December 29, 2018

An ode to YouTube's recommendation algorithm

Much has been said about the harmful effects of YouTube’s recommendation algorithm, from Zeynep Tufecki’s We’re building a dystopia just to make people click on ads to James Bridle’s Something is wrong on the internet. While these are very important (and disturbing) analyses that need to be acknowledged, this post isn’t about that. It’s about my personal experience with YouTube’s recommendation engine, which has been overwhelmingly positive, largely due to the kind of content I constrain myself to watching while on the site. ... Read more

May 23, 2017

PyCon 2017

I recently attended PyCon for the first time in several years and thought I’d write a bit about my favorite sessions, the videos of which are already online. ... Read more

May 15, 2017


For the past several months, I’ve been complementing my podcast regimen with narrated long-form journalism via an excellent new service called Audm. ... Read more

May 14, 2017

Eviscerated by Spammers

My blog was gutted by spammers. This has happened before, because I’m apparently not very good at keeping my Wordpress installation up-to-date and secure. Only before, the spammers who hacked into my blog to pepper ads in its innards only modified PHP templates, and those weren’t too hard to fix. This time, though, they came for the database. ... Read more

January 16, 2017

My First Elm App

I recently wrote my first application in Elm, which is promoted as a “delightful language for reliable webapps”. The application is an accessible color palette builder, which builds on the excellent design of the 18F Visual Identity Guide to provide visual designers with real-time feedback on the accessibility of their palettes: ... Read more

December 9, 2016

Fun with TypeScript

I’ve written about TypeScript in the past for my p5 friendly error fellowship, and at a coworker’s encouragement, I made a series of four YouTube videos, totalling about 12 minutes in length, that attempt to provide a quick survey of what I like most about the tool. You can view the TypeScript videos here. ... Read more

July 19, 2016

Pode, An Accessible Code Editor

My colleague Claire Kearney-Volpe and I have recently been co-teaching HTML and CSS to students who are visually impaired. One of the benefits of learning coding today is the fact that it can be done without having to install anything: using sites like JS Bin, CodePen, and Mozilla Thimble, people can tinker with code on their web browser, and even publish it instantly online with the click of a button. Unfortunately, however, these sites are inaccessible to screen reader users. ... Read more

April 27, 2016

Embeddable p5 Learning Sandboxes

I’ve recently been helping my colleague Taeyoon Choi with his series of Signing Coders workshops, in which we’ve been teaching students who are hearing-impaired how to code using p5.js. One of the challenges Taeyoon faced in writing his computer-based learning activities was providing students with a simple, welcoming coding environment in which they could tinker with example p5 sketches without fear, embedded in the context of his curriculum. ... Read more

February 1, 2016

Passage, Emscriptened

A friend and I were recently reminscing about a poignant 2007 game by Jason Rohrer called Passage. It’s hard to describe the game without spoiling anything, but since it literally takes five minutes to play, I encourage you to play it online right now. The thing is, until today, you couldn’t play it online. ... Read more

January 16, 2016

Adventures in Python Core Dumping

After watching Bryan Cantrill’s presentation on Running Aground: Debugging Docker in Production I got all excited (and strangely nostalgic) about the possibility of core-dumping server-side Python apps whenever they go awry. This would theoretically allow me to fully inspect the state of the program at the point it exploded, rather than relying solely on the information of a stack trace. I decided to try exploring a core dump on my own by writing a simple Python script that generated one. ... Read more

© Atul Varma 2017