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Thu, Nov. 25th, 2010, 09:18 am
Free at Last! Thank Cthulhu Almighty, I'm free at last!

I am finally free of the tyranny that is virtualenv. Don't get me wrong -- it's marvelous tool for working in multiple Python development environments that all have different requirements. For those of you not familiar with virtualenv it does all these wonderful things:
  1. allows you to install all your dependencies without being root

  2. lets you have a clean working environment with only the dependencies you need -- you don't have problems with conflicting dependencies or giving your project to someone and forgetting to mention a dependency because you previously had it installed on your machine

  3. easy uninstall -- just delete the folder

  4. adds to your geek cred

But it creates a slew of virtualenv folders that are hard to manage and can't be moved except at great cost to time and sanity (all hail Cthulhu). It also creates that annoying trail of folders that looks something like 'foo/foo/foo' (virtualenv/Django project/Django app)*.

In steps virtualenvwrapper. My Lord and Savior of the MonthCollapse )


* Okay, you can name the folders foo-env/foo-proj/foo, but that still annoys me after awhile, especially if you have long project names to begin with.

** For those of you who don't know, I now have a new job doing Python development. I'm really *squee*-ed about it. Unfortunately it involves moving halfway across the country, in exactly two weeks. Right now I'm telecommuting, planning a move, and trying to finish the contract work I picked up here in Michigan to tide me over until I found a job. Hence why I'm working (and procrastinating) on a holiday. :)

Wed, Nov. 10th, 2010, 07:47 am
Will the Women in Open Source Please Raise Their Hands: Part One

Matt Arnold and I were recently discussing the low numbers of women in the Python, Rails, and Linux communities, an issue that I've been puzzling over for quite some time. I go to a lot of Python conferences in particular, and I've noticed that the ratio of women to men is approximately 1 woman to every 40-50 guys -- and at least a handful of those women are non-tech girlfriends or wives, as opposed to women who are there for the conference itself.

Now it's true that women are overwhelmingly underrepresented in tech fields in general. But open source technical convention turnouts are incredibly dismal even for the computing world. Women only comprise about 1.5% of OSS developers, whereas they make up one fifth to one quarter of the proprietary work force. From a personal standpoint, I see far more women when I've gone to Microsoft events, or even when I've done volunteer programming sprints with Java/C#/etc., much closer to the ratios I see in the real world.

Even when I've gone to "women in computing" type conferences where 99% of the attendees are female, almost everyone I meet uses Windows, Sun Java, Visual Basic, C++ and C#.

So I'm going to attempt to synthesize a few of the articles I've read, discussions I've had, as well as personal experiences, into an answer to the question: Why are there so few women in open source relative to the rest of the computer programming world?

A Brief Survey of Potential AnswersCollapse )

To Be Continued...

Fri, Oct. 29th, 2010, 08:25 am
Plugging Today! (Location: Phone)

I have a tendency to have my phone die on me because I forgot to charge it properly. So I set up a bi-weekly reminder on my Google calendar to notify me by email when I need to do the task.

Google calender generally tries to be helpful: when I enter certain phrases like 7p-8p it automatically converts that to a 7:00pm-8:00pm timeslot on my calendar, and it tries to auto-detect the location when I use certain prepositions like "at" (e.g., "Gaming at Joe's house" or "Breakfast at Cthulhu's"). Today I noticed a rather amusing biproduct of this helpfulness. Here's my calendar entry:

Plug in phone
WhenFri Oct 29 8am – 8:30am Eastern Time
Wherephone (map)

It makes me feel like I'm a mob boss with someone I apparently need to handle appropriately this morning. :D

Fri, Aug. 13th, 2010, 01:27 pm
Twitter for Computer Geeks

I've never much been into Twitter -- I barely keep up with my normal text messages, let alone read and post the micro-thoughts of myself and others.

But today as I was working on my final project for class and submitting a commit to my repository, I realized I do Twitter, just in a geekier way. My commit logs, particularly those in repositories that I don't share with anyone, are littered with comments on my mental state at the time:
"Finished RwModel.py. I hate this project.

"Debugging display_warnings(). Warning: Brain about to explode"

"Tested CRUD. OMFG it's working! Yay!"
Hmmm...perhaps I'd use Twitter more often if I could create a hook to send Tweets from Subversion or Git. ;P

Fri, Jul. 16th, 2010, 08:56 pm
Mind fsck

I've had more computer problems in the last week in relation to my server than I can count. This last 18 hours have been spent dealing with DNS woes -- I don't currently host my own DNS, but I hope to after my DNS provider went down last night and still isn't back up. :S This is particularly irksome because I'm on a very tight deadline with one of the development projects I'm working on...

But that's not what I'm here to blag about. I'm here to blag about a very geeky moment of *whoa* that has been a great moment of stress relief. I do most of my work on my server remotely -- I sit in bed or in a comfy chair or 2000 miles away, and I use my laptop terminal to connect to my server.

So today I was testing some server settings, and I was logged into my server from my laptop. Then from the server's login I logged back in remotely to my laptop (so it was a laptop->server->laptop connection). Then I forgot which terminal was for just my laptop, and instead used the laptop-server-laptop connection to log back into my server -- I now had a laptop-server-laptop-server connection.

In a moment of Keanu-Reaves-whoa, I realized that it could (in theory) go on forever until I ran out of RAM or did something else to bork one of the computers. It was like standing between two digital mirrors going out into infinity.

Okay, not that exciting for most people, but I've had a long day. :D

Wed, Jul. 7th, 2010, 12:31 pm
48-Hour Film Pimp

In about 2 1/2 weeks time (July 23-25), I'm going to be participating in the Detroit 48-Hour Film Project. Imagine a weekend of sleepless creativity: teams of filmmakers are given a genre, a character, and a prop and asked to write, film, and edit a short movie in the span of about two days.

Our group is called "Brain Baby Productions", and I'm putting out a call for anyone who might be interested in acting, working on the technical crew, acting as a gopher or transportation, helping in the post-production editing, or helping us get access to interesting locations to shoot a film. For roles like voice-over work or music writing/performance help, you don't necessarily have to be in the Ann Arbor/Detroit area.

Drop me a note if you're interested -- there's no obligation if you just want to sit on a "I might be up for it if I have free time that weekend" list. For actors/gophers/crew, we'll most likely need you on Saturday, and post-production help on Sunday. :)

And now for more pimping: Will Cole, the person acting as director for the 48-Hour Film Project team, recently made a music video for a local band, The White Ravens, who will also be helping us in creating music for the project. Enjoy!

Mon, Jul. 5th, 2010, 01:54 pm
Everything I Learned About Web Programming...

I'm currently undertaking my first completely professional web design contract -- not helping out friends for pocket change and favors, not designing for a non-profit organisation, but producing for a local company for a modest fee. I'm happy with what I've done so far, but I'm ready for the project to be done because of the various kinks and complications that come with not knowing the terrain of a contractor.

I learned from IE6Collapse )

Sun, Jul. 4th, 2010, 12:46 pm
How to Fight the Deep Ones

Scenario 1: you're staying at the Innsmouth hotel and you find your room surrounded by fish people.

Scenario 2: you've just made yourself up some frozen fish nuggets (about the same compositional quality as chicken nuggets, just with some unidentifiable sea critter)

What do these scenarios have in common? A severe need for tartar sauce! But chances are, if you're like most people, you probably don't carry the stuff on your person or in your fridge or if you do have it, it's probably of questionable age because you use it so infrequently.

Never fear! This recipe will help you make a reasonable substitute in a pinch! You need:
pickle relish

And that's it. Mix them together (I like a more relish-heavy sauce, so I use about 1 part mayonaise to about 1/3-1/2 parts relish, but you'll have to experiment). You're now ready to combat the Deep Ones. :D

Sun, Jul. 4th, 2010, 09:10 am
Miscellany and Updates

First things first: thanks to help from several generous people, I now have the funds to pay for classes! I can still use a job here and there to help cover semester expenses, but for right now I'm focused on knowledgy-type things. :D

Hardware joys and OS woes...Collapse )

And now the lessons learned:

-- I learn about Linux because it is like a best friend that I can't help but want to get to know better.

-- I learn about Mac because it is like the annoying aunt who spit-washes your cheeks even when you're an adult, makes you put on a dress, and asks you why you haven't found a good man yet. I learn just enough to avoid the problem buttons, but I'd like to confine my interactions to the computing equivalent of family holidays and funerals.

-- I learn about Windows because it is like my bitter enemy that I enjoy making kneel down before me and listening to it squeal. Bwahahahaahaha! Unfortunately I can't do away with it yet, as it seems to be a necessary evil in my life.

Mon, May. 10th, 2010, 10:06 am
Mercenary for Hire

I have one more class to finish before I have my degree (*huzzah!*), and it's being offered in July and August. Unfortunately, it looks like I'm going to be a bit short on the funding, and McDonald's doesn't seem to want me no matter how much I hide my resume...so I'm officially offering myself as a mercenary for hire.

Have a nasty monstrosity of a garage that you want to tame or need a valiant soul to help you move furniture? Need to slay demon on your Windows box, or solve a Linux quest? Want a techno-mage to conjure you a personal web page or spruce up your MySpace? Need a scribe to type up your documents or want a Cinderella who will cook, clean, or sew garb for you? Or perhaps you just want to laugh at me while I tap dance in a chicken suit? (Note: chicken suit not provided)

Then I'm the mercenary for you! For 10 gold coins of the realm (USD) you can have my brawn and my brains at your service for a turn of the hour-glass. Act now to reserve your all-purpose mercenary!

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