Older blog entries for barryp (starting at number 72)

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation)

Just had the JSON lightbulb come on for me. I've been doing quite a bit with Python, and using Python pickles to pass data between various processes. It's awful convenient, but the language-dependence is a bit bothersome.

I've also been using Spread for inter-process and inter-machine communications, and using JSON should be much more flexible. I've always wanted to write an Apache2 module to send logging info over spread to Python scripts, but having C code generate Python pickles looked nasty. There's a nice, simple, C JSON library that should make serializing data in C to be read in Python a piece of cake.

I realize that there are already Apache modules that feed info into spread, but standardizing (at least for myself) on JSON objects as a Spread message format should be much more flexible.

4 Sep 2004 (updated 4 Sep 2004 at 16:54 UTC) »


I just got an e-mail notice from GoDaddy.com (the DNS registrar), that "...to better serve you and protect your privacy.." GoDaddy was revising its privacy policy - with one of the changes being that they would no longer send e-mail notification of 'minor' changes to the privacy policy.

I love it when companies bend over backwards to make my life better! :P

forrest : Do a google search for "verizon noptify", and you'll find others have caught this too - even mentioned in a Cringely Infoworld column.

It's a shame Verizon hasn't apologized about this and recalled/destroyed the CD - I can't believe what the pointy-haired twits of this world get away with.

Did anything ever happen with that Vanguard deal you found back in October?

forrest - That business you discovered in Vanguard's webpages is apalling. I don't know if I'd complain just to Vanguard so they can quietly clean it up. That's the kind of thing a REAL BIG stink should be made of, to get people's attentions as to what kinds of things are going on. Maybe the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and so on.

Since you asked for references ... check out the Federal Trade Commission's webpage on "Financial Privacy: The Gramm-Leach Bliley Act": http://www.ftc.gov/privacy/glbact/ There's also a complaint form on that site, you can get a ball rolling there too.

1 Jul 2003 (updated 1 Jul 2003 at 17:35 UTC) »

Made some headway on the FreeBSD PR I mentioned the other day having to do with mktime() giving strange results for the US Central timezone - discovered while fooling with Zope3 and Python.

I found the FreeBSD timezone description files that contain historical information about DST transitions, and saw that Chicago, representing US Central, had a strange entry for the year 1936 that the Eastern, Mountain and Pacific zones didn't have - which would explain the unique behavior.

By fiddling with that single line in the timezone description file, I found you can affect mktime()'s result even though the year you're passing isn't 1936.

Kind of wonder now if NetBSD and OpenBSD have the problem too. Setting the FreeBSD box to Canadian Central time seems to be a workaround.

29 Jun 2003 (updated 30 Jun 2003 at 03:43 UTC) »

Been fooling with Zope3 on my FreeBSD box off and on for a while - but started having trouble with the unittests failing with some kind of time-related problem. Seems the results of Python's mktime() were off by an hour.

Another Zope3+FreeBSD user on the mailing wasn't seeing the problem, turns out he's in the US/Eastern timezone while I'm in US/Central. US/Mountain and US/Pacific seem OK too...it's when you're set to US/Central that it's whacked.

I was able to come up with some simple snippets of Perl and C code that seem to demonstrate the problem - which rules out it being a Python thing - and submitted a FreeBSD PR. I hope someone else can confirm this so I know I'm not losing my mind :)

Was just googling for some info about Python and threads, and got burned by something that's been bugging me about search engines...

You get an awful lot of false hits because of words that appear in the surrounding navigational "fluff" that appears on most webpages.

For example, just about every page in every Python mailing list contains a "next in thread" link, referring to the mailing list threads. So "thread" is a horrendous word to try and search for :(

Many mailing lists show the subject lines of next or previous messages, lots of pages have nagivational links where a word here and a word there might match what you're looking for, but are completely unrelated to any single useful page.

Would be nice if there was a standard way to tag within a page what the "meat" and/or "fluff" is, so search engines can focus on or ignore parts of a page.

If an outfit like Google defined something like this (with the incentive of somewhat improving your pagerank being dangled in front of you) and mail-list web archive software as found in Mailman and such being updated to use it - it could really help out in web searches.


If you've got a Windows machine that various bastards may have messed with, you may want to try running something like Spybot - Search & Destroy to make sure you got everything.

I gave it a try after seeing recommendations for it on a couple TechTV websites (Screensavers, Call for Help), and it seems like a pretty decent, easy-to-use program.

Cool Python Stuff

I ran across a very handy Python package called SimpleTAL that is...

...a stand alone Python implementation of the TAL and TALES specifications used in Zope to power HTML and XML templates. SimpleTAL is an independent implementation of TAL; there are no dependencies on Zope nor is any of the Zope work re-used.

I used it on something where Zope would have been way overkill. Also, for a mini-DAV server, where I needed to generate XML for a PROPFIND response, SimpleTAL was much easier than generating the output through "print" statements or Python's miniDOM. Good stuff, amazing what can get done with just two small module files.

24 Jan 2003 (updated 24 Jan 2003 at 00:39 UTC) »
Troll Hiding

raph mentions:

I usually read the recentlog with a threshold of 3, so I don't tend to even notice troll posts unless someone else points to them.

How do you set that threshold? It would be nice to hide the low-ranking diary entries, but I don't see any preference/control for that.

...boy I hope somebody sees this.. :)

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