Tao of the Machine

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


More and more sites seem to adopt this annoying habit. They used to be freely accessible, but all of a sudden they require registration. Algemeen Dagblad, for example, and Technology Review. One-time registration, they say. As opposed to what? Registering every time you visit their site? You have to log in every time though. Now that is not so bad, but it's yet another item on my already way too long list of logins and passwords.

The list is long because these days every stupid site asks for them. Some password protection exists for good reason: Ebay, PayPal, my Internet account, some servers for work, Sourceforge, CVS. Other cases seem gratuitous. Because of this, I have to write down all my user names and passwords, which is a no-no for security reasons, but it can't be helped. There are too many of them to remember, and using the same login/password every time is even more of a risk.

So my new rule is, I will not visit any sites that require registration, unless they have something I really want to see (and it's worth getting another login and password for). I really have better things to do with my time. Like writing some nice code... :)

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-02-21 13:10:37   {link}
Categories: general


Vote for the next Python meetup. C'mon, there must be at least one other Python programmer around Gainesville... <0.9 wink>

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-02-21 11:29:16   {link}
Categories: Python


Tegenstrijd. Kopen die moddervette CD. :-)

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-02-19 21:58:29   {link}
Categories: music, Nederland


Snowed in? Not really. 75°F today. :-D

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-02-19 21:53:54   {link}
Categories: general

The solution is...

After some thinking, the solution to yesterday's design problem was obvious. The average user doesn't want to edit a list with attributes at all; he is used to having a nice dialog box for setting FTP configuration and the like. The attribute list is off limits to him. So I shouldn't really have to worry about having to enter Python expressions; average users get their dialog boxes, and the more sophisticated user will not have a big problem with the attribute list. (In fact, if you're going to add custom attributes, you're probably going to add some Python code as well to do something with those new attributes.)

It's coming along nicely so far. You can view and edit attributes of the database, sections and nodes. Next up are HTML templates. How are we going to edit those? Probably from within the program, but the default attribute edit dialog isn't sufficient. I'll need to add something better. Hmm...

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-02-16 20:48:06   {link}
Categories: Firedrop


Apparently parts of the US are still covered in snow, but here we had our first warm day of the year. Warm by Dutch standards, that is... probably not by Floridian standards. Time to break out the shorts... And I should eat my chocolate before it melts.

Not bad for mid-February. :-)

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-02-16 00:39:30   {link}
Categories: general

Writing a user-friendly app is not easy...

Especially without a GUI builder. Unfortunately, I want Firedrop to be user-friendly, more so than Kaa, so I need to add informative screens here and there, catch dumb errors, etc.

However, for now, getting it to work is most important, so some errors will remain uncaught. If you want to be dumb and create a section that already exists, or give it an obviously invalid name, then a Python exception will come your way. For now. Eventually, I will take care of that too, but I really don't have the time to get sidetracked too much.

Tests need to be written too. That is more useful, since they ensure the correctness of (parts of) the program.

What is at odds with user-friendliness, however, is the attribute system I have in mind. Here's how it works:

  • Nodes (also known as "entries" or "posts") are basically just Python objects. (Instances of subclasses of class Node, to be precise.)
  • There is not much that stops us from sticking new attributes in an object. This would be a cool idea (well, at least I think so :-); you could mark certain nodes for special purposes, etc.
  • To do so, there is a special pane where a node's attributes are listed. (There are also panes for the attributes of the current section and the database. Say, "global options".) Think a table with columns "name" and "value".
  • You can click on an attribute to edit it.
Here is the problem: these are just Python attributes, and the pane (currently) displays Pythonic values. To be exact, it displays the repr() of the value. A string will show up as 'foo', an integer as 42, a list as [1, 2, 3], etc.
The question is, is this also how you edit it? In other words, will a user that wants to edit his name, have to type 'John Doe' rather than John Doe? In fact, entering just John Doe would be an error, since it would be treated as (invalid) Python code. That would not be so user-friendly.
On the other hand, entering arbitrary Python objects1 is very powerful, and I definitely want it in there.

I thought of several solutions, none of which work very well. If you have a good idea about how I can have my cake and eat it too, let me know.

1 Well, not really arbitrary... if the expression cannot be serialized (by Firedrop's custom serializer), then it's not acceptable.

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-02-15 21:30:42   {link}
Categories: Firedrop

New Zoids coming out

Hasbro press release.

I'm not sure whether to stop collecting them now (because I'm running out of room), to collect them all (and damn the consequences :-), or collect just some of them. Experience learns that with Zoids there isn't really "let's get just a few". Sigh...

They're going to release interesting stuff, and instead of having to order them on Ebay, I can now (hopefully) go to Wal-mart, K-Mart or Target and pick them up. I want Nightwise, the only cute basic Blox. (In fact I already ordered it a while ago, but due to a misunderstanding it was sent to the Netherlands. So I never saw it...) Other promising, better Blox are Buster Eagle (ridiculously large guns though) and Fire Phoenix. I'm also interested in that Cannon Spider (what does it look like?). As for the regular Zoids, the Chameleon could be cute, and there are some beasties that were supposedly part of the OER release as well, but I missed them. Hammer Rock (OER name Zore) is one of them. (So is Atak Cat, OER name Helcat, by the way.) Then there's Gorhecks, Houndsoldier, Gojulas Giga...

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-02-15 15:57:05   {link}
Categories: Zoids

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