Terrill Dent

tsorter - HTML Table Sorter

January 5th, 2015

I published my table sorting script to github over the past couple of days. It's at terrilldent/tsorter. It's vanilla JS, there are no dependencies.

This was an interesting exercise. It was some of the oldest javascript code I still have in my possession, originally written in summer 2006. It's been updated to satisfy my more recent coding standards, but still functions the same way.

My plan is do some timing tests, and transition it to use a shadow DOM, or at least off-DOM sorting. Right now it's layout thrashing pretty hard.

How Hierarchy affects Responsibility

January 4th, 2015

It's been amazing to see all the entrepreneurship occurring in the Waterloo region in the wake of BlackBerry's transition.

One particular observation that I've noted:

Placing people in corporate hierarchy is usually enough cause to stop their critical thinking machinery. Remove someone from corporate hierarchy, and you'll be surprised how much they can do. I am most surprised by young people, probably because I was so conditioned to thinking 'older people ran companies'.

It takes a while for people to unlearn an attitude for lack of responsibility, but with some minimal guidance it happens. Occasionally you can even see the moment when they realize - if I don't show up (in body and mind) then no one else will do it for me.

How can large corporations fight this effect? My advice is to create small, autonomous teams composed of experts in different subject areas. Treat each product like an independent company that exists in an ecosystem of other friendly companies that will do business with it for free.

write - a blogging engine for non-https sites

January 2nd, 2015

Just flipped the public switch on the repo terrilldent/write.

It tries to create an environment with strong authenticity and integrity - but does not provide confidentiality. It's not done yet, but I want to work in the open.

It takes a lot of care to migrate an existing project to git, and finally open source it. Mostly I worry about passwords (or other sensitive info) leaking. I was thankful that people took the time to writeup their costly mistakes this week as a reminder to us all.

Secondly I worry about vulnerabilities in my code that I don't know about being exposed. Extra care and humility are important when making claims about the security of your software.

2015 - Code every day

January 1st, 2015

One of the best blog posts I read in 2014 was John Resig explaining his change in working strategy for side projects, from bunched up mainly weekend work to at least a little bit every day.

I've struggled with the feeling of making inadequate progress. This is something that I want to try, and I'm willing to dedicate the effort. I'll share my progress.

Fall 2014 Rabbit Illustration

November 4th, 2014

A new illustration for Fall 2014. This 9"x12" Christmasy rabbit was inspired by a combination of paintings by Bateman, as were most of the other drawings in my Illustrations Book

Professional Update

April 4th, 2014

Last July, nearly a year ago, I left RIM/BlackBerry and joined a startup in Waterloo called TrustPoint as Engineer #1. That's a big change for me. BlackBerry was (and still is, in some way) a significant part of my world.

I'm now building a Certificate Authority for non-humans from the ground up. It's super challenging work, spanning a multitude of disciplines.

Since this blog rarely gets updated, I should mention that I'm on twitter @terrilldent.

Secure Login without HTTPS

December 6th, 2013

Still working on my secure login without HTTPs. My non-comprehensive list of desired qualities:

Progress is coming along nicely. The authentication and validation steps are working, which means I have a functioning system. Next I need to exercise it and make sure it works in practice.

Bitcoin Caution

December 1st, 2013

Hacker News is interesting because the community will periodically promote some anti-community ideas to the top. I was encouraged to see a cautionary bitcoin post in the top spot this morning.

Read the article, think for yourself, then read the comments.

Predictably the top comments attack technical details; in the process missing the message.

I'm strongly of the opinion that Bitcount will not end well. It has the bad qualities of gold, including a cost of mining. It has no central bank to help it, which some may celebrate now, but wish they had later. Unlike gold, which continues to be mined, there are a fixed number of eventual bitcoins. This is not good. Bitcoin is misunderstood by most holders. Holders don't use it as currency very often. And the list goes on.


November 18th, 2013

I've decided to relaunch my website. I wanted to create a space that had more room, and is easier to fit complex examples into. In that spirit I have abandoned columns and for now I'm writing static HTML.

The Projects page has been updated to show some of the things that I have been working on. There is a lot more in the works.

If you haven't heard, I recently left BlackBerry for a software startup. We work in the cryptography space. I look forward to sharing more about that soon.


November 10th, 2013

My previous blog was custom written, and I learned a lot while building it. Armed with newly minted knowledge about secure systems, I plan to implement my new blog with some interesting security considerations. To avoid increasing my hosting costs, I endeavour to make something I can feel confident using without HTTPS. When it's done I will describe how I did it.