Ben Crowder

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Links #28


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Introducing Cirque

As schoolwork starts to wind down, I’m finally starting to make progress on the creativity tools and HCI explorations I talked about back in September. This week I’ve also realized that graphical tools for art and design are what I want to focus most on. (I do still intend to explore textual interfaces, but they’re on the backburner for now.)

In the spirit of working in public, then, Cirque is a small WIP web app I’m building for making patterns via circle packing:

cirque-01.png
cirque-02.png
cirque-03.png
cirque-04.png

This is very much a rough initial MVP. You can tweak some settings, generate new patterns using a simple circle-packing algorithm, and export SVG (with the turbulence/displacement filters enabled by default), but that’s it. Some of the features I’m planning to build next:

  • Replace the settings text box with, you know, good UI (I’m also excited to explore color picker design here)
  • Add the ability to manually place both circles and anticircles (so artists are able to create intentional negative space)
  • Add a way to programmatically set the circle colors (probably via something like shaders, so you could say all circles smaller than a certain size get one color and the rest get another, or circle color is dependent on position or something else)

I’ve also thought about moving the circle packing code from JavaScript to Rust, to be able to play around with WebAssembly, but it seems overkill, at least at this point. (Instead I think I’ll plan to Rust and WebAssembly on the graphical type design tool I want to build.)


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Links #24


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Links #23


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Links #22

  • ProgrammingFonts.org — I’ve been using Go Mono for years now but lately I’ve been thinking that maybe it’s time to change things up a bit
  • Starship — a cross-shell prompt written in Rust, though I haven’t yet dived deep enough into the configuration docs to see if I can bend it to my will
  • Mark Boulton on history and digital type specimens — ephemerality for some things doesn’t matter, but the lack of excellent solutions for others (family photos, etc.) bothers me
  • Joseph Gentle on CRDTs — going along with the local-first idea I posted about in the last batch
  • 100+ Blender modeling tips — I’ve been working through this, quite helpful

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Links #18


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Links #17


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I ended up tweaking my Vim syntax highlighting earlier this week (after my first post), to be more in line with what Ben had posted. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far (with the disclaimer that all of this code is internal and wasn’t written with the expectation that it would ever be seen by anyone else) (and I’m also still fairly new at writing Go and Rust):

syntax-python.png

And some Rust, Go, and HTML:

syntax-rust.png
syntax-go.png
syntax-html.png

These are certainly more soothing to my eyes, which was something I didn’t realize I needed. While these aren’t perfect in the least — with enough variation between languages to look almost like entirely different color themes, though I think I see that as a feature and not a bug — I’m happy with the tweaks for now and plan to stick with them.


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Links #16


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Over the weekend I read Ben Kuhn’s post on syntax highlighting and thought the idea sounded intriguing, so I tried it out.

Here’s what I had before (and let me add that I was tweaking my Vim colors a few days before this, so this wasn’t technically my normal setup) (and let me further add that this is fairly old code and not anything particular exciting):

syntax-before.png

And after, where comments are bold and brighter than the rest of the dim code:

syntax-after.png

Hmm. This isn’t a perfect implementation of the idea in the least, but even so, I don’t know that I like having comments so predominant.

This does, however, give me several ideas for modifying my existing color scheme (or starting from scratch, which is feeling a bit more likely right now). Something more soothing, less garish. And still some way to make comments stand out more — italics or a somewhat brighter color, probably. (Sidenote: nvim-treesitter has caught my interest.)


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