Tao of the Machine

Programming, Python, my projects, card games, books, music, Zoids, bettas, manga, cool stuff, and whatever comes to mind.

That geeky Macintosh

Mac OS X for Unix Geeks. Looks like an interesting book. There's also a sample chapter and this article.

Now they need to publish a book about Python on the Mac... writing Cocoa and Carbon apps, using Jython, how to run scripts, etc.

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2002-10-25 20:18:05   {link}
Categories: switch

Where to now?

Kaa 0.8 is almost ready (I expect to publish it this weekend). It has reached the point where it more or less does what I want. Sure, I can think of oodles of new features, small and large, but that doesn't take away the fact that I am reasonably content with it the way it is. It generates my blog, I have the few editing functions that I need, I can generate a custom page and archives... that's about it.

Or is it? What direction should I take? Here are some thoughts.

Q: Should Kaa be aimed at as many people as possible, or should it be more of a "niche" weblog, aimed at (Python) programmers?
This issue came up a while ago, when I got a nice patch, and after some thought decided it was redundant. The author argued that his macro was something else than embedded Python code, and made some good points. The dilemma here is: if Kaa wants to be everybody's weblogging system, then the macro is a good thing to have... but if it's mainly for Pythonistas, then such a thing is indeed redundant, because people will use embedded code instead.

Q: Should Kaa evolve into a more general content management tool?
When I say general, I mean general... I'm thinking of a system where you can associate a number of entries with a web page, to put it simply. Some will make up a blog, some will make up docs, a FAQ, etc. In other words, such a system could manage your whole site, including your weblog. Do I want it? Yes. But I'm not sure if it should grow out of Kaa, or that I should start a new project from scratch. What do Kaa users want? I don't know.

Q: Should Kaa grow lots of features, or remain simple?
It is very easy to add more and more features... and in a way, Kaa's design (with embedded Python code everywhere) encourages users to think like this. Feature X doesn't exist? Add it (whether that be some custom code, or a macro, or a patch...). On the other hand, one could also argue that because of its "scriptability", Kaa should not attempt to add too much... those who want special features, can and will write them themselves.
Personally, I don't know if it should grow so big. It's only a blogging tool, not an operating system or an editor.

If you have thoughts on this, feel free to leave a comment or send me a mail.

Anyway, I added some small thingies, like walking through the input boxes with the Tab key, and the use of a custom port when FTP'ing. (All this inspired by a mail by Alan Runyan.) Expect 0.8 soon, unless life interferes.

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2002-10-23 23:59:09   {link}
Categories: Kaa

Sounds of the past

Remember those C64 games that were no good but that you played anyway for the music? Well, I do. Chimera, for example, had great intro music by Rob Hubbard, but the game itself sucked, complete with awkward movement of your main character etc. Crazy Comets, I never played that, but the music was put in a "demo" by DCF (Dutch Commodore Freaks), IIRC.

Enter SidAmp. Doop man! Vet! A plugin for WinAmp to play SID files (for those who didn't own a C64, the SID was the C64's sound chip. It allowed for much better sound than PCs had, until SoundBlaster came along). To find SID files, consult the High Voltage SID Collection. Now you can listen to those great tunes of California Games, Comic Bakery, Chimera, BMX Kidz, Sanxion, Last Ninja, etc. etc.

Of course you can also grab an emulator of choice, grab some tape or disk images, and actually play those games. Or grab a magazine or two to put you in the mood. Some stuff I enjoyed back in the day: World Games, California Games, Hat Trick (a brilliant ice hockey game), Zolyx, Law of the West, Maniac Mansion, Zak McKracken, etc...

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2002-10-22 21:07:47   {link}
Categories: nostalgia

Why is it that...

...somehow, people's Internet activity seems to go down in the weekend? And I'm not talking about work-related Internet activity. I'm talking about weblogs, posts to newsgroups and mailing lists, etc. c.l.py newsgroup traffic, for example, takes a major hit in the weekends. That doesn't make sense. People find time to post in addition to their daily chores (whether it be work, school, etc), but in the weekend somehow they can't? I would expect a lot more traffic... I'm busy during the week, but have more time in the weekend.

Therefore I plead for more interesting weblog and newsgroup posts in the weekend. C'mon, it cannot be that hard...

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2002-10-20 12:45:04   {link}
Categories: general

CPAN for Python

Recently there have been new attempts to develop, or at discuss the development of, a CPAN-like system for Python. (Bengt Richter wants to use Google, and Andrew Kuchling uses a more conventional approach (see entry for Oct 17).)

This is a discussion that resurfaces on c.l.py every now and then, usually without much result. Sure, some people actually go and write something that can be used... but for some reason none of these tools have seen a lot of mainstream acceptance. Everybody agrees that a "CPAN for Python" would be a great thing to have, but few people want to code it, and fewer agree on what such a beast should look like. Should it "simply" be a collection of Python modules? Should it use dependencies? Should it be centralized? Should it have tools for easy installation of any module? Etc...

A year ago, I almost released my flavor of a CPAN-like system, of course heavily biased by my own preferences. (Almost, because at the same time Suchandra Thapa released "syphon", so I decided that future work on this would be pointless.) Honoring the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" adagium, I went for something very simple indeed. The idea (which, on second thought, might be much like Andrew Kuchling's) is as follows:

  • Keep a list, in a certain format, somewhere, containing data of all packages in the system, including their name, URL, author, version number, required Python version, operating systems, etc.
  • When they release new versions or new software, developers send specifications to the "catalog manager", so it can be added to the catalog.
  • All software is hosted elsewhere, by third parties, not on the server that stores the list.
  • A simple script (called retriever) downloads packages on demand. Lots of preferences can be set here... which version version (default = latest), which package version, which OS, etc. (To make the script do the "right thing" isn't as easy as it seems.)
  • Provide, if necessary, tools for easy installation, etc.
  • Anybody who wants more functionality, can add it on top of this base.
This is much like the Vaults, only it's more organized, and it should be easy to find and get the latest version of something without even opening a browser. Hmm, I wonder if something like this can be built on top of the Vaults.

Anyway, I don't even have much time for Kaa, so I certainly won't be working on this anytime soon. I don't think it's much work to hack up some simple scripts though... it will be more of a chore to get lots of packages in the catalog, and even more to train people to submit their data.

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2002-10-19 21:50:52   {link}
Categories: Python

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