Run bash inside any version of Linux using Docker

Docker is useful for some things, and not as useful as you think for others.

Here’s something massively useful: get a throwaway bash prompt inside any version of any Linux distribution in one command:

docker run -i -t --mount "type=bind,src=$HOME/Desktop,dst=/Desktop" ubuntu:18.10 bash

This command downloads a recent Ubuntu 18.10 image, mounts my desktop as /Desktop in the container, and gives me a bash prompt. From here I can install any packages I want and then use them.

For example, today I used it to decrypt a file that was encrypted with a cipher my main OS did not have a package for.

When I exit bash, the container stops and I can find it with docker ps -a then remove it with docker rm. To really clean up I can find the downloaded images with docker image ls and remove them with docker image rm.

New home page design

After years of getting around to it, I have redesigned my home page at artificialworlds.net.

It’s basically intended to make me look clever or productive or interesting or something. Alternatively, it gives you somewhere to find that thing you know I made but can’t find the link:

Screenshot of artificialworlds.net - colourful boxes with rich-coloured picture of drawers behind.

The background image is “Read where you are” by delaram bayat.

I am pleased with the page’s responsive design, clarity, fast page-load, and colourfulness.

What do you think?

Code Like a Girl T-shirts

There are lots of people missing from the programming world: lots of the programmers I meet look and sound a lot like me. I’d really like it if this amazing job were open to a lot more people.

One of the weird things that has happened is that somehow we seem to have the idea that programming is only for boys, and I’d like to fight against that idea by wearing a t-shirt demonstrating how cool I think it is to be a woman coder.

So, I commissioned a design from an amazing artist called Ellie Mars, who I found through her Mastodon.art page @elliemars@mastodon.art. She did an amazing job, sending sketches and ideas back and forth, and finally she came up with this awesome design:

I’ve printed a t-shirt for myself that I will give myself for Christmas, and I’ve made a page on Street Shirts so you can get one too!

The link goes to an adult men’s t-shirt, but after you click the link you can choose the t-shirt type (including women’s and children’s) and change the background colour.  They are reasonably cheap:

If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact me (via DM or publicly) on twitter @andybalaam or Mastodon @andybalaam@mastodon.social, or by email, via a short test.

Ellie and I agreed to set up these t-shirts sales with no profit for us because we’d like to get the word out.  If they are popular we might add a little, so get in fast for a good deal!

10 points for anyone who can recognise the code in the background.  It’s from one of my favourite programs.

Personally, I think we all spend too much of our time walking around advertising faceless corporations when we could be saying something a bit more useful on our clothes.  What do you think of this idea?  Maybe you could design a similar t-shirt?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter or Mastodon.

Poor performance in Chrome (especially on mobile) – caused by SVG background images

I have spent the last few hours investigating abysmal performance in my latest little game project Cross The Road. Firefox was fine, but Chromium and Chrome, especially on mobile, was rendering at about three frames per second.

When I stopped using SVGs as background-images for my elements, and used PNGs instead, it improved to about 20-30 FPS.

It seems fine to use SVGs as normal images, but for background-image, it really hurt performance.