people searching google and avoiding forum posts because of all the noise.

The One Biggest Problem with Google Glass

After months of using Glass for a variety of purposes in a variety of environments I’ve found that I always end up at one situation that has no good solution.

What do you do with Glass when you don’t want to wear it anymore?

Where do you put it?

Glass doesn’t fold and is delicate, so where does it go when it’s not on your head? If you’re using the sunglass accessory then you have two pieces to manage when you want to go Glass-less.

Glass comes with a carrying bag but it is bulky and still can’t be shoved just anywhere lest you want to risk snapping Glass’s frame. If you’re a typical guy you probably don’t have any place to put the Glass bag anyway, women might have a purse big enough to fit it regularly. Even in my laptop back the Glass case barely fits and causes substantial extra bulk.

This is the best solution I’ve been able to come up with. Does this look convenient to you?

This is how I carry Glass and the sunglasses while out.

This is how I carry Glass and the sunglasses while out.

When would you want to take Glass off?

All the time

  1. When you meet someone, it is polite to take off Glass to show you are giving full attention.
  2. When you’re in a sensitive environment, it’s polite to not wear Glass so people know you are not recording.
  3. When the battery dies.
  4. When you can’t use it (sun, noise, no data, etc)
  5. When your phone dies or doesn’t have service, Glass’s usefulness decreases.
  6. When it becomes too uncomfortable to wear.
  7. When you’re doing anything remotely athletic. Sweat and Glass don’t mix.
  8. When your doing anything that could damage Glass (playing with kids, going on theme park rides, wearing hats)
  9. When you don’t want to look like a tool wearing “Google Glasses”
  10. When you’re in a place that bans Glass.
  11. and so much more.

Glass isn’t useful and comfortable enough to want to keep on at all times so that leaves a lot of times that I want to keep Glass off. If it’s not convenient to transport off my head then it sits at home, unused.

Consider Reinventing the Wheel

“Reinventing the wheel” has earned such bad connotations in the software development community that it’s hard to pinpoint when it turned from “if what exists is good enough, use it” to “if somethings exists, don’t think you can do better.” The emotion behind both those statements is wildly different and many people use the saying to push down people trying to do great things. Even if they fail at the immediate task, they might someday succeed. Don’t be the one who contributes to an extinguished passion.

When I was 13 someone said to me, “everything that can be done, has been done.” Engineering is what happens when you tell that person, “Fuck you.”

“Wheels” are invented by people. “Best Practices” are opinions of people at the time they are needed. Both have a very high chance of retaining relevance over time but should always be reconsidered. You can be the one to reconsider them. You don’t need to wait for a Fowler, Crockford, or a Katz to do it. Maybe you’re smarter than each of them.

Languages can stand to be redefined. New languages are important. You could create one today. Existing libraries aren’t the pinnacle of human achievement. You could be the one to make something better. Reinvent the wheel. Right now.

New wheels will always be developed regardless of what anyone says, but the people who are more likely to be able to develop a new wheel that better serves others are also more likely to be damaged by adverse community reaction. See the very real Dunning-Kruger Effect to read about why smart people doubt themselves and less-than-capable people have unbridled confidence.

Stop telling people “Don’t Reinvent the Wheel” as if you know better. Ask them questions.

“Why is this better?”
“What is this solving?”
“What did you learn?”

When you’re done, ask yourself if there’s something you should have “reinvented” by now.

Do You Work at a Technology Company?

I’ve worked at large companies and startups and know dozens of people who’ve done the same. Everyone comes across those companies who, from all outside opinion, should be regarded as “Technology” companies but end up labeling themselves as something different.

The label is important because it highlights a company’s focus. A service company focuses on service. A media company focuses on media. A hospitality company, you guessed it, focuses on hospitality.

For technology enthusiasts, it’s important to work at a company who respects, invests in, and fosters a solid technology foundation and culture.

How do you know if you work in a technology company?

If you could replace all the technology in your company with a purchased, widely available solution, would you and would the company’s value change?

If the company would still be able to provide the same value at the same cost, you are not in a technology company.

If a substantial portion of your company’s value would immediately disappear, you have a technology company on your hands! Congratulations!

This is an important question to ask yourself because it allows you to recognize warning signs earlier and to make sure you are in a job that you can be happy with over the long term.

This is important.

Recognizing a company’s identity allows leadership to recognize where it can compromise and where it can’t. If a company is conflicted on its identity then it suffers from the inside out with competing interests and lack of focus.

What does this mean for you?

If you find that you are not in a technology company and want to be, you need to leave. You are not going to get what you need and you are fighting what is best for the company.

If you are in a technology company and you are reading this post, you probably have some concerns. Does your leadership recognize they are running a technology company? Do you have a technology leader that can make and execute necessary decisions? Is staffing engineering as important as every other department, or is it anemic and overworked? Is engineering the most respected department in the company, or is it labelled as “IT” and ignored?

If your shoulders drooped at any of these questions, you have some important decisions to make. The most beneficial thing you can do for yourself throughout your career is to distill your future into as few easily assessable scenarios as possible.

If you’re happy, keep doing what you’re doing only more so. Make sure you are learning things that can be transferred to other companies.

If you’re not happy, try to change the company so that it’s a place you want to work. If it works, then great! If it doesn’t, then you know you need to go. If you happen to get fired for your efforts then even better, the choice was made for you!

Figure out where you are, figure out where you want to go, and make sure you act when you see things aren’t working out for you.