backups et al

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I finally got around to re-doing the backup system on I'm using arnie this time around. Previously, I was just rolling tarballs of things. arnie allows for incremental backups and it handles some more of the minor inconveniences that I had with my did-it-myself system.

Anyhow, so I decide that my backup script with arnie is working nicely and that I should remove all the test backups I've done so far. Inadvertently, I remove one of the directories that I'm backing up. DOH!

So I got to experience first-hand how difficult it would be to restore from backup. It went pretty smoothly and did what I expected it to do.

This reminds me of a similar situation from a couple of days ago. I had this 8x12 foot carpet in my car and I'm driving up to Chelmsford to deliver it to S's church. I decide it's hot so I roll down the driver-side and passenger-side front windows. After a few minutes, I decide I can't hear the radio, so I'd do AC instead. I roll up the driver-side front window without any problems, but the passenger-side front window just makes clicking noises--it doesn't go up. Ah well, I think to myself--I'll look at it when I'm not driving.

I get off the highway in Chelmsford and pull into a Dunkin Donuts parking lot. I have ... I think you'd call it automatic windows--they're electrically powered--so I leave the key in the ignition so I can power the window up and down. I wander over to the passenger-side front window, open the door, try the button, hear the clicky noises, and then stick my fingers into the door and pull the window up manually. That works out well and the window has enough friction to stay up as long as I don't touch the up/down button.

Smiling, I shut the door. Then I wander over to the driver-side to get my key out of the ignition and discover... that my car has locked itself!

So there I am in Chelmsford with my keys in the ignition and my car locked. I feel really stupid now--a radical contrast to the incredibly smart feeling I was just feeling after doing something incredibly smart. Then it occurs to me that my window is broken so I wander back to the passenger-side, manually pull down the window, grab my keys from the inside, stick my fingers in the door and pull the window back up again.

Then I decided to try a local mechanic rather than the VW dealership in Brighton who, while they have free coffee and they seem very professional about things, tends to be expensive and far away and irritating to schedule appointments with. I looked at the CarTalk web-site and found a well-rated mechanic a mile and a half from me, called them up, and had the window fixed the next day. I thought they added the total up wrong because it was impossibly low--but it turns out they're just cheaper.

Right. So backups are good and we have backups again.

PyBlosxom status: 08/03/2005

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I merged all the changes I've made in the PYBLOSXOM_1_2 branch back into HEAD. Now I'm in HEAD and I'm going to do PyBlosxom 1.3 work until I'm ready to release. At that point, I'll make another branch for PyBlosxom 1.3 fixes and such.

I've got the following items in my todo list for PyBlosxom 1.3:

  • figure out what additional variables are needed to produce RSS 2 and Atom 0.3 feeds without the rss2renderer and without additional plugins [1]
  • add a timezone variable to the data dict
  • fix bugs 1239484 and 1202107. and 1252678.
  • possibly add new sample flavours: rss 0.9, rss 2.0, atom 0.3, and several html flavours [2]
  • minor clean-up and documentation work

Why make this PyBlosxom 1.3 and not another minor 1.2 revision? Well, it has to do with the adjustments needed to fix bug 1202107. PyBlosxom checks the content-type to see if it's xml and if it is, then it escapes the $title and $body variables which drives everyone trying to do an xhtml or other xml output crazy. The only ways to fix the issue is to do a hack on the hack or introduce a backwards-incompatible change. Given that I'm more interested in the latter, I figured it's better to bump the version so that it's clearer that the user will need to make some adjustments to their PyBlosxom configuration when they upgrade.

[1] $title_encoded, $body_encoded, rfc822 date, iso8601 date, and possibly other stuff
[2] If you want to help with building flavours, let me know.

8/6/2005 - I added bug 1252678 to the list of bugs to be fixed in PyBlosxom 1.3.

PyBlosxom status: 07/25/2005

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I implemented Matt Weber's idea to show comments when bl_type = "file" instead of depending on a "showcomments=yes" in the querystring. I didn't remove the checking for "showcomments=yes", however--I figure having both covers all our bases. This fixes the ramifications of a poor decision on my part.

I made some changes to the debug renderer to make it easier to use. It now sorts the keys for mappings and prints the keys in blue. It's much easier to read now.

I submitted a bug report on the PyBlosxom package based on an email I got from Ted from Dave from Zack. I posted a security issue on the PyBlosxom web-site to notify users. I also forwarded the issue to the pyblosxom-users mailing list. Hopefully the news will filter down to all the people that need it.

I'm going to do some more PyBlosxom work over the next week. I want to merge some functionality in from plugins into the core. I first need to merge all the changes I've done on 1.2 back into main branch. Then I'll do the work in main and create a 1.3 branch when I release 1.3. If there are any features people are itching for, now's the time to let me know. Anything I don't plan on working on, I'll toss on a web-page on the web-site so everyone can see the wishlist and the status of where things are. It's interesting to note that the wishlist and a todo list are themselves in the wishlist and todo lists.

March of the Penguins

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What a really fantastic movie! S and I saw it at the Loews on Church St. in Harvard Square. There were dozens of small children there and occasionally through the movie we could hear parents saying things to their children like, "See the baby penguin?" and "See the baby penguin learn to walk?" It was neat--definitely worth watching on the big screen with people all around you.

Multi-user config for PyBlosxom on Debian

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Wow! Martin wrote up a howto for installing PyBlosxom on Debian for multiple people.

There's a series of things here I don't really know about (e.g. what kinds of things should go in /srv?). At some point, I'd like to fix PyBlosxom so it's more "standard" in terms of installation and configuration for web applications.

Here's the link for configs/pyblosxom which walks through installing a single software installation on Debian for multiple people.

Status 07/20/2005

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I had the brakes replaced on my car yesterday--that was interesting. The guy said he had to replace the rear brakes because they were pretty dead, but he could try to lube up the front brakes so they wouldn't make the "I'm dying please replace me" scream of mortal anguish they've been making for a week or so. Given that they're brakes and that they were on their last legs, I had the guy replace them all. Curious that he suggested the lube solution, though.

I received a whole bunch of information from NEU--so I'm off to deal with that and get all the things I need to do done today.

Then tonight I'm going to pick up some wood from Home Depot and build a coffee table.

I think next week, I'll start working on PyBlosxom again. I've been following Ian Bicking's blog entries on WSGI and Paste and it's very intriguing.

Status 07/07/2005

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I'm back from Florida and mildly sunburned. It was really sunny, hot and humid and it's nice to be back in Somerville where it's cold and overcast. It'll give me a chance to recover; vacation from vacation.

Status 06/28/2005

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I'm heading off to Florida for a week for some vacation. When I get back, I start the long process of re-learning all the things I knew in college and figuring out the other things I need to do before grad school.

Somewhere in there, I'll finish up some of the things I started in PyBlosxom-land like the manual and fixing issues with the web-site.

Anyhow, if you're looking for me, I won't be around until July 6th.

conditionalhttp problems with IE 6

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Joseph pointed out a problem where IE 6 won't display a cached page when it gets a 304 from the conditionalhttp plugin. (The issue is at the bottom of the email.)

I did some poking around and discovered on Wednesday that this happens on his blog as well as on my blog with IE 6 on Windows XP. On Thursday, I was no longer able to reproduce the problem on my site, but Joseph's was still broken. I don't know off hand what changed with my site, though I did do an apt-get update Wednesday night.

Anyhow, the 304 response from my site (which seems to work fine now) is (note the server line is wrapped):

HTTP/1.1 304 Not Modified
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 14:32:26 GMT
Server: Apache/1.3.33 (Debian GNU/Linux) mod_python/2.7.10 Python/2.3.4  \
        PHP/4.3.10-15 mod_ssl/2.8.22 OpenSSL/0.9.7d DAV/1.0.3
ETag: "1119536230.43"
Last-Modified: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 14:17:10 GMT
Keep-Alive: timeout=15, max=100
Connection: Keep-Alive
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1

And from Joseph's site (which is still not working):

HTTP/1.1 304 Not Modified
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 14:37:15 GMT
Server: Apache/2.0.46 (Red Hat)
Connection: Keep-Alive
Keep-Alive: timeout=5, max=100
ETag: "1118428239.0"
Vary: Accept-Encoding,User-Agent

=bunch of funky non-printable characters here=

Looking at responses from other requests to Joseph's server leads me to believe that pages are gzipped. I'm not sure if that's part of the issue or not.

My site:

Joseph's site:

I'm running PyBlosxom 1.2.1 with the contributed plugins pack 1.2.2 with conditionalhttp. I think Joseph is as well. I have no idea if this is affecting anyone else--no one else has complained on the mailing lists or anywhere else that I've checked.

Anyone have any ideas as to what might be happening?

Contributed plugins 1.2.2 released

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This is the third release of the contributed plugins pack for PyBlosxom 1.2.

Here's the list of changes between contributed pack 1.2.1 and 1.2.2:

  • New CHANGELOG.txt file which describes the changes between this version and the last as well as compatability and behavior issues.
  • New README.txt file which describes what's in the contributed plugins pack, where you can find it, and various other things about the contributed plugins pack.
  • Matej updated genericwiki so that it works as an entryparser as well as a preformatter. Will fixed up the documentation. genericwiki was moved from the preformatter directory to the entryparser directory. Thanks Matej!
  • Now has two new properites "category_start" which gets printed once before printing the category list and "category_finish" which gets printed once after printing the category list. Additionally, the default values for "category_begin" and "category_end" were fixed. This makes the default output for pycategories (x)html compliant. Thanks Joseph!
  • comments no longer shows comments by default! In order to view comments for a given entry, you must append "showcomments=yes" to the querystring. THIS IS NOT A BACKWARDS-COMPATIBLE CHANGE! Thanks David!
  • comments no longer has documentation for the unused comments-rejected-words property.
  • comments no longer requires the email field.
  • all the flavour templates for the comments plugin have been updated.
  • We cleaned up the comment error messages so they're useful to the user. Thanks Nathaniel!
  • w3cdate plugin now provides $w3cdate in head and foot templates. It no longer requires PyXML. Thanks to Steven and Matej!

Thanks to Steven, David, Joseph, Matej, and Nathaniel for their contributions and help.

If you find problems with contributed plugins, visit this page on how to contact us. "Problems" could be bugs, feature-requests, or setup issues.

Find the contributed plugin pack here (contrib.1.2.2.tar.gz).