Blog archive

  • We don’t do that here: Setting social norms - Feb 10, 2023

    I have long been a fan of social rules to make events more inclusive. Ever since I attended my first tech conference, I’ve seen the career-enhancing power of events, but they have never been equally accessible to all people.

  • Using a Welcome Wagon to Help First-Time Conference Attendees - Sep 26, 2019

    You walk into the room and you’re wearing the wrong thing. Everyone else is dressed casually, but you are not. You feel silly and find the quickest excuse to leave the situation. This is an example of a common situation: not knowing what is expected of you when you enter a new place.

  • One Percent for Open Source - Mar 09, 2018

    The open source ecosystem is the most valuable part of the software industry today. From the programming languages to the web frameworks, the operating system to the cryptography, all software companies today use open source.

  • Conference Mentorship - Feb 13, 2018

    I have had the opportunity to provide mentorship to folks who have organized conferences twice in 2017. Through this process I have realized the value in this practice, and I’d like to write this to promote others to do to same for first year conference organizers.

  • The post I never published - Feb 07, 2018

    Looking back, the file was created on my 29th birthday:

  • Business questions I’m working on in 2018 - Jan 04, 2018

    In November 2017 there was a lovely gathering of independent business folks in Portland, Oregon called DazzleCon. Leading in to that lovely event there was an introduction thread where everyone explained their business. It caused me to really think deeply about the problems facing my two fledging but promising communities, and I wanted to record my answers here publicly.

  • Breaking Cliques at Events: The Snowball Rule - Dec 02, 2017

    I’ve been going to professional events for a number of years, and one of the trickiest dynamics I have seen is that most events develop an “insiders” group who has been going for a long time. These groups tend to feel like exclusionary cliques for first-time attendees, and actively hurt the community’s goal of inclusion.

  • The Pac-Man Rule at Conferences - Aug 02, 2017

    I firmly believe that conferences can provide a lot of value for people in an industry. Conferences allow people to create a network, which helps them feel integrated in a community and profession.

  • Documentation is JSON for the Brain - Feb 13, 2017

    When you are writing software, you build a mental model of the program in your brain. This is how you make decisions and reason about how the program might work, how data flows, or what designs make the most sense.

  • “My Code is Self-Documenting” - Jan 27, 2017

    Self-documenting code is one of the biggest documentation myths in the software industry. This view generally conflates documentation with code comments. I’d like to make two arguments in this post:

  • Questions after talks at conferences - Nov 12, 2016

    At many conferences, people allow the audience to ask questions after the talks. I want to argue that this is an anti-pattern in many ways, and some solutions that have worked that I recommend.

  • Semantic Meaning in Authoring Documentation - Oct 06, 2016

    Semantic Meaning in documentation is the separation of what something is from what it looks like. What we mean and what we display are very different things.

  • A Selfish Appeal for Documentation - Sep 24, 2016

    Writing code is the act of building a mental model of a problem, and then translating that model into executable software.

  • Funding Open Source with Marketing Money - Aug 31, 2016

    Often times as developers we see funding open source as a charity. We will give our personal money to projects we believe in. If we’re lucky, our company might have a matching program for our donations. This has proven not to be a sustainable way to support open source.

  • The Power of Sphinx: Integrating Jinja with RST - Jul 25, 2016

    Sphinx is a super powerful tool. This has its upsides and downsides. One of the major downsides is that historically it has been built as a framework that allows users to do just about anything. This is great, except it also means that a lot of the specific value out of the modular design hasn’t been documented or made explicit to users. I’m hoping to address some of this power in a set of blog posts.

  • An introduction to Sphinx and Read the Docs for Technical Writers - Jul 01, 2016

    Treating documentation as code is becoming a major theme in the software industry. This is coming from both sides, with developers starting to treat documentation as a priority alongside tests and code, and writers seeing a lot of value in integrating more into the development process. This marrying of cultures isn’t simple, but having the proper tools for the job makes both sides happy with the process and the results that get produced.

  • Why You Shouldn’t Use “Markdown” for Documentation - Mar 15, 2016

    This post was written in 2016, and the landscape here has changed. I still mostly agree with what is important, but the “Markdown” ecosystem has evolved and gotten other capabilities that might change the calculus of what is the right tool for your organization.

  • The Importance of Being Welcoming - Oct 16, 2015

    Conferences have been a fundamental part of me becoming a professional developer. Having a network of people you know personally in a professional context is a huge advantage. It helps getting jobs, they help you think through problems, and it’s important to help you identity as a member of the community.

  • Why I’m building a company: Structure - May 25, 2015

    There are a lot of reasons to build a new company. A large part of it is wanting something to exist in the world. However, there are ways to manifest things that don’t require a new company.

  • Making Read the Docs Sustainable - Apr 10, 2015

    Today we are announcing a sustainability campaign to raise money for Read the Docs. Most of the information is available on the page there, but I wanted to shine a bit more light on my thinking about this process.

  • Announcing Read the Docs for Business - Oct 24, 2014

    I helped create Read the Docs over four years ago. It started with a humble goal of replacing a cron job on my own server. Since then, it has grown more than I ever could have imagined. It has become vital infrastructure for the Python community, and the programming world in general.

  • Read the Docs goes full-time - Aug 08, 2014

    We have some exciting news in Read the Docs land this week. The project has been accepted into the Portland Incubator Experiment, as an open source project. This means that we have office space provided to us in Portland for three months, where we will be working on Read the Docs full-time. There will be two of us working on this: Eric Holscher and Anthony Johnson.

  • How I Judge the Quality of Documentation in 30 Seconds - Feb 27, 2014

    As a developer, you develop instincts for judging quality of code. One of my favorite interview questions is:

  • Sphinx isn’t just for Python - Feb 11, 2014

    I have heard a few times over the past couple months that Sphinx is “mainly for Python projects”. This line of thinking makes sense, because Sphinx was created to document Python itself. Sphinx however, is a generic documentation tool that is capable of documenting any software project.

  • 2013 Year in Review - Dec 31, 2013

    2013 has been a fantastic year. In 2012, I decided that I would focus more on life than my career. This year has been a larger experiment along those lines. I have done a lot of good work on programming, but I have also taken a lot of time to spend for myself.

  • Read the Docs 2013 Stats - Dec 23, 2013

    2013 has been a big year for Read the Docs. Our mission is to make documentation hosting easier, with the overall goal of increasing the quality of documentation in the programming world. I believe that we have been doing good work towards that goal, and I want to share some numbers to reflect our progress.

  • A Better Javascript Workflow with Django - Nov 21, 2013

    Javascript has always been the bane of my existence as a developer. It was the part of the process of developing that I would dread. On the last project I worked on, I found a very simple change that significantly improved my experience writing Javascript.

  • Codes of Conduct, an Organizers Perspective - Nov 11, 2013

    I helped organize my first conference last year, Write the Docs. It was a great experience, but was also rather stressful. Organizing things is an interesting exercise in managing fear and risk. There are so many possible outcomes, and this is scary as hell.

  • A New Theme for Read the Docs - Nov 04, 2013

    We have been hard at work improving Read the Docs over the past month. A large amount of back end work has been going on, and now we have a brand new documentation theme to showcase it.

  • Google Summer of Code Book Sprint 2013 - Oct 24, 2013

    Or how I learned to stop worrying and write a book.

  • Announcing Grok the Docs - Oct 08, 2013

    I’ve asked myself these questions a lot. Historically I have put Google Analytics on my doc pages, and called it good. I would browse over the data every once in a while, gleaning basically zero information out of it.

  • Sphinx Live Preview - Oct 01, 2013

    For a long time, there has been a live preview site for reStructuredText: It is really fantastic for learning the language. The immediate feedback is really valuable in helping you expirment and see how things work.

  • Writing a Beginners Guide to Documentation - Sep 30, 2013

    A few days ago I started a campaign to improve documentation. Today I have the first results to show from this work.

  • A letter to an old friend - Sep 28, 2013

    A letter I wrote to an old friend Josh, after I had come home from the PCT. It was sent on August 7th, 2013. It captures my thoughts on the trail pretty well.

  • Help me improve documentation - Sep 25, 2013

    tl;dr: I don’t have (or want) a job, help fund me to make the documentation world better.

  • Prepping for the Pacific Crest Trail - Apr 04, 2013

    My time in Portland in winding down, and the trail is approaching in my minds eye. I leave on the 14th of April, and 6 in the morning. Setting out on a jet-plane to San Diego. I will spend the night on the 14th and be transported to the trailhead at sunrise the following day.

  • Announcing Write the Docs - Jan 28, 2013

    Documentation is one of the most important parts of a software project. However, a lot of projects have little or no documentation to help their (potential) users use the software. A few years ago we started Read the Docs to help make hosting documentation easier. Part of the reason was that if hosting documentation was a solved problem, it would make people more likely to write docs.

  • A Walk in the Woods - Jan 10, 2013

    I’ve recently schemed some very large changes in my life, and I have been trying to figure out how to blog about it. It all starts with quitting my job at Urban Airship. I sent an email to the staff announcing my departure, and I can’t think of a better way to remember this moment in time than to include it in full in my blog. So, here is the letter I wrote to everyone at work when I left the company.

  • 2012 Year in Review - Dec 31, 2012

    Wow, what a year. 2012 was a great year in my book. I took 2012 off from a lot of the professional development activies that have taken up my adult life thus far, and really focused on personal development. I think I did a great job with that, and I have a pretty awesome list of things I accomplished this year. I think I also started to get the full enjoyment out of Oregon this year, in all its seasons.

  • Interesting projects on Read the Docs: Teaching - Dec 01, 2012

    As the maintainer of Read the Docs, I spend a lot of time looking through random projects, and getting inspired. People have been doing lots of interesting things with the project, and I’d like to highlight some of them.

  • Help fund Read the Docs - Sep 20, 2012

    Currently Read the Docs is funded mainly through Corporate sponsorship. The Django and Python Software Foundations (non-profits), Mozilla, Lab305, Revsys, and others have helped keep the site running. However, this requires finding sponsors to help donate to the site every 6 months or so to keep things running.

  • The festival that felt like a hug - Sep 18, 2012

    A story about XOXO Festival in 3 acts. I will start first with something that set the tone, then talk about the importance to me, and then what I hope comes from it in the future.

  • Why Read the Docs matters - Jan 22, 2012

    Documenting projects is hard, hosting them shouldn’t be. Read the Docs was created to make hosting documentation simple. I think that we have solved this problem well, but now we need to start thinking about the larger picture.

  • Read the Docs Update - Apr 11, 2011

    It’s been a while since I last talked about Read the Docs, and there has been a lot of activity. This is an update on the latest and greatest new features.

  • Using Reviewboard with Git - Jan 23, 2011

    Reviewboard is a great tool for managing the process of Code Reviews. It has pretty good git support, but it might not be obvious what the best way is to use it. At work, I have a couple of different ways of pushing up code for reviews, which I’ll talk about.

  • Read the Docs Updates - Jan 11, 2011

    Documentation writing will always be hard work. It’s a much different mind-set than programming, and people that write good code might not necessarily write good docs. However, this is a known issue, and something that can’t really be solved.

  • Handling Django Settings Files - Jan 10, 2011

    I have seen a lot of talk over the past couple years about how to handle different settings files and databases, synced between production and development. I have happened onto a way of doing it that makes me happy, and figured I would share it with the world.

  • Required Reading - Nov 17, 2010

    At work, we have a wiki page that’s called Required Reading. Named after that oh-so-lovely tradition in high school or college of having books that you needed to read over the summer before you started class. The idea being that they are relics of the culture of the company, and if you read everything, you will understand a lot about how work (and play) is done.

  • Using Haystack to index non-database content - Nov 16, 2010

    Over on ReadTheDocs, I wanted to build search around the documentation that we’re hosting. I chose Haystack and Solr for this, because it’s the best way to do search in Django these days. However, I’ve only ever used Haystack to index content that is in the database. I thought about trying to add all the rendered HTML from the documentation into the database, but that was a non-starter.

  • Correct commands to check out and update VCS repos - Nov 15, 2010

    In my work in ReadTheDocs, we now support all of the major VCS repositories: svn, bzr, hg, and git. At this point in time we’re only checking out the repos to their default branches, and then trying to trying to update them again to another revision. While writing this code I have had at least 3 different bugs that caused the repos not to be updated correctly. So I’m going to detail here the exact code that allows me to do this for each of these types of repos, hopefully so that when you or I need to do this in the future, we can at least start from here.

  • Site upgrades - Nov 12, 2010

    Today I went ahead and flipped the switch on a couple of server migrations I’ve had queued up. One of these updates is moving ReadTheDocs over to its own dedicated server, that I built up over the week in my Chef Tutorials.

  • Building a Django App Server with Chef: Part 4 - Nov 11, 2010

    Alternate title: There’s no place like home!

  • Building a Django App Server with Chef: Part 3 - Nov 10, 2010

    Alternate title: Show the world what you’ve got.

  • Building a Django App Server with Chef: Part 2 - Nov 09, 2010

    Alternate title: Actually doing something useful.

  • Building a Django App Server with Chef: Part 1 - Nov 08, 2010

    Alternate title: Fucking Chef, How does it work?

  • Using ZNC, an IRC bouncer - Nov 05, 2010

    I use IRC for work, play, and generic open source questions and support. I think it’s a pretty integral part of my existence as a developer. Today I’m going to write about why using an IRC bouncer makes IRC a ton better and show you how to get one setup.

  • Running Hudson matrix builds on multiple machines - Nov 04, 2010

    When I was setting up the Django Hudson instance, I ran into a problem that seems like it should be pretty easy to solve. However, I couldn’t figure out a way. So at this point it’s looking like we’re going to have to use buildbot to build out what we want instead of Hudson. Wondering if I missed something obvious, or if this is a missing feature.

  • Django Testing Mailing List - Nov 03, 2010

    Duplicate implicit target name: “django testing mailing list”.

  • Celery Tips - Nov 02, 2010

    Following on yesterday’s post about Virtualenv Tips, I will be talking about celery tips. Yesterday I talked about how to run celery with upstart easily, and today I’ll be expanding on that below as well as talking about how to set it up using supervisord.

  • Virtualenv Tips - Nov 01, 2010

    Virtualenv is a project that is indispensable for most Python devs these days. I am writing down some tips here so mainly for personal reference, and because I found them useful.

  • Djangocon Talk - Sep 10, 2010

    I just gave a talk title “Large problems, Mostly solved”, which you will recognize if you’ve been reading this blog for a little while. I took my past series of Large problems posts, and expanded on them into a full talk.

  • New features on Read The Docs - Aug 28, 2010

    Since the Django Dash ended, We’ve been working on adding some requested new features to Read The Docs. There are a couple of major ones that we have added that I’d like to talk about.

  • Lessons Learned From The Dash: Nginx SSI - Aug 22, 2010

    Continuing from my previous post about Django Dash, I will be talking about another thing that I learned from the dash. This isn’t as big of a post, but just something that we ran into that caused us some trouble.

  • A better webhook for code hosting - Aug 21, 2010

    I have written a couple of different services that have needed to be required when your repository has had code committed to it. The normal path of getting this to happen is to ask your users to add your special URL to their list of post-commit hooks for their repository. However, once you have 3 or 4 or 10 services that need to do this, it becomes cumbersome. If I am a user that has 5 repos and I want to use 5 services, this is 25 times that I need to copy/paste some URLs into a form on a website.

  • Announcing Read The Docs - Aug 16, 2010

    This year’s Django Dash just came to an end, and I’m really excited about the project that we built. I’m sure the other teams are feeling just as stoked, because there is an amazing amount of awesome work that was done in the last 48 hours.

  • Lessons Learned From The Dash: Easy Django Deployment - Aug 16, 2010

    This is going to be a series of posts that talk about what I learned from the Django Dash. I think it’s a really fun competetion that is also a great learning experience. I hope that this series catch on, and other people write about some of the things that they learned in the Django Dash.

  • Conference Fun - Aug 08, 2010

    It’s conference season and I realized that I haven’t talked about any of the ones that I’ve been to or am going to, so I figured it would be a good post.

  • Large Problems in Django, Mostly Solved: Delayed Execution - Jun 23, 2010

    [This is part of the Large Problems in Django Series, see previous entries about: Documentation, APIs, Search, and Database Migrations]

  • Django Inspect: A generic introspection API for Django models - Feb 14, 2010

    Django itself has shipped with a “semi-private” introspection API, _meta, for a long time. I have created a drop-dead simple wrapper on top of this.

  • The role of designers in the Django community - Feb 06, 2010

    * UPDATE*: There is a new thread about the roles and implementation of a Design Czar up on the Django Developers mailing list. Please contribute there as well, if you have thoughts and ideas.

  • Large Problems in Django, Mostly Solved: Documentation - Feb 05, 2010

    * [This is part of the `Large Problems in Django Series <>`_, see previous entries about: `APIs <>`_, `Search <>`_, and `Database Migrations <>`_]*

  • A simple Perl IRCBot - Jan 07, 2010

    A couple things I want to talk about. First of all, I will be participating in project52; which is a competetion to write a blog post in every week of the year. The last 2 years I have done the november post-a-day, and gotten about 25 of the 30 required posts. So hopefully writing twice that number of posts in 12 times the amount of time will be easy, right? Anyways, this is the first post in that series, so stay tuned for more regular and hopefully useful content :)

  • Correct way to handle default model fields. - Nov 22, 2009

    With Kong, I have been trying to figure out a way to provide overridden model defaults. At work, our pythonpath’s default to /home/code, however your setup is probably different. It would be useful if there was a simple way to let you override the defaults for your Kong installation.

  • Writing Code with Designers - Nov 19, 2009

    When working on side projects, usually you wear all of the hats. Sysadmin, developer, designer, marketing, etc. You have to do all of them, and presumably you do one or two of them well, and the others well enough to get by. Working at the Journal World has been the first time that I have worked with real designers, and it has been a learning experience.

  • Finding Missing Indexes That Django Wants (Postgres) - Nov 18, 2009

    On Monday at work, our sites started to slow to a crawl. We looked to diagnose the problem, and found that the database server had a load of 10, and was struggling to keep up with the morning rush of traffic. After EXPLAINing the slow queries from the slow query log, we noticed that a lot of sequence scans were happening. This shouldn’t be happening because these queries should have indexes on them. We realized somewhere in the porting process that we had lost a bunch of indexes.

  • Announcing Kong: A server description and deployment testing tool - Nov 17, 2009

    At work we have to manage a ton of Django based sites. Just for our World Company sites, we have over 50 different settings files, and this doesn’t take into account the sites that we host for other clients. At this size it becomes basically impossible to test each site in a browser when you push things to production. To solve this problem I have written a very basic server description tool. This allows you to describe sites (settings file, python path, url, etc.) and servers.

  • You should stay for the sprints - Nov 16, 2009

    At most open source conferences, a lot of attention is given to the talks. At the ones that I have been to (Djangocon and Pycon), the most fun that I have had, and the most I have learned is during the sprints. I want to talk about the value and importance of staying for the sprints at a conference.

  • Django Testing Code Coverage - Nov 13, 2009

    As part of the summer of code 2009, Django test coverage has been developed. I mentored Kevin Kusabik, who developed the code. It is hopefully going to be merged in 1.2, but there are still a few issues to be worked out in the implementation. That said, it currently works, and provides a nice introspective view of your code. This post will tell you how to run coverage on your code base.

  • The importance of striving for awesome. - Nov 12, 2009

    When I was about to graduate from college, I was often asked what I would be doing with the rest of my life. This is a usual question that is asked of graduates and I have very rarely heard it answered to satisfaction. Upon being asked this for the 42nd time, I decided on my response..”Something Awesome”

  • Large Problems in Django, Mostly Solved: APIs - Nov 11, 2009

    This is the third part of my Large Problems Series. The first two were Search and Database Migrations.

  • What they didn’t teach me in college - Nov 10, 2009

    Updated at the bottom of the post.

  • Correct way to handle mobile browsers - Nov 09, 2009

    At work, a lot of our sites have sweet mobile versions. The problem is how to educate people of their existence. Currently we just have little ads that show up on the site that promote the mobile site, which seems a subpar solution. So I was tasked with doing providing a way to redirect to the mobile sites. Luckily, as a lot of the time with Django, most of my work was done for me.

  • Large Problems in Django, Mostly Solved: Database Migrations - Nov 06, 2009

    Continuing in the series of big problems that are mostly solved, we have database migrations. A couple days ago I talked about Search.

  • Adding testing to pip - Nov 05, 2009

    Python packaging has been in a bit of a state of disarray for as long as I’ve been using it. Pip has come along to make installing python packages easier. It has a lot of features that are useful, but they have been talked about in many other blog posts.

  • Making Template Tag Parsing Easier - Nov 03, 2009

    In my previous post about template tags, I discussed the two steps required for template tags. Today I will be focusing on Parsing of template tags, and how they may be improved in the framework of Class Based Template Tags from yesterday. I have talked about problems with template parsing in the past as well. This post will offer 2 different approaches to making parsing better.

  • Class Based Template Tags - Nov 03, 2009

    In Django, template tags currently are separated between a Node class and a “parsing function”. The parsing function takes the tag, represented as a string, parses the input, and passes the correct arguments to a Node class. The Node class then does whatever rendering it does, or updating of the context, and then renders itself in a form suitable for the template.

  • Large Problems in Django, Mostly Solved: Search - Nov 02, 2009

    It’s been a little over a year since I started doing Django development full-time, for one of them real jobs. Around that time, there were a few large problems in the community that hadn’t been solved yet. They were kind of blemishes when you would talk to people about Django, and I’m happy that most of them have been solved.

  • Easily Running the Django Test Suite - Oct 15, 2009

    Update As of Django 1.2, Django ships with default test settings for sqlite. They require two databases to be defined, because of Multidb. More information at Django advent and in the docs

  • Hacker Book Club - Sep 26, 2009

    At LPDN, our weekly programmer drinkup, we have been talking for a while about watching the SICP lectures from MIT as a fun thing to do. I then got to thinking about how it would be neat to involve more than just the few of us in Lawrence. Everything is more fun on a larger scale, and having compatriots makes you more likely to finish it. Somewhere along the lines of the Infinite Summer, I was thinking about having some kind of Hacker Book Club.

  • Pretty Django Error Pages - Sep 23, 2009

    Continuing on with the simple tricks that make everyone’s life a little bit better, I know a lot of people hate that Django’s 500 pages don’t get rendered as a RequestContext. This means that if you have context processors (like one that sets a MEDIA_URL), they don’t get called. This was causing our 500 pages not only to make users sad because something broke, but knock them out of context becaue our entire design blew up.

  • Token Testing Talk Slides: Djangocon 2009 - Sep 08, 2009

    There are the slides to my Token Testing Talk from Djangocon. I’m hoping the videos will be posted soon, but I think that it went well. There were a lot of good questions, and I need to put some recap posts up, but for now here is a copy of the slides. PDF

  • Debugging Django in Production Revisited - Sep 05, 2009

    In a previous post I talked about a neat middleware to debug production environments in Django. It basically checked to see if you were a superuser, or if you were in settings.INTERNAL_IPS, and if so, then it displayed a technical 500 page for you (The yellow one you know and love). Anyway, at that point it was more of a simple idea, and not really used in production.

  • Enable test in your Django apps - Jun 29, 2009

    Setuptools comes with a way to run the tests on your application. This allows the user of your software to download it, and run python test and check to see if the tests in your application pass. This is really useful for distribution, because the user doesn’t need to know or care how to run your tests (nose, django, unittest, py.test, or whatever else), and can simply see if they pass.

  • Migrating Django Test Fixtures Using South - Jun 11, 2009

    Migrating test fixtures is one of the biggest pains of testing. If you create your tests too early, then change your schema, you have to go back and touch all your old test fixtures. This discourages people from writing tests until their app is relatively ‘stable’. As we all know, this may never happen :) This solves half of the problem, the part where you have to manually change a bunch of fixtures to reflect changes in your schema or data.

  • A playground for Django Template tags and filters - May 24, 2009

    Any sufficiently large Django project starts to have a wide variety of Template Tags and Filters. Even Django ships with a dizzying array of them that allow you to do all sorts of fun and interesting things. Ellington, our CMS at work, has a ton, and I’ve been thinking about ways to make tags and filters a bit more accessible to people who are using the CMS.

  • EuroDjangoCon Talk: Testing Django - May 05, 2009

    Just got off the stage at EuroDjangocon, which was my first real talk in front of the Django Community. I hope that people enjoyed it, and that it was informational. Here are the slides to my talk in PDF Form, and on slideshare.

  • Django’s Summer of Code students announced! - Apr 20, 2009

    Today is the day that Google has announced the accepted projects for the Summer of Code. Django has 6 spots this year, with a bunch of exciting projects. I am lucky enough to be mentoring Kevin Kubasik with his project “Upgrade the Awesomness Quotient of the Django Test Utils and Regression Suite”. I’m really excited for the opportunity to help improve Django by overseeing Windmill testing of the admin, and lots of other small testing improvements that will hopefully make it into trunk.

  • Testing AJAX Views in Django - Apr 16, 2009

    A lot of the Django code we use at work has a special case for AJAX. It has been a kind of a pain to test, because the test client by default doesn’t use AJAX. Luckily the is_ajax call in the Django HttpRequest object is a simple check of an HTTP Environmental variable.

  • Adding Google Analytics to Sphinx Docs - Apr 05, 2009

    This is just a reminder for myself later, or people looking on Google. Also note, that this method is useful for putting any Javascript content into your sphinx docs, but Analytics tracking is a common use case.

  • Really easy SSH tunneling - Mar 21, 2009

    SSH Tunneling has become an invaluable tool that I probably use more than I should. I love tunneling, and use it all the time. This will be a quick tutorial on how to use the SOCKS proxy ability of SSH to allow you to tunnel your HTTP traffic through a remote server.

  • Twitter Spam - Mar 15, 2009

    I keep hearing people talking about how twitter is going to be over run with spam now that it is becoming mainstream. I really don’t understand this viewpoint, and will take time here to outline what they could be talking about, and what can be done.

  • Google Summer of Code - Mar 12, 2009

    Duplicate implicit target name: “google summer of code”.

  • Pycon and Euro Djangocon - Mar 08, 2009

    The ice is starting to thaw and I’m making my way out from under my first winter in Kansas. You know that spring is coming because the conference season is starting to bloom. I’m looking forward to a bunch of conferences that will be upcoming in the new few months. I’ll be attending two of them, and hope to see lots of interesting people there!

  • Automatically apply patches from Django’s (or any) Trac - Feb 28, 2009

    Lately I’ve been delving into Django development a bit more, and applying people’s patches has been a bit of a hassle. You know you want to apply someones patch, but there are about five steps in between you and applying their patch to your source tree.

  • Incredibly useful SSH flag - Feb 15, 2009

    So at work we have a lot of different django environments, scattered across varies servers. All of this information is kept in a central resource. We have the pythonpath, settings file, and the remote server that the client is on. So every time that I want to go do work on a different site, I have to ssh into that server, set the PYTHONPATH and DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE environmental variable, and then do what I want to do. This is not a huge deal, but it is annoying when you’re doing it 10-20 times a day.

  • Using rsync with django - Jan 29, 2009

    Just a quick warning/tip on using Django with rsync, for other people pulling their hair out later.

  • Django Conventions Project Update - Jan 26, 2009

    So about a month ago I started a project on my blog called the Django Conventions Project. It was an attempt to document and record conventions that are used across the community. Conventions are a great thing, with Python and Django relying on them a great deal. Things like private methods being underscored aren’t enforced on a language level, but are more of a gentleman’s agreement.

  • Encouraging Web Interaction for University Students - Jan 22, 2009

    So today I would like to tell a story that really shows why the internet is an amazing thing. This month’s articles on A List Apart focused on web education for universities and I’d like to share a story about one way to empower students and show them the power of the internet. Teaching people to create for the internet is a great goal, but teaching people the power of the internet by example is something amazing as well. It is hard to motivate people to create things on the internet without the understanding of how that has value.

  • Review of Pro Django by Marty Alchin (1/2) - Jan 21, 2009

    5 second review: Reading this book will make you a much better Django Programmer.

  • Django now has fast tests - Jan 15, 2009

    As of Changeset 9756, Django’s test suite is A HELL OF A LOT FASTER. This was one of the 1.1 Features and probably the one I was looking forward to the most. Django Unit Tests now run inside of a transaction.

  • Year in Review - Dec 31, 2008

    Well it’s been a crazy roller coaster year for me. So this post is going to be the typical recap of what’s gone on with my life and my blog over the past year. I’m really happy with where I’m at both professionally and personally, and 2008 has been an interesting year for me.

  • Starting a Django Conventions Project and Reference - Dec 03, 2008

    During the last month I have proposed some conventions for Django, mostly in the realm of templates. In doing so I have looked around for other documented places where conventions are mentioned. I haven’t found a really good reference for Django conventions. Brian’s post was a good example of reusable app conventions, and the Pinax Project is a great reference implementation. However, I couldn’t find any simple reference for regularly used conventions in the Django world.

  • Post a day in review - Nov 30, 2008

    It’s the end of the Post a day for a month. I did pretty well, but fell off about 3 weeks in because of work. First some stats.

  • The value of conventions, aka testmaker for template tags. - Nov 27, 2008

    A couple posts ago, I talked about how we should have conventions for the names that we use in Django Template Blocks. Today I will be talking about the value that is gained from this kind of structure.

  • Testmaker 0.2: Rewritten and improved - Nov 26, 2008

    About a week ago, I went ahead and re-wrote testmaker and moved it into my django-test-utils project on github. The syntax is now a bit different, and the whole thing is much improved. This is version 0.2. The screencast from the last release still shows the gist of the project, except for the changed syntax.

  • Django Aggregator v2 now has tagging, and you should too. - Nov 22, 2008

    I have been doing some more work on my Django Community Aggregator / Django People v2 project. A big feature that I want to incorporate is tagging. I want people to be able to sort data by tag, among other things. I think that this is a pretty killer feature.

  • Luck and a New Life in Lawrence - Nov 21, 2008

    Note: This isn’t a technical post. If you don’t want to be getting posts like this, you can sign up for just my Django feed. This is my personal blog, so stuff like this pops up from time to time :).

  • Gentlemans agreement on Django templates - Nov 20, 2008

    There are a lot of reusable apps out in the Django Ecosystem. I wrote a previous post about why I think that reusable apps should come with templates. There is a problem about distributing templates that I want to address with this post: the problem of Django Template Block names.

  • Busy Busy - Nov 17, 2008

    So at work since I started for Mediaphormedia, currently World Online, and the birthplace of Django, I have been tasked with porting Ellington. Ellington is the CMS that we create and sell, and is what Django originally was. Django was pulled out of Ellington and Open Sourced.

  • A start to the uber community - Nov 16, 2008

    Well I spent all day Saturday, and all night. Into Sunday morning hacking on some code. Probably the most productive 24 hours of my life. I have a couple of announcements, but in the spirit of post-a-day, I’ll spread them out over a couple days :).

  • Debugging Django in Production Environments - Nov 15, 2008

    Nick had a nice post about setting DEBUG based on the hostname of the server that you’re site is running on. This allows you to set DEBUG to True for your staging site, and False for your production site.

  • Should reusable apps have templates? - Nov 14, 2008

    There is a debate among the Django community about whether people should include templates in their reusable apps.

  • Encouraging Testing in Django - Nov 13, 2008

    I was having a conversation with Jacob tonight about testing in Django. He has shot down testmaker for being too specific for Django core, which I almost agree with, given my grandiose plans for it before the month is out. I’m quite okay with it staying a third party app for a little while longer.

  • The importance of not deleting blog posts (read: ideas) - Nov 12, 2008

    A lot of the time I start a blog post as a sentence. It is something that strikes me and I don’t really know what I think about it. It is a moment of thought that needs to be revisited, but cannot yet be expounded upon.

  • Practical Django Testing Examples: Views - Nov 11, 2008

    This is the fourth in a series of Django testing posts. Check out the others in my Testing series if you want to read more. Today is the start of a sub-series, which is practical examples. This series will be going through each of the different kinds of tests in Django, and showing how to do them. I will also try to point out what you want to be doing to make sure you’re getting good code coverage and following best practices.

  • Announcing Django Crawler and django-test-utils - Nov 10, 2008

    Today I’m going to be releasing a new project, called django-test-utils. It’s rather empty at the moment, but it does have one cool feature. That is my Django Crawler. I have some big plans for this little guy, but for the moment it has enough functionality to make it pretty useful.

  • The times, they are a changin - Nov 09, 2008

    A couple posts back, I was talking about software that I use all the time. I was going through and linking to all of the software. I would go to google, type in the project name, go to the first result, and copy that URL back into my post. I figured that there had to be a better way. Any software project worth it’s name owns the top result in google.

  • The problem with Django’s Template Tags - Nov 08, 2008

    There are a lot of things that I love about Django. Template tags are one of them. However, they do have a couple of warts that bother me. I know that there’s a problem when I actively look for another way to accomplish something instead of writing a template tag. I view them as a kind of last resort; thinking ‘can’t we accomplish this with a Manager instead’? I think that we need to work on making useful template tags a little bit easier to make. Django goes a long way in doing this with the simple_tag and inclusion_tag types of tags. However, I think there needs to be something more.

  • Software that I use: Essentials 2008 - Nov 07, 2008

    Stealing an idea/meme from Mark Pilgrim I’m going to do a post of the essential software that I use in a day to day basis. Justin also did a similar post a couple days back. I think it is interesting to talk about what kind of tools you use, because it gives people an understanding into how you work, and also some pointers at stuff that maybe they too should be using.

  • Making a Django Uber-Community - Nov 06, 2008

    My workload at work is about to get a lot less critical and time consuming, so I was looking for a project to start on. I am really interested in the social aspects of the web, and below I will outline an idea that I think will be my next project.

  • Introduction to Python/Django tests: Fixtures - Nov 05, 2008

    In the first two posts of this series, we talked about how to get the basic infrastructure for your tests up and running. You should have a file with doc tests and one with unit tests. They should be linked into your django project with an file. If you were feeling adverterous you may have even added some real content to them. Today we’re going to start going down the road of getting some data into your tests.

  • Introduction to Python/Django testing: Basic Unit Tests - Nov 03, 2008

    Last post we talked about how to set up and use doc tests inside of Django. Today, in the second post of the series, we’ll be talking about how to use the other testing framework that comes with Python, unittest. unittest is a xUnit type of testing system (JUnit from the java world is another example) implemented in Python. It is a much more robust solution for testing than Doc tests, and allows for a lot more organization of code. We’ll get into that in the next post in the series, comparing Unit and Doc tests.

  • New Design - Nov 03, 2008

    I just pushed my new site design live. My last post got lots of hits and I was tired of the comments about how horrible the site looks :). Please let me know what you think. There are still a couple rough edges, but I think overall it is a lot better!

  • Python gems of my own - Nov 02, 2008

    Note: I’m launching a redesign today to address the styling issues. Please bear with me

  • Introduction to Python/Django testing: Basic Doctests - Nov 02, 2008

    This is the first in a series of blog posts and screencasts that will walk you through how to test your Django application. These posts will focus more on how to get things done in Django, but note that a lot of the content is applicable to pure python as well. A lot of best practices are codified into Django’s testing framework, so that we don’t have to worry about them! I will try to point them out as we are using them through, because they are good things to know.

  • A blog post a day keeps the doctor away - Nov 01, 2008

    November blog posting month has a special moment in my Django history. It was this time last year that I really got serious into Django. With the help of James Bennett’s and Marty Alchin’s blog post a month streak, I got an incredibly valuable insight into Django. It showed me a lot of the power and other great things about Django (especially the community).

  • Big list of Django tips (and some python tips too) - Oct 05, 2008

    We were talking about things that we wish we had known before while developing for Django the other day in IRC. I proclaimed that we should write them down somewhere. So I’m writing a post to get this effort started. Please feel free to leave comments with your own tips and tricks, and I’ll compile them in some kind of good fashion. These are mostly just pointers, and not full-blown writeups, just more of a big list of stuff you should think about. I think these tips will really help out new people when they’re trying to get the hang of Django.

  • Getting started with Pinax - Sep 18, 2008

    I went ahead today and figured that I would try out Pinax, seeing as it’s been getting a lot of good press in the Django community lately. The talk from James Tauber at Djangocon was really good, and I certainly recommend checking it out. This is going to be a basic introduction to pinax.

  • Screencast: Django Command Extensions - Sep 12, 2008

    This is a screencast on the Django Command Extensions project. It is one of my favorite third party apps, and it gets installed in every Django environment I work in. It provides a plethora of useful commands, and a couple other little goodies as well.

  • Using pdb to debug management commands and unit tests (Debugging Django Series,Part 4) - Sep 02, 2008

    Today’s screencast is about pdb again. This time we are going to be debugging management commands, and unit tests for django. This is a little bit more powerful than the previous screencast which just introduced the basic debugging commands.

  • Using pdb, the Python Debugger (Django Debugging Series, Part 3) - Aug 30, 2008

    I had a couple of comments about my last post saying that I should be sending all of the screencasts to the aggregator because this is content and isn’t spam. So I’m going to do that. Thanks for all the feedback everyone! Hope you’re enjoying the series.

  • Screencast 2: Logging in Django, for fun and profit - Aug 29, 2008

    This is the second screencast of a week long series.

  • Screencast: Debugging with the Django Error Page - Aug 28, 2008

    This is part 1 of a week long series of screencasts

  • Using Mock objects in Django for testing the current date - Aug 14, 2008

    Today I ran into a fun problem when writing template tags at work. (I’ll write another post later on the fun-ness that is testing of template tags :) In ellington we have some templatetags that test for the current time of day. ifmorning, ifnight and so on. These template tags are using to check to see if the time is within a certain range. This is impossible to test in a standard way without doing some hacking on the datetime.datetime object.

  • Easily packaging and distributing Django apps with setuptools and easy_install - Aug 06, 2008

    First off let me say that I know that not everyone likes setuptools and that is fine. distutils works well and is included with python. However, I believe that Python needs to get some parity with what Perl has with CPAN. Pypi is Python’s alternative, so tools that integrate with it are good.

  • Testmaker .002 (Even easier automated testing in Django) - Jul 26, 2008

    Okay, Well I have been hacking away at django-testmaker for the last couple of days based on some ideas from the community. It has gotten a lot better, so here is another blog post showing what’s new.

  • Automating tests in Django - Jul 23, 2008

    Updated: Testmaker .002 (Even easier automated testing in Django)

  • DjangoCon September 6-7, at Google! - Jul 13, 2008

    Heard from Robert Lofthouse on Twitter. The Djangocon 2008 conference will be held at Google Campus (Googleplex) in Mountain View!! September 6 and 7th. That’s only two months away, so hopefully this gets pulled together well.

  • Setting up Django and mod_wsgi - Jul 08, 2008

    I was just convinced to setup mod_wsgi on my server instead of mod_python, and I’m going to write up how I did it. All of the documentation I found on the internet was really hard to follow, so I’m going to distill it here the best that I can.

  • DjangoCon 2008 - Jul 07, 2008

    It is being kinda announced about DjangoCon 2008! It is going to be in the Bay Area and sometime around the release of Django 1.0 in September. I heard about it a couple days ago from Jacob at the office (because I work at Mediaphormedia, birthplace of Django). I’m really excited about it, and I’m thinking about heading out for it. I have never been to the Bay Area. We’ll see how it pans out when it gets announced, but I’m almost definitely going! YAY!!

  • Jim Henson before Sesame Street - Jul 06, 2008

    I’m currently reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point, and it is an amazing book. One thing that he mentions is that the Muppets were actually used by Jim Henson before Sesame Street to do advertising! I never knew this, and find it fascinating. There are a bunch on youtube that some posted. Great stuff!

  • Beatles Lecture - Jul 03, 2008

    This is a video from Gardner Campbell, one of the best professors ever, English Professor at the University of Mary Washington.

  • Living well - Jul 01, 2008

    Loving Lawrence still. I haven’t had to fill up my gas tank since I’ve been in town. My car probably hasn’t moved in about 3 days. I have established a pretty good schedule, and I have been living really well.

  • Bear Head - Jun 27, 2008

    My house just got a bear head. It is about 2.5 feet fall, and real. It came from a museum. My house rules.

  • Things I say all the time - Jun 22, 2008

    I just got around to updating my profiles and online stuffs (Graduating, Moving, and getting a new job will do that!). I just updated my “about me” section, and threw in some things that I say way too often (My friends can vouch for this). Anyway, I think they say a lot about me (and are said a lot by me)…

  • JOB!! - Jun 21, 2008

    Eek! The job starts Monday! That is like, 36 hours from now. I’m really excited and slightly nervous. The excited feeling comes from the place I’ll be working. For posterities sake, here is the series of interactions that landed me the job:

  • Lawrence Day 1 - Jun 14, 2008

    FRICKIN SWEET. What a cool town. Couple random things made my day today.

  • Change of RSS address - Jun 05, 2008

    Hey all, anyone who is getting this content on an RSS reader, if you could please update your links to point at . I’m starting to use feedburner, and i can change that to where ever i’ll be blogging, so that’s the last RSS url you’ll need for me. :) Thanks!

  • Goodbye East Coast part 1 - Jun 02, 2008

    Hey world, how goes? This is part 1 of 3 in my whirlwind trip around the East coast. This is the trip to Boston, Part 2 is the trip around Virginia, and Part 3 is Maryland. Here goes nothing!

  • Power through conversation - May 20, 2008

    I feel that I am most able to convey my ideas and gain new ones through conversation. Viewing a blog as a conversation is interesting, but I have yet to gain the same value through a blog as a good conversation in real life. I feel like I ask good questions, and have a skill in the ability to conduct conversation well. I feel that this is a good skill, and not something that needs to be changed. I guess the new skill that needs to be learned is how to make online ‘conversations’ more like the real life ones described above.

  • Graduation - May 07, 2008

    Three days until graduation. I’m getting really excited. Getting all of my stuff in order to go out to Kansas, and enjoying the rest of my summer. I’ll start posting more frequently soon hopefully, since I’ll have lots of free time, and need to be getting into programming mode for my job. Super super super excited about life right now!!!

  • My Second Poem Ever - Apr 22, 2008

    Watched Dead Poets Society about 3 times in the last 2 weeks, and was inspired in the ways of rhyme and rhythm. Here’s a poem, loosely based on one of my favorite quotes..”The more you know, the more you know you don’t know”..

  • Browser Login Discovery - Apr 08, 2008

    There are some really cool ideas floating around the interwebs these days, dealing with discovery of authentication. A lot of the talk is about integrating OpenID into the browser, but I don’t think it needs to be limited to that. People are working on good ways to auto-discover what the login end-points are on some pages. So when I go to, there will be a specific URL to go to that will list the places where you can login, and what they support. For example: /authEnds.xml would say that /account/login/ is the endpoint of login on my site.

  • Predictive text FTW - Mar 29, 2008

    I am just starting to use Gnome Do, and it’s amazing. You hit (windows key) + space, and it pops up a little window where you give it commands. It tries to figure out what you mean when you type a certain combination of words, and remembers what you usually do on those combos, and does that in the future.

  • Crazy times - Mar 27, 2008

    Only have 2 weeks left until presenting at NCUR. I give my honors project presentation to the UMW Compsci faculty on the Wednesday before the conference. Lots of work to do, but enjoying it. Getting to really dig into Django and learn it and understand it’s modularity is awesome. I’m super busy and it feels like real life is starting…Should be a fun endless summer.

  • All majors are the same - Mar 14, 2008

    Had an interesting conversation with my roomate Mike last night. It helped me clarify something I have always understood, but never found a good way to say. This is probably going to be another failed attempt, but here goes.

  • Perfect Abstraction - Feb 21, 2008

    Here in computer science land, the quest is for the perfect abstraction. That’s what our job is anyway, Software Engineer my ass, more like lead abstraction implementer. This quest for the perfect abstraction is never-ending, and certainly cannot be attained by humans. We aren’t capable of creating bug-free software, so our abstractions will be inherently leaky. If it wasn’t leaky, then it wouldn’t be abstracted.

  • Awesome 3d - Feb 21, 2008

    This is an amazing video of some dynamic 3d work a guy did for his PhD Thesis. Johnny Lee is a PhD student at CMU, and he modified a display to use the wiimote and a special headset to give real 3D effects. It actually changes the picture on the screen based on your proximity and angle to the screen. Amazing.

  • Website Interface Design - Feb 21, 2008

    I plan to design the events site through the lense of the user. The UI philosophy is thought about in that way. We don’t ask how to design a page about adding an event to the calendar. We ask what the user wants to do when putting something on the calendar. What are the use cases of the calendar, why is the user there. This ties in with what makes our cal better than other cals. Trying to make the UI amazing.

  • Why I love the CLI - Feb 21, 2008

    Simple example. I walked into my room today to a picture screensaver which is awesome. Aparently it uses the Pictures folder on the Desktop, of which only my latest pictures are in. I want it to use all of them…

  • Job hunt - Feb 20, 2008

    Starting the good ol’ job hunt. Trying to figure out what I’m going to be doing with myself for the next couple years of my life. Big ol’ decision that it is.

  • Security Vulnerabilities on the Internet - Feb 19, 2008

    I was reading an article on LWN about security vulnerabilities on newly shipped machines. The qualm is that the same place that the updates for vulnerabilities come from is the same place where you are going to get infected. They are asking if there isn’t possibly a better way to do it. I think there is:

  • Bill Clinton - Feb 11, 2008

    Saw Bill Clinton speak on campus today. It was awesome! He is such a great public speaker. It’s amazing to hear a politician say logical things, backed up with numbers, and actually agree with their general ideas. What a concept. He hasn’t made me want to vote for Hilary Clinton over Obama (certainly the point), but if she does win over Obama, I will feel genuinely better about voting for her in the national election. Bill is an amazing speaker, and was funny and serious at the correct times. Very well done. It lasted over an hour, and the turnout was amazing. There was a line halfway down our entire campus! Very cool.

  • NCUR 22 - Feb 10, 2008

    I got accepted into NCUR. The National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Here is my abstract. I get to have at least the abstract published, and maybe the entire paper that I write in support of my project, still not sure how it works. UMW is paying for me to go, which is amazing. It should be an awesome opportunity to meet some people in my field doing interesting things. The presentation there is the weekend after my Honors Project presentation that I have to do to graduate with honors. The timing works out well :)

  • Another neat ad - Feb 09, 2008

    This is a really cool Ford ad. I’m glad companies are starting to understand that commericals are content too. If you make them worth watching, they will get spread and your message will be heard a lot more places. Somebody has been listening to Seth Godin :)

  • Sweet ads - Feb 08, 2008

    I’ve always been a fan of those ads where one things leads to another to another without intervention. I’m sure there’s a name for it, but you know what i’m talking about. Just found this neat one online from a dutch website, which is simply awesome!

  • Work this week - Feb 07, 2008

    At work this week I’ve been tasked with using PL/SQL (Oracles version of SQL scripting) to create traverse a tree structure stored in a database. The data is stored in a simple tree, with each node having an id, and a parent_id. When the parent_id is null, then that means it is a root node. This structure will be used to display navigational links for pages in an automatic fashion.

  • Obama & Va - Feb 07, 2008

    I’m really excited that Obama “won” Super Tuesday. He got more states and more votes, and has been declared the winner, even though Hilary is only like 5 votes behind. I’m glad that Virginia is actually important this primary season, and I think this is the first time I will ever vote. I have never had a good reason to vote before, but Obama is such an inspiration. As is almost cliche these days, he is actually inspiring me to get out and vote! That is no small undertaking, and I believe a large part of how he is doing so well. Young people aren’t apathetic, all previous candidates have just been God Awful.

  • Time to use that education - Feb 04, 2008

    Okay people. Here’s a proposal for you. Let’s change this school of ours. For my Senior project at UMW I’m creating an “Events” calendar for the school and fredericksburg community, if you’re interested in that, read below.

  • Graduate - Feb 02, 2008

    Was talking to an old friend today. My friend Shane who graduate from Georgia Tech with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He’s currently in Cali, with a cool job somewhat related to his major. I was talking to him about the current situation (graduation approaches),and he has an amazingly apt drawing.

  • OCR with context - Jan 29, 2008

    OCR should use context, when it sees the word ‘everythxxg’, it should know that the ‘xx’ is ‘in’. This is how the human brain works, and is how the computer should work too. If Google can suggest spelling suggestions to my misspelled words, there is no reason that this technology couldn’t be applied to OCR. It would make it much more powerful and useful.

  • My dad was wikipedia - Jan 25, 2008

    For most of my life my dad has been my wikipedia. Long before it existed, anything I had a question about, I could ask him and be assured to either be given an insightful answer, or a logically thought out answer that amazingly always seemed to be correct. I think this is the basis for the constant curiosity that still exists in myself.

  • Weekend - Jan 15, 2008

    Lost the weekend and this week in web land. A friend came to visit, everyone came back from break, and classes are starting. I will begin posting regularly again. I read 3 books in the last 2 weeks, which I posted about earlier. On Intelligence is amazing and has set my mind racing, expect some good posts coming up in the next week or two based off of reflection on that.

  • Hackers and Painters - Jan 12, 2008

    Just finished reading Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham. It was an amazing book about the past, present, and future of computers. Lots of stuff about programming, but also fulfilling for people that don’t know much about computers as well looking outside in. It explains a lot and is an amazing read. Paul Graham is an amazing Essayist and it shines through in this book. It contains 15 unrelated essays, and is highly recommended.

  • America…*sigh* - Jan 10, 2008

    A picture is worth a thousand (horribly said) words :)

  • Books to read - Jan 09, 2008

    Just posting some books that I want to read this upcoming semester.

  • Code on Launchpad - Jan 07, 2008

    The code for the website is now located on launchpad. I am using their bazaar version control system that is kick ass. It’s a Distributed VCS which means that you can run it completely locally, without a server. I use the server of course, but it allows you to do work on your code without internet access and other neat things.

  • Cool Music Video - Jan 06, 2008

    Never heard of a band called Battle before. They have a really neat video that I got pointed to from a really cool advertising blog

  • OpenID FTW - Jan 04, 2008

    This is why OpenID is such a good idea.

  • Earthquakes in politics - Jan 04, 2008

    An interesting opinion piece that I read at work in the NY Times today. Talks about how Obama and Huckabee both embody vastly different philosophies of government than the previous established order. It gives me hope to hear them discribed that way. Hopefully the existing governmental structures won’t sink their hopes and dreams for this once-great country of ours. Two Earthquakes

  • Facebook Update - Jan 03, 2008

    Funny, Scoble just got banned from facebook for doing exactly what I was talking about doing. Damned social information silos..

  • Facebook Scrapage - Jan 03, 2008

    I’m thinking about how to implement facebook’s social graph in my Events calendar application. It would be a big boon for my site if when people signed up, they could automatically have their facebook friends imported as their friends on my site. However, I don’t like the idea of having to have the person give me their login information to do this. (This is what OAuth is for!).

  • Iowa - Jan 02, 2008

    Tomorrow is the Democratic caucus in Iowa. I’m really hoping that Obama wins, or basically anyone but Clinton. I believe that Edwards and Obama have the best chance of actually returning this country to it’s basic morals and values, and I certainly plan to vote for whichever of them wins this primary. I also believe that if Clinton wins, then it will be the first time in history that an independant could possibly win the White House. (Obama/Edwards, or Obama/Paul perhaps?). Here’s hoping that faith and morality wins out in this crazy world of ours, and a chance to put America back in it’s rightful place as a law-abiding and moral country.

  • Stanford U - Dec 31, 2007

    Just found that there is lots of awesome college content on iTunes. Standford U has some awesome stuff, I recommend watching Steve Jobs 2005 Commencement speech. Inspiring.

  • Merry Christmas - Dec 25, 2007

    Merry Xmas everyone!

  • Python Easy Install - Dec 21, 2007

    EDIT: Hey everyone, I wrote an updated post that actually tells how to setup a django app (and any python app) using easy install. Check it out!

  • Browser Tabs - Dec 20, 2007

    My first four browser tabs have been the same for the past couple hours. The first is the root of all evils, and the other three are productive!

  • Lego Lovers - Dec 20, 2007

    I know you loved Lego’s as a kid. I wasn’t hugely into them, but this site makes me wish I was.

  • Getting Real - Dec 18, 2007

    Just started reading a book by the guys over at 37signals. It looks amazing. Completely free online. I’ll get back with a review once I’m done, and hopefully with a finished website as well :)

  • Ideas need context - Dec 13, 2007

    Having this project to work on gives me more ideas. The ideas have context. Context makes them more valuable than abstract ideas that they once were. My context allows others to relate my ideas to their context easier than abstract ideas. Nice abstract idea isn’t it? :)

  • First Post - Dec 09, 2007

    Testing Django Awesomeness

  • Django - Dec 05, 2007

    Wordpress you were good to me. I’m going to migrate all my posts over to a new Django blogging app I’m writing. Part of my website for the Event Calendar and learning Django Done soonish hopefully

  • Schoolwork - Nov 25, 2007

    Implemented Background processes, the ps command, and the kill command in GeekOS today for my Operating System class (hard shit!). Really neat stuff though.

  • Last semester in stone - Nov 20, 2007

    Registered for classes today, pretty excited about my schedule. My last semester senior year isn’t going to be a cake walk like it should be (because i’m lazy), but it’s going to be much better than this one. Taking the second part of my Physics lab (required) and 2 PE classes, tennis and weight training, fulfilling all of my required classes for the school. I’m going to be continuing my senior Independent Study Project, for another 3 credits. I’ll be taking a 300-level CS database class to round out my Compsci Education. I will then also either be taking discrete math or intro to film studies, pass/fail. If discrete doesn’t look like it’ll be too much work i’ll take them, if not i’ll do film studies and coast.

  • Writing Advice? - Nov 14, 2007

    The story starts out unusually. One of my friends is trying to write a very important letter to a family member. He doesn’t know how to write it. He has the outline, but is very worried about the implied psychological impact. They worry about the reader thinking too much; “was he trying to be so nice and just said all nice things”, or on the inverse “Wow, how hateful, full of hate he must have been”…We brainstorm the answer to the question which will seem obvious.

  • Cool site: - Nov 13, 2007

    The Internet Archive is one of the neatest sites on the internet. I like them for a variety of reasons. First and foremost is the live music archive, they currently have 44,134 live concerts posted on their website. Completely free to download/stream til your hearts content. Most of the bands I like these days are on there, and they have an extensive Grateful Dead collection.

  • Fall is coming (and good content) - Nov 04, 2007

    It’s almost daylight savings time, this weekend. That makes me sad, I hate it getting dark at 5pm. It will make work much more manageable though. My current schedule is working 2-8 Monday’s and Wednesdays. I adopted this schedule to make sure that I actually got some hours over the school year. 12/hr work weeks aren’t too bad, but it is pretty hard with my hardest ever semester of school.

  • Firefox Extensions I Use - Nov 01, 2007

    Basically just a knowledge dump of The firefox extensions I use and where to get them for future reference.

  • Digg/Wordpress plugin ideas - Oct 30, 2007

    A lot of websites have those annoying ‘digg this’ buttons, with 0 diggs on it. How silly that makes them look. I feel like an idiot reading a web page that nobody else cares about…

  • UMW Blog Ring - Oct 17, 2007

    Another idea to write up:

  • Goal - Oct 10, 2007

    I hope to write atleast one post a day, saying what I learned from that day. Mostly like a journal, and not super interesting to most people. I feel like this will help me improve my writing and give me content to write about. (I hope my days aren’t so boring that the old adage doesn’t apply)

  • Network KVM - Mar 06, 2007

    This neat little program lets you use your network as a KVM. You set up a ‘server’ computer where you use the mouse and keyboard, and then ‘client’ computers on the right of left of your server, and when you go off the screen of the server, it automagically goes to control the mouse and KB of the client machine. Really neat.

  • People - Feb 18, 2007

    It’s amazing the difference having one person in your life can make or break your entire existence. Usually this would apply to a significant other, but a best friend is just as valuable if not more. Went to JMU for less than 24 hours with a good friend from school; to meet my best friend since second grade. We all got along marvelously and it was one of the best nights i’ve had in a long while. My spirits are high, I feel motivated, and my faith in humanity has once again been restored.

  • Music - Feb 07, 2007

    We had a little jam session at my house over the past weekend. My roomate Tessie recorded it and here is a link to the mp3: Hope you enjoy it, its lots of drums, a theramin, and a bass.

  • Updating website - Jan 28, 2007

    I’m starting to update my website, moving everything from .shtml over to cgi’s because it’s easier. Also building out my web-based lyrics script to include saying lyrics are bad or good. Also trying to figure out a good way to automatically get all of the lyrics from an artist whenever one is found. Then run this in the background and they will be in the database cached when requested.

  • iPhone - Jan 09, 2007

    Apple just released the iPhone today. This looks like a paradigm shift in the world of mobile phones. It’s amazing how much a company can innovate when it doesn’t have it’s own silly motives to protect. Most other companies have ‘walled gardens’ or their own internet that they are trying to make money off of, so they don’t offer Wifi access. It runs OS X, how long until this thing gets VoIP compatibility? They are Partnering with Cingular, so they may nix that idea, but it has to be on everyone’s minds. The iPhone looks damned impressive, and if you go to their site you can see the amazing prototype.

  • Good Software is SO hard to find.. - Jan 07, 2007

    I just installed Songbird which is a really neat music player built on top of XUL (of firefox fame). It’s cross platform (yey good Linux support) and is currently only a developer release. It’s working great for me and I’m excited about the possibilities. One pet peeve is that it didn’t have a systray icon for it, one feature that i’ve grown accustomed to. Browsing their forms someone pointed to Alltray, which allows you to launch a program “alltray program”, and it will automatically create a systray icon for it. COOL! How have I not heard of this before?

Hey there! I'm Eric and I work on communities in the world of software documentation. Feel free to email me if you have comments on this post!