Open Brackets

ruminations on change, technology, and building things

  • 379 words


    I like to think of myself as a relatively curious person, and as a professional who builds software, that often has a lot of benefits. But one big downside is that I have a lot of itches to scratch, and I’ve never been able to satisfy them by doing just one thing. I love what our team has built at UpHex and the work we’re doing to make analytics monitoring easy for businesses everywhere. I wanted to continue using that expertise in a way that was bigger than any one company, but I wasn’t sure how to do it.

  • 4,789 words

    Comprehensive Technologist's Guide to Charlottesville for Prospective Citizens

    I frequently get questions from my other technologist friends in SF, Boulder, NY, and elsewhere about what it’s like in Charlottesville. I’ve lived here for a little over a decade now, and while New York will always be my home, Charlottesville has many things to recommend it.

  • 651 words

    Finding Out What Changed During Debian/Ubuntu Package Upgrades

    Like many Linux distributions, Debian comes with a package management and distribution system called apt (Advanced Package Tool). While apt is a very useful feature of Debian systems, upgrading packages can be a little daunting. Here’s what a recent apt-get upgrade looked like for me:

  • 4,239 words

    The Infinity Zoo: What is Infinity?

    Infinity is an idea that has fascinated humans for a long time. To some it can seem inscrutable. For others, it symbolizes the mystical or spiritual. For mathematicians, it’s a tool that’s essential to working with and understanding the behavior of many things – although it’s been a point of strong historical controversy.

  • 2,266 words

    Solving the "Cheryl's Birthday" Problem with Prolog

    The “Cheryl’s Birthday” problem has attracted a lot of press, with CNN, the Washington Post, Slate, and the Telegraph and countless others weighing in.

  • 1,393 words

    Fully-Featured Custom Collections in Jekyll

    Jekyll is a popular static site generator written in Ruby and in wide use. A major selling point for Jekyll adoption is that it provides some excellent defaults out of the box, heavily geared towards the assumption that you’re writing a blog. It does this largely by taking a convention-over-configuration approach; the defaults are designed to be sensible choices for the majority of its users. However, like many convention-over-configuration systems, it can be tough to make it behave the way you want as soon as you step outside of the prescribed boundaries.

  • 2,161 words

    Time Passes

    Every once in a while, I’ll think about a somewhat morbid and yet universal question: how long do I have left to live? While no one knows for sure when their time will eventually run out, everyone confronts the reality of their ultimate fate sooner or later, willingly or not.

  • 329 words

    In the Beginning

    It’s probably unusual to start the first post for a blog by talking about one’s past failures, and yet few things seem more appropriate right now.