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Enrico Zini's blog

Enrico Zini's blog
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Enrico Zini: blog
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My rule to see if a framework is worth of attention

Enrico Zini's blog - Wed, 04/08/2010 - 1:32pm
My rule to see if a framework is worth of attention

I came up with a little rule:

In order to be worth of any attention, a framework must be stable enough that I can charge money to train people to use it.

This probably applies to other kinds of software stacks, libraries, development environments and, well, to most software applications.

In the context of python web frameworks, this means that:

On python stable APIs

Enrico Zini's blog - Mon, 19/07/2010 - 2:14pm
On python stable APIs

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

In Debian testing:

/usr/lib/python2.6/dist-packages/sqlalchemy/types.py:547: SADeprecationWarning: The Binary type has been renamed to LargeBinary.

In Debian Lenny:

Released cfget 0.16

Enrico Zini's blog - Fri, 16/07/2010 - 9:00am
Released cfget 0.16

I have released version 0.16 of cfget.

It is just a little bugfix release as I found a bug in the new expression parser, and while I was at it I simplified its code quite a bit.

On python, frameworks and TOOWTDI

Enrico Zini's blog - Thu, 15/07/2010 - 7:27pm
On python, frameworks and TOOWTDI

The Python world is ridden with frameworks, microframeworks, metaframeworks and their likes. They are often very clever things, but more often than not they are a tool of despair.

Released cfget 0.15

Enrico Zini's blog - Thu, 15/07/2010 - 6:21pm
Released cfget 0.15

I have released version 0.15 of cfget.

cfget is a tool to extract values from ini-style config files. A trivial thing, really.

It is also simple to install: it is a single python executable and it has no dependencies besides the python standard library.

Computing time offsets between EXIF and GPS

Enrico Zini's blog - Sun, 11/07/2010 - 10:34am
Computing time offsets between EXIF and GPS

I like the idea of matching photos to GPS traces. In Debian there is gpscorrelate but it's almost unusable to me because of bug #473362 and it has an awkward way of specifying time offsets.

Searching OSM nodes in Spatialite

Enrico Zini's blog - Sat, 10/07/2010 - 1:50pm
Searching OSM nodes in Spatialite

Third step of my SoTM10 pet project: finding the POIs.

I put together a query to find all nodes with a given tag inside a bounding box, and also a query to find all the tag values for a given tag name inside a bounding box.

The result is this simple POI search engine:

Importing OSM nodes into Spatialite

Enrico Zini's blog - Sat, 10/07/2010 - 7:10am
Importing OSM nodes into Spatialite

Second step of my SoTM10 pet project: creating a searchable database with the points. What a fantastic opportunity to learn Spatialite.

Filtering nodes out of OSM files

Enrico Zini's blog - Fri, 09/07/2010 - 2:28pm
Filtering nodes out of OSM files

I have a pet project here at SoTM10: create a tool for searching nearby POIs while offline.

The idea is to have something in my pocket (FreeRunner or N900), which doesn't require an internet connection, and which can point me at the nearest fountains, post offices, atm machines, bars and so on.

The first step is to obtain a list of POIs.

In theory one can use Xapi but all the known Xapi servers appear to be down at the moment.

A golden rule in Debian things

Enrico Zini's blog - Tue, 06/07/2010 - 9:40pm
A golden rule in Debian things

If there's something that doesn't go the way you think, write:

I don't understand, please explain me

instead of:

You don't understand, I'll explain you

In the first case, you'll likely get an answer that starts with "I'm sorry". In the second case, you'll likely FAIL.

On software modularity

Enrico Zini's blog - Wed, 23/06/2010 - 3:50pm
On software modularity

Software modularity is good. You take many modular, reusable components and you join them together to create a bigger software that is more than the sum of its parts:

Voltron

But what happens if you try to put together all sorts of modular parts, each independently designed by a smart person who believes that their way of doing things is the best in the world?

Released nodm 0.7

Enrico Zini's blog - Sun, 23/05/2010 - 7:36pm
Released nodm 0.7

I have released version 0.7 of nodm.

It only fixes one silly typo in autotools, which made it fail to build on Fedora.

fuss-launcher: an application launcher built on apt-xapian-index

Enrico Zini's blog - Mon, 17/05/2010 - 8:41am
fuss-launcher: an application launcher built on apt-xapian-index

Long ago I blogged about using apt-xapian-index to write an application launcher.

Now I just added a couple of new apt-xapian-index plugins that look like they have been made just for that.

In fact, they have indeed been made just for that.

New apt-xapian-index plugins

Enrico Zini's blog - Sun, 16/05/2010 - 10:17pm
New apt-xapian-index plugins

Besides a fair bit of refactoring and cleanup, I've recently added two new plugins to apt-xapian-index:

app-install

If app-install-data is installed, information about .desktop files will now enter the index.

This allows, for example, to limit query results to only those packages that contain .desktop files, which is quite useful, for example for building desktop-oriented package managers.

La paura e la voglia

Enrico Zini's blog - Wed, 05/05/2010 - 11:36am
La paura e la voglia

Results 1 - 10 of about 5,470 for "la paura e la voglia di essere nudi". (0.34 seconds) 

Results 1 - 10 of about 26,500 for "la paura e la voglia di essere soli". (0.10 seconds) 

Poi non c'è da stupirsi se siamo diventati come siamo diventati.

Se è vero questo...

Enrico Zini's blog - Thu, 22/04/2010 - 7:26am
Se è vero questo...

Se è vero questo...

...allora è vero anche questo!

Repubblica e tecnologia

Enrico Zini's blog - Sat, 17/04/2010 - 3:11pm
Repubblica e tecnologia

Ho appena inviato questa mail alla redazione di Repubblica:

Subject: Ignoranza in materia di tecnologia

Gent. Venerdí,

in visita ai miei genitori stavo sfogliando l'ultimo numero del Venerdí e ho fatto fatica a trovare gli articoli, nascosti come erano le pagine e pagine di pubblicità alla Microsoft.

Tweaking locale settings

Enrico Zini's blog - Sat, 17/04/2010 - 1:39pm
Tweaking locale settings

I sometimes meet some Italian programmer who prefers his system to be in English, so they get untranslated manpages and error messages.

I sometimes notice that their solution often leaves them something to complain about.

Some set LANG=C and complain they can't see accented characters.

Some set LANG=en_US.UTF-8 and complain that OpenOffice Calc wants dates in the format MM/DD/YYYY which is an Abomination unto Nuggan, as well as unto Me.

apt-xapian-index now comes with a query tool

Enrico Zini's blog - Fri, 09/04/2010 - 10:23pm
apt-xapian-index now comes with a query tool

I've just uploaded a new version of apt-xapian-index to unstable. Now it comes with a little query tool called axi-cache.

You can search this way:

axi-cache search foo bar baz facet::tag sec:section

In fact, you can use most of the things described here.

Firefox and automatic proxy configuration

Enrico Zini's blog - Wed, 10/03/2010 - 7:03pm
Firefox and automatic proxy configuration

Firefox supports automatic proxy configuration, which means that if you plug your laptop on a network with a properly set up proxy server, it will automatically reconfigure itself to use it.

Oddly enough, however, it requires garbage collection when you then plug it back on a network without proxy, in order not to get "proxy not found" errors.

Temporarily disabling file caching

Enrico Zini's blog - Mon, 08/03/2010 - 12:26pm
Temporarily disabling file caching

Does it happen to you that you cp a big, big file (say, similar in order of magnitude to the amount of RAM) and the system becomes rather unusable?

It looks like Linux is saying "let's cache this", and as you copy it will try to free more and more ram in order to cache the big file you're copying. In the end, all the RAM is full with file data that you are not going to need.

This varies according to how /proc/sys/vm/swappiness is set.

Global trends

Enrico Zini's blog - Fri, 05/03/2010 - 3:52pm
Global trends

For some time I have been trying to pinpoint what it is that is brewing in Italy and risks spreading elsewhere, like it happened in the past.

I don't need to be decent to stay in power

While following a train of thought during a political/philosophical lecture I figured that a current growing trend is to have public figures that are more and more indecent.

Cropping images with GDAL

Enrico Zini's blog - Wed, 03/02/2010 - 3:19pm
Cropping images with GDAL

I am working to get a better integration between Meteosatlib and GDAL.

A nice aspect of GDAL is that it allows to create read/write drivers around two functions: Open and CreateCopy.

Open opens a datset read only, and to implement that all you have to do is to implement read access to your data using the GDALDataset interface.

Custom function decorators with TurboGears 2

Enrico Zini's blog - Wed, 04/11/2009 - 4:52pm
Custom function decorators with TurboGears 2

I am exposing some library functions using a TurboGears2 controller (see web-api-with-turbogears2). It turns out that some functions return a dict, some a list, some a string, and TurboGears 2 only allows JSON serialisation for dicts.

A simple work-around for this is to wrap the function result into a dict, something like this:

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