Python on Android -- Easy as Pie

Here's what I did to get Python running on my HTC Incredible:

Step 1:  Install a barcode scanner, so that it's easier to install custom apps:  Install ZXing app

Step 2:  Install the SL4A application (Scripting Layer for Android) by going to the SL4A project home page and running the previously installed "Barcode Scanner" app (the title on the icon of the ZXing app) to scan the SL4A's barcode (or just click the link if you're reading this on your Android). This downloads a .apk file which you then run to install this app directly onto ...

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Open Source Data Modelling - Power*Architect

There are a ton of half-finished or half-complete open source data
modeling software projects out there. I've just been evaluating them
for a client. At the moment, Power*Architect seems the best for my needs:

  • open source
  • multi-platform - Java in this case
  • multi-database support - I need PostgreSQL and Oracle
  • pdf export of ER diagram
  • alive and not abandonware

And to top it off, it's actually easy to use! Take that, ERwin. To
be fair, it doesn't have all the features of ERwin, but that's OK for

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Announcing New Consulting Offerings

We've actually been doing consulting for a while, and now we're formalizing it into two product areas:

  • PyGuys - Python and open source based solution consulting
  • PyCOE - Python Center of Excellence, we help you set up a process or organization inside your company to encourage adoption of Python
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Summary of Python Web Frameworks, Beginning of 2008

Let me summarize our recommendations for Python web frameworks:

  • Pylons: for database-driven applications
  • Plone (built on Zope3): for CMS (content management systems)
  • Twisted: for multiple/custom network protocols or extremely high volume

Overall, the Python web community is seeing a lot of active
development and evolution in solutions. Whereas the Ruby community has
one go-to web framework (Ruby on Rails), the Python community has a
plethora of choices. Luckily, a Python standard was created, PEP 333aka WSGI
(pronounced "whiskey" but stands for Web Server Gateway Interface),
which provides a standard component architecture for Python web
servers. All of the ...

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Hey Mister, You’re Gonna Have to Rewrite that Web App

Good old blogger Joel Spolsky just wrote a great overview of the state of web applications.
I'm inclined to agree with his prediction, that we're still in the
midst of evolving the technology in web apps. On the desktop all apps
have a consistent look and behavior but web apps have their own unique
and different user interfaces. On the desktop you can copy and paste
between apps, but not on the web except for a few words of text. I
wonder how many years it will take for web apps to reach the level of
design stability ...

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Housing Prices

Over the past few years, I've found that a suprising number of
people are interested in investing in real estate. Everybody sees
housing prices go up, up and up. But I just found a graph of housing prices in the US from 1890 to today, adjusted for inflation (hat tip to the Freakonomics Blog).
In summary, housing prices have stayed mostly constant over the long
term, once you adjust for inflation. I think people forget to adjust
for inflation, and then they think that they made a lot of money by
investing in real estate.

The most interesting thing ...

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Vernor Vinge's Technology Predictions in Rainbows End

Vernor Vinge is one of my favorite sci-fi authors. I just read his new book, Rainbows End, and I highly recommend it. It's set in the near term future (within 20 years), and it has a bunch of technological and social predictions I want to list here since I can't find them on the Internet (Vinge has a 50 min podcast available which discusses some of them). These aren't plot spoilers, but they are technology spoilers, so don't read this if you plan on reading the book:

  • Affiliances - These are some kind of part-time work / large-scale ...
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How to Rotate Apache Logfiles

There are a number of ways to rotate your log files, and I spent a bit of time looking into all the major ones. Unfortunately, none of them satisfy all my requirements. Here are my requirements:

  • put timestamp in archive file names
  • rotate weekly (I hate the clutter of daily logfiles)
  • work with awstatsand other log processing programs

I find it fascinating that even though tens or hundreds of thousands of people use the Apache web server, that a critical mass of developers have not desired what I want. I think it's because many sysadmins who install Apache ...

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Top Five Problems with Fixed Price Contracting

I've spent a number of years doing IT consulting, and I've been on both sides of fixed price bidding and contracts.
Below I put together five problems I've seen, and I describe anecdotes that really happened from the point of view of the
consulting / solution provider (I'm just hiding identifying details).
Please note that these problems are more likely to occur the larger the project is (at least \$100,000).
And before you protest: some projects don't have these problems, but most do!

Everything is Grey

No matter how detailed and specific your contract and ...

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