Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.

weekend

What a wonderful 4th weekend. Our original plans for the weekend fell through, but I can't complain. Instead of going to a quaint town in Wisconsin for the fourth, we accepted a last-minute invite to a Giant's game. Noah had club-level seats, so we weren't suffering (although I did eat too much cotton candy).

On Sunday, we drove down to Santa Cruz/Capitola and spent the day on roller coasters and watching fireworks. Fireworks along the California coast are kind of ammusing since they look kind of like colorful heat lighting behind the cool fog that rolls in after sunset. Sunday we drove down to Monterey and went to the acquarium. The drive was beautiful both ways, the otters were great, and both jennifer and I are a little more burned than when we started.

Planning is completely over-rated.

comment spam

So there's a lot of to-do in the blog-app world about comment spam, and here's what I don't get:

Blog people seem to think their messages are any different than anyone else's. Why?

Now that there are interesting and usable approaches to dealing with spam at the edge nodes (baysean filtering seems to be winning the day for those that have it), why can't the same approaches be applied to blog comments? What makes a comment entry so different from a comment on a blog?

I argue nothing.

I fully expect to see the Thunderbird plugin for comment spam filtering any month now.

congrats!

Congratulations to all my friends at Friendster who finally, finally re-launched with a brand-new architecture.

Given that the new site looks exactly like the old site, it it's not shocking that the blog world at large hasn't noticed. I, of course, can't tell you anything about what's new and funky and better about what Friendster has done, but I will say that they've done stuff that's amazing. They all deserve a drink or 3.

Python GUIs

I'm a Python nut. When there's a problem that doesn't fit squarely into the purview of C/C++ or JavaScript, odds are pretty high that I'll use Python to solve it, which means that I'm sorely disapointed when Python doesn't live up to it's lofty potential. Case in point: GUI programming.

Python has bindings for any number of GUI toolkits these days: PyGTK, PyQT, Win32-extensions, PyObjectiveC. Hell, Python even still ships with Tkinter (the TCL/TK interface). But what really gets me is that none of these are REALLY portable. Oh, sure, GTK finally got ported to Win32 in a high-quality way, and QT has been available on Windows forever, but none of these options are all of the following:



So how do I get to a situation where I can just include some files with the distutils package of my Python code and be sure that I'm "OK" on whatever platform I get installed on? My thinking right now is that something as ambitious, open, and well thought out as SWT is probably a good answer. Doing C/C++ wrappers is something that Python is good at, and even ObjectiveC can be made to "play nice". SWT also introduces most of the widgets you'd need as well as solving the event wrapping problem. If I ever get a couple of free months, it might be a good thing to re-implement the SWT class hierarchy in Python. I don't really look forward to doing all the C-Python work, but the SWT guys have already done a lot of it that we could look at.

Time to stop waiting for a workable, portable, native, and fast GUI toolkit for Python. This is one time where Java beat my favorite language to the punch.

lunch outside

I think I just got 300% of the FDA's daily recommended sunlight for geeks thanks to Dave's great idea: eat lunch outside. The campus at work is replete with manicured landscaping, a pool, and the like. In the center of all the artificial natural beauty are a couple of park benches which I had never given a second thought to.

I'm glad Dave noticed, 'cause I don't think I ever would have.

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