Google vs Gaia

Clint I can see where you're coming from, but as it's the access to proprietary data, that is licenced, I can see exactly where google are coming from - it's not "evil", it's just data protection - it's not thier data after all, they have deals with other people for that data, there is money transferring between google and other companies for that data. The source that was being provided was misusing the data itself, though not a bad goal, it did break the EULA of the data. This is the data age - you want things to be non-evil, make the content providers open the content, don't claim $company is being evil because they're trying to keep their EULA with the content providers.

Posted: 2006-11-26 01:48 in Tech | permalink

Woo! I have a working PyLucene! (Err, and some other stuff about full text indexing).

I've been after a python library to mess with lucene indexes for a bit, we use/write a fair few things that use lucene at the backend at work, and just occasionally it would be very useful to be able to fiddle in them (read: search from the command line) without having to do the "write java, compile, test, recompile because you got something wrong, retest, and again" type loop for simple things. Using X11 Forwarding over ssh over a shared with the rest of the office 2M line to use luke on the indexes is just not fun at all! So, now that I've got pylucene compiled and know the right options (ish), and it compiles on Debian Sarge (both i386 and amd64 variants), I might just build me a package for installing on our servers so that there's an "easy" option for us sysadmin types that just need stuff that we can use, quickly, without messing about!

Semi-planning writing a luke-alike using PyLucene and the ncurses library to make it easier to diagnose/look in to the indexes on remote servers, but that's not going to happen this week!

Quite impressed with the speed though - looks fast - but then, I suppose if you compile the Java using gcj to get native code, then you can expect it to be a bit quicker than running in the vm, right? At least, that's what I'm attributing it to at the moment, well, that and python startup time is likely to be a little bit quicker than java startup time.

Also, in my travels, I found Divmod Xapwrap, which is a python library round Xapian which seems to be another (interesting) full text indexing engine. Haven't played with that yet - but could be worth a look in the future. Core library written in C++ so should be reasonably quick. The bit that I like the looks of though is:

Xapian can search across several databases as easily as searching across a single one. Simply call Xapian::Database::add_database() for each database that you wish to search through.

Which sounds very useful if you start thinking about distributing indexes across a number of machines. I've not read enough Lucene documentation to know wether you can do a similar thing there.

Right - enough of that - time to put things back together in the office and go home (again!). Hopefully tomorrow morning I won't be rudely awoken at 5.30am by someone asking a question that could have been better asked via e-mail (where "better asked" means "wouldn't have woken me up and annoyed the hell out of me because I couldn't get back to sleep", though - I did then play with some things and watched American Pie: The Wedding before heading in to the office the first time round...).

Posted: 2006-11-05 14:06 in Tech | permalink

I want one of...

These! Shiny, compact, nice. Now, who's going to buy me one? :)

Posted: 2006-10-18 09:14 in Tech | permalink

Django Packaging

Well, I've been added to the python-modules project on alioth and am looking at getting the django development in there over the next week, just need to get my head round how this works first and checkout Raphael Hertzog's repackaging of the 0.95 debs that I did in to the new python policy style. Will also need to work out what to do about different python versions, would need to call the right python depending on some setting - not sure how to do that yet - with the previous format there where just 2 different python-django packages for the 2 different versions of python, and then an alternative to point to the "right" within site-packages of the correct python directory - with the central install this is going to be more interesting. Any thoughts on this gratefully recieved to my email address (linked from the bottom of my website.

Posted: 2006-09-24 21:00 in Tech | permalink


I've been looking at getting eclim working on my laptop... haven't yet worked it out, can't get the eclimd to run as expected - it's looking very much like I might need to actually do a central install which means creating a package (stuff does not get installed on this machine in central locations unless it's packaged, hopefully for obvious reasons) so I may take some time out to package it over the next week or so. As far as Java IDEs go, eclipse is where it's at, but I don't like the UI and so, being able to use the useful bits of eclim from a text editor that I use for everything seems to me like a fantastic idea... especially now that I'm editing more Java than previously - my current dev environment it purely vim with a reasonable vimrc that sets expandtab, sw=4, ts=4 to fit with the company policy on java development - would occasionaly be useful to use eclipse to manage various things for me though - so that's why I'm looking at it (thanks for pointing me at it Joe!).

Posted: 2006-09-24 21:00 in Tech | permalink

AJAX And Accessability

MJ Ray talks about AJAX and Accessability, as much as I hate most things JavaScript, and most things on the web (it's full of bad designers, and pages that I just can't view with a text based browser... grrr ;), I have do disagree with AJAX inherently breaking accessability - that'll be bad web designers. AJAX and JavaScript are supposed to be used to enhance the user experience when run on a platform that supports it, they are not there to replace the job of the server in the first place, good web designers know this, and when they use AJAX it's to minimise data transfer when JavaScript is enabled, but otherwise everything should have safe fallbacks, ergo they're still accessable.

It's not the technology that is the problem, as usual it's the crowd of "ohh, shiny" that don't use any common sense. Fix the people, fix the web. While people are still in the "oh shiny" mindset, we're going to see more problems, it's quite simple. New technology, expecially stuff that really actually isn't new, it's just been bent in to "shape" by a bunch of people that had more time than sense and wanted a set of libraries to make sick things possible... make things simple, people use them. People use them, they use them incorrectly. It's been the way of the world for many years. Simple solution to the problem, force people to use a text based browser for a day a week - no, not w3m with javascript support, that'd be cheating... watch as the web (slowly) became a better place.

Anyways - that's my 2p on the issue.

Posted: 2006-08-29 21:00 in Tech | permalink

New Django Packages

I've been slacking a bit of late on updating the django packages - and there was a new release (0.95), so if you're using my python-django packages of 0.91, beware, the latest version has some backwards incompatible changes - you'll be wanting to look at which documents all the changes... I've also made new python-django-svn-trunk packages (guess what they follow ;), so they should be ready for use now.

Go forth people, and make the web a better place :)

Oh, packages at:

deb sarge django


deb sid django

Posted: 2006-08-13 12:42 in Tech | permalink


I got the MoinMoin parser running in django, and now have a mostly working wiki implementation using the MoinMoin parser (yay!), I ended up using the text_xml rather than text_html formatter for MoinMoin, this turned out to be a good idea, and meant that I didn't have to worry about them thar themes that get called otherwise. It still needs a few mins more work to actually make it a usable wiki, but the proof of concept worked.

Next on the list: writting a nice blog engine and moving my blog over to it rather than using pyblosxom... actually, I can do this one very trivially for a straight port of the current blog :)

Posted: 2006-05-10 22:49 in Tech | permalink


After much messing about - I've worked out how to use the MoinMoin parser in other python programs... this means that later (after I've slept) I can write a django template tag to unwiki things nicely, using MoinMoin's parser and so not invent another wiki parsing engine (hoorah!). All that I need to do now is reimplement the text_html formatter from MoinMoin in to something slightly more useable in other apps, then we'll be there. Yay! And indeed, hoopla!

I could, of course, use the text_xml formatter instead and then just do an xslt transformation on it in python... actually, that might not be such a bad idea... hmmm. I'll have to think about it :)

Posted: 2006-05-07 02:40 in Tech | permalink

python-django-svn-trunk packages

I've just created the post-magic-removal python-django-svn-trunk packages they're available from my repository for i386 and amd64 at the following deb URL:

deb {sarge,sid} django

The documentation etc is now also copied in to /usr/share/doc/python-django-svn-trunk as it should be.

I'll try to keep these upto date, but it's been rather busy recently, so they might lag a little bit.

I've not yet tested these, so if you have luck with them, it'd be nice to know, they should just work.

Posted: 2006-05-06 11:14 in Tech | permalink v1.0.2 released

Just tagged up the latest version of bpgallery which is my rather light bash script for generating static gallerys, this version fixes a couple of (minor) bugs, removes some duplication of code (to make it easier for me to maintain, and because I'm going to need to extend that part of the code for the next release), and fixes an outstanding part of the todo list (i.e. regenerate thumbnails if the required width changes). It's also added a per gallery config file option, so now putting in a file called .bpgallery.rc with the right variables in it (WIDTH, TITLE, BPGALLERY_THEME), will use that file as the last one to get settings from, overriding previous settings (well, unless they're set readonly, in which case it won't ;).

Next release should have some extra themes in the release as a demonstration, medium sized images (and the pages to go with them, and an extension to the themeing for this), next and previous 'buttons' on the autogenerated pages, and should generally just be a nice release!

Sometime I'll get round to finishing off writing the documentation for it, but until then, if you're using it and get a problem, mail me (or find me on IRC!).

Posted: 2006-04-16 14:00 in Tech | permalink

And things work!

Well, the shiny new toy (toshiba portégé R200) is now working nicely - I've got toshset working (thanks to some pointers from Noodles and in particular his blog posting about the R200. Turned out that the ACPI patch still needs applying, even to 2.6.16rc2, but after doing that I can now turn on and off the bluetooth, and mess with the lcd brightness and all those type fun things. Whee!

I suspect that I should get the Fn keys to work sometime too - ohh, at least one of them already works! The one that switches to an external display. Hmm. Would be nice if the brightness one worked, but it's not exactly hard to use toshset for it ;) Hmm, impressively, it's still quite readable with the brightness turned down to 1 of 7 :)

bounce - loving the new toy - the only issue that I've had so far, really, is that is over to the right of the spacebar - otherwise things are more or less where I'd expect them to be, and now that I've got Synaptics configured, I have my scrolly touchpad of doom and the world is a good place.

Posted: 2006-03-09 08:10 in Tech | permalink

And now...

The end is nigh! Well, it's been debootstrapped to sarge, it's been upgraded to sid, it's had the atheros driver installed, and I'm sitting typing this blog entry on it's keyboard from a shiny clean debian install! Now copying across the essentials, having already synced my mail to it...

Also installed all the laptop-foo in the world on it :) (Can't work out how to dim the screen, yet, but I'll work on that when I care about it I suspect). I suppose I should get suspend working too... hmm. Does appear to have a mostly non-broken ACPI setup though (yay!), and the screen is bright and clear.... and it's light, which is nice ;)

Oh, and it's shiny ;)

Did I mention that it's shiny? Well, it is :)

Posted: 2006-03-05 19:44 in Tech | permalink


I'm writing this from my shiny new Portégé laptop - it's currently just PXE booted with an NFS root from my other machine - but that will all soon change - now to backup the windows partition to something and then nuke it all and get debian on here properly! Wheeeeee!

Posted: 2006-03-05 10:55 in Tech | permalink

Wooo! Shiny New Toy!

Well, the Portégé R200 arrived today - and it's shiny (and light, and mostly pretty...) - so the next thing to do is remove the aboloshment that is windows xp from the thing and get me debian unstable installed on it - so, netbooting fun to come up! (or maybe boot from SD, hmm, that's possible ;)


Posted: 2006-03-02 13:06 in Tech | permalink

Bah - Humbug.

I've got the feeling that the world is against me buying the shiny new laptop - first company I placed the order with decided that I didn't exist at my address, and so that order got cancelled - second company haven't got it in stock (bah - online shopping, it sucks!). Maybe third time lucky?

Posted: 2006-03-01 10:21 in Tech | permalink

Oooops, I slipped...

the button was there, it was calling my name, I'd added a Toshiba Portégé R200 to the shopping basket, filled in 2 addresses, filled in my credit card details, and was hovering over the button... obviously I didn't really have any intention of buying it... noo... it was an accident I swear ;)

(right - so that might limit going out expenses then, and convince me that I can't afford to smoke, always the easiest way to quit - shiny new toy, no money... works ;)


Posted: 2006-02-28 20:32 in Tech | permalink

Euen Semple...

Savs asserts in "Ironic" that Euen Semple is missing a blog from his web site... well, if you follow the Contact link, you'll find that you get a link to his weblog The Obvious?.

Posted: 2006-02-09 07:44 in Tech | permalink


I wonder why Calc appears to decide that good defaults for "importing" a CSV file are to have the seperator set to tab or semicolon, and not comma... Seems odd to me, opening the file in gnumeric did exactly the right thing, without asking me anything... Opening in Calc throws up an import dialogue and expects you to know roughly what the file looks like, and the defaults are 'odd'.

Posted: 2006-01-31 12:31 in Tech | permalink

Bah... I hate blog spammers.

At 23:22 I turned the comments plugin back on on my blog... at 00:42 I'd got 1 real comment and 139 spams. Needless to say, I've turned comments off again :) I'll get round to actually fixing it sometime, until then my e-mail address is reasonably visible on my website :)

Posted: 2006-01-27 01:00 in Tech | permalink

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