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Showing posts from April, 2006

I Can Work in Synergy

Just wanted to quickly link to the Synergy project, which I'm now using. Wow, it is so cool. Anyone who has multiple systems at their desk or sits a laptop beside their desktop's monitor should really take a look at this. Dual screen is one level of cool, but being able to move my mouse across multiple screens running multiple operating systems is a blast, and productive too. Copy and paste and keyboard and mouse can all be shared. Now, I'm very interested in if windows could be dragged between the screens with this one day...

Python AST Manipulation for Transparent Defering of Calls?

A lot of work has been going on with the Python AST and being able to manipulate it for more runtime uses. This is a generalized suggestion for something we could do in the Twisted community to utilize this.

Given a simple function like this:


def processPage(url):
d = getPage(url)
d.addCallback(cb_processPage)
d.addErrback(eb_processPage)
def cb_processPage(page):
print page
def eb_processPage(error):
print "Could not load page. Error: ", error

We write like that, but what we really mean, and just need to express in a more difficult manner, is:


def processPage(url):
try:
print getPage(url)
except LoadError, e:
print "Could not load page. Error: ", e

What I want to know, is can we take the second example and process the AST branch to produce the first example? Lets step through and see how it would work. First of all, we need to know what is deferred. A simple way would be to check every function ret…

Greasemonkey Paving the Way for Frankenstein Software?

I'm not real big into Greasemonkey, and I've never written a userscript, but I love what they can do for me. Blogger drafts are posted for the time I post them, not when I originally wrote them, just like I wanted when I first started using Blogger. Gmail labels can be color coded. There is a huge array of improvements to existing webapps, and what can be done beyond that is amazing. The biggest impact is to webapps, rather than websites. The impact is both in the current set of modified apps, and in what it means for the software landscape. There have been plenty of people to suggest this, but if you haven't heard it you should consider what the greasemonkey mentality could lead to in making software fit every individual user's needs better. Firefox extensions have a lot in common, not surprisingly, sometimes altering core fundamentals of the program to tailor better for users who are frustrated with something that other user's might enjoy perfectly. This kind of …

How my websites can get along

Earlier I asked "Why can't my websites get along?" and now I'm going to answer myself.

What I want them to do

The love triangle in question, to review, is GMail's contact list, Amazon.com wish lists, and the Google Reader and the books listed in some posts there.

Any books mentioned in posts through Google Reader (or on any page, for that matter) should be flagged as being books, or the browser should be able to just figure out that they are books. It shouldn't link them directly to Amazon.com from the website, because maybe I like to by through B&N, right? My browser should see these elements marked (somehow) as being book titles, and make them into links to the books entries at Amazon (or Barnes & Noble). To take this a step further, the book sites might publish some kind of services feed, that lists services available to some particular resouce. So, when you ask it "What can you do with A Tale of Two Cities?" it will say "I can add it t…

Internet TV Makes Me Do Stuff

I love that I can watch TV on the internet. Adult Swim's Fix is especially a well visited destination for me. However, I do have a problem with them. One and all, in my expirience, they forget what radio stations and television channels have trained us for all our lives: never reach for the remote until you know what's on next. When one show is over, the familiar feeling of "hey, look what's next" is a nice way to relax in front of the TV, because its already on its way and you don't have to do a damn thing for it. All the video distributions I've used across the internet, however, make me request each and every show or clip or whatever, and simply stop when the current one ends. Why can't I sit back and enjoy the show, without knowing what it is?

Top-Reply in Emails and More-Than-Text Body Formats

I commented to Fighting the top replyover at Signal vs. Noise and felt like writing a small bit about it here. The basic issue was where to place your reply in an email, as any modern mail client will quote the original text and most of them place your cursor right above it. I have a couple of angles to take on this, but the conclusions all arrive at the same place.

When I still worked at an office and spent a decent portion of my time tracking efforts and monitoring going-ons throughout the company, I used Microsoft Outlook, which was enforced by the corporate IT people. Although it did bug me that I was unofficially forced to top-reply, I admit that in certain situations I do it myself, anyway. Typically, my view is that if the conversation shouldn't go on for a long time with the need to review a chronological log of what was said, and is only between two parties who will know what was said before, top-reply is really OK. When you are on a mailing list or newsgroup or in a reply…

Bad eMusic Expiriences?

Has anyone has had a bad expirience with eMusic? Lured by promises of DRM-free MP3 files, like so many others, I signed up for a trial of their service. I was unimpressed with the selection, although I understand the problem they face trying to convince the labels that their methods are financially safe for the music industry. Still, my wife and I were unable to find even a handful of songs we were interested in, and I found it impossible to actually download anything. Their download manager gave me an error about some non-existant cache directory within my Firefox installation, and their support offered no help that actually solved the problem, just a standard "Reinstall the program and try it again." Realizing the service would not be worth the $9.99 per month, I cancelled my account and didn't look back.

Until they charged my bank account two weeks later and caused me a series of cascading overdraft fees that I've had to lodge a complaint with my bank to clear up. …

Google Loosing the Charm?

For years we've been so in love with Google. Don't deny it, a part of you smirks or even cringes when you see a colleuge searching with Yahoo or MSN. You feel better than "those hotmail kids" because you are @gmail.com. Google is at the forefront of all that is technologically good and righteous, and we just can't get enough.

I think I've had enough.

Why am I using Microsoft's Live Earth instead of Google Maps/Local (they can't seem to draw a good line between the conjoined services)? Live's Image search is enough to make Google Image look like a cheap gallery on a geocities page. YouTube consistantly provides better content than Google Video, whose saving grace is the large video size by default and that you can rent Night of the Living Dead. I'm desperately looking for something to replace Google Reader for my feed consumption, and eagerly awaiting Divmod to reopen Quotent so I can pay them to not have to use GMail anymore. Google recently lau…

Utilizing Python's Assert Statements for Compile-Time Checks

Some recent discussions around the 'net have been tossing around the ideas about static typing in python, briding static and dynamic typing in C++-like languages, and similar concepts of making static-typing more dynamic or dynamic languages more optimized in static-typing ways. Particularly, I was sparked by Michael Feather's "Set of Tests" article. There are different ways we might look into bringing those concepts to Python, and I rolled a few of them around in my head. My final mental landing was "Can we utilize the assert statement to inform the compiler about these tests that are absolute?". Of course, you probably can see how this is a lot like what assert does now, with the only difference being between run-time and compile-time being the target of the rules. This leads us to looking for where an assert could be compile-time verified and then used to optimize code. The most basic compile-time assert I can think of us "assert builtin is builtin&…

Who types correctlly?

Even the most computer-literate geeks usually do not use the "proper" methods of typing. I've not used it since keyboarding class in Jr High, myself. I am wondering, do you use the proper methods or not? Do you rest on the home row and hit the space with a thumb and never an index? I'm also wondering, has anyone taken the plunge and tried to relearn their typing skills after years of doing it the "wrong" way?

So I finally tried Google Desktop

Windows has given me the opportunity to try some things I was curious about, but unable to look into while still using Linux exclusively. Namely, the emerging market of Desktop Applet Channels, such as Google Desktop, Microsoft's Live.com, and Yahoo Gadgets. I have since tried all three of these, but I dislike all of them. I am keeping Google Desktop run for the search, photo, and news features, but I have my issues.

I had applet/gadget/whatever installation problems with all three of these, mostly related to having to install things as the Administrator but actually running the thing as a normal user. I especially found this a bad thing for Google, who I expected to be a little more security savvy.

Trying the three of these out does make me wonder about the possibility of some open initiative for something like this. It would probably be based on Python, PyXPCOM, and XUL Runner. It should not install applets, but cache them from web URLs. I would love to see something like this ta…