Sun Jun 01 2003 11:32 Downhill From Here:
Here's the thing: Downhill. It's basically an Oracle of Bacon for weblogs. It uses the weblog ecosystem data to find the shortest path between any two weblogs, measured by outgoing and incoming links. I was surprised not to find a preexisting implementation of this, but now it's been done. Just my contribution to the LazyWeb.
Sun Jun 01 2003 14:08:
If you need to jump-start your personal slang dictionary, try Kevan's Infinite Teen Slang Dictionary. Works especially well if you have catchphrases you use but you've been holding off writing a dictionary because the catchphrases have no meaning. Works not at all unless you're a high school student, and not the nerdy kind of high school student all of us reading this were, either.
Mon Jun 02 2003 15:30:
Kevin passes along the happy news that the new season of The Wire is all about shipping containers. Apparently there are also some cops, but they just run around looking in shipping containers. "I suspect that in the season finale, it will be revealed that the shipping container did it," says Kevin.
Mon Jun 02 2003 22:22:
New Downhill; the main new features are a much larger dataset and improved speed. Phil responded to my friendly email by putting up newer copies of the ecosystem data and mentioning me in his weblog, complete with link to embarrassing sophomore-year-in-college first NYCB entry. I've even got my own category now.
Hey, everyone from New Zealand that I've met has been cool and friendly. Are there any right jerks in New Zealand at all? Do you keep them down on the farm where they can't harm nothin'? Or have I just been fortunate?
Mon Jun 02 2003 23:05 Links You Can't Get Out Of Your Head:
I know you've been wondering about Godzilla's Guitar. (Found via Incoming Signals.)
One great use for Downhill is finding new weblogs. That's also a great use for writing Downhill and having people link to it. Once the buzz dies down, an Eater-style postmortem where I talk about new weblogs I found (also coming soon: the not-really-that-shocking results of an ad hoc experiment I ran against the readers of pyblagg). I hope the announcement that I'll do a postmortem won't affect the way people link to me.
Tue Jun 03 2003 09:37 Get It Before It's Gone:
Today Zippy is in an automat! (Long, rambling article about my obsession with the automat coming soon.) Yesterday Zippy was also in an automat, and it was funnier, but I forgot to mention it.
Tue Jun 03 2003 21:24 Your Wish Is My Suggestion:
hebig.org said Downhill should have an API. Well, now it does. It doubles as a weblog ecosystem API, since I couldn't find one anywhere.
Tue Jun 03 2003 22:59:
From everyone: the California Coastal Records Project is a very well-designed site with gorgeous photographs of the California coastline (eg. 1 2
5; also note the location of the CollabNet retreat). The reason everyone's talking about this site is that Barbara Streisand is suing to get them to take down the picture of her earthquake-defying house (for those not in the know, Barbara Streisand is in the celebrity business). I'm not so socially conscious; I'm just talking about it because I love maps.
Tue Jun 03 2003 23:05:
A while ago I said that a good simple name for a weblog would be "x's Wild Weblog". Well, now I present Jughead's Wild Weblog!. I love the un-self-conscious writing style. Reminds me of Adam.
Wed Jun 04 2003 16:11 Cool Tool, Nice Name:
StrangeBanana generates random CSS layouts that you can use for your web site. Similar to the thing that made pages random colors which I did (very briefly) for Crummy in 1999 (only previous NYCB mention), but more high-tech and less obnoxious. From effbot, which has actually started using the otherworldly designs.
Wed Jun 04 2003 17:31 Fatal Error:
Funny, Alphaman-esque screenshot from my day at work.
Wed Jun 04 2003 19:14 Today's Downhill Feature:
You can now exclude URLs from consideration in your Downhill search. I implemented this in response to Colin, who complained about the appearance in shortest paths of weblogs.com, blogdex, and other things that are not weblogs. Rather than volunteering to mantain in perpituity a list of non-weblogs that nonetheless show up in the ecosystem, I made it a do-it-yourself thing that also makes it possible to incrementally search a space of related weblogs.
Wed Jun 04 2003 22:48:
Presenting the Microsimulation of road traffic. Lets you simulate the causes and easing of traffic jams. It would be great to modify it to let you experiment with antitraffic.
Thu Jun 05 2003 18:26 J'irai au EuroPython:
I've mentioned this before, but I want to bring it to the attention of more people, particularly pyblagg readers. I'm going to EuroPython later this month (to give my neighborhood-famous "Beyond The Config File" talk), and I want to hang out with people. Drop me a line if you're also going and you want to meet up.
Thu Jun 05 2003 18:29 Je m'appele Leonard, je suis un informaticien américain:
Adam Parrish's suggestion, that to get my French back I buy a French phrasebook and simply read it cover to cover, has been surprisingly helpful. However, the phrasebook is full of ridiculous phrases like "Where are the most beautiful landscapes?", which implies that Francophones have some device that measures the beauty of a landscape, and that they are keeping this information secret from the rest of us. Also, the phrasebook assumes you're going to France, and contains precious little information about Belgium other than an injunction to check out the fine linens and crystal, which I have no intention of doing.
Finally, the vowels in my phrasebook have all sorts of weird lines on top of them, like sprigs of linguistic parsley. So Kevin and I are starting our own phrasebook, dealing with situations likely to occur specifically in Belgium, and with no funny accents on the characters to confuse things. The English phrases are Kevin's; the French, my half-assed translations.
"Give me the large waffle with herring."
"Je voudrais du grand gaufre des harengs."
"Please place the kippers under my shoe in the morning."
"S'il vous plait, mettez les kippers sous mes chausseures le matin."
"You heard me; you know where the damn kippers go."
"Tu m'entende; tu sait ou vont les kippers!"
"Get out of my way; I'm heading to France."
"Allez! Allez! Je vais au France!"
Thu Jun 05 2003 19:03 Fictional Characters With Weblogs:
I'm not talking about your mass-market weblogs for Dawson's Creek characters. I'm talking grass-roots weblogs for stuffed elephants.
The stuffed elephant has been to Belgium, too.
(Via AMAI, another in the endless series of weblogs found via Downhill browsing)
Fri Jun 06 2003 19:08 Map Mania #N:
The Alexandria Digital Library's Map Browser has an awesome interface that lets you find a spot on the world and search for maps and photos of that region, then indicates which parts of the selected region are actually covered by the maps. It's a shame that all the satellite photos are hard-to-decipher black-and-white things that look like the moon after a bit of terraforming.
Incidentally, they built a new Library of Alexandria. Unfortunately, their website requires Flash.
PS: Check out this cool, FreeCiv-esque map from medieval China.
Regarding the foreign countries of the barbarians southeast of the South Sea, and northwest of Mongolia, there is no means of investigating them because of their great distance, although they are continually sending tribute to the court. Those who speak of them are unable to say anything definite, while those who say something definite cannot be trusted; hence I am compelled to omit them.
Fri Jun 06 2003 20:02:
Unfortunately, both of the authors were the ones who got stuck
with fixing this problem. Also, because one of them is a big
whiner, he kept complaining that `we knew this all along --
something really stank for iterations and now I'm stuck with
--Recognizing and Responding to 'Bad Smells' in Extreme Programming (from Jeremy Hylton)
Fri Jun 06 2003 20:39 Elevator Pitch For Slow Elevator:
You might remember that a while ago the CollabNet engineers went on a retreat. As inevitably happens at corporate retreats, we engaged in team-building activities. One of the activities was this one; we were divided into teams and our group had to come up with a pitch for a television show destined to become a cult classic. I've been holding on to my page of notes, meaning to mention my idea in a NYCB entry, and since I'm cleaning my room now's as good a time as any.
We audition for people with skills associated with how-to shows: cooking, home improvement, gardening, etc. Our ideal candidate is someone who thinks he or she is very good, but who by any objective measure is awful. We film a "pilot" with each candidate, which is broadcast as an episode of the actual show. For instance, we'd have a cooking show set where people would do their cooking show pilots. We'd have everything they might need, but they'd be done in by their lack of skills and/or imagination.
The show is awful, both in a cruel way and in a campy way. The audience watches both to vicariously enjoy the victim's incompetence and to secretly hope that they'll actually do well and put one over on us. However, we use deceptive editing to eliminate any aspect of that.
The other idea from our group I liked was Jason Brittain's "The Great Weiner Dog In The Sky Show", in which a troupe of trained dachshunds perform death-defying high-wire and trampoline acts.
Fri Jun 06 2003 22:16 Reverse Want Ad:
I'm going to Bakersfield tomorrow, and I'm going to take my trusty yet battered 5-string electric guitar to the Goodwill and get a fancy new one at Front Porch. If you live near me (or in Bakersfield) and you want to exchange for an electric guitar your right to be picky about the quality of the electric guitar, let me know by tomorrow.
Sat Jun 07 2003 22:35 Just Two Guitars:
I went a little guitar crazy at Front Porch. I now have a nice little hybrid acoustic/electric, and a gorgeous hollow-body electric. I wanted light guitars, and they're both pretty light. All the hybrids have a clever device built into the body that helps you tune the guitar. I don't know why this is on all the hybrids and only on the hybrids, but it's neat. Why not also add a metronome, and a PDA? And a clock, so it could be sold through the Sharper Image catalog. I'm envisioning an entire integrated sound production system/personal information manager/radiological cleanup kit.
The old electric is still available; I'm going to give it to my grandmother to use in a garage sale, so in the unlikely event that anyone wants it, let me know and I'll rescue it.
Sun Jun 08 2003 22:43:
Tomorrow begins the Tonight's Episode Beatles Anthology. This, the first part of a noncontiguous two-week series, covers the Beatles' early years as a group by making fun of their song titles. It started when I realized that somehow half of my remaining TEs were references to Beatles songs. Sumana helped, as did (involuntarily) Brendan.
Mon Jun 09 2003 15:47 Leonard's Easy Guide To French Pronunciation:
Don't pronounce the last letter.
Mon Jun 09 2003 22:24:
Bothered by unsightly unit tests? Deal with the artifacts of your uptight pair-programming partner the Perl way: by cheating to get around them! Acme::Handwave is here to help. The Acme package space also contains other, more interesting hacks, like Acme::Bleach and Acme::EyeDrops.
 Also the "Kobayashi Maru" way.
Tue Jun 10 2003 16:45 Amazing Spam Offers:
Subject: We are giving away business cards.
Wed Jun 11 2003 23:19:
It was a patio, fringed by a little lawn and with a swimming pool, bricked in by cinder block walls. It could have been the backyard of anyone in any LA suburb. It was quiet, like in the mountains, like when someone turns off a radio.
"Why have you taken me here, spirit?" The hooded figure said nothing, just stared at the blossoms that floated across the pool in a fragrant scum.
There was a grimy barbecue grill off to one side of the patio. A garden hose stretched halfway across the lawn like an exhausted snake. The sky was blue with a couple smears of clouds, looking as though they had been put there to distinguish the sky from other blue things. All these were facts about the area, but which one was the important one?
I played it cool. I turned on the garden hose and watered the lawn for a little bit. There was a white metal gate to an unused side yard with lawn chairs stacked in it. I ran out of lawn and started spraying the cinder blocks with water, my thumb over the mouth of the hose.
The figure turned and pointed a finger at me. The finger, the hand, the arm that held it up were shrouded in a darkness as deep as the void.
"At the age of fifty," it said, "your fingernails stop growing."
Now I knew the game. I dropped the hose and parried.
"If the pancreas fails," I said, "the liver can take over some of its functionality."
"Jellyfish are chordates, like tunicates," said the spirit.
"Some wasps make honey, the way bees do," I said. "But you shouldn't eat it because it'll make you sick."
"That's very interesting," said the spirit. "I never knew--". It shook from the bottom up, like a movie hologram. It fell, or leapt, into the swimming pool, which swallowed it whole. A slick remained on the surface, which I dispersed with the hose.
Wasp honey. I'd have to look that up. I went into the house.
Thu Jun 12 2003 08:47 You'll Be Perfect For My Experiments:
Another for my collection: Thai spam.
Thu Jun 12 2003 20:04 Inadvertent Endorsement:
Kevin asked me what kind were my guitars (<--pictures!). I didn't know because I don't pay attention to that. Today I checked, and it turns out the electric is a Greg Bennett Design, and the hybrid is a Greg Bennett Desig, which is probably a misprint. So, evidently Greg Bennett makes guitars I really like that are in my price range.
Thu Jun 12 2003 20:32 Level Three:
My toilet broke. I fixed it. It's not as impressive as it sounds.
Thu Jun 12 2003 22:15 In Medias Res:
A very funny short film, for those steeped in the appropriate precursors: Eighties Ending. Available in various proprietary formats. Purists can wait until next Friday and then view the photo gallery.
Fri Jun 13 2003 17:52 PST More Than Meets The IMDB:
The Transformers could be coming to the big screen, partly courtesy of X-Men( [0-9]+)? screenwriter and producer Tom DeSanto. NYCB has the scoop, mainly due to our penchant for brazenly manufacturing entire interviews from whole cloth.
News You Can Bruise: Is there any artifact of our youth for which you wouldn't write a treatment?
Tom DeSanto: Well, there was already a He-Man movie, so that's out.
NYCB: But the He-Man movie sucked.
TDS: That's because it was made too early. It was made in the 80s, when only ten-year-old dorks would see it, so it was a dorky movie. Now those dorks are 25 and have disposable income, but the market's tapped out. He-Man is a joke.
NYCB: So, would you write, say, a Gobots treatment?
TDS: No, because the Gobots were a pathetic ripoff of the Transformers. Let me give you an example. You know how the boss of the good Gobots was a fighter jet named "Leader 1"? Well, one of the merchandising tie-ins for the Gobots was this Gobots activity book for kids. One of the activities in the activity book was a word search where you had to find the names of the Gobots. In the first place you have an activity book which is destined to show up at the Pic 'N' Save in six months. Second, that activity book contained a word search, which is simply busy work to gets kids to be quiet for a while. Finally, you'd look at this word search and there'd be all these random letters and right in one of the corners there was a numeral 1. And that's where Leader 1's name was.
TDS: Totally amateurish!
NYCB: So, in a live-action context how do you plan to deal with the fact that there are effectively no humans in the Transformers universe?
TDS: Well, there are humans, but nobody cares about them. They just fix things and get into trouble. So I'm going to introduce a new human character, Humie the Human. He's someone the audience can relate to.
NYCB: Does he transform?
TDS: Yes, he transforms into a tugboat. No, he doesn't transform. Ha!
NYCB: Ha! What are the difficulties in doing a live-action treatment of something as essentially cartoonish as the Transformers?
TDS: I don't understand the question.
NYCB: Well, like so many cartoons of the 80s, the Transformers cartoon existed only to sell toys. The cartoons were basically renditions of what you might see in your imagination playing with the toys, and that's why you suspended disbelief. But if you see it as a live-action thing you're not going to see them as toys, and you're going to wonder why the Transformers were built in the first place.
NYCB: Like with X-Men you could suspend your disbelief because mutants don't have control over what abilities they have. There's not some Rawlsian preexistence where you decide what sort of mutations are good and then everyone is born and gets one of the ones you decided on. You take whatever your genes give you. But Transformers are constructed beings, and you gotta wonder why anyone would decide to build this combination bulldozer/battle robot, unless they were just making a toy. The X-Men had this super plane, but it was based on the SR-71 Blackbird. It didn't turn into a robot.
NYCB: So how do you plan to resolve this problem, of suspension of disbelief?
TDS: Well, there are tricks of screenwriting you can use to induce the suspension of disbelief. For instance, for the first twenty minutes you can have it be a perfectly normal movie about a normal modern person's life, and then the first plot point happens and kablooie! It all goes to pot.
NYCB: Wow! Has nobody ever told you how boring that is?
TDS: Well, keep in mind that during the first twenty minutes of the movie a lot of people are still coming into the theater, or they go out to get popcorn, and if something weird is happening when they arrive you get a lot of talking in the theater, which nobody likes. But sometimes test audiences react negatively to this extended normalcy sequence, so the standard procedure is to put a flash-forward scene at the beginning and then treat most of the movie as a flashback.
NYCB: But that's just a sop thrown to the audience to get them to sit through twenty minutes of boredom! You should start right in the middle of the action and not let up!
TDS: Okay, but the other problem with that, and I probably shouldn't say this, is the musicians' union. You know how every movie has this wishy-washy opening music that's all heavy on the woodwinds? That's because there is otherwise no place for the flute and the piccolo in modern moviemaking, and the flautists and piccoleers become angry. That wishy-washy music requires a mundane introductory sequence over which to lay the credits.
NYCB: There's a conflict I've felt goes to the very heart of the Transformers mythos, and that is Grimlock. Grimlock is a T-Rex, which is awesome, but he's also a Transformer that looks like a dinosaur, which is even stupider than one that looks like a bulldozer. So my question for you, is, do you want to improve on the rather simplistic notion of good and evil presented in the original Transformers series?
TDS: Wow, you got me.
NYCB: Yeah, you thought it was gonna be some lame fanboy question about Grimlock.
TDS: Usually interviewers don't get so involved in the creative process.
NYCB: I do because I care about the movies.
TDS: Well, I don't think the Transformers have a simplistic morality at all. You have good Transformers, and you have bad Transformers.
NYCB: Yeah, but take Magneto for example. He wasn't evil the way Megatron is evil. He did things that were evil, but they served towards a goal; he wasn't doing them just to be evil.
TDS: But every single movie has that sort of villain nowadays. So if you have someone like Megatron who just wants to wreak havoc for no real reason, it's a refreshing twist. Because you have no idea as to his motivation, you never know what's coming next.
NYCB: Bizarrely, you have a point.
TDS: When reviewers say that a character is "mysterious" it just means that they liked the movie but this character had no motivation. It's completely independent of whether or not the movie is good. People who say that characters should have motivations are just exposing their inability to tolerate the mysterious.
NYCB: What's the one thing you want moviegoers to take home from their live-action Transformers movie experience?
TDS: I want people to leave the theater totally mystified and overwhelmed by Godzilla's invincibility.
TDS: Wait a minute, I never said that. That was Shogo Tomiyama, producer of Godzilla 2000! Don't you do basic fact checking?
NYCB: You never said any of the other stuff in this interview either.
TDS: Fair enough.
NYCB: It's been a pleasure, Tom.
TDS: Well, I'm not sure what the ontological status of this conversation is, but if it had actually involved me the pleasure would have been all mine.
Sat Jun 14 2003 23:07 Amazing Software Roundup:
That is, the roundup is amazing as always, but some of the software is also amazing. This software roundup will take you to the depths of a star about to explode, to various abstract mathematical spaces, and to the Francophone region of your choice. Live the adventure! No refunds.
Because the poem I came up with mentions a bunch of different programs from this week's roundup, the poem is not a prize. My favorites of the roundup are ep and FOF.
While trying to get to the bar
I got lost in the core of a star
My GPS reads
Only RSS feeds
Which is useless when driving a car
Sat Jun 14 2003 23:33:
Oh, that reminds me to tell you about the little test I ran on the readers of pyblagg. I kept track of how many people from pyblagg hit the May 26 Game Roundup versus the Software Roundup that immediately preceded it.
Clearly, pyblagg readers preferred the great taste of Software Roundup by a hefty margin. This is a shame because the poem I wrote for Game Roundup was a lot better. SR had more stuff though.
Sun Jun 15 2003 08:55 Aiee:
I don't know if a European audience will get the jokes in my Europython configuration talk (not all jokes present in the online version). Eg. do Europeans know enough about Godzilla that they will realize my little Godzilla skit is a) a skit, and b) funny? I need new jokes. Maybe I should just do without jokes, or come up with them while in Belgium.
Also, what has the same sort of semiarbitrary, dependency-ridden semantics as a ZIP code, but Europeans know what it is?
Mon Jun 16 2003 11:02 In The Roadkill:
I forgot to mention that the Tonight's Episode Beatles Anthology is going on so long partly in tribute to one of the previous non-anthology TE Beatles songs, "Eight Dies A Week"; but also because I have 16 Beatles-related TEs and if I do them in two sets of eight then there are no embarrassing leftovers. Tomorrow normal TE service will resume, until Saturday, when I leave for Belgium and the whole thing starts up again.
Mon Jun 16 2003 23:30 Here Are The Questions And Here Are The Facts:
Today: I finally recorded The Whiskey Rebellion Activity Zone (mp3). Played on the new hybrid rather than the banjo for easiability reasons. I hope you enjoy it. I played around a bit with the stuff Kris likes to do where you try to get rid of "noise", or "the sound of authenticity" as I call it. Let me know what you think, esp. if you think I should lose the harmony on the choruses.
Wed Jun 18 2003 10:29:
Kevin said I'd be good at this, and he wouldn't let it drop, just kept bugging me about it, so here goes. You can send me your personal problems, or someone else's personal problems, or some funny personal problem you made up, and I will play the advice columnist on your behalf. Keep it clean. Your anonymity is ensured, except to me. My answers will not be as good as Ray's, but your letter is more likely to be answered.
Disclaimers: Advice may not be helpful. I know nothing about interpersonal relationships, yet my pronouncements will be delivered with the cocksure air of authority. Your email may be published in full or in part. Not valid for US residents living underseas.
Wed Jun 18 2003 15:14 "Then The Zombie Came Closer And Closer!":
First, there was Dada Pokey. Now, Dada Garfield.
Wed Jun 18 2003 21:37 Location, Location, Location:
Belgium, eh? What a dazzling array of people hovers nearby, just across
the Channel. GBP14, return, sans taxes. Although it's a pain getting out
to the not-really-in-Brussels airport, and into London from the
slightly-outside-London airport. All the same, you should demand of all
your contacts within a reasonable radius of Belgium that they come see
Yes, scenic Belgium. Centrally located to... other countries.
Wed Jun 18 2003 22:41:
Today I finished reading The Glory Game by Keith Laumer. It's sort of derivative of the Retief story pattern, but I enjoyed it. I enjoy that pattern. I also enjoy sci-fi stories in which governments are realistic governments rather than charicatures or adjectives; I think of it as just good characterization on the meta-person level. Laumer's non-Retief books do this pretty well. The Glory Game is the first book I've read that contains a Congressional hearing on an attempted alien invasion, which is something I've sort of been looking for. Any others like it?
Thu Jun 19 2003 17:56 "Tea.":
I don't know why in years of fanboyhood I never thought of this before. It must have been the Nightmare that finally made me realize how awful is the interface to the replicators in the TNG-timeframe Star Trek shows.
Consider the archetypal replicator command: "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot." Captain Picard never orders anything else from the replicator, yet either there's no way for him to get the replicator to know that when he wants tea he wants hot Earl Grey; or there is such a way, he can't figure out how to set it up, and he's too proud to ask anyone for help.
What's more, the captain's utterance implies that if he just asked for "Tea. Earl Grey.", either the replicator would give him iced Earl Grey or the ship's computer would ask "At what temperature do you want the Earl Grey?" like a text adventure parser. How come they had time to do a molecular scan of a cup of Earl Grey but not time to put into the 24th-century equivalent of Cyc that Earl Grey is the sort of tea you drink hot?
This is not rocket science; it's the sort of thing that contemporary programmers use as fanciful examples in their EuroPython talks. "Let's take a hypothetical Person, Jean-Luc. Jean-Luc likes Tea, so he sets that as his default Drink, but there are many different kinds of Tea, so he can set a default for Tea as well..." It wouldn't be hard to do the interface either; after you got your elaborately specified tea you could say "Bookmark. Tea." and thereafter it would just be "Tea." Except for the inevitable wacky malfunction, where the attempt to bookmark tea would give you a tea-colored bookmark, you would be fine.
Next time: I tackle the question of what happened to all the industrial designers between Enterprise and TOS.
Thu Jun 19 2003 21:32:
Sumana pointed me to a sweet entry in Zoe's weblog.
Thu Jun 19 2003 22:30 Waiter, There's A Bon In My Mot:
Today at work I was in a meeting and I got really tired, stretching and yawning. Chris said "We're almost done." I said "I'm just practicing my jet lag."
Fri Jun 20 2003 08:55 MoreSensationalistExaminer.com:
It's been a while, but "BART flies" should be "BART lies".
Fri Jun 20 2003 17:36:
Addendum to this conversation. The proper sobriquet for the "let everyone use corked bats" proposal was not discussed in that conversation. It is "the Slate way", either "the everyday economics way" or "the hey, wait a minute way".
Fri Jun 20 2003 23:22 Teaser:
Upcoming entries from EuroPython, and at some point my collective review of hot sauces where I try to impose my subjective tastes upon you. I'm meeting, or will try to meet, Jarno Virtanen in Brussels, and it makes me less apprehensive to know that it'll be just like the old days: the American agent meeting the Finnish agent at the dead drop in Brussels. So, for the next week, News You Can Bruise departs from its usual frenetic pace of posting to bring you only the occasional entry made of snatched bits of time, possibly consisting only of cryptic phrases I saw on signs.
Wed Jun 25 2003 07:58 PST Hello:
I'm at EuroPython, squandering my precious laptop battery power that I need for my presentation tomorrow. I bought a wide variety of adapters and power convertors but they're all useless because my laptop won't plug into them due to its grounding plug. Fortunately, I'm supposedly about to meet up with someone who has an IBM
power cord with a European connector.
I went to Amsterdam. I've been hanging out a lot with Jarno and his girlfriend
their travel plans have overlapped with mine to an unbelievable extent (eg. they planned to go to Amsterdam the same
day I planned to, they chose the same hotels that I did, etc.) I also
ate a waffle. My French is only good for reading and not for hearing
what people are saying, nor for talking because when I try to talk to someone
in French they just respond in English.
Thu Jun 26 2003 05:43 EuroPython Day #2:
My French is getting a little better; at least it seems that way now that I've met people whose English is worse than my French, such that it's most convenient to talk in French. I was able to ask for the check
and to have a door opened, although the check was not forthcoming
and the person I asked was powerless to open the door. My presentation
went pretty well, but I'm very glad I omitted the jokes because
the one I left in, thinking it had cross-cultural appeal, was not
greeted with any hilarity at all.
I talked with Moshe Zadka
a bit after my talk. I talked to some other people as well but I bring
up Moshe because there were several talks he was going to give yesterday
but he didn't get here in time. These include his "text steganography" talk
and his "Writing web clients in Python" talk. I've asked him
for copies of the notes for each, and they'll be part of
the inevitable EuroPython roundup, coming sometime next week to this space. I was able
briefly to recharge my battery, but it's only at 50% and I want to
write another rambling, incomprehensible entry tomorrow, so I'll sign off now.
Best talk so far: a talk about PyPy, a Python interpreter written in
Python, which is currently up to 20,000 times slower than the one written
in C. Armin Rigo, author of PyPy, also wrote his own presentation softwareusing
PyGame, which presented his presentation as a brainstorm diagram that
he navigated as he gave his talk. It's only a matter of time until
Steve Jobs steals that idea.
Fri Jun 27 2003 03:45 EuroPython Day 3:
Yesterday, Guido had a keynote which was different enough from his PyCon keynote
that I stayed interested. I just came back from a talk on
SQLObject, a simple object model/database
layer. My head is spinning after a number of rapid-fire Twisted
tutorials. Also I learned about empy,
which I had previously not looked at due to it being GPLed. It
looks very nice, so I may put effort into resolving the license incompatibility
somehow. There was also a mention of Jeff Raskin's The Humane Editor
(not The Human
Editor), which does for commenting syntax what Python did for
control flow syntax.
At dinner last night I had an ice cream dessert, like a giant Mochi,
called a "Tartouffe". I do not know anything about it or why it is
named after a Moliere character, but it was tasty.
Fri Jun 27 2003 03:48 Non-EuroPython-Related Entry:
A lot of P.G. Wodehouse's early work is available from Project Gutenberg.
Mon Jun 30 2003 08:59:
On the bus to work, nauseated but not tired. The fact that on my last night in Belgium it was completely impossible to sleep nipped my returning jet lag in the bud, I hope. The Belgians are a festive people, delighting in musical concerts, fireworks displays, honking their horns at each other for no reason, and on-road off-road racing, all right outside my hotel room.
The last deserves some explanation. There are people who have big dirt bikes which they race down the twisting streets of Brussels. They avoid condemnation from the superstitious natives, who believe them to be the characters from Power Rangers Ninja Storm.
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