Hi, my name is Dan Barber. I’m a web designer and developer in Madison, WI. I design and build standards compliant websites that are simple, usable and attractive using open source software technologies.

From the Blog

Aurora drum cover

I’ve been wanting to record this for a while. This is my cover of “Aurora” by Foo Fighters. Recorded as a tribute to the amazing Taylor Hawkins.

“Aurora” was apparently Taylor’s favourite Foo Fighters song.

From Classic Rock World:

“I’d say without a doubt, it would be ‘Aurora,” says Hawkins, adding, “I think it’s really, I love that side of Dave. I love it when Dave gets into his voice almost like a yacht rock and he doubles his voice very well. And that was the first drum track I did for the Foo Fighters that I was very, very proud of because I only played half the drums on the Nothing Left to Lose album because it was my first time in the studio and I was … I didn’t know how to record. Recording drums and playing live is very different and the errors are very polarized, once you are under the scrutiny of the microphones. You had to get it right.“

New hosting

After years of hosting this blog on Netlify, I’ve decided to finally move it to my Dokku server hosted with Linode. Don’t get me wrong Netlify is great, but I realised I wanted a bit more control over my own hosting and Dokku gives me that. I’d like to spin up a Gemini site at some point in the future and hosting on my own server should make that much easier.

After playing around with various buildpacks to build the site on Dokku I ended up settling on a custom Dockerfile config that works great and means I can deploy in less than two minutes.

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COVID-19 is raging out of control (especially in the US, but don’t think you’re better off in Britain; they are third on the list), but you wouldn’t know it by listening to the government. New York City is in “phase 3” of re-opening, which included limited re-opening of restaurants (although this has since been reversed). The reality is that COVID-19 does not give a shit about government guidelines and is continuing to spread regardless.

As of the end of June there have been over 500,000 confirmed deaths from this disease, and based on the evidence, even if it doesn’t kill you it can take months to recover and even leave permanent damage. We’re still trying to understand the effects COVID-19 has on the body and research is starting to tell us some horrifying facts. If you think this is “just like the flu” think again. Some of the more onerous complications that appear to be caused by COVID-19 are abnormal blood clotting in the lungs, liver, kidneys, and heart and serious and potentially fatal neurological disorders. Health workers are struggling to cope.

All this to say, you do not want to get this virus. So I’m urging you all to take the necessary precautions. Wash your hands on a regular basis, for at least 20 seconds. Wear a mask when you need to run an errand (such as shopping for groceries). If you must socialise, meet people outside (the risks are much lower) and practice social distancing. And for the love of $deity stay out of the pubs!

Plasmatron Shader

I’ve been interested in computer graphics for as long as I can remember. The reason I started programming at all was because I wanted to make things happen on the screen.

Recently I’ve been playing around with fragment shaders. Fragment shaders are tiny programs that run on the GPU and compute the colour of individual pixels (fragments). They do this incredibly quickly because the GPU has a large number of simple processing cores, often numbering in the hundreds or thousands, to enable massive parallelisation.

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The murder of George Floyd has sparked outrage across America and the rest of the world, and rightly so. The death of so many members of the black community at the hands of the US police is horrifying and utterly heartbreaking.

That this has happened against the backdrop of a global pandemic just makes things worse.

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