Status 04/05/2005

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It's shaping up to be a long, but productive week.

PyBlosxom

We're working through the problems a bunch of problems with the contributed plugins that have been sitting around for some time. This includes assigning licenses to all the plugins, adding version/author information, making sure they have some modicum of documentation, and at some point (hopefully) testing them all out in PyBlosxom 1.2. Hopefully this will put the contributed plugin pack in a much better state of being.

Steven, Bill, Wari, and Doug decided that it was high time we started using various features of CVS to make development better. I've had some growing pains with this and kind of wished people had figured things out and written up a process before making the changes. Even though I'm grumbling about the way it's happened, it is a good thing it is happening and it will make it a lot easier to do some of the things we've been doing for a while now. It'll also help a huge amount now that we've got more than one or two active developers.

I have a lot of plans for the PyBlosxom manual, but haven't had time to execute on any of them yet. The wiki we were storing documentation in was taken down since the jackass ISP that Wari had got all befuddled and confused and terminated his account with them. The problem here is that I had documentation in the wiki I hadn't had time to port to the manual yet. Fortunately, Wari sent me the contents of the wiki. I had documentation in there that I hadn't had time to port to the manual yet.

I'm 90% sure I know how to restructure what we've got right now to allow for Bill's index caching and also other storage systems. Depending on how things go with everyone else's PyBlosxom projects, I'll prototype this, write up a specification, send it round, and then implement the resulting modifications all before the next version of PyBlosxom.

Since Ted's PyBlosxom presentation at PyCon 2005, we've had 10-20x as much PyBlosxom development activity. That's been really exciting but also really daunting. Definitely a lot of growing pains mostly between my style of running things and peoples' vision for how things should be run.

Steven is still working on fixing the PyBlosxom registry to be a bit more user-friendly. We're short on flavour templates and some people really dislike this so I want to spend a week building new flavours at some point in the near future. Maybe I'll toss all the flavours in the contributed plugin pack to replace the existing flavour examples that come with it (I highly doubt anyone uses any of them).

Getting there....

grad school

I was accepted into the masters program at Northeastern University CCS. Starting in September, I'll be a full time grad student. My advisor is Mitch Wand (which is very exciting) and I was awarded a Dean's List Scholarship which reduces the costs assuming I maintain a 3.0 GPA and miscellaneous other things in fine print. All very exciting.

Need to learn Lisp, review all the stuff I learned in college, and attempt to get ahead of the game by covering as many of the things I'm going to be learning as possible.

DarkRifts

I've adjusted the way I'm working on DarkRifts such that I'm limiting myself to one coding goal every week. This will reduce the amount of stuff I'm doing there, but more importantly, it makes it easier to schedule things and gives me time to work on all the other non-DarkRifts stuff out there.

My book(s)

I'm in the process of looking at Lulu to do some self-publishing. S and I wrote a children's book last year which might be a good candidate for Lulu. The problem being that we'd need to redo the layout.

On top of that, I'm novel-izing the D&D campaign that I've been in for a year and a half. That's been going really well so far. I'm done the first couple of chapters. If anyone else plans to do something like this, it helps to take really good session notes and maintain a public set of summaries that other people in the campaign can fix.

On top of that, S and I have some ideas on the next children's book, but we still need to sit down and flesh them out a bit.

Other

Work has been super busy the last couple of weeks on top of everything else.

And I started running again and I finally got around to cutting my hair, too.

PyBlosxom 1.2 released

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Seems like it's ok so far. So I released it rather than continuing to sit on it. I've done a lot of work on the manual to cover the areas that were covered poorly or not covered at all. There's still a lot of material to cover, but we're definitely making measurable progress in that direction.

Steven Armstrong did a lot of work to get mod_python, WSGI, and Twisted supported. I'm not sure why anyone would use WSGI or Twisted, though, since they don't appear to make much difference in how fast PyBlosxom works. mod_python definitely helps, though. Steven has some runtime statistics here.

This feels like a good release. We met some goals, we didn't sit on it forever, the documentation is an order of magnitude better than it was for the previous version (though it has a long way to go, still), and we fixed a bunch of bugs.

Having said that, it's definitely not necessary for people to upgrade. I think if your blog works and you don't need to futz with it to get additional functionality, leave well enough alone.

mod_rewrite

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I decided to learn a lot more about mod_rewrite last night and I implemented a few rules that will surprise folks who source images from my site.

If you want to source images from my site, ask me first. My email address is on my site. There are various other ways to contact me that aren't hard to figure out.

I hadn't up until this point set the policy in stone, but now I have and that's the way it is.

Do the following people still exist?

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If you know any of the following people, please let me know--I'm curious to see if they still exist. Don't be shy--feel free to chime in.

  • Chris Richwine who I knew in Londonderry
  • Chris Stebbins who I also knew in Londonderry
  • Ben Agati also from Londonderry (I think I have your number, though--I'll go hunt for it)
  • Taylor Johnston (I think there's a t in Johnston--but I forget) also from Londonderry
  • Lisa Skinner also from Londonderry
  • James "Juice" Newton also from Londonderry
  • Aaron Slater also from Londonderry--it'd be nice to know where Alyssa is as well (hope I didn't butcher her name--sorry bout that)
  • Chris Rodier who I knew at Boston College
  • Gary MacDonald also from Boston College

If you know of these folks (or are one of these folks), drop me a line at willkg at bluesock dot org.

(Note: this is really hard to write because I'm thinking in docbook. Someone should write a docbook entryparser for PyBlosxom.)

pyblosxom manual

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I'm almost done the next version of the PyBlosxom manual. At the suggestion of Steven, I converted the manual thus far from html to docbook. I still need to do a lot of work in terms of indexing and adding warnings and notes and various other indicators like that. I'm busy re-writing chapters to reflect issues people are having on the pyblosxom-users list.

I think I've worked between 20 and 30 hours on it over the last week and a half--it's almost like another part time job.

Dell Inspiron 7000

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Back in 1998, I bought a Dell Inspiron 7000 PII 266mhz monstrocity of a laptop which weighs in at over 8 lbs. It's really heavy. It's seen its fair share of action since then: it was toted back and forth between MA and CT while I was doing consulting work; it was abused by an x-girlfriend; it was shipped in a flimsy letter-sized envelope thing via USPS; and then it's been through several moves since I move on average once every 8 months. It's been through a lot.

The case is cracked, the things that latch the lid shut are broken, and the power adapter has been fixed a few times (the last one by Brian who had the right tools to fix it and thus it's been fine since [Thanks, Brian!]). Even so, I powered it up last night, did an apt-get update;apt-get dist-upgrade and it's going fine. Slow, but fine.

So this post is in homage to a laptop I bought back in 1998 that's stuck with me through thin and thick and is still usable even after all these years.

Dell Inspiron 7000 PII 266 mhz circa 1998 laptop, I salute you.

PyBlosxom 1.2 plans

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We're going to try to push out PyBlosxom 1.2 in the next week or two. Steven did a lot of work fixing up static rendering and also fixing the architecture pieces that caused PyBlosxom to kind of suck when used in various frameworks like WSGI, Twisted and mod_python. I'm also going to do another round of documentation content.

We're going to push fixing the file handling to the next version. We want to allow for index caching and also reduce the number of times PyBlosxom walks your blogdir for entries. Both of these new abilities will significantly reduce the time it takes for large blogs to render. Getting there....

The plan is to have these changes in before Ted's talk at PyCon.

Planet PyBlosxom

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Got the notice from Network Solutions today stating that unless I renew right this second, the domain name is free again for anyone's taking.

I had worked with George to get Planet PyBlosxom up and running, but he seems to have paged out and hasn't responded to the last few emails I've sent.

It was an interesting thing to run for a year.

O3 face

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[You said to Capn]: linux rulez!
[You said to Capn]: apples are c00l!
[You said to Capn]: winblowz sux0rz!
[Capn said]: Oh
[Capn said]: /me compiles with the -O3 flag
[Capn said]: I'm gonna show her my -O3 face!
[You said to Capn]: ha!

External HDD Enclosures

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I need an external HDD enclosure so that I can [fill in obvious use cases here]. I have a couple of 3.5" drives that I'm not using, so that eliminates a 2.5" enclosure that can power off USB which is a bit of a shame.

Anyhow, I was looking at these:

I haven't heard anything about any of these companies, though. So that makes it a bit difficult to decide which one to get.

Anyone have any thoughts? Anyone have a HDD enclosure they prefer over these?