Jacob Rus, A Synopsis

A photograph of Jacob Rus, taken by his brother.
© 2008 Jan “Juanito” Rus IV

This is the stub of a homepage for me, Jacob Rus (). I’m a 26-year-old computer programmer, government student, bibliophile, photographer, cartographer, interface designer, writer, erstwhile mathematician, amateur color scientist, wannabe typographer, and enthusiastic (sometimes profligate) talker.

I grew up bouncing between Claremont, California, United States – a college town in the middle of Los Angeles County’s vast suburban sprawl, a tree-filled oasis both literally and figuratively – and San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México – nestled in the state’s verdant central highlands, a few miles from my Tzotzil Maya godparents’ house, where I spent countless summer afternoons marveling at torrential tropical rainstorms.

Recently, I’ve been thinking carefully about color, color photography, and the interface needs of working photographers and photo retouchers. Photoshop and similar tools are needlessly complicated and insufficiently flexible. In 2008, I built myself a new way of color correcting images using Photoshop, which was dubbed “Jacob’s Ladder” by one mailing list user. At this page I share a few example images, and link to the Photoshop action I created which makes the technique accessible to novices and the lazy. Sometime in the future, I will add a more complete description, with a step-by-step tutorial.

I drew the graphics for the recently released multiplayer iPhone game Mino, classic and addictive and full of falling colorful blocks.

It’s not a real photo site by any stretch of the imagination – and soon soon I need to both describe and showcase my photographic processes – but I threw a few of my photographs, resized for the web, at a free Flickr account. Enjoy!

Before that, I did quite a bit of work on Orbited, a project to bring real-time network applications to the web. Besides investigating web browsers’ odd, often buggy behavior, and writing code to pacify it, I made the logo and the design for the Orbited website.

After years thinking of myself as a math, physics, computer science, or possibly economics student, and then a year off school working for One Laptop Per Child – as a technical writer, programmer, interface designer, unofficial photographer, furniture mover, and, in general, intern extraordinaire (check this out) – I tired of problem sets and switched to the government department, where I’ve been thinking about the inner workings of US and world institutions, about the various ways by which we understand them, and about how to convince my compatriots that our Union needs perfecting. Also about how we all fit together – the ties binding peasants and street kids to magnates and government officials. I wrote a few book reviews for the Harvard Political Review.

Technology I recommend, in no particular order: American Democracy, science (Maxwell’s equations), non-violent activism, open source, TCP/IP (email, &c.), Munsell color system, Python (NumPy, Twisted, SQLAlchemy, PyObjC), Git, jQuery, “plain” text, Markdown, HTML 5, Mac OS X, TextMate, Adobe Photoshop, Quicksilver, Wikipedia, Google, Google Maps, AbeBooks, Nikon D50, IBM Model M.

Right now, the main thing of interest at this site is the article I wrote about the Mac OS X text system, along with a list of default key bindings for OS X, and another list of default selectors usable in key bindings.

I put together a set of scripts for controlling iTunes and triggering Growl notifications about it, which look sharp when used from Quicksilver. You can find the scripts here.

I also made a set of pretty icons for Mac Python here (now distributed with every Mac!). And I made several of the icons for TextMate of which a selection is shown here.

So, to summarize:

There’s other stuff worth putting here eventually. So stay tuned. :)