misc 18 November 2008
    "Blogs Are Becoming Traditional Magazines"

    Have you noticed how more and more the headlines of the top blogs are all the same announcement at the same time? Unfortunately we're going back to the PR-firm driven news reporting that was prevalent in the era of magazines, instead of that brief but wonderful time when bloggers actually …

    misc 24 October 2008
    "Python Dot Notation Dictionary Access"

    In most cases I prefer dot notation over bracket notation for dictionary access. That is, I prefer mydictionary.myfield over mydictionary\['myflield'\]. I also prefer attempted access to undefined keys to return None instead of raising an exception.

    With the help of this thread, this is what I've been using …

    misc 22 October 2008
    "Python Scripts For Dumping Oracle Data And Loading Onto Hadoop DFS"

    There have been several requests for this, so I might as well post it here for general use. I put together a simple system for dumping data out of Oracle databases and loading onto Hadoop DFS. The slightly interesting part is the parallelism - Python's Processing library is used to dump …

    misc 20 October 2008
    "GMail Contact Groups: Add By Tag / Search"

    I'm trying to setup ad-hoc small mailing lists using GMail. They have a contact groups feature that mostly does what I need. However, the interface for adding contacts is quite limited - you pick from a list.

    It'd make a lot more sense to allow addition of contacts to groups based …

    misc 16 October 2008
    "RESTful URL Design For Search And Collections"

    I'm trying to find the appropriate design for RESTful design of URLs for search and for collections of items.

    The setup: we have two models, Cars and Garages, where Cars can be in Garages. Base URLs:

    /car/xxx           (xxx = car id)
    /garage/yyy     (yyy = garage id)

    Now we want to …

    misc 16 October 2008
    "Yahoo Live Surprisingly Good"

    I'm using Yahoo Live to get a look at the Yahoo UCSD Hack Day event, and I'm quite surprised at how well it works.

    Seeing someone's face via their webcam is an absolute waste of time, particularly on on video conference calls, but here I'm looking at a view of …

    misc 15 October 2008
    "Fremium Works If You Do It Right"

    I am an incredibly cheap bastard frugal. I don't like to pay for things.

    Yet I just paid for Flickr without hesitation or a moment of doubt. Odd.

    Here's why, I think:

    • Cheap: $25/year is not a lot of money.
    • Excellent service. I've never had a problem with the …

    misc 15 October 2008
    "Python Script For Finding And Removing Duplicate Files"

    My image, mp3, and ebook collection were a mess after years of copying to various servers, consolidating, and re-copying. I had lots of duplicates.

    I looked for an app to find and remove duplicates but surprisingly didn't find anything very good. So I had to write my own.

    This is …

    misc 15 October 2008
    "Small Biz Minimal CRM Thoughts"

    As the "computer guy" for my wife, various friends, and my own activities, I often see a need for a very simple "CRM" system. But it's not really CRM; it's more of a contact management system together with a way to send emails to various groups of friends / customers, a …

    misc 13 October 2008
    "Access Python Dictionary Keys As Properties"

    Say you want to access the values if your dictionary via the dot notation instead of the dictionary syntax. That is, you have:

    d = {'name':'Joe', 'mood':'grumpy'}

    And you want to get at "name" and "mood" via


    instead of the usual

    d['mood …

    misc 12 October 2008
    "Beanstalkd / Python Basic Tutorial"

    (First install beanstalkd and pybeanstalk)

    Beanstalkd is an in-memory queuing system. It supports named queues (called 'tubes'), priorities, and delayed delivery of messages.

    Terminology: a message is called a job, and queues are called tubes.

    Let's look at an example scenario. Say you want to create 2 tubes, one called …

    misc 12 October 2008
    "Setting Up Beanstalkd on Ubuntu for Python"

    beanstalkd is a promising in-memory queuing system in the mold of memcached (minimal configuration, just works) with client libraries in a variety of languages. The following worked for me for installing it on Ubuntu 8.04:

    mkdir ~/packages
    # pre-requisite: libevent.
    cd ~/packages
    wget http://monkey.org/~provos/libevent-1.4 …

    misc 12 October 2008
    "UCSD Hack Week: I’ll Be There"

    I'm participating in the UCSD Yahoo Hack U week this coming week (Oct 13th-17th) with a talk on Wed and hopefully sticking around through most of the actual hack day (Thurs/Fri). If you're going to be on campus let me know by emailing me ( darugar at gmail ) or leaving …

    misc 10 October 2008
    "Back Up No More?"

    My laptop suddenly stopped working, throwing me into panic - what if it's a problem with the motherboard, the same problem that killed my last laptop?

    It turned out to be the power adapter, fairly easily remedied, but it got me thinking about backups.

    I realized I actually don't have a …

    misc 10 October 2008
    "Thankful For The Stupidity of Virus Authors"

    For about a week now the network at home has been slow. Just as I'd get frustrated enough to do something about it it'd get fast again, so I procrastinated.

    Meanwhile I was cursing Time Warner, Linksys, Apple, and just about everybody else whose hardware I own. The Linksys wireless …

    misc 09 October 2008
    "Stackoverflow: Surprisingly Good Source of Technical Answers"

    Stackoverflow Logo

    Stackoverflow is a newish service for developers - ask a question, get answers, vote on answers, build reputation. Sort of like Yahoo! Answers but for developers.

    I'm surprised at how good the service is so far. I asked a question on IRC and the same question on Stackoverflow. Within 2 minutes …

    misc 07 October 2008
    "The Big Picture Adopts ReaderScroll Navigation"

    This is an excellent development - The Big Picture from boston.com, a beautiful photo blog and one of the big reasons for putting ReaderScroll together, has implemented j/k navigation, inspired by ReaderScroll. Nicely done - now you can navigate the pictures via the j/k keys.

    One down, many more …

    misc 02 October 2008

    Watching the Palin/Biden debate and the subsequent babbling by the TV talking heads has me depressed. Nothing of substance was said during the entire debate. What we witnessed was an audition for a supporting role in a B movie, not a debate between potential 2nd in commands of the …


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