The Turbid Plaque

A confusing mixture of ongoing projects

Author: Alan

  • If You’re Really Bored at the ASV Meeting

    I’m scheduled to give a talk at the American Society for Virology’s meeting in Columbus, OH in a few weeks. If you’re there and have nothing better to do on Wednesday evening, feel free to pop in.

  • TWiV is a Virology Career Goal Now

    Laura is reading a thriller by bestselling author Ruth Ware, and the main character is a virologist. Here, she laments the prestigious, career-defining events that are apparently out of her reach. I guess we’re officially a big deal.

  • Amiibo Coasters

    We have a Nintendo household, and over the years have accumulated a small collection of the company’s amiibo figurines. If you’re not familiar with them, these are sculpted miniature figures of game characters from various Nintendo franchises, each with a little NFC chip in the base. By holding the figure over the right spot on…

  • An iOS Shortcut to Post to WordPress

    An iOS Shortcut to Post to WordPress

    I’m posting this from my phone, thanks to Apple’s nifty Shortcuts app. The shortcut I made takes photo and text input, then uses the built-in WordPress action to send it all to the blog. Here’s a copy of it. You’ll need to put your WordPress login information into the appropriate spot; it seems to work…

  • Semiannual Blog Overhaul

    While reorganizing my two sites (this one and, I realized I did a similar exercise exactly two years ago. Apparently the urge to twiddle the settings on my blogging setup strikes every other Spring. This time around, the inspiration was realizing that I really post two distinct types of content, and the more professional,…

  • Releasing a New Game: Less is Morse

    Releasing a New Game: Less is Morse

    A couple of days ago, I released a project I’ve been tinkering with for awhile: a game for teaching and practicing Morse code reception. You can check it out here. It’s certainly different from the previous games I’ve worked on, but it stems from one of my other major hobbies. If you’ve ever wanted to…

  • Learning Celestial Navigation

    Learning Celestial Navigation

    In my continuing effort to acquire miscellaneous skills, I took up celestial navigation a little while ago. Yes, I mean using a sextant, some printed tables, and a rudimentary grasp of the principles of spherical trigonometry to find my position on Earth. It’s unlikely anyone really needs to do this here in the 21st century,…

  • A Sturdy Blanket Booth

    A Sturdy Blanket Booth

    I’ve been getting into voiceover projects lately, and it’s time I documented my recording setup. For those new to this subject, the key challenge in making high-quality voice recordings is setting up a “treated space.” There’s a whole literature on sound treatment, but the essence of it for this purpose is to kill all echoes…

  • Supporting Open Source Software by Writing Documentation

    Supporting Open Source Software by Writing Documentation

    Almost all of the software I use these days is Open Source; Free code runs this blog, most of the applications I use every day at work, and many of my hobby projects. While it’s great to get all of these power tools at no cost, I do try to support the ones I use…

  • Refinishing Antique Chairs

    Refinishing Antique Chairs

    I inherited a lovely Philippine mahogany dining table and a set of four walnut chairs from my great-grandmother, but as one might expect for century-old furniture, they weren’t in pristine condition when I got them. The chairs in particular were rickety and heavily worn, with the finish thick with accumulated grime in some spots. Here’s…