Franklin Connors the original Bootstrap Cat

06/2008 - 09/2020

Live Cat Support, 2009

Validating IE Tests, 2009

Motivation, 2009

Coffee, 2011

Inspiring us to be tougher, 2011

Winning Trips to Vegas, 2012

Exploring Palo Alto, 2012

Getting work done, 2014

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ben Congleton (@bcx0) on

Inspiring MessengerCat, 2016

Providing purrrrfect support, 2017

A great big brother, 2017

Giving love and helping others recharge, to the end 08/2020

Franklin was a constant friend on this journey. He was with us from a distance relationship in graduate school to moving to California to bootstrap Olark. He was with us through various living situations to our first house, and the birth of our first and second child. He was there for so many adventures, and put up with a lot. He was a good cat. The best cat. He left an indelible mark on everyone he touched.

We each cope with loss in our own way. Today we buried a friend, we took most of the day off work, and I asked my wife Kat to give me time to open up vim and spend time creating a tribute to a close companion. When my cousin Caroline died of cancer we built a staircase out of logs down to the creek. We grieve in our own ways. I've found something that works for me is to channel the energy of loss into creation, I process by moving earth and bits, by sharing memories and tears. Knowing yourself and taking the time to process is what creates resilience.

Some Lessons from Franklin

It was a journey we'll never forget

Franklin was adopted from Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY (someone dropped off a box of kittens). Please join us in celebrating Frankin's life with a donation to Farm Sanctuary or your favorite animal related charity.

Some self-indulgent notes for nerds from building this website

NOTE: most of this is going to be obvious to anyone who has current technology skills, for me there was so much learning in just throwing together this simple oldschool static site hosted by nginx. Most are observations around great improvements over Franklin's life ;). I wanted to write it down.

letsencrypt, WOW!

Installing SSL certificates went from taking hours to taking seconds. I had never used it before and WOW was it easy. sudo apt-get install certbot python-certbot-nginx
sudo certbot --nginx -d -d -d -d

Cookies on this page are inconsistent between safari and chrome

Surprisingly if I wipe my cookies and visit this page there aren't any on Safari, but there are three in Chrome from the Youtube Embeds (IDE, YSC, VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE). IDE is a doubleclick tracking cookie. I wasn't too surprised to see cookies being set, but the inconsistency between safari and chrome is interesting. I was surprised to not see any cookies from instagram in either browser.

Downloading images off of Franklin's facebook page was easier than expected

A while ago we made Franklin a FB page, today was probably one of the first times I've looked at it, but it was really nice to see all of our friends who had tagged photos with Franklin in them over the years. Downloading images was as simple as dragging them to my downloads folder. Whereas instagram does a bunch of funky stuff to mask images making this impossible to do. I'd expect both websites to be consistent in how they blocked or didn't block image downloads. This was surprising, and interesting.

Touchpad support in OSX terminal has improved a ton

I can now now use the mouse in VIM over SSH almost as if I was running it locally. This was likely improved a while ago, but was a welcome surprise.

Firewall configuration is SOOO much easier

On a whim I checked to see if this machine had a firewall on it. It didn't. Of course I just use it for a few personal projects and practically nothing is installed on it, but still. Installing ufw was super easy. OMG it's nice to know some basic security stuff has gotten a lot better in the last 10 years ;). I am fairly familiar with iptables, but on a vanilla machine it's typically a bit of work to configure with ufw it's trivial (the linked tutorial has some bugs, but it will get you started).

GrandPerspective is still one of my favorite uses of a TreeMap

Treemaps are a way of visualizing data. While putting together this tribute, I ran out of diskspace a few times because I was messing around with videos, and had neglected to free up space generally. GrandPerspective remains my favorite method of figuring out what the heck is taking up space on your computer. If you are on a MAC, you probably didn't realize that some of the Mojave background images are taking up 1 GIG of space. See this Stack overflow article, turns out apple finally made it so you couldn't modify the system partition without rebooting in recovery mode, which is a PITA to delete Mojave desktop backgrounds that are eating up space, but a good move security wise. Good job team GrandPerspective who's software I've been using for many years and still works on modern OSes. Good job apple on improving security, even at the cost of making it more annoying to free up disk space ;)

The Apple Photos + Youtube + website workflow is not ideal

Many people contributed to the slideshow, and anytime I needed to change music or add a new photo I had to rebuild the whole thing. (Yes I am aware there are many special tools for this). After rebuilding the video, I had to upload a new video to youtube which creates a new URL and update this website. I now understand why there are so many tools for embedding videos on websites, and why youtube is not ideal if you might need to change a video after publishing it.

Emoji are rendered like a font now

Call me old fashioned, but I really expected emoji to be implemented as images given they are multiple colors. I bet most people already knew this, but given I haven't tried to add an emoji using code to anything for a while, I was expecting to need to download an image, silly me. . Anyway they'll render in vim on OSX at least. (UPDATE: still was a PITA, even with emoji rendering in vim, I had to do some HTML entities and add a UTF-8 Meta tag to make them work, there are probably other options, but ended up not being as trivial as I hoped, likely due to not everything standardizing on UTF-8)

At least in chrome you can make your favicon an emoji using SVG

Franklin's tribute page deserved more than the default favicon. I was able to quickly take my new found knowledge of how emoji actually work in HTML/etc (they are a font), and do some quick google searching, and presto. (view the source of this page to see how it's done, it's pretty cool. The examples here didn't work for me without adding a font-family to the SVG.

:setlocal spell in VIM

I probably have never done this much writing in prose in VIM. Turning on spellcheck was trivial ;).

Made with ❤🐈