Mike's Blog

Notes to myself, shared with the world. A collection of projects, thoughts, and ideas — mostly about computers.

See all my blog posts, sorted by year, in my blog archive.

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How I Updated jekyll/classifier-reborn for Ruby 3

How I Updated jekyll/classifier-reborn for Ruby 3

A couple months ago, I discovered that the classifier-reborn gem (a popular Jekyll plugin to group related posts) was essentially incompatible with Ruby 3. I use Jekyll to build some of my own websites (including this one), and I wanted to be able to upgrade to Ruby 3 while continuing to use classifier-reborn. Although I was initially frustrated that classifier-reborn didn’t yet support Ruby 3 out of the box, I realized that I might be able to implement Ruby 3 support myself and contribute back to the project since classifier-reborn is, after all, open source software. The pull requests I submitted turned out to be some of my biggest open-source contributions yet, and I’m proud of the work I did!

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Mint, YNAB, Personal Capital, and Lunch Money: A Comparison of Personal Finance Tools

Mint, YNAB, Personal Capital, and Lunch Money: A Comparison of Personal Finance Tools

For years, Mint was the first thing people would recommend to anyone looking for a budgeting or personal finance tool. More recently, competitors like You Need A Budget (YNAB), Personal Capital, and Lunch Money have grown in popularity. Over the last couple years, I’ve spent some time using all of these apps because I wanted to explore the alternatives to Mint. Let’s explore the similarities and differences to see what might work best for you.

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The Best Computer You Can Buy For $100

The Best Computer You Can Buy For $100

It might seem impossible to find a good computer under $100, but you actually have more options than you probably realize. Between a Raspberry Pi, Chromebook, or used laptop, you can probably find something that you like and that suits your needs! Let’s take a look at some options.

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How to Fix Firefox Crashes on Ubuntu 21.10+

How to Fix Firefox Crashes on Ubuntu 21.10+

If you use Firefox on Ubuntu, you might have noticed that Firefox seems less stable in Ubuntu 21.10+ (including Firefox 22.04 LTS!). By default, Ubuntu 21.10+ installs Firefox as a snap rather than as a .deb package. Unfortunately, the snap version of Firefox currently suffers from several problems that can lead to a bad user experience – crashes and slow startup time are among the top complaints.

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How to Find a Humidifier that Actually Works

How to Find a Humidifier that Actually Works

Unfortunately, it’s really hard to find good advice about humidifiers on the internet. A quick google search for something like “humidifier advice” seems to find mostly SEO spam – things like “5 Tips When Buying a Humidifier” that contain useless tips and affiliate links to generate ad revenue. On top of that, it’s pretty easy to find complaints about problems with various humidifiers (e.g. in reviews), but hard to find solutions. Humidifiers produce dust, they’re impossible to clean, they grow mold, or they don’t actually improve humidity. Even some of the most frequently recommended humidifiers, like the Honeywell HCM-350, are despised by some consumers.

I live in Colorado, a state known for its dry air at 5,280 ft elevation. And I like to use a humidifier at night to keep my nose and throat from getting dry when I sleep. Over the course of the past two or three years, I’ve done a decent amount of research (including this YouTube video) and I’ve tried a few different humidifiers. I think I finally have a sense of what works, and I’m hoping to make this information easier to find by sharing it here! If you want to use a humidifier but don’t know where to start, or if you’ve been disappointed with problems from a humidifier you’ve tried, maybe I can help you find something that works!

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Solving Wordle with Programming

Solving Wordle with Programming

Wordle is one of the latest crazes to hit Twitter. You might have noticed it – it’s the thing everyone’s posting with the yellow and green boxes. Wordle is a game where you have to guess the word of the day. Each time you guess, it’ll tell you if each letter appears at the spot you guessed, somewhere else in the word, or nowhere in the word. You win by guessing the correct word in 6 guesses or less.

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Iterating on Club Leaderboards

Iterating on Club Leaderboards

Iteration is an important part of my development workflow, and it’s an important part of the way we work at Strava. Over the course of my own career, I’ve learned to really value the process of incremental development. By shipping relatively small changes quickly, we can gather feedback, observe important metrics, and continue the cycle with targeted improvements. Ultimately, this helps us continually deliver athlete value on a rapid timeline.

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What are Dev Containers, What are GitHub Codespaces, and Why Should You Care? A Practical Intro

What are Dev Containers, What are GitHub Codespaces, and Why Should You Care? A Practical Intro

GitHub Codespaces made waves when GitHub introduced the feature several months ago. Codespaces promises a lot. It solves configuration headaches, it creates disposable environments, it can provide better performance than the laptop you’re working on, and it can better enable remote collaboration. I was interested to dip my toes in the water and see what it’s like to work with Codespaces, but that can be a little tricky to do if you don’t have access to a GitHub org that’s paying for Codespaces. Fortunately, as it turns out, there’s a very accessible alternative that’s free and easy to try, and it’s a great way to get a taste of what the Codespaces experience might be like.

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How I Modified a Thule Bike Trailer Hitch for an E-Bike with a 12mm Axle

How I Modified a Thule Bike Trailer Hitch for an E-Bike with a 12mm Axle

Thule makes several popular bike trailers, including the Cadence and Chariot. The trailers come with the Thule ezHitch to attach easily to most quick-release or solid axle wheels, and Thule also sells an adapter to make the ezHitch fit on thru-axle wheels. This covers most common bicycle setups, but it leaves out many e-bikes, which often use 12mm solid rear axles. And that’s really unfortunate because towing a trailer is a great way to use an e-bike! I figured out how to modify a Thule ezHitch to fit on my e-bike with a 12mm solid axle, and I’ll show you how I did it below.

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Dell Latitudes are Great Laptops (and they run Ubuntu well)

Dell Latitudes are Great Laptops (and they run Ubuntu well)

I’ve written before about my own search for The Ultimate Developer Laptop back in 2019. I chose to buy a Dell Precision 5510, but I also mentioned a few other laptop models that work really well with Ubuntu. Laptop series like Dell XPS, Dell Latitude, and Lenovo ThinkPad. Well, I actually own a Dell Latitude E7450, and I’ve recently started using it a lot more often. It’s a small, lightweight laptop made with high-quality parts, and it runs Ubuntu flawlessly. Mine doesn’t have a discrete graphics card either, so I don’t have to bother with graphics drivers in Ubuntu. The overall experience is super-smooth, and it puts a smile on my face to use this computer!

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