fun

Hello from BarCampBoston

Hello from BarCampBoston

Paul Bissex
Greetings from Boston – specifically, BarCampBoston. My first “unconference”. Nerds galore. The format is (mostly) half-hour talks from attendees on whatever subjects interest them – as long as other attendees have also expressed interest. It’s all tracked on a big board in the lobby. So far I’ve been in discussions involving localization, designing for technophobes, cloud computing, physics simulation in games, and Lisp. The level of interactivity is high – as is the collective expertise brought by the participants.
To Infinity Ultra and Beyond

To Infinity Ultra and Beyond

Paul Bissex
flashlight This post is not about any of my usual software or hardware topics, but it still is nerdy. The flashlight. Parliament’s classic song on the subject tells us that “everybody’s got a little light under the sun.” It’s good to have a little light, especially when the sun isn’t around. But some little lights are better than others. The best thing that has happened to flashlights in recent years, especially little ones, is the rise of the LED.

Pocket Django

Paul Bissex
At the Western Mass. Developers Group meeting this week I showed a few people some of the unixy fun you can have with a (jailbroken) iPod touch and the Cydia package manager. Cydia is a port of Debian’s APT system to the iPhone platform – i.e. it’s a real package manager. It made it a snap to install Python, Mobile Terminal, Mobile Text Edit, Subversion, etc. This is the toolset that has allowed me to even do some work on the book as I mentioned in my last post.

Python one-liner of the day

Paul Bissex
This is a function that takes an integer and returns its ordinal representation, e.g. “1st” for 1 and so on. It’s not the most readable thing, but once I saw the pieces falling into place I couldn’t help myself. Repetition of the “th” literal is the only thing that bugs me. Oh well. ord_text = lambda n: "%d%s" % (n, "th" if 10 < n % 100 < 14 else {1:"st", 2:"nd", 3:"rd"}.

History lesson

Paul Bissex
This has been going around – give people a peek at what commands you run most often. I ran this on my server, where I spend most of my shell time: > history|awk '{a[$2]++} END{for(i in a){printf "%5d\t%s\n",a[i],i}}'|sort -rn|head 103 hg 81 cd 67 ll 29 ./manage.py 23 ab 21 re-ap 17 hgup 14 svn 13 cat 12 ls Notes: Mercurial has pushed my use of Subversion way down.