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Archive for July, 2011

Gloomy

July was a  dark month, in terms of number of hours of sunlight – just look at the numbers of our solar energy production… Let’s hope August will be better!

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For a better insight in diverse subjects, try ProPublica. Its “an independent, non-profit newsrool that produces investigative journalism in the public interest”. Granted: it’s a US organisation, and thus slanted towards US politics, but other, international, themes are broached as well.

ProPublica is similar to a local initiative here in Belgium, called “Apache | news lab”  (in dutch, of course). Just like ProPublica, Apache wants to be a part of strong “fourth power” in a democracy. Go for it, guys!

Quite different, but interesting as well is Spot.us. “Spot.Us is an open source project to pioneer ‘community powered reporting.’ Through Spot.Us the public can commission and participate with journalists to do reporting on important and perhaps overlooked topics“. I have donated money to a few open source software projects; here you get to choose which story you would like to read. I don’t know if this initiative will take off, but it could change the way the press works.

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From the SitePoint tribune 555, in an interview with the founder and author of Twit Cleaner: “The initial version I wrote using 5 million text files & C#. I’d come from a pretty deep artificial intelligence/finance background, so C# was what I was used to. Then I moved to PHP – which got a public site up quickly, but was otherwise horrible. Now, finally, it’s all python, with a database backend…”

Twit Cleaner could be a useful tool (I don’t follow enough people for TC make a substantial difference to what I can do all by myself), regardless of the technology and development tools used, of course ;-)

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I just love this code, because I think program code should be readable by humans first and foremost :

describe( "Jasmine", function() {
   it( "makes testing JavaScript awesome!", function() {
      expect( yourCode ).toBeLotsBetter();
   } );
} );

In the words of the project: “Jasmine is a behavior-driven development framework for testing your JavaScript code“. Testing your code, in whatever language you write it, is always important. JavaScript can be very tricky if you don’t know all the finesses of the language, and that makes good frameworks – for development as well as for testing – so important for JavaScript developers.

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The usual caveat applies: it’s just a list, and thus by definition subjective: The 100 Best Android Apps. The selection looks good, though. It lists several of the tools that I installed after a personal inspection of the alternatives: Go SMS Pro, My Tracks, Camera360, Barcode Scanner, Evernote, Google Docs, KeePassDroid, Andricious and Read It Later.

For e-book reading I prefer Aldiko, however – mainly because I use my smartphone to catch up on technical articles, magazines and books that are usually published for free in HTML or PDF format, or that can be easily transformed into epub (Calibre, anyone?). My todo’s are stored in DGT GTD & ToDo which turned out to work quite well, especially for an alpha product. My streaming radio (essential for a commuter with bad FM reception) is handled by TuneIn Radio.

Nevertheless, the list is worth a second look: I have seen a few titles that I will try out – in fact, I’m already installing Stats Free, File Expert, No Lock and Wapedia. I’ll keep you posted ;-)

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It’s just another list of Python Web Frameworks, of course – but it’s recent enough to contain a few names that I hadn’t heard until now (not too surprising, since I’m not really following the Python universe on a daily basis). So at least that post will help me waste more time that I probably don’t have ;-)

I don’t have any significant experience with Django, other than a hour of mucking about with it while trying to grok Google App Engine development, so I will be reading the Linux Journal article “Introducing Three Python Web Frameworks” with interest as well. This years Pycon Atlanta also has lots of web framework related presentations… and I suppose there will be new videos on the subject in YouTube as well: my last search on that subject dates from last summer :-(

And if that isn’t enough, there’s always http://wiki.python.org/moin/WebFrameworks

I don’t think I need more updating than this!

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This Makes My Day!

BBC World News tells the whole pastafarian story: ‘An Austrian atheist has won the right to be shown on his driving-licence photo wearing a pasta strainer as “religious headgear”‘‘ – the picture is hilarious. I have mentioned the FSM more than five years ago; it’s good to see they’re still around!

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Last monday I was suprised to find philosophy on the train, while I was waiting for “my” train home: “La liberté prend naissance dans la pensée” (‘Liberty is born from thought’, or something in that vein). And “on the train” should be taken quite literally, in fact:

La liberté prend naissance dans la pensée

I googled that french sentence in an attempt to find its author, but that didn’t clear up the situation. The only reference I found was the same phrase on a (german) Twitter account:

@denkbar - Tweet about 'La liberté...'

And that same account also had this to say: “Retrouvez-nous sur livre-visage, suivez-nous sur gazouillis” (‘Find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter’).

@denkbar - Tweet about Facebook and Twitter

So that’s how Twitter taught me a new french word: ‘gazouillis‘ – quite a journey, coming from a train with a few words written on its side, over philosophy to a German citizen with a penchant for french words!

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I had planned to start reading up on Python (again!) this year, but somehow I never found the time to do so. With a smartphone in the pocket there are many more places to “pick up” a book, of course, so I’m happy to report that I  found an ‘epub’-version of the official Python Tutorial at Paolo Bernardi’s Weblog. It may not be perfect, but it looks good enough to me.

There are more Python ‘epub’s to be found in “marxy’s musings on technology” – with QR codes that work like a charm on my Android machine, using the ZXing-based Barcode Scanner. That will save space in the car when we pack for our holidays!

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This afternoon I was able to log into the belgian tax website TaxOnWeb with my eID card – finally! I must admit that everything went smoothly, apart from the fact that I had to choose the (same) login key five or six times before it was accepted. But once past that point, it was smooth sailing, as the saying goes.

So now it’s just a matter of checking the last numbers, and then submitting my tax form – hopefully with the eID card, but I have taken precautions and asked for (and received) an alternative solution involving numbers as token ;-)

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Solar Update

The latest numbers – for June 2011 – have been added to our solar energy production page. Most people in Belgium like to think that we had a very sunny spring, including me. But I don’t see those sunny days reflected in the production numbers, compared to last years numbers. Is there a problem with our installation, or do other installations show a similar trend?

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