Style once, tinker indefinitely

Toggle switches arranged horizontally and randomly switching on and off
Toggle switches arranged horizontally and randomly switching on and off
Overly enthusiastic switches — Source

While working on a Google Chrome extension, I found myself in need of a toggle switch. These are the little guys you’ll most commonly see on your phone or tablet to enable/disable things.

Finding the Right Switch

So I quickly set out in search of one that I could easily integrate into what I was building. One of the first places I looked at was Google’s Material Design, where sure enough, they had a switch component that I could install and use with just a few lines of code.

Once I got to playing around with it, however, I soon realized that I wasn’t completely happy with the way their switch behaved. And since all the styling and functionality are abstracted away inside the package files, it’s not very easy to make modifications. …


It’s easy for us to dismiss both candidates as equally inadequate. To downplay the power our voices hold to enact real change. Or believe that the outcome will have no real consequences either way.

But to those who stand to lose the most, the consequences are very real. Issues such as health care, immigration, crisis management, environmental protection, gun violence, inequality, and hate are without question affected by policy.

And policy is put in place by the very people we deem ineffectual. Once we accept that this is what’s at stake, there is no longer room for political nihilism.

Perhaps you’re fortunate enough to live under circumstances that aren’t swayed much by policies and bills. But if not for you, then act for those who aren’t so fortunate. Those whose stories can literally be rewritten with the stroke of a pen. …


It’s time we stopped using these two little words

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Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash

Watching California governor Gavin Newsom address reporters in light of the wildfires wreaking havoc across the Western United States, I couldn’t help but think how poor his choice of words was.

The debate is over around climate change

Those last two words may have been enough to make anyone watching forget about the thick, hazy air and the charred remains of trees that surrounded all those present. They were more than likely enough to make some viewers see red — and not because of the raging flames appearing on their screens or the hue that their skies had taken on.

For some, I imagine the word climate spoken or written in conjunction with change would evoke a strong sense of suspicion towards the speaker or writer. …


Useful add-ons to improve your browser experience

a 3D rendering of jigsaw pieces
a 3D rendering of jigsaw pieces
Adapted from assets by upklyak on freepik.com

Extensions. Where would our browsers be without ’em? Like a sky without stars. A forest without trees. A sea without — OK, you get the idea.

What follows is a rundown of extensions I’ve installed on my browser that make my life a whole hell of a lot easier. So without further ado, here are 10 browser extensions I can’t live without.

Dark Reader

A logo for Dark Reach, which appears to be an illustration of Darth Vader at a laptop.
A logo for Dark Reach, which appears to be an illustration of Darth Vader at a laptop.

Dark Reader is an eye-care extension that allows you to easily adjust how a website is displayed in order to match your comfort levels and reduce eye strain. …


Things are a bit different in extension land than what you’re probably used to

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Adapted from assets by rawpixel.com on freepik and WikimediaImages on Pixabay.

A while ago, I set out to build my first Chrome extension. Having recently gotten into the world of web development and getting my hands dirty by building a React project, I felt I had the tools necessary to take on this new challenge.

While I wasn’t completely wrong to think this, it wouldn’t be the whole truth to say I didn’t have to rethink the way I approached designing my project.

I realized this pretty early on into development. You see, when developing any sort of app, as our projects get bigger, we’ll tend to inevitably break it up into separate classes, functions, and eventually scripts. …


A step-by-step, hands-on introduction in Python

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“assorted berries” by William Felker on Unsplash

There is no shortage of ways out there that we can use to analyze and make sense of textual data. Such methods generally deal with an area of artificial intelligence called Natural Language Processing (NLP).

NLP allows us to perform a multitude of tasks where our data consists of text or speech. Sentiment analysis, machine translation, and information retrieval are just a few examples of NLP applications, many of which we use daily. Today, many of these tasks can be solved with a great degree of success using a combination of NLP and machine learning techniques.

In this post, I’d like to illustrate one such method, doc2vec, and hopefully provide some basic insight into how it works and how to implement it. …


Avoid these traps. Your workflow will thank you.

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Photo by Shivendu Shukla on Unsplash

If you happen to be active on Facebook and YouTube, as I am, you know how easy it can be to simply lose yourself in them.

Even so, these two websites certainly aren’t without their merits. For instance, YouTube can be a great source of information and I often head there while working to look things up. Similarly, I sometimes need to engage in short bursts of communication on Facebook.

But for the unsuspecting, that can be like walking into a trap.

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The YouTube home screen, aka eye candy galore

You’re probably familiar with the image above: YouTube’s fabled home screen. In this case, I’m not even logged in, so the videos being presented aren’t necessarily relevant to me. Still, it’s pretty damn hard to resist the temptation to move my cursor away from the search bar, i.e. …


Never was done unto man as man has done unto himself

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Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash

Silence had never been a stranger in the great plains west of the marshlands. Yet, there was no denying that the eerie calm which right now held sway was of a different breed. This was the calm before a storm. The brief moment before the pounce, when the hunted is just as aware of its plight as the hunter.

And it did not go unnoticed by the 40 thousand men positioned on opposite sides of a flat stretch of land, so vast that even the strongest bowmen among them were, for now, rendered obsolete. …


A poem about love, life, and destiny.

Two peanut butter and banana sandwiches on a plate, bananas, and a peanut butter jar. The sun is shining in the background.
Two peanut butter and banana sandwiches on a plate, bananas, and a peanut butter jar. The sun is shining in the background.
And the world was never the same — Photo by author

Of lovers starcrossed they speak
whose tales redden the cheek
Of maidens fair, and lads who dare
and the glorious fates they seek

But behold your piece of toast!
What delicacies it may host
The jams to eat, or the salted meat
Yet little have they to boast

For never was penned a pair
by Shakespeare or Voltaire
as a nut mashed and a fruit
to thus our hearts ensnare

The banana was quite astute
“I used to be just a fruit!”
“Plucked and peeled,”
“packaged and sealed.”
“And a monkey’s delight to boot”

The peanut as well had cause
to grieve, for a nut he was
In a bar to eat,
a minor feat
Just filler between the…


And how it isn’t always the right choice.

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US dive bombers over burning Japanese cruiser Mikuma on June 6th, 1942 — Wikimedia Commons

During the Battle of Midway in WWII, US dive bombers in search of the Japanese fleet’s aircraft carrier force found themselves facing an enemy they did not expect — the featureless vastness of the pacific ocean. …

About

Omar Sharaki

Biting off more than I can chew since 1994 | Follow me at twitter.com/OSharaki and always get it while it’s hot 🥧

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