Comments working again

9 PM April 29, 2006

Due to rectification of a “technical error”, it is possible to leave comments on this weblog.

Blogspammers, please disregard the above message.

By alang | # | Comments (1)
(Posted to Stuff)

Why Is It So? - video

10 PM April 24, 2006

The ABC has put up video excerpts of Why Is It So?, the science program with Professor Julius Sumner Miller. It ran for 23 years, from 1963 to 1986.

With mad-scientist hair and a voice that’s part Dalek, part preacher, Sumner Miller is strangely inspiring as he bounds around his lab. I was particularly taken with this short lecture:

Whatever work you undertake to do in your lifetime it is very important that first you have a passion for it – you know, get excited about it – and second, that you have fun with it – that’s important. Otherwise, you see, your work becomes nothing but an idle chore, and you hate the life you live.

Do you think I have fun with physics? Oh yes! You know that.

—From the first of the ABC‘s video excerpts, Have Fun With Physics.

By alang | # | Comments (0)
(Posted to Stuff)

Another Weblog Overhaul

10 AM April 22, 2006

Inspired by Ian Bicking’s article, A Do It Yourself framework, I’ve replaced this weblog’s CherryPy-0.10 application server with a home grown one, stitched together from WSGI components.

The overhaul took about thirty hours, from working out how to download these new-fangled egg thingies1, to being ready to upload the new server to In that time, I was able to learn WSGI and implement an app server framework, upgrade pysqlite, textile and Cheetah, make some much-needed changes to the weblog administration interface, and delete five months worth of blogspam. This is not so much a testament to my l33t python sk1llz, as it is to the quality of these packages and technologies.

The current technology stack is:

  1. Python PasteWSGI components
  2. RoutesURL interpretation
  3. CheetahHTML templating2
  4. textileHTML generation
  5. PySQLite – DB-API driver and database engine.
  6. dateutil – Relative date deltas3

This is the second time I’ve overhauled my weblog software. The first was a move from from Twisted to CherryPy. Back then, I made a point of stating that I thought Twisted had lots of good things going for it, but that it just wasn’t a good tool for building a weblog. I can’t say the same thing this time: CherryPy is a great tool for building a weblog. The only reason for moving away from CherryPy was to explore WSGI.

I’m glad I did because WSGI is fun. The API is small and convenient, and provides raw access to much of the HTTP environment. It doesn’t impose many design decisions on application code, yet allows components to work together . So far, each Paste component I have used has met Ian Bicking’s usual high standards and worked exactly as advertised.

That’s about it for now. I hope to fill in some more detail later.


1 I know Paste isn’t for n00bs, but some proper “quick-start”
instructions that begin with a pointer to “ez_install”: would be nice.

2 The latest version of which has a very nice footnote function.

3 I wish dateutil.relativedelta was part of the standard library.

By alang | # | Comments (1)
(Posted to Stuff, Software Development and Python)

We're Back!

9 AM April 21, 2006

Late last week, my stopped working. Despite

several attempts at restarting the software, a combination of 5500 pieces of blogspam and the single-threaded main server program ensured that the blog was inaccessible to most people, most of the time. This was bad.

Since then, the blogspam has been deleted, the server software rewritten, and we’re back in business. Hooray!

By alang | # | Comments (2)
(Posted to Stuff, javablogs and Java)
© 2003-2006 Alan Green