johnny tisdale
moving the needle forward
words to live by
Snow Crash
Neal Stephenson
The Computer and the Brain
John von Neumann
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
James Clear
God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning
Meghan O'Gieblyn
The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity
David Graeber & David Wengrow
Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
Max Tegmark
The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
Walter Isaacson
Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker
Kevin Mitnick
Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software
The Gang of Four
For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World's Favorite Drink and Changed History
Sarah Rose
Self-Tracking (The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)
Gina Neff and Dawn Nafus
The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company
William Dalrymple
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Yale University Press
Chaos: Making A New Science
James Gleick
The Zero Marginal Cost Society
Jeremy Rifkin
Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future
Paul Mason
Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow
Yuval Noah Harari
Charles Stross
recent posts
November 19, 2023

Yesterday marked two years since my last blog post, so I think it's high time for an update!

  • September 13, 2021: I started a fully remote contract position as a PHP developer with Center for Internet Security.
  • December 11, 2021: I moved out of my apartment in Birmingham, kicking off a nearly year-long stint as a digital nomad. During this time, I lived and worked in the following cities:
    • Montgomery, AL
    • Panama City Beach, FL
    • New Orleans, LA
    • San Antonio, TX
    • Austin, TX
    • Denver, CO
    • Boulder, CO
    • Salt Lake City, UT
    • Reno, NV
    • San Francisco, CA
    • Portland, OR

Read more.

November 18, 2021

In December 2020, I moved into an apartment with an amazing view. I could see Birmingham's famous Vulcan statue from my balcony! When summer came, I decided to create a balcony garden to make my outdoor space more enjoyable.

Read more.

November 14, 2021

Time seems to be passing ever more quickly. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. But what is the explanation for this seemingly universal aspect of human experience, and is there anything we can do to resist it?

Read more.

If you want to develop a secure web application, you need to make sure your cookies are locked down tight.

Because web applications use the client-server model, they are stateless. So we use sessions to persist data from one request to the next. The most common method for identifying a session is to create a unique session ID. Obviously this ID is stored on the server, either directly on the filesystem or in a database. But how will it be stored on the client side? That's where cookies come in... Read more.

If you've ever applied to a web development position, then you've probably been asked to define MVC.

My answer usually goes something like this:

  • M is for model. That's your data layer. A model is a class that allows you to interact with the data source and perform CRUD operations. Most often the data source is a MySQL database, but ideally the framework will provide support for different types of data sources.
  • V is for view. This is a type of UI layer. It's the page that is displayed to the end user.
  • C is for controller. This is also a type of UI layer. It is responsible for receiving a request and returning a response. That is, it returns the appropriate view based on the path of the request (the URL to which the user navigated) and possibly input such as form data. It is considered a best practice to keep your controllers as lean as possible. So your controllers should be relatively devoid of business logic, which should be handled in its own layer. A common approach is to put business logic in "service" classes (e.g. SaleHandler).

Obviously I think this is a good definition, otherwise I wouldn't give it in an interview... Read more.

This morning I read Part II of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. I discovered that in his quest for self-improvement Franklin employed a method of self-tracking similar to one that I use. Franklin’s goal was to live in accordance with the following virtues... Read more.
When people ask if we really know what electricity is, they are not questioning the predictive power of quantum electrodynamics. It is obvious that scientists and engineers know how electricity works; if they didn’t, we wouldn’t be enjoying the benefits of electricity. But knowing how to manipulate something to achieve desired results is not the same as knowing what it is. The textbook definitions of electricity, being circular, do not satisfy someone seeking to form an understanding of what electricity is. Read more.