Girlfriend Technology, July Update

I don’t think I ever introduced my software company, Girlfriend Technology, on this blog.

Girlfriend Technology is a software company I started to distribute apps under. My goal is to build apps that can benefit queer people, or at least think of them first instead of as an afterthought.

My app, X to Y, stemmed from a former employer not allowing me to change my name at work to be my legal name. I got tired of seeing my deadname and made my own personal browser extension to fix it.

X to Y got a nice update last week to allow it to play nice on webpages with dynamic content. The next update will help with backing up and restoring preferences.

Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names

kalzumeus.com

It is wild that this piece is 12 years old and constantly gets more relevant with age. I do not get why everyone wants to constantly gate keep names, like you would know better than the one telling you their name.

Virtual Reality Is Sexist: But It Does Not Have to Be

frontiersin.org

Previously I have posted about danah boyd’s research on how hormones impact how your brain processes depth, but here is another study about how interpupillary distance, IPD, settings on VR headsets make it hard for people other than, for example, cisgender men to find a distance that works for them, leading to motion sickness. A while ago I tried to adjust my IPD but never found a setting that worked for me. It was either too close or too far, and the motion sickness remained.

Commute

itch.io

A love letter to a public transit system I haven’t used in years.

Star St.Germain and Tim Riot have made a really emotional pixel art journey through the city I simultaneously live in but rarely see anymore.

The DankPods Headphone Starter Guide.

youtube.com

DankPods put together a great guide to headphones. I use quiet a bit of the things he recommends, which you can see on my uses page.

Uses

Inspired by uses.tech, I have written up my current setup. I will try to keep this post updated as things change.

Hardware

The Bedrock

Computers

  • iPad Pro - This is my main machine, to be honest. I use it for everything, yes even coding.
  • Custom PC - This is my default desk experience when I am not working. I enjoy the new Windows 11.
  • MacBook Pro - I basically just use this for work, building the iOS/macOS builds of my apps, or Facetime.
  • Surface Pro 6 - I picked up the Surface a while back and it still runs great and is a quick portable way to bring a Windows machine with me. It’s great for low spec gaming too.

The Input Club

  • Blue Portico75 Keyboard - A 75% keyboard with a knob and a USB-C port.
  • Kensington VeriMark USB Fingerprint Key - This is finicky but when it works it’s pretty cool.
  • Kone XP - I wanted to try out a gaming mouse and this seemed like the perfect place to start. It’s light and has automatic profile switching between apps and games.
  • Logitech MX Ergo - I learned during quarantine that my hand starts to hurt after long periods of using a regular mouse. The MX Vertical is great but I’ve wanted to try a trackball mouse for a while.
  • Stream Deck - The answer to the question, “omg where is the hang up button on Zoom?!” It’s right there, on a physical button.

The Audio Video Club

Software

Multiplatform

  • 1Password - Use a password manager. Use unique passwords. Use two-factor auth. Just do it, already.
  • Affinity Designer - A full Illustrator experience on all of my devices, even iPad. No subscription fees.
  • Affinity Photo - A full Photoshop experience on all of my devices, even iPad. No subscription fees.
  • Fantastical - Not available on Windows. Fantastical merges a variety of calendars and todo lists together with custom views and natural language processing.
  • Microsoft Edge - Another Chromium based browser but without all the Google stuff. Tab napping to save resources on tabs you aren’t using is a huge plus.
  • Obsidian - A customizable library of Markdown files you can optionally apply end-to-end encryption to and sync.
  • VS Code - A fast and reliable code editor that is extendible. Runs on any platform either natively or in the web browser.

iOS

  • Blink Shell - SSH and Mosh support, now with the ability to mount SSH connections to the Files app, and the ability to launch VS Code.
  • Day One - Keeping a journal is a rewarding way to see how far you’ve come and remember important events in your life.
  • Inspect Browser - Inspect Element for iOS, not as full featured but the best and most reliable I’ve found.
  • Textastic - Old reliable code editor. It’s no VS Code, but it’s pretty good for prototyping HTML or JavaScript.
  • Working Copy - Git on iOS and it works with other apps.

Windows 11

  • PowerToys - There are so many features in here I love but I use FancyZones the most to move windows around in predetermined positions on my screen.
  • Velocity - This is like Dash for Mac but on Windows. It stores a variety of documentation for programming offline where you can easily search it for what you’re looking for.

macOS

  • Alfred - Quickly perform tasks, find apps and files, and manage your clipboard history.
  • Bartender - Everyone wants to be in the macOS menu bar. Hide those distractions.
  • Dash - Stores coding documentation offline where you can search it for what you’re looking for.
  • Hazel - Monitors files and performs actions when certain conditions are met. For example, I have a folder of Markdown files that will automatically commit itself to a Git repository when there are changes.
  • ImageOptim - Please don’t throw images up online without making sure their file size is as small as it can be without reducing image quality.
  • iStat Menus - What company spyware is causing my Mac to be so slow? Oh it’s probably just Docker. I hate it when Docker eats all available resources when it’s idle.
  • iTerm - A terminal that I can split the views in half vertically or horizontally. I swear I don’t use most of what this offers.
  • Keyboard Maestro - Set up custom actions on your Mac. I use it to extend what my Steam Deck can do.
  • Loopback - This is also primarily for the Steam Deck so I can play my annoying soundboard during work meetings.
  • Shush - This app hasn’t been updated in sooooo long and I fear for the day it stops working. It’s a great way to toggle the mute on your microphone or have a cough button.

Customizations

VS Code Extensions

  • change-case - There is nothing like a handy way to convert which case your text or variables are.
  • Code Spell Checker - Never spend another hour trying to debug code that would work if didn’t make that typo.
  • GitHub Copilot - This pair programmer’s inteligence is like magic, but it does pay to keep an eye on it so it stays on track.
  • GitHub Pull Requests and Issues - Create and review PRs without having to find what your looking for in GitHub.
  • Live Share - Invite someone you trust to code along side you each from the comfort of each other’s own VS Code.
  • Remote Development - I use this for connecting to a Windows Subsystem for Linux quite often, but it’s also great for working over SSH.
  • Sort lines - Like casing, there’s nothing like a quick way to remove duplicates from a list and sort it at the same time.
  • Turbo Console Log - Highlight text and press a keyboard shortcut to have your own easy to find console log. Each log is easily identifiable with an emoji, file name, and line number.

Browser Extensions

Multiplatform

  • Dark Reader - Outside of Safari, I use this to manually make bright websites that are hurting my eyes dark.
  • DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials - no Mobile Safari support
  • Magnet Links - Makes Magnet Links work with Put.io. I made this!
  • React Developer Tools - No Safari support. This is for debugging React.
  • Refined GitHub - Various customizations for GitHub to fill some gaps.
  • Tabby Cat - No Safari support. Random cute cats in every tab.
  • uBlock Origin - No Safari support. Blocks ads and trackers for your security.
  • X to Y - Replace words in text or links with other text. I made this too!

Safari

  • 1Blocker - Blocks ads and trackers for your security, even inside apps.
  • Baking Soda - Replaces all video players (except YouTube, see Vinegar below) with a native video player where you can choose to have picture-in-picture or stop that annoying auto-play
  • Noir - My preferred extension for applying dark mode to websites that haven’t implemented their own dark modes yet.
  • Vinegar - Replaces YouTube video players with one that supports picture-in-picture and stops that annoying auto-play. (use with Baking Soda to make all video players play nice)

I rewrote my blog with Astro

Welcome to the blog that was known as melkat.link.

I had a fun technique for making a blog using a bookmarking service to act as my content management system. I never knew how the bookmarking service felt about how I was using it and it made my blog on external services.

A few months ago I heard about Astro, a new build tool for building websites in JavaScript. I’ve since made a few sites using it and have been pretty impressed. Before I was using Next.js, and I will continue to use it where appropriate.

The biggest change will be that I can no longer simply share a link to post on my blog. I will need to write a brand new Markdown file and deploy it, which brings it’s own set of benefits. For one, I can now write posts like this.

See you soon~

X to Y

apple.com

Ever think it would be funny to replace a word with another? Sick and tired of a website deadnaming you? You are going to enjoy X to Y! X to Y supports plain text, regex, and urls.

Magnet Links

apple.com

Tired of seeing “Safari cannot open the page because the address is invalid.” alerts when you try to open a magnet link? This Safari extension helps by adjusting the links to go through Put.io

look what you made me do: a lot of people have asked me to make NFT games and I won’t

medium.com

The amount of talk about the environmentally harmful and the further harming of people who struggle financially is mind blowing but Doc put it in words the crypto-bros will understand. If they ever take their fingers out of their ears and stop shouting “na na na na i cant hear you.”

Webbed - Sbug Games

webbed.website

I never thought a game about spiders would happily capture me in it’s web, but here we are. Highly recommend this game, and it’s a steal for the price.

Improv Dungeon

melkat.games

Time to replace your improv partner! You’ve played AI Dungeon, now play Improv Dungeon. Write out your scenario and the AI will play along!

Is the Oculus Rift sexist?

qz.com

danah boyd’s piece from 2014 has always been facinating to me, but relating it to my own experiences around transitioning and the ways that I have percevied depth just feels like a lot of gender validation for me :)

Heroku removes SMS as an MFA Verification Method

heroku.com

We all know SMS two factor auth is very dangerous due to it’s insecure nature, but we don’t often here companies actually doing anything about it. Most won’t remove SMS two factor auth because they want your phone number so they can better target you with ads. Hopefully we start to see more people follow this trend, as everyone else is just playing security theatre.

A Hacker Got All My Texts for $16

vice.com

This has long been true, but for some reason it still needs to be said: two-factor authentication over text message makes you less secure than not having it.

Gaming's endless struggle with abusive men

linkedin.com

With the recent sexual assault allegations of former people’s champ GrandPooBear, I’ve been thinking a lot about his sudden heel turn, and I think this article hits him on the nose with a newspaper.

Medium Workers Union (MWU)

mediumworkersunion.org

Congratulations to the people at Medium! I love seeing unions spread around San Francisco tech companies. Hopefully soon with my employer :3

Kalidoface - Become a Virtual Character

kalidoface.com

Virtual avatars for streaming and videos have become popular over the last few years. Now you can do it from your browser on your phone?! So cool.

An overview of Polish nonbinary pronouns

zaimki.pl

I don’t know Polish but this is pretty fascinating about how the language handles pronouns.

React Aria

adobe.com

I don’t know what’s more wild: a React hook that makes your custom UI elements accessible or that this came from Adobe.

The Business of Selling White Women the Righteousness of Their Own Anger

jezebel.com

This article is a beautiful takedown of the fake feminism people sell. Though, this article fails to mention anything at all about trans issues, who are also deeply effected by mobilized angry white women trying to destroy feminism.

Is Madeline Canonically Trans?

medium.com

Watching Maddy find themself has been a joy, and reading about how Celeste developed with them is great.

A Spooky Adventure at Next.js Conf

netlify.com

Cassidy had an excellent talk today about building an adventure game with NextJS, which is definitely in my interests because I’ve been building my own visual novel in NextJS over the last few months.

【雪ミク】「アイ / DECO*27 feat.初音ミク」【踊ってみた

youtube.com

Yuki Miku daiyo does a dance on a roof!

If Found

dreamfeel.org

A delightful and emotional visual novel. I haven’t finished it yet, but the opening sure was A LOT.

1 of 3