Month: September 2003

  • Bluetooth Headsets

    Dealmac links to the BlueTrek Bluetooth headset, which is currently $40US after rebates ($100US before).  Erik managed to find a favorable review of it at MobileBurn.  You can also pick up the JibberJim approved Jabra model for $75US.

    Now we’re talking!

  • LaptopLocation

    My laptop was last spotted near Memphis, TN.

    Go FedEx, go!

    Update: Dulles, baby!

  • Kses: A PHP HTML/XHTML Filter

    While trawling the depths of mailing lists this evening, I stumbled upon this new release:

    kses is an HTML/XHTML filter written in PHP. It removes all unwanted HTML elements and attributes, and it also does several checks on attribute values. kses can be used to avoid Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), Buffer Overflows and Denial of Service attacks.

    The current version (0.2.1) is mostly a bugfix release.  This looks like a good package to wrangle mangled HTML/XHTML and should be helpful in avoiding those pesky HTML/XHTML script kiddies.

  • Sun: Something Up Their Sleeve?

    CNet reports that Sun announced heavy losses today.  In a seperate report, CNN Tech reports that Sun is ready to announce a new breed of processors that could be up to 100 times faster than current chips.  The article is not technical, but promises major improvements of semiconductor to chip and chip to chip communications.

    Sun might be able to recoup some money by renting out their IP:

    Sun already holds seven patents on the new design and will seek to capitalize on them commercially, a Sun spokesman said.

    If they take the IP rental route, they won’t even have to manufacture chips in order to make money.  They could definately use a fincancial breakthrough, and this might be it.

  • Is My 3650 Obsolete? (or Here Comes the 3660?)

    Mobiletracker confirms rumors from Mobile Burn (as much as said rumors can be confirmed).  The Nokia 3660 is possibly on its way, replacing the 3650.  There will also be a gimpy version for the US called the 3620.

    The only obvious difference is the still funky yet closer to normal keypad.

    Users can only hope for MIDP 2.0 and sockets that work.  I’ll be crossing my fingers.

  • Broadband Bandwidth Limitations

    Alan Green has to watch what he downloads each month.  Luckily he has a couple of gigs left over at the end of this month so he can download a few extra things.  I downloaded The Fanimatrix without a second thought this morning (using BitTorrent of course).  It’s not uncommon for me to download the latest release of a bootable Linux distro and not checking it out until the next release is out.  Of course I can’t use the old version, I’ve got to download the new ISO!

    In the land where SUVs rule, we take unlimited banwidth over broadband for granted.  How much longer is it going to last?

  • My New Laptop: HP ze4330us

    Last night I ordered a new laptop from HP.  Erik was hoping that I’d pick up the widescreen eMachines M5312, but after playing with it in the store, something just didn’t feel right about it to me.

    I picked up the HP ze4430us, which is toward the higher end of HP’s ‘just around $1000’ range of notebooks.  It has a Mobile Athlon XP 2400+ (1.8GHz) processor with 512k of cache (Barton, baby!).  I’m an AMD guy at heart (though I’ve got a good bit of Intel gear), so I went for the Mobile Athlon over the Celeron 2GHz that seemed to be in most of the laptops in my price range.

    It’s really amazing how much laptop you can get for just over a grand nowadays.

    Rounding out the specs, it’s got a non-widescreen 15 inch display, 512 megs of RAM (2×256 of course), an ATI Mobility chipset with 64 megs of shares memory, a 40 gig drive (perfect for running multiple operating systems) and built-in 802.11g (Broadcomm chip) with a little button to turn it on and off.  It’s only got one PCMCIA/Cardbus slot, but it seems like that’s the way budget notebooks are heading.  It’s got the usual required USB ports (for my bluetooth dongle!) as well as a firewire port, along with various other connections.

    I have not found any showstoppers about this model yet, though in an ideal world my laptop would have built in Bluetooth.  Until Broadcomm 802.11g support is added to Linux, I’m going to have to use a PCMCIA card for Wi-Fi under Linux.  Wide screens are the new geek chic, but besides the eMachines laptop, most of the widescreens cost at least a little bit more.

    From a quick search, it looks like at least SuSE will run on this particular model, and once the laptop arrives (hopefully Wednesday) I’ll see which distros will take.

  • Cracking Roundup Gromit!

    Weekend Roundup:

    • Hans Nowak shares his “dead simple” options parsing system in Python.
    • You know that you’re a geek when your snooze bar is ‘snooze’ at the command line.
    • Boing Boing links to a pdf file of a paper covering the google file system.  It’s mind boggling fun.
    • John Robb notes that Ray Ozzie is looking for web services wizards to work at Groove.  They’ve got to have something big, as there is already a great team there working on web services stuff.
    • Root Prompt points to a Linux Planet review of a turnkey MySQL server running on hardware by Pogo Linux.  Now even PHB’s can run MySQL…
    • Jenny points to the new Wallace and Gromit game for PS2.  Cracking console game, Gromit!
    • Mark Pilgrim has released Dive Into Python v4.3.
  • Samba 3.0.0 Released

    Via f8dy, Samba 3.0.0, the version we’ve all been waiting for, has been released.  The Samba 3.x branch contains Active Directory support along with a host of other improvements.

    Way to go, Samba team!

  • __magic__ Variable Conventions

    Via PythonWare’s Daily Python-URL, Alan Green covers module level __magic__ variables in Python.  I’ll have to admit that I knew about some of them and was clueless about others.  For example, __dict__ is a module global read-only dictionary.  You can also explicitly set the public names of a module with __all__.

    I’m guilty of using several __magic__ veriables that aren’t explicitly defined in the language reference.  Most came from looking at the source code of third party Python modules, particularly those by Mark Pilgrim.  If it’s good enough for Mark, it should work for me, right?  Here’s a list of __magic__ variables that you’ll commonly find in modules written by myself and others:

    • __license__: String.  Useful for identifying the license of the code.  Examples: “GPL”, “LGPL”, “BSD”, etc.
    • __history__: String.  Excellent for keeping track of changes between versions.  Similar to a changelog.txt file.  See Mark’s feedparser for an example.  This works for me, but could get out of hand for larger modules with multiple authors.
    • __copyright__: String.  Copyright info goes here.  I’ve also seen llicense info here (for example xmltramp by Aaron Swartz).

    Are there other useful but unofficial __magic__ variables that are useful?  Email me and I’ll append them to the list.  Would it be worthwhile to compile a list of commonly used but unofficial variables into a PEP?  It would be excellent if pydoc took advantage of this extra information.

  • Python 2.3.1

    Python 2.3.1 has been released:

    Python 2.3.1 is a bugfix release of Python 2.3. No new features have been added. Instead, this release is the result of two months of bug hunting. A number of obscure bugs that could cause crashes have been fixed, as well as a number of memory leaks.

    Excellent.  I remember reading on python-dev that they were trying to push 2.3.1 out the door pretty quickly, and here it is.  Thanks again to the Python developers and bug squashers for all the hard work.

  • Roundup: Athlon64, G5, Wireless, Java, Python, Storage, and Design (Oh My!)

    I really need to automate this:

    • CNet: AMD is set to unveil the Athlon64 tomorrow.  Meanwhile, Athlon XP prices are becoming more and more attractive.
    • Emmanuel needs more memory.  Don’t we all?
    • Macworld has more coverage of Virginia Tech’s G5 supercomputer.  Hopefully the cluster will be up and running by October 1 so they can make the next Top500 list.
    • Newsforge covers the ratification of SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) 1.1.
    • They’re having problems with Linux on Opteron over at OSNews.  Hopefully Linux on x86-64 will be ready for primetime soon.  The desktop chips are coming.
    • Wi-Fi Networking News reports that Boston-Logan aiport will have Wi-Fi by next summer.  When will they be done with the Big Dig?
    • Clustered JDBC 1.0beta11 is out.  There are lots of fixes in this release.
    • Python releases:
      • pyTerra allows you to download images from Terraserver the Python way.
      • Twisted 1.0.7 is out, along with 1.0.8alpha2.
      • PyTables, a “hierarchical database for Python” turns 0.7.2 today.
    • Wei-Meng Lee at the O’Reilly DevCenter shows us how to share files with Bluetooth under Windows XP.
    • Jabber news: JEP-0079: Advanced Message Processing is nearing its final version.
    • CNet notes that Network Appliance is selling cheap storage gear: starting around $10k.
    • Zeldman has a design-related roundup today.
    • CGI:IRC rocks (thanks to Frank for the link).  There’s another thing that I can do in any browser now.
  • Catchup Roundup

    I’ve lost some links over the long weekend with and without power.  Here’s what I’ve gathered this morning:

    • Linux on the WRT54G 0.2: put the penguin on your access point.
    • El Reg: G4 iBook? (via #mobitopia)
    • Rawdog, my current RSS aggregator or choice, has been updated to version 1.3.
    • Dealnews: An intel gigabit PCI card for $33.  Not bad at all.
    • Via OSNews, informIT covers installing and using GCC under Linux.  There are examples of compiling ASM, Objective C, Java, and others with GCC.
    • Noble Ape Simulation “creates a random island environment and simulates the ape inhabitants of the island’s cognitive processes.”
    • Reuters/Washington Post: “Galileo Probe Ends in Deliberate Dive”
    • CNN covers Swen, the latest email worm.  I’ve had a few in the last couple of days.  Symantec has more information.
    • The 2004 Nissan Quest is a sweet minivan.  3.5 litre V6, agressive styling (for a minivan), sunroofs galore, dual-screen display in the back (for $1900).  Prices range from $24k base to $38k tricked  out.
    • PyBackend 0.1 is “a relational database backed object development framework written
      in python and released under GNU Library General Public License.”
    • Knoppix STD is based on Knoppix with a focus on security tools.
  • Post-Hurricane

    My box at home was down from Thursday afternoon until late yesterday evening due to a power outage.

  • Pre-Hurricane Roundup

    Here is a pre-hurricane roundup for you:

  • PC Expo: A Poor Showing

    Janak Parekh at PocketPC Thoughts went to PC Expo at the Javits Center in New York.

    Janak took some pictures to show exactly how little of the show floor was occupied.  It’s pathetic.

    It’s sad, really.  I used to enjoy a quick roadtrip up to New York City in order to fondle the latest gadgets and tech.  I’m really glad that I decided not to go this year.

    Update: PCWorld has a brief roundup of mobile tech.

  • Hurricane Isabel

    From the 11pm public advisory:


    It’s going to be a long couple of days.  More information can be found at NOAA‘s National Hurricane Center.

  • Digital Rebels In Stock!

    According to Imaging Resource, Ritz Camera has Digital Rebel SLRs in stock.

    I knew that Canon had ramped up to get the Digital Rebel out the door as quick as possible, but this is impressive.  They’re set up to slaughter the holliday digital-SLR market.  There really isn’t anything out in the same price range.  The closest you can get are cameras like the Nikon D100, Fuji FinePix S2, or Pentax *ist D, but these are professional-level models.  The Digital Rebel is for soccer moms and dads.

  • OETrends Roundup

    From the recent Open Enterprise Trends newsletter:

  • Jabber 2.7: Corporate Messaging

    Jabber Press Release:

    Jabber, Inc., the leading developer of open architecture for enterprise-and carrier-class presence-enabled communications, including instant messaging (IM), today announced the general availability of the 2.7 release of Jabber™ XCP (eXtensible Communications Platform), Jabber™ Messenger, and Jabber™ WebClient.

    I’ve used the free Jabber client since I started dabbling in XMPP.  The version I used was not quite as complete as others, but it was clean, solid, and “just worked.”  I’ll definately be taking a look at the new client.

    It looks like 2.7 has some major improvements on the server side too, catering mostly to corporate clients.  If you’d just like to tinker with a Jabber/XMPP server, has an excellent list of open source server implementations.

    Pertinent links: Jabber Messenger client, Jabber Platform, Extensible IM and Jabber Web Client.