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

Eliminate Work in Progress

I was listening to the recent Bootstrapped with Kids podcast and they were talking about doing too many things at once and the pain it was having on the business. A good listen to hear how development methodology effects the business. A few key tenets of software development; doing small releases, eliminate work in progress […]

Python Argparse Cookbook

I use Python as my go-to tool for command-line scripts, these often requiring parsing command-line arguments. Since I use various programming languages I don’t remember anything, so I create reference docs for myself and hopefully others. So similar to my Python String Format Cookbook, that is examples for string and number formatting, I wrote this […]

Lanyon, a markdown web server

I’ve just released a new bit of software I’ve been developing. Lanyon is a simple web server, which reads directories of markdown files and converts them to HTML and serves. An intuitive and easy way to create a website. It is open source and available on Github at github.com/mkaz/lanyon Lanyon was derived from my static […]

Open Souce Funding Models

A look at various funding models for open source projects. Most of the major open source projects require a fair amount of development and maintenance and have many full-time people working on them. People volunteer their time, most of the members of the numerous open source software foundations are unpaid and dedicate their own time […]

The Command-Line Office

Live your life on the command-line, this week we take a look at a suite of command-line office tools and utilities. Updated: This article received a little bit of extra attention and comments which brought some great suggestions and alternatives. I’ve tested a few of them out and included additions below, also check out the […]

Preventing Errors in Code

This week looking at preventing errors when coding: An ounce of prevention If you don’t read anything else, read the Joel Test to make sure your development practices follow the basics. If you can’t pass the test there’s your todo list, Joel Spolsky wrote it over a dozen years ago and still just as valid […]

A Year Working Remotely

A year ago I started at Automattic, Automattic is the company behind WordPress.com, Akismet, Gravatar and other internet services. We have over 200 people in 20+ countries and 80+ cities and serve a billion visitors a month — and we have no office. Here is my recap of a year working in this distributed environment. […]

Docs that make you better

I’m excited to be getting a new camera and being a dork, I’ve been reading the manual online waiting for it to arrive. An interesting thing if you read photography manuals, the documentation does not simply document the camera and features but gives advice on how to be a better photographer. The Fuji manual I […]

The Siren Call of the Upgrade

Apple introduced the latest OS upgrade and increased the enticement by making it free for everyone. Looking over the feature list, there was nothing in there I really cared about. The dubious promise of faster and better performance, it has compressed memory! My system didn’t seem slow and I only run it on a iMac […]

It’s not about the coffee

A few companies are launching fancy robotic coffee kiosks intended to take on Starbucks and high-end coffee shops, from Quartz An army of robot baristas could mean the end of Starbucks as we know it It appears the main selling point is speed, consistency, reliability and the perfect cup of coffee. I think they are […]

Don’t Guess, Know

Most bugs I create come from not really understanding the system I’m working in. The system might be a framework, programming language, a standard or whatever. A very common example, and I suspect the origin of 98% of all code, is the copy-paste-tweak methodology. This is how the web got started, View Source was the […]

Take Control of Your Content

The last few weeks I’ve been taking back control of my content from the larger sites. A have a few reasons for doing so: (1) the Instagram hubbub got me thinking about content and control; (2) I started a new job at Automattic, purveyors of fine blogging software and want to eat some dog food; […]

Running Stats 2012

A year in review for my running in 2012, see last years review This last year was not as productive running as the year before, though equally productive in the new children department, for I welcomed my second daughter which added to the challenge of getting out and running. I ended up running about a […]

Command-line Basics and Tips

A collection of tips to help you on the command-line using Linux, Mac OS X or other unixy command-line system. You might already know most but hopefully there are a few new ones or helpful tips on how to save time and use in productive ways. I’ve tried to include real and useful examples for […]

Python Data Science

My notes, resources and examples using Python, NumPy, SciPy and Matplotlib as alternatives to R and Matlab for data science and analysis. Load Data from Text File An example loading comma delimited data using Numpy: Plotting and Graphing Log Scale Labels for Titles and Axes Saving a Graph The following will create a png image […]

Python Date Formatting

A set of examples working with Python date and time functions, including formatting dates, date calculations, and other common date tasks. See my string format examples for working with python strings. First off, all examples use the following import, any additional imports needed will be shown with the example. Creating Date Objects Typically the first […]

Python String Format Cookbook

Python v2.7 introduced a new string fomatting method, that is now the default in Python3. I started this string formatting cookbook as a quick reference to help me format numbers and strings. Thanks to other contributors I’ve expanded the examples over time. Python 3.6 introduced, formatted string literals, often referred to as f-strings as another […]

xkcd graph style in d3

I saw an article on Hacker News about duplicating the xkcd hand-drawn graph style saw I thought I would give it a shot using d3 javascript library. I have very limited experience with d3 but think I came up with something relatively close. View live example, or See Source View source of the live example […]

Use Python + Selenium to Automate Web Timing

I’ve been hearing a lot recently about the Navigation Timing spec, which sets a multitude of timing events as javascript properties. There are numerous events in the flow, from the very first navigation event, which could be when the user clicks a search result in Google, to DNS timing to Dom parsing etc. See the […]

Strata Data Conference Recap 2012

This article is a recap of the Strata 2012 data conference I went to. I did some previous analysis on the attendee directory, so I am also including the results of the connectedness change before and after the conference. Update on Twitter Attendee Analysis From the list of twitter attendees generated before the conference, I […]

Strata 2012 Attendee Analysis

The Strata Conference is next week, so I was browsing the attendee directory curious to see who I know is going or looking for interesting companies to meet with. This got me thinking about the overall connectedness of the attendee list. So… A few scripts later and a bit of analysis I produced the following […]

Running Stats 2011

Being the data minded guy that I am, here are stats and numbers around my running in 2011. This year I ran my first marathon as well as a couple of other races. Summary Total Miles: 532.2 miles Total Time: 80 hrs 10min 58 secs Avg Pace: 9:02/mi Total Days Run: 87 days Races Date […]

Infographic design, give tables a chance

There has been a recent backlash against infographics lately, justified as this graphic illustrates. Infographics have lost their way, their main purpose should be to make data easier to read by adding a visual perspective to the information shown. For example, using visuals can show the difference in sizes or distance better than abstract numbers. […]

Taste of R: An Introduction

Introduction R is a statistical programming language and environment, it is open source and available on most platforms. R is not a replacement of Java, C, Perl, Python or other common language; R is a specific tool for data calculations, manipulations and graphing. If you have a programming background, R can be a great replacement […]

World Revolutions data visualization

The recent events in Tunisia and Egypt got me thinking about revolutions across history. They tend to cluster together both in geography and time. So being on the current data visualization kick I’m on, it sounded like a fun little project. The following is a world map highlighting revolutions going forward in time. The data […]