Hi, I'm Marcus. I'm a technologist and write about various topics here. I work at Hatch in California, previously Automattic/WordPress.

The Story of the Laggy Mouse

A story as old as time, not all the stories involve computers and peripherals, but the tale is known by all do-it-your-selfers, home-depot-excursioners, and other fixers-of-small-things. It is a story told around camp fires, in fact one version of the story starts “So we were out of firewood…” My version starts with “So my mouse […]

Using Firefox user.js settings file

The Firefox user.js file stores user settings, the file is loaded each time Firefox starts. This a convenient way to save your browser customizations and apply them on different machines. The prefs.js file already exists in your Firefox profile directory, find the location using about:support in the top bar. The prefs.js file looks like it […]

Making the Juxtapose Block

This post walks through my process of creating the Juxtapose Block for the WordPress block editor. The block implements the JuxtaposeJS library by Knight Lab which allows you to place two images side-by-side and use a slider to reveal the difference between them. Here’s an example: 📌 Note: This block was integrated into the Jetpack […]

Block Rocking WordPress

WordPress 5.0 introduces a new editor based around blocks. The editor is the first phase of a larger project developed under the Gutenberg name. This post is part three in my unplanned series: Part I – Creating a Gutenberg Block from October 2017 covers how to extend Gutenberg with a basic block. I wrote a […]

Gutenberg blocks without the build step

You can create Gutenberg blocks in ES6 code without the build step, this makes it easier to maintain and develop. I switched over my Code Syntax Highlighting block and am much happier for it. All of the Gutenberg examples by default use ES5 code, which already does not require transpiling with webpack, but they also include […]

My Debugging Process

Here is the process I go through when trying to debug a tricky coding problem. First, I run a private personal blog which I use for debugging and taking coding notes. You can consider this your coding journal, and whatever tool works for you. I find something digital works better, since you can use HTML […]

Summer Sabbatical

My company, Automattic, has the wonderful perk of a 3-month sabbatical every 5 years. Amazingly enough, I’m already an old-timer and been there over 5-years, so this summer I took my sabbatical. I timed it to be off the same time as the kids for summer, so I didn’t work for June, July, and August. […]

Greatest Day in Fantasy Football

What was the single greatest day a player scored in fantasy football? It is an interesting question, and unfortunately, due to incomplete box scores from times of yore, it might not be answerable. After scouring through the data at Pro Football Reference, here’s what I found:   Rushing Receiving Return   Player Team Date YDS […]

Ubuntu Guide for Mac Converts

Here are some tips and tricks to help Mac users adjust to Ubuntu and Linux. I was a die hard Mac user ever since OS X was released in 2001. The combination of a Unix core and real desktop apps was a perfect match for desktop and development. However times change, with Apple’s focus on […]

Ethernet, FTW!

I’ve been interested in running a caching DNS server off my Raspberry Pi for awhile, and with the recent Cloudflare announcement of their new DNS service and discussion around it, seemed like a good time to set it up. Pi-hole I setup my device with Pi-hole a great bit of software which was easy to […]

Terminal Heatmap Chart

Awhile ago I created a simple script to create bar charts on the command-line for when I published my running year in review, 2017 example here. I published the script on Github and surprisingly have received a few contributors over the years, recently a couple of students from Greece did a nice upgrade to numerous […]

Automate deleting your tweets with a Raspberry Pi

I’m a tweet deleter. I do not think of Twitter as a great archive of knowledge but more a mere feed and notification system. It is basically an internet wide RSS feed, so no need to treat anything in it too preciously. Delete away everyone. I’ve written a couple of one off scripts previously to […]

Gutenberg can do that!

A new editor is coming to WordPress, the project code name is Gutenberg but at some point it will be just the WordPress editor, for now it is referred to as Gutenberg or the Gutenberg editor. The focus of this article is on some of the new features you can do with Gutenberg. If you […]

Code Syntax Highlighting in Gutenberg

I’ve developed a WordPress plugin which extends the core Gutenberg code block adding color syntax highlighting. If you are using Gutenberg to display code and want some color, install and check it out. It is available at github.com/mkaz/code-syntax-block. I initially started to build as a separate block, but that introduced the issue of converting existing […]

Beyond Ad Blocking

Ad blockers are one way to make the internet a slightly nicer place. However,  more can be done, especially when it comes to helping yourself from making bad decisions, like reading the comments. First, you need a browser extension which allows you to run your own CSS. The most popular is probably Stylish which has […]

Reading List 2017

A look back at what I read in 2017, broken into the top fiction and non-fiction books, see previous years 2015, and 2016. You can see my Goodreads Year in Books 2017 for the complete list. I set out with the goal to read 25 books in the year and ended up one book short […]

Running Stats 2017

A year in review for my running in 2017, see previous years 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016. 2017 was a good year of running, not quite as consistent at beginning and end, but good training in the middle for the Redwood City OktobeRun half-marathon, which I posted my best time in many years.   […]

Book Review: Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath is an American classic by John Steinbeck written in 1939 about the great depression and a Oklahoma family who lost their farm and packed everything up to try to make a new life for themselves in California. I’m sure I read the novel in high school or at some point, but […]

Esperanto

Esperanto is a constructed language. It was created in 1887 by a Polish-Jewish doctor L.L. Zamenhof as an easy language to learn. His goal was to foster harmony between people from different cultures and countries; a lingua franca for the world. “The place where I was born … the inhabitants were divided into four distinct […]

Unix is my IDE

An integrated development environment (IDE) such as PHPStorm, Eclipse or Netbeans provides a set of tools and integrations available together to make development easier. Common features are: Text Editor Project search and replace Automatic building, testing, linting Source control integration The command-line meets all of these features. Editor First, my text editor is vim. I […]

Podcasts, Authenticity and Old Media

Modern times seem to opt more for authenticity and rejecting the overly refined, polished, and fake. You see this in the popularity of Reality TV and social media, both have the appeal of non-scripted and authentic content. I also see this desire in podcasts. I’m a bit of a podcast junkie, I’ve been listening for […]

Creating a Gutenberg Block

A tutorial on how to build a Gutenberg block. The intended audience is a WordPress theme or plugin developers with some Javascript experience interested in learning what it takes to create a block in the new Gutenberg editor. Updated: See my new post post Gutenberg blocks without the build step for a simpler example without the extra […]

On Social Media

Unfortunately there is no better way to publish photos, writing, or other personal content without using social media. The corollary is also true, there is no better way to follow content from someone you are interested in than using social media. The open web and RSS were not successful enough to escape out of the […]

Book Review: Little Brother

After a major terrorist attack hits San Francisco, the government creates an Orwellian surveillance society, a techno-savvy teenager rebels back — a geek focused coming of age story. The author, Cory Doctorow, is quite knowledgeable and explains technology well. Even though the story was written almost 10 years ago, the technology topics still hold up. […]

Book Review: Creativity, Inc.

Ed Catmull’s book Creativity, Inc is an excellent book for both the history of Pixar, and the business lessons managing creative teams and people. First off, I’m biased. I love Pixar. I love their movies. I’ve watched several behind-the-scenes and making of movies about Pixar. I was even lucky enough to get a tour of […]