Richard Jones' Log

Tue, 29 Jun 2004
The Reality of Running Away from Stuff

Here's a handy reference list of top human speeds and common movie threats. Sadly it doesn't include the much-abused "human free-falling" (49-143m/s, depending on profile).

(via the Frankenstein Journal)

Fri, 18 Jun 2004
PyPI Categories

What could be done to make the PyPI categories better? An argument has been put forward that the current PyPI categories are useless. I happen to believe otherwise. Historically, the full list derives from a combination of the lists of sourceforge and freshmeat. I'm willing to concede that they're not perfect. Witness the multiple X11 window managers named when a single "window managers" category would do. Even given that, I believe they're a damn good start.

Some PyPI statistics about occurence of classifiers:

 Number of packages% of total% of those with classifiers
All493 (wow!)  
Any classifiers37375% 
Development Status34970%93%
Programming Language297 (hmm ;)60%79%
Intended Audience28257%75%
Natural Language13427%35%

I reckon that's pretty good...

If you have any suggestions about potential changes to the categories, I'd be happy to hear them. I'd prefer that the suggestions be made on the catalog SIG mailing list though, or perhaps comments on this log entry, rather than directly to me, please ;) Questions to answer:

  1. What's missing?
  2. If the classifiers aren't missing, then what's the impediment to using them?
  3. Should PyPI require specification of at least one of each of the top-level categories?
  4. Somewhat related: Is the PyPI browse interface at all useful?

OTOH, wow! Almost 500 packages indexed in about 6 months! :)

Tue, 15 Jun 2004
"Green" Initiatives

Last night's interview on the 7:30 Report was just astounding, watching David Kemp (Minister "for" the Environment) trying to pass off a $1.5 billion subsidy for users of diesel fuel as a green initiative:

KERRY O'BRIEN: But the bottom line, Dr Kemp, is that those in the frontline of the solar power industry, those in the frontline of the wind industry, say that this package is going to take them backwards.

The biggest single spending package in this white paper cutting the fuel excise, mostly for heavy vehicles, amounts to taxpayers subsidising a dirty fuel, a pollutant.

How's that going to help the environment?

DR DAVID KEMP: It's going to help the environment a great deal if that fuel can be cleaned up as it can be.

There are technologies available that are now being used in the North Sea, now being used in North America to sequester the carbon dioxide from power stations.

We want to move this country towards the possibility of the no emission power station.

KERRY O'BRIEN: What's that got to do with your fuel excise, you diesel fuel excise?

DR DAVID KEMP: We don't want to be pouring massive subsidies, Kerry, into industries which are not going to do other than import technology from overseas.

If those industries develop technology here in Australia which meets Australian needs, there are really good opportunities for them within this statement.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But Dr Kemp, you're going to massively use taxpayers' funds to the tune of $1.5 billion to give subsidies to the diesel fuel users?

DR DAVID KEMP: Well, Kerry --

KERRY O'BRIEN: $1.5 billion -- that's a massive amount of money and you're directly subsidising heavy vehicle users?

(my emphasis) ... and it continued on, with Kemp unable to answer most of the fairly straight-up questions O'Brien asked.

Yep, a paltry $100 million (half of which is old money) is going towards local industries to develop renewable energy technologies - that's 6% of the $1.5 billion that's going towards consumption of diesel fuel. The reaction from the wind power industry spokesman amounted to "WTF?" and the statement that this package will probably kill off most of the sector (from a projection of an $8 billion industry down to about $1.6 billion).

Of course, the other large chunk of money in the plan, $500 million allocated to the coal industry, comes as no surprise given that the PM's Chief Scientist is in the pocket of the mining industry.

Update: On a brighter note, the Promoting Teen Pregnancy Bill was dumped after Abbott realised that he didn't even have the full support of his own party.

Tue, 15 Jun 2004
category: News | permanent link
"Work with PyPI instead"

Yes, please. PyPI is open to volunteers, ideas, extensions, etc.

Sun, 13 Jun 2004
Today in Alternate History

Robbie Taylor writes about Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. It's a great read, but note that you'll need to read several entries to really get the full impact, such as for today, June 12:

In 1934, Pascal, LLC, with the assistance of Carla Lambert, persuaded Congress to fund a system of linking Eddies together such that they could share information constantly. Using telegraph lines and radio frequencies set aside for them by the Congress, Pascal constructed a Knowledge Railroad that made the almost instantaneous transmission of information possible across the nation.

which refers to eddies, which were revealed to the world on May 27,:

In 1872, on the 50th anniversary of Charles Babbage's difference engine, Thomas Edison unveiled his electric-powered version of the machine. The Edison EDE's, (Eddies, as they were known popularly), initially sold only to the US, British and French governments, became so useful that within a decade, most governments and large businesses were using them.

Lots of great alt-history ideas in there.

via null

category: Noise | permanent link
Fri, 11 Jun 2004
Wow, almost a decade

I just saw this announcement on python-list. The original copyright was 1995, from when I was working at the weather bureau. That means I've been doing this Python thing for a decade now. Crikey.

IIRC, I wrote the gdmodule because I wanted some graphing in a HTTPD (old skool NCSA, not Apache ;) stats program I'd written - the first Python program of any size that I'd attempted. PIL didn't exist back then. Hell, this was even before that silly GIF patent crap spawned PNG :)

Update: added some explanatory links as I was politely informed this entry didn't make much sense ;)

category: Python | permanent link
Aussie Python conference

The folks running the Open Source Developers' Conference have confirmed that there will be a Python track. I've thrown myself into the ring proposing a couple of presentations. I think it'll be fun, and I hope we get a good turn-out. Come along, talk about whatever cool stuff you're doing with Python!

Mon, 07 Jun 2004
Things to do

Rewrite webunit from the ground up, using ClientCookie and friends, BeautifulSoup and whatever else works.

Webunit works, except when it doesn't, and has served me well. It's a friggin' disaster-area of an API (grown very slowly and organically over about four years - probably the one API I'm least proud of ;). I've been wanting to rewrite it for a looong time, with the API designed before I start ... now that I know what it needs to do ;).

Sun, 06 Jun 2004

I wasn't a big beer drinker. To be honest, I never really liked it much ("it" being Vic Bitter, Fosters Lager and maybe a "cold filtered" ale). Then Rachel and I went to Oktoberfest a few years back on the way to somewhere else - we certainly wouldn't have planned to go just to Oktoberfest (though we would again and do want to go back to spend a week at the Deutsches Museum). We had a ball and drank the requisite litre of beer each (the standard serving) whilst bopping along to oompah bands. And loved it.

Since then, through friends and a decent liquor store, we've been trying all manner of new beers. Most of them are imported from Europe, but quite a number of our favourite beers are from lesser-known breweries in Australia like Little Creatures (Rachel has a theory that any beer to do with animals or creatures must be good - Little Creatures, Elephant Beer, Redback, Kirin, ...). In particular, we're devotees of the Cascade's limited-release beers like their seasonals (Summer Blonde, Autumn Ale, etc). Well, today I got a hold of their most limited of limited releases, the First Harvest Ale.

Once a year, the first Williamette & Cascade green hops of the season are harvested to supply enough for a single days brewing... to create the Cascade First Harvest Ale.

Man, this tastes good. I'm savoring it. We only have four bottles, and were lucky to have gotten them.

category: News | permanent link
Thu, 03 Jun 2004
Some good news...
  • Rachel ran through the conference software today (which I've been madly working on for months now) without any prompting registered herself (with some accomodation and a tour for me :), a presentation with some co-authors and a paper to be published in the journal. There's a number of small interface issues to deal with, but I'm really happy that the interface is usable :)
  • I finally got Gold in Kick Doubt! W00t!
category: Noise | permanent link