Month: August 2005

  • Rob Curley Blew My Mind

    A few days back I listened to this IMA Keynote by Rob Curley on IT Conversations. It blew my mind. I started out looking for some insight in to the team behind Django, The Lawrence Journal-World,, and so on. I got a whole lot more than I had bargained for.

    If you’re involved in old media, new media, any media, or just want a glimpse of the future (I hope), please have a listen. It will be very interesting to see what happens in the next few months as Django takes flight, Rob heads to Naples (with technical backup from Eric) and Adrian telecommutes to The Washington Post

  • Nokia Smartphone Hacks

    Smartphone HacksI stumbled upon Nokia Smartphne Hacks by Michael Yuan (with foreword by Christian Lindholm) while windowshopping for books yesterday. It looks like a great book for people with a Smartphone wondering what cool stuff they can do with it. The tin cans on the cover rule. The hacks themselves are quite useful since there are so many gems buried away in these little devices. I have to admit that I knew about most of these hacks before, but there are always gems buried in these devices that you didn’t know about. I’m also far from your average smartphone user, so many people that pick up this book will find it interesting, useful, and inspiring. If you’ve got one of them there Nokia smartphones and are wondering what else you can do with it, check out this book.

  • Scuttle the Shuttle?

    It may be painful to be left without a means for Americans to get in to space (aside from bumming a ride on a Soyuz), but something needs to be done and quick. I would hate to see the shuttle fleet mothballed immediately, but that might just be the best thing for space travel in general. This AFP story on Yahoo! News puts in to words a lot of thoughts I’ve been having about the shuttle program lately.

    At this point in the game plan we’re going to be without our own means in to space between 2010 when the shuttle program finally expires and 2014, the earliest that I could imagine the CEV and cargo carriers might be ready. Here’s what NASA engineer Homer Hicham has to say:

    “The space shuttle is … never going to be reliable no matter how much money, time and engineering careers your throw at it. Let’s put the shuttle on the shelf right away and give engineers the gift of designing new ships to carry humans into space,” he said

    The current next-gen plan seems like a duct tape solution, but given the time and budget restraints I don’t see an alternative. All of this stuff is a total downer for a sci-fi geek like me, and I’m just hoping that China announces serious plans to put a man on Mars by 2020. Short of something like that I don’t see us taking space exploration very seriously at all.


  • Don’t Ask if You’re Not Going to Use It

    I was impressed that Matan had managed to get Bochs running on the PSP and thought I’d spread the word a little bit. I hopped over the Engadget and filled out their hot tip form.

    Engadget form

    They didn’t pick up on it last night so I thought they were going to take a pass on it. Lo and behold, they posted about it this morning. I checked it out hoping for a Thanks, Matt link, but no love.

    That kinda bums me out. I wasn’t expecting credit for the tip, but when I saw we’ll give you credit for the assist I thought that was pretty cool. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still look towards Engadget and others for my tech fix, but I can’t help but feel that they’re not keepin’ it real.

    Update: Hey thanks for the comment, Peter. I had a feeling that it had just fallen through the cracks or something. My bummed out thoughts have been more than cancelled out by the fact that he found his way to this lil’ ol’ blog and left a comment.

  • Bochs on the PSP

    Bochs on PSP

    Matan Gillon (Zi` to us in #mobitopia) has just released Bochs for the PSP. He has successfully run Windows 95 and command line Linux under Bochs on his PSP. It may not be zippy, but the sheer fact that it runs at all is amazing:

    Windows 95 actually runs quite well but don’t expect it to be a speed demon. It takes about 10 minutes to boot but afterwards it’s pretty usable. I was able to do things like: open “My computer” and browse the virtual hard drive, complete a whole game of Minesweeper and run various other applications. Now you too can get your Minesweeper fix on the go 🙂

  • The Enchanted Forest Lives On

    Enchanted Forest

    When I was a kid it was a real treat to make the (seemingly) long journey from Kensington to The Enchanted Forest in Ellicott City. The Enchanted Forest was a storybook theme park with rides, storybook displays, and a lot of stuff that was just magical when I was a child. These pictures take me back. Years later I was bummed to hear that it had closed down. Today there is a shopping center and parking lot covering part of the old grounds, though some of the original signage and the entrace castle remain.

    My heart was warmed when I read an article in The Baltimore Sun (registration probably required) about bits and pieces of the old amusement park being resurrected down the street at Clark’s Elioak Farm. They’re having a big party this weekend to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the park.

    I can’t tell you how much all this brings me back to my childhood. I might try to head out to the farm over the weekend to relive it a bit more and take some pictures.

  • Microcapital

    Very smart things are happening at Y Combinator. Marc at O’Reilly Radar writes:

    But what I will say is, what a great idea and a great program. At least half of the startups in the program are seriously cool and all of them made a ton of progress on very little money and in very little time.

    A little bit of funding and guidance at such an early stage has got to be a huge boost to people looking for the next big thing. While Reedit doesn’t do a lot for me, I know that whatever Aaron is working on is going to kick some major butt.

    I have a feeling that we’ll see more early microfunding ala Y Combinator in the near future, there’s such an obvious need for it. You can’t get everything right, but it will be interesting to look back at the class of Summer 2005 in a few years to see what works out and what tanks.

  • You Know Your Programming Language is Complicated When

    Java in a NutshellThis is an exercise best done at a brick and mortar bookstore. First, find yourself the Java section. Then locate the 5th edition of Java in a Nutshell, newly revised for Java 1.5. Take a close look at it. Thick, isn’t it? Now pick it up. Note that it weighs 3.2 pounds. Now thumb through it, all 1264 pages. That’s a bunch of pages.

    With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, your programming language just might be complicated when you have trouble telling the difference between its Nutshell book and a telephone book.

  • Agile Web Development with Rails

    Rails Book

    Choo Choo! My copy of Agile Web Development with Rails showed up at my doorstep like a lost kitten this evening. I’ve skimmed the beta book but it’s great to have a reference available in dead tree form. Dave, David, and the rest of the crew: you rock. Thanks so much for getting the beta book in front of our eyeballs.

  • Yahoo! News RSS Thumbnails

    I noticed that throughout the day several Yahoo! News RSS feeds that I subscribe to gained a small thumbnail on the left hand side of each entry. It really does a great job of adding a little context to the story and it’s great to have a visual aid while skimming my aggregator. Nice touch!

  • Django Markup Template Tags

    Changeset 467 contains template tags for renderingTextile (using PyTextile), Markdown (using python-markdown), and ReStructured Text (using docutils). You can find usage examples and some basic tests in

    You need to make sure that you have the correct modules installed to do the heavy lifting, but the tags are extremely easy to use:

    • {{ textile_content|textile }}
    • {{ markdown_content|markdown }}
    • {{ rest_content|restructuredtext }}
  • PyCon 2006

    AMK confirms that PyCon 2006 will be held in Dallas on Feb 23-26. I’m sad to see it leave DC, but it sounds like they’re going to get an amazing bang for the buck thanks to the hard work by the D/FW PUG. With the community agog over Django and my continuing interest in Python for Series 60, I’m going to do my best to make it there. It’ll be harder though since I can’t just hop on the metro and head downtown.

  • I Shall Call It Opera Mini

    Via JibberJim on #mobitopia, Opera has released a miniature version of its browser that does some wicked stuff. First off it should run on any J2ME-enabled phone. This increases the potential install footprint dramatically. The other thing they do is parse and render using their desktop technology on the server side, then reformat it to fit a mobile screen. The content is then sent over in Opera Binary Markup Language and displayed by the J2ME client.

    While this is the same basic technology behind WAP 1.0, Opera have definitely “done it right.” Opera Mini is currently available in Norway, but I can’t wait to see this go worldwide.

    Update: Carlo has further coverage at MobHappy.

  • Browser Options for the Nokia 770

    It looks like users will have several browser options to choose from when the Nokia 770 drops.

    Since web browsing is one of the core uses of the 770 it’s great to have so many varied options even before the device is available. While I expect the bundled Opera browser to be top notch, I have a lot of respect for both Gecko and KHTML, the little rendering engine that could. It’s really amazing to have so many options.

  • Orb Networks API

    PocketPC Thoughts points out that Orb Networks has released an Add-Ons API. They don’t seem to be promoting it on their site as far as I can tell, but it’s out there. The API itself is documented and there is an example Add-On available for download. You might also want to look at their developer forum. For now it’s a C++ on Windows thing, but the documentation does make reference to Linux and Mac versions in the works.

  • Dude, Where’s My Freehand?

    I failed to notice this the other day, but aparently Macromedia has ditched Freehand in Macromedia Studio 8. It’s still a standalone product (for now), but start getting used to other tools.

  • Welcome Home

    STS 114 Logo

    “…and Discovery is home.”

    Welcome back to Earth, STS-114.

    I can just feel the releif at Nasa as Discovery touches down.

  • Django: Tutorial 4 and RSS

    Today Adrian posted Django Tutorial 4 which covers form processing and generic views. Everyone dive in!

    In other news, if you’re looking to generate RSS using Django “the easy way,” look no further than this #django log and associated pastebin.

    As always, svn up if you haven’t in the last few hours.

    Update: The pastebin dissapeared, so here’s a transcribed version of what was in there. Typos are mine and not Adrian’s of course.

  • HTTP Headers and Django

    Andrew Brehaut has a hot tip about HTTP headers and Django:

    HttpResponse objects contain a headers dictionary, that you can easily add and remove headers from using dictionary notation

    You can read more about it and see usage examples in his post.

  • Macromedia Studio 8

    MacMerc points to Macromedia Studio 8 which includes Dreamweaver 8, Flash Professional 8, Fireworks 8, Contribute 3 and FlashPaper 2.

    It will be interesting to see what impact Adobe has had on the product line after its purchase of Macromedia. I’m a bit suprised to still see Fireworks alive and kicking, but I guess it makes sense given the level of integration and look and feel between the different Macromedia products. This may be the last independent Macromedia Studio release, but I could be dead wrong.

    There’s a lot of overlap between Macromedia and Adobe products (Indesign vs. Dreamweaver, Photoshop vs. Fireworks, etc), and I think it’s just a matter of time before some products get their red stapler taken away from them.

    From the feature tour it looks like Dreamweaver has taken some cues from InDesign with some very photoshop-esque guides. It is also great to see Dreamweaver finally start to focus on CSS-based design over table layout. It also looks like Dreamweaver is able to parse and display RSS feeds, as you can see about 3/4 through the feature tour. Interesting stuff.