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Benjamin Oakes

Photo of Ben Oakes

Hi, I'm Ben Oakes and this is my geek blog. Currently, I'm a Ruby/JavaScript Developer at Continuity Control. Previously, I was a Software Developer at Hedgeye, a Research Assistant in the Early Social Cognition Lab at Yale University and a student at the University of Iowa. I also organize ICRuby and OpenHack Iowa City, and previously organized NewHaven.rb. I have an amazing wife named Danielle Oakes.


Google to Discontinue 32-bit Chrome for Mac Next Month

by Ben

Google to Discontinue 32-bit Chrome for Mac Next Month – OMG! Chrome.

It’s sad that I could run the latest Chrome on a Pentium 4 Dell found on the side of the road, but not on the Core Duo Mac mini I bought (for quite a bit, mind you). I don’t expect support to last forever, but what a disparity.

I want one

by Ben


From XKCD.

Transformers: Surprisingly mediocre

by Ben

From my 3-star review posted on Amazon:

I expected better, especially from the writers. It’s not bad, but I don’t have any desire to see it again.

It’s essentially The Avengers, but with robots, crude humor, and many fighting scenes that seemed to go on longer than they should. It’s a good movie if you just want to watch a somewhat-mindless action flick for 2.5 hours, or if you’re a bigger fan of the cartoon than I was as a kid.

Iowa City ranks among top users of public transit in the nation

by Ben

Iowa City ranks among top users of public transit in the nation – TheGazette.

Way to go, Iowa City! Almost in the top ten for the United States. Number 11 isn’t bad, but we’re so close to beating Philadelphia that we should make that a goal. :)

From my experiences riding the bus regularly, there’s definitely a wide variety of people that use public transit, from working professionals who could probably drive everyday if they wanted, to those who only have the bus as a means of transportation. I personally take the bus to prevent extra carbon emissions and save some money, but when I can, I bike to get a little extra exercise. I also just like supporting public transit so it remains available to everyone. From what I’ve observed, busing and biking are common in Iowa City, partially because of the pedestrian culture here. I’d be curious how the transit usage numbers would differ between college students and otherwise, but I would guess the difference is not as large as many people would think. That said, other university-centric cities are near the top of the list, so it definitely has an effect.

It’s especially interesting to contrast with the numbers for other places I’ve lived where public transit isn’t used by as many types of people. The numbers seem to match reality pretty well, especially for very car-dependent areas. Where does your city fall in the list?

Iowa’s largest solar farm unveiled in Johnson County

by Ben

Iowa’s largest solar farm unveiled in Johnson County.

Great to hear. Makes me wonder how much energy Iowa could produce compared to what we consume.

The array is capable of generating up to 1,800 watts of solar power per customer, giving the cooperative the highest per-capita solar generation rate of any utility in the nation, said Warren McKenna, general manager and CEO of Farmers Electric Cooperative.


Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Michael Naig said the state already leads the nation when it comes to wind energy, with 27.4 percent of Iowa’s total energy production coming from that renewable source, along with ethanol and biodiesel, which contributed $5.5 billion to Iowa’s gross domestic product last year.


Keys said with the U.S. sending about $1 billion each day overseas to purchase energy, “homegrown” renewable sources such as solar power represent an important step in reducing that foreign dependency.

CoreOS: Linux for the cloud and the datacenter

by Ben

CoreOS: Linux for the cloud and the datacenter | ZDNet.

Docker containers plus CoreOS seems like the future of deploying production applications on Linux. Small base OS plus dependencies wrapped up in a docker container.

Componentize the Web

by Ben

Componentize the Web – YouTube.

Polymer tabs tutorial with Addy Osmani.

The Value of Repetition in Personal Finance

by Ben

The Value of RepetitionSee Debt Run.

I feel the need for repetition in the lessons of personal finance in the same way I feel the need to hear my partner say, “I love you”. While I already know it to be true, I need to hear it regularly. Similarly, I need to hear those familiar money lessons often. Even though I know them, it takes that reminder, that moment of checking in, to make sure I’m actually implementing them.

Filter a list of paths to those that exist

by Ben

If you have a file containing paths, but only some of them exist, you can filter them down to only the ones that exist using this command:

ls -1 $(cat list-of-files.txt) > list-of-files.txt

For example, this is useful for comparing branches in git. You could run all the specs that changed between two branches, ignoring the spec files that were removed.

Driven by necessity, Mozilla to enable HTML5 DRM in Firefox

by Ben

Driven by necessity, Mozilla to enable HTML5 DRM in Firefox | Ars Technica.

From the comments:

Funny how psychology works. I have no problem with Netflix using DRM, because it’s very clear that their offering is like a “channel”, to which you have unlimited access during the time you pay for the subscription.

On the other hand, I highly resent DRM in things like ebooks that I’ve paid for, because I’ve bought them and they should be MINE, perpetually.

My thoughts, exactly.