the brandenblog

Branden Frederick is a San Jose-based nerd, technology manager, and photographer.

why is saturday named after a roman god?

29 Jan 2020
In English, the days of the week are named after Germanic gods, all except Saturday. How did Saturn uniquely preserve his standing in our culture? What's going on? Read more.

2019 in music

2 Jan 2020
In Twenty-nineteen I added 48 new albums to my iTunes, about half of which were actually released that year, and only a third from artists new to me. Totaling it all up, here's my recommendations. Read more.

the chanukah spirit

4 Dec 2019
I sometimes write articles for my (Reform Jewish) congregation's monthly newsletter. Here's one I wrote to be published this month, all about digging into the roots of Chanukah. Read more.


18 Nov 2019
I just completed the fourth major version of the program I use to manage websites. This program – collection of scripts, really – is 561kb of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Miva, all handwritten by me over over a period of 23 years. I call this "Tranquility". Using Tranquility, I can instantly create a new website with a custom theme and any number of static or dynamic pages, including blogs, photo albums, and forms. It is how this blog you're reading right now is powered. To find out how I got to this point, read on. Read more.

checking in to the teachers' lounge

19 Sep 2019
A few years ago my school remodeled the Teachers' Lounge, and the IT offices were moved inside. When my helpdesk guy and I were moving into the new space, I saw the barrenness of the freshly-remodeled walls as a decorative challenge – an opportunity to set thematic precedent over the staff's respite from students. The burden of this decision weighed down, I was a key player at a linchpin moment, all eyes were on me to make my move: I hung a theatrical poster for the 1996 family comedy "Dunston Checks In". To this day it is still the centerpiece of our Teachers' Lounge, and I do not understand why. Read more.

walking simulators

12 Jul 2019
When I was a kid, I played a lot of video games. I would play anything, but mostly first-person-shooters, which I was never very good at. I'd play on "easy" and give up the first time I failed a challenge. But I was fascinated by the games' stories, by the fantasy worlds the games' makers had constructed. That these fictional universes were in service to violence was their downfall – I lost my patience with the "game" part of the game. A few years ago, I discovered I'm not alone, there's a new genre of games for people like me: Walking Simulators. Read more.

2018 in music

1 Jan 2019
Friends and other acquaintances have told me I have horrid taste in music. They say music I enjoy has immature lyrics, takes itself too seriously, has a grating sound, and is repetitive and simplistic. I've had two decades now to come to terms with this, and I no longer apologize for my tastes. The Music Stats tool puts on full display exactly which music I listen to. But that's just numbers – if you want the nuance, read on for my 2018 album recommendations. Read more.

80's sitcom pitch

27 Nov 2018
I've got a pitch for a hot new addition to must-see-tv! Read more.

twitchcon 2018: dispatches from video game streaming culture

30 Oct 2018
I returned to TwitchCon this weekend, aiming to update myself on the world of hardware, video games, and streaming culture. Last attending in 2015, I am apparently interested in video game streaming even though I'm a decade too old to participate in it. Here's my notes, as an outsider looking in. Read more.

I rode an app-based rental scooter

28 Oct 2018
Two pay-by-the-minute scooter rental Apps have popped up in my neighborhood. I got my gigantic self on one for the first time yesterday, and rode it for 4 miles. This was my experience. Read more.

how to: set up a classroom cart of MacBooks

18 Oct 2018
My task is to set up a portable classroom set of 26 MacBook Airs so that each user always has a clean logon. To accomplish that, I take advantage of the Guest user logon on MacOS, which is a special logon which is always reset on logoff. The difficulty is, how do you customize a user account that never saves changes? These are the steps, as of MacOS Mojave. Read more.

old list of concerts I've been to

17 Oct 2018
I used to go to a lot of concerts, and I kept a list of what shows I'd been to. Read more.

how to: install Miva Empresa on linux

17 Oct 2018
Miva is not the most glamorous web technology – by today's standards its 1995 origin makes it ancient. But it is still actively maintained and developed, and can be used to make web apps. Read more.

what I'd like to learn

16 Oct 2018
It's always good to have goals to work for. Here are some things I'd like to teach myself. Read more.

music stats: it turns out love *can* be measured

15 Oct 2018
I have spent the past 10+ years measuring and analyzing what music I listen to. After many, many iterations, I finally have the data in some semblance of order. Read more.

statistics 101: difference between mean and hypotenuse

14 Oct 2018
This is a brief look into the difference between sorting pairs of numbers by their mean versus by their hypotenuse. To the more mathematically gifted, this article is likely mundane, but I wanted to visualize the difference, and couldn't find this comparison pictured out anywhere else. Read more.

thoughts on de-googling my life

11 Oct 2018
How hard would it be to cut ties with the Black Google of the Internet with a Thousand Young? Ever since Google tore down their slogan "don't be evil" and replaced it with "well, maybe a little", the deal has been altered, and I've been praying they don't alter it any further. Read more.

trivia: movies edition

9 Oct 2018
Can you answer this brain puzzler? Read more.

autobiographies are hard

3 Oct 2018
I ruminate on writing the autobiographical blurb which appears in the header of this blog's page. Read more.

welcome to yet another blog

2 Oct 2018
This is the first post to this blog. Read more.
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