I got to blog about PyCon Australia already, but then the time in between the other conferences was just a bit too hectic to blog.
The Pythonistas of New Zealand are amazing. I met more Twisted devs than I've ever met in my life, attended tons of hardcore Python talks by women, and ones by men too, and learned all sorts of new things. I was also blown away by the hospitality of the conference organizers, particularly Tim McNamara and Richard Shea.
I got to attend with several of the LA PyLadies as well as others whom I knew online through IRC #pyladies and the PyLadies Sponsorship Program. Hanging out in the unofficial PyLadies welcome suite was more fun than should be allowed :)
The DjangoCon US organizers (Sean O'Connor and Steve Holden) let us get away with tons of things, including selling "Djangsta" shirts to benefit PyLadies and setting up a PyLadies welcome table beside the registration desk.
I attended and spoke at the first ever PyCodeConf, a new kind of Python conference with a radically different format. Speakers are invited to speak about whatever they desire relating to the theme ("The Future of Python"), in front of a room of round tables. In between talks there are long breaks to encourage discussion. As a result, talks are edgier, and you really get to know people and possibly shape the future together.
I gave a talk about how third-party package ecosystems either form and flourish or don't form, depending on various factors. I brought up packaging patterns and anti-patterns seen in the Python package ecosystem as well as those of other languages.
This was a conference with a superstar lineup, including many notable woman speakers whom the organizers went out of their way to invite. It was very thoughtfully planned by the organizers of CodeConf and JSConf (Tom Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath, and Chris Williams), and the attention to detail really showed.
The informal chats and bonding during the after-hours parties made this conference especially worthwhile. There's something special about talking to other developers while you're in a 14th floor swimming pool.
Overall it was thrilling to get my thoughts out there and try to inspire people all over the world. It was also quite nerve-wracking and stressful, but I'm glad I did it.
I learned tons and am already applying much of that knowledge directly to projects at work at Cartwheel Web. If your employer doesn't already send you to Python conferences, you should ask to be sent. You come back with experiences, connections, and knowledge that are priceless.
(I've got Django 1.2, Pinax 0.9a1)
Enter "yourdomain.com" when it asks you for it. There, now you have your own SMTP server.
Add something like this to your settings.py so that outgoing mail comes from postfix.
DEFAULT_FROM_EMAIL = 'Your Site <firstname.lastname@example.org>'
EMAIL_BACKEND = 'django.core.mail.backends.smtp.EmailBac
EMAIL_USE_TLS = True
EMAIL_HOST = 'localhost'
EMAIL_HOST_USER = 'email@example.com'
EMAIL_HOST_PASSWORD = ''
EMAIL_PORT = 25
EMAIL_SUBJECT_PREFIX = '[Your Site] '
If your site uses Django but not Pinax, you're done. To test it, restart Apache or touch your wsgi file, then enter the following 2 lines in a "python manage.py shell" (I hope you're in your virtualenv) at the prompt:
from django.core.mail import send_mail
send_mail('Subject here', 'Here is the message.', 'firstname.lastname@example.org', ['email@example.com'], fail_silently=False)
...and if you got an email in your "firstname.lastname@example.org" account, you're all set.
Option 1: Shrinking the PNG into a smaller PNG
Most optimal: very crisp outsides of 90% of fries, with fully cooked
middles. Only about 10% burnt. I wish I had a final photo of these
ones. You won't find any sweet potato fries as good in any
1. Slice a sweet potato into fries of variable length x 5/8" width x
2. Soak uncooked fries in water for 30-45 min.
3. Bring salt water to a boil, then add fries and boil them for 7-10
min or until tender enough to eat.
4. Drain cooked fries and transfer to a pan containing 3 tbsp hot
olive oil. Cook on low heat roughly 10 min or until they transform
from floppy to crisp, flipping as needed.
Very delicious and interesting low-fat, extra-sweet (due to
caramelization in oven not added sugar), chewy fries:
1. Same as above.
2. Same as above.
3. Coat baking sheet with olive oil spray. Lay uncooked fries in a
single layer on baking sheet. Coat top surface of fries with another
light layer of olive oil spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Bake at 250 F for 2 hours.
Far less tasty variations:
Pan-frying the fries without boiling them first results in crisp but
40% burnt fries. The fries' insides take longer to cook through,
leaving the outsides to burn in the meantime.
Pan-frying over medium-high heat rather than low heat results in 66%
burnt, 34% undercooked fries. Burnt fries still taste great, but they
could be far greater.
Baking fries at 375-400 F for 40 min without any pre-soaking results
in well-cooked but non-crispy fries. They become floppy and fall
apart from their mushy floppiness. They taste great, especially when
eaten with a fork like typical oven-roasted vegetables. In contrast,
regular potato fries cooked in this way become crispy.
I don't know if the 30-45 min of soaking makes a noticeable difference.
Smaller sweet potatoes are easier to handle while slicing.
With a couple more clicks, you can turn an S3 bucket into a CloudFront
bucket. Then, the bucket can be used as a simple content delivery
network. I pointed http://cdn.fuzzyrainbow.com to my CloudFront
bucket by editing my GoDaddy control panel cname settings for
You'd be able to use the S3/CloudFront bucket as-is as a static web
server if it weren't for Amazon's inability to serve default index
pages. I fiddled with S3, CloudFront, and GoDaddy for a bit, but I
couldn't get http://www.fuzzyrainbow.com to automatically serve
My quick solution to this was to install Nginx on my VPS to serve the
default index page and the .js files. I put those files into a
directory on my VPS and edited my nginx.conf to serve those files.
The images and stylesheets linked from index.html are retrieved from
http://cdn.fuzzyrainbow.com, my fancy little CDN.
I've put up the files for http://www.fuzzyrainbow.com here:
First I tried out the OpenSocial Python Client library samples and the
Google Friend Connect Chow Down sample. I didn't fully understand
what was going on, but I saw that I'd need a consumer key & secret.
(I just learned about GFC yesterday and am still trying to figure out
what it can and can't do.)
I created my own gadget.xml, uploaded it to a server, and added it to
my Orkut sandbox profile page. I verified my ownership of gadget.xml
with Google's "Gadget Ownership Verification" tool, at
Orkut gadget consumer key and secret.
Then, I discovered some interesting info here:
1. Orkut only supports 2-legged OAuth.
2. A 3rd party site containing no gadget needs to use 3-legged OAuth
to retrieve a user's Orkut profile data.
What is 3-legged OAuth? For example: your website has a "Login with
Twitter" link that sends you to Twitter for approval, upon which
Twitter sends you back to your website with an access token.
In contrast, a 2-legged OAuth example: your Orkut (or Hi5, Ning,
MySpace, whatever) gadget requests data from your own personal API
server, for use in the gadget itself. In this case, your gadget uses
a shared secret from the OpenSocial container to sign its requests.
I guess I have 3 options now:
1. Give in and have everything live inside of an Orkut gadget
2. Create an Orkut gadget that pushes my profile data to my server and
then sends me to my website
3. Switch to another OpenSocial container that supports 3-legged OAuth
(if any exist) or to another social media site that has it (Twitter?
maybe Facebook Connect?)
To be continued...
I won the Twilio+AppEngine contest with Price It By Phone, an app that lets you look up Amazon.com book prices by touch-tone phone. Right now it's up and running at http://price-it.appspot.com.
If you try it and run into problems, please let me know!
My interview with Twilio is here.
I like the Twilio API a lot. It's the easiest-to-use API imaginable. You set up your Twilio phone number with a URL to post to. Then, when you call the phone number, Twilio sends a POST request to that URL with the caller phone # and the digits entered as parameters.
They have a Twilio-AppEngine sample among their demo apps. This is awesome. As you can see, I'm back to really liking GAE again, a lot.
I'm putting a bit more time into Price-It and hoping to launch v2 soon. Features that I want to put into it for sure: support for ISBNs with Xs and any other chars that appear in them, user accounts, verifying your phone # before you're allowed to see your book lookup history, being able to delete your history. Possible features to be added: integration with Amazon wish list, FB connect.
Also, I want to make it look web2.0 shiny, with cute illustrations and bright, designed gradients. Yes, I know that the dark, trippy background doesn't have mass appeal. Sometimes I make art for the sake of making myself happy :) View the page's source code to see how it's done.
If you have other feature ideas, I'd be interested in hearing them.
Earlier this week I had the chance to visit some of the galleries in Manhattan's East Village/Lower East Side.
My favorite by far was Gallery Satori. They have a main space and a project space (i.e. a side mini-gallery). The main space is currently filled with large mixed-media sculptures by Benjamin S. Jones. I was instantly drawn to these pieces, which look like exploding, radiating architectural models. One piece has graphic foam arrows flying out of it, and another is like a sea urchin of high-rise and smaller buildings.
Watch on posterous
In their project space is a series of "found-media" videos by Jeremiah Teipen. The videos are extravagant collages of bits and pieces of video and animation from the web. Teppen's biography refers to his pieces of "pure visual gluttony," a description that I thought was vividly perfect. He takes the most gluttonous parts of the web (e.g. MySpace comment "bling" graphics) and scrolls them across his video pieces. It is a bit hard to describe. The videos remind me of Jeff Koons' work. You really should see them while they're up at Satori if you can.
Watch on posterous
I like how Gallery Satori shows artwork that teeters on the edge of being too uncomfortably experimental. In contrast, for the most part the other Lower East Side galleries were either too conservative or over the deep end of experimental. I was also very impressed with the artwork's presentation, in a way that I don't know how to explain. It just felt right.