Older blog entries for ralsina (starting at number 684)

Gadget Review: INCIPIO Universal 1 Port 750mAh Backup Battery


It's roughly the size of my thumb (a bit thicker, a bit shorter), cable is not included and needed.

I got this at the till while buying socks in San Mateo for 5 dollars.

What is it?
A small prism with a male foldable USB socket on one end, a female USB socket, a battery in the middle, a tiny button and tiny led.
How does it work?
When you are plugging stuff to charge via USB, you plug this in the middle, so computer -> backup battery -> gadget. That charges the gadget and the backup battery. Then you throw it in your pocket/bag when you leave home.
What does it do?
It lets you recharge roughly half a phone's full charge, when you inevitably run out of battery, so unless you forget to charge both things, you'll manage to survive.
What could be better?
It could come with a micro-usb male instead of a USB female, because that means you also have to carry a cable (no big deal)
What does the button do?
It stops/starts the current flow into the gadget.
What does the LED do?
Tells you if current is flowing (green) or if it's charging (red).
Can you charge anything?
Yes, but 750mAh is enough to keep a Nexus 7 working for about 30 seconds ;-) Does a decent job on a Kindle though!
Are you going to lose it?
Oh yes, the thing is tiny.

Not a bad 5 dollar gadget. However, you can find it in Amazon for $30 at some places, and that's robbery.

Syndicated 2013-02-10 19:53:43 from Lateral Opinion

Gadget Review: Kindle Paperwhite

I have had a Kindle Paperwhite (with ads) for a month. I was a big fan of my previous kindles, specially the 4th-gen non-touch one. I preferred it to the Kindle Touch because it was lighter, the bezel was shallower, and it had dedicated page-flipping buttons.

So, why did I get a Paperwhite instead of the cheaper 4th gen after I sold my Touch? Because of the darkness.

Reading is an enjoyable activity, and I read almost anywhere, in the supermarket queue, while having breakfast, while on the train, and in bed. But in bed, the older Kindles required me to turn on the light, like a caveman.

Of course, I could read in my cellphone (small) or in a tablet (heavier!) or in a book (again, lights, caveman!) So, this was the logical choice.

It still doesn't have the buttons, and it still has a touchscreen which makes little sense in a Kindle (except for the keyboard) and the bezel is intermediate. But the lighting is glorious. Sure, it's uneven at the bottom. So is the lighting in a paper book while in bed (check it out). But it's not all that heavy (even with the fancy cover), and it has a similarly glorious battey life.

The cover is really great. It feels like leather/rubber, it's solid, has a deadgrip on the device, and it turns on/off when you flip it open/closed, so you don't have to hunt for the tiny button at the bottom.

The font selection is a welcome improvement, although none compares well to the default.

Also, WTF happened to the audio? Why is it gone?

So my ideal Kindle that will never exist would be: a 4th gen with frontlight and smart cover. A man can always dream.

Syndicated 2013-02-10 17:54:49 from Lateral Opinion

Nikola 5.2 released!

I am thrilled to announce that you can now download Nikola 5.2. a new version of my static blog/site generator.

What's new in this version? A LOT. Don't let the minor version tick fool you, this version is packed with goodness. Let's start with features:

You can easily embed more content:

  • New vimeo directive for restructured text.
  • Custom "gist" directive providing reStructured text support for GitHub gists.

You can write your content in almost any markup:

  • Textile markup support.
  • Creole Wiki markup support.
  • txt2tags markup support.
  • bbcode markup support.
  • And of course, it still supports reStructured text, Markdown and HTML.

More languages:

  • New Catalá translation
  • New polish translation.
  • New Simplified Chinese translation.
  • Use multilingual Disqus (although it doesn't seem to work)

You can import your data:

  • New Blogger/Blogspot importer
  • Much improved Wordpress importer
  • Extract metadata from filename by using regexp (helpful for importing from octopress or other systems).

You can do fancier and more configurable sites:

  • One-page, dynamic-loading, client-rendered site plugin (task_mustache)
  • Recursive post/story folders
  • Local search based on Tipue (extra_plugins/task_localsearch)
  • Added comments to image galleries
  • New option RSS_TEASERS
  • New STORY_INDEX option to generate index.html in story folders.
  • Add multi size favicon support.

You can use Python 2.6 or higher ... including Python 3. The only missing bit for full Python 3 support is Google sitemap generation.

And of course, a lot of bugs got smashed:

  • Added sane defaults for most options, so you can have a lean config file.
  • Made layout of the site theme responsive, with collapsing navbar.
  • Use timeline instead of parsing post_pages in generic_page_renderer and task_render_pages.
  • Updated disqus integration code, added identifiers so it works on any URL.
  • Make sure folder links end in "/" in the gallery code.
  • Removed copy of PyRSS2Gen, made it a dependency.
  • Detect "namespace" dependencies for Mako templates.
  • Use consistent encodings in RSS feeds.
  • Refactored disqus code into separate helpers
  • Use the correct extension (or raise an error) on new_post
  • Fix titles that include quotes
  • Updated to current CSS from docutils (was using version from 2005)
  • Avoid needless regeneration of gallery indexes.
  • Always ensure the folder for the new post exists.
  • Get title from filename if not available in metadata.
  • Don't copy sources if they end in ".html"
  • Don't link to unexisting translations.
  • Sort tags case insensitive.


Syndicated 2013-02-06 20:37:56 from Lateral Opinion

Siempre que pasa un tren.

Escuchando "Mi Gin Tonic" de Calamaro con mi señora, escuchamos "Hay un deseo que pido siempre que pasa un tren". Me río, digo "Ese verso es una pancheza", y ella me aclara que cuando estás en el andén y pasa el tren, hay que pedir un deseo.

Jamás había oído hablar de esa superstición, y entonces caigo: es porque en Santa Fe nunca pasa el tren. Esto me abre la puerta a inventar supersticiones hiperlocales, como "cuando te mea una catinga indica futuro infortunio en el amor", o "el paso del camalote predice el clima". O, como decía mi vieja, "si cruzan los sirirís, viene tormenta".

Los dejo con Calamaro:

Syndicated 2013-02-01 12:45:12 from Lateral Opinion

Lunch-hour feature in Nikola: Blogger import

Today at lunch, I added support for importing blogger (maybe also blogspot? They seem to be the same nowadays) blogs into Nikola my static blog/site engine.

What works?

Well, the only site I tried works, mostly.

  • Posts
  • Pages
  • Tags
  • Drafts
  • Blog Metadata (except language)
  • Redirects to keep URLs stable (at least it tries really hard!)
  • URL rewriting in the posts (it tries!)
What's not there?
  • Comments import (it makes more sense to import them via Disqus' import tool)
  • Attachments (images and such)
  • Much testing

It's basically on par with the Wordpress import, except noone has used it for real. So, feel free to try!

(It's nikola import_blogger name_of_the_dump.xml)

Syndicated 2013-01-30 17:26:38 from Lateral Opinion

The Rest Of San Francisco

I wrote about the trip and the segway tour a while ago. But that's not all that happened in San Francisco, of course.

I forgot to mention that on one of the airports there was a display of antique boardgames:


Alejandro Cura would have broken that glass, and tried to play while the police chased him.

I didn't know San Francisco had a sign-in-the-hill like Hollywood


Not quite as glamorous.

The Segway trip ended in a ... rather scenic place:


Old ship... check.


Skyline... check.


Alcatraz... check.


Bridge view... check.

So there I said goodbye to my steel pony, good old seggcrates, and went out for a walk.


Argentines-only joke:


La foto con la estatua del lobo marino!


The sea lion colony at the piers.

We had a grilled cheese sandwich, went to the hotel, yadda yadda yadda. The next day was our last day off. We had a car. So we went to ... Fry's! We got a metric crapload of gadgets, including a tiny USB battery, a powered 7 port USB hub, beef jerky, usb flash drives, SD cards, cables, a sim card, a camera, a Nexus 7, a backpack, and other stuff.


Some of the aforementioned gadgetry.

After fighting for two hours to get a phone with a data plan, we sailed off, guided by google maps and EDGE. Yes EDGE. It worked, though!

We had a very vague notion about heading north, into San Francisco, across the Golden Gate into who knows where (ended up being Napa Valley).

So, we started, and found ourselves into (I think) the Presidio Park, which is lovely but the pictures are in Lucio's camera, so it's up to him to post a link to them in the comments. emade And of course, the Golden Gate. Which is a very photogenic piece of iron. So we got off the car, at the parking lot, and saw this:


Saved! Ka-ching!

A little walk through a fort...


And there it was.


Of course I took a ton of pictures. The rest is in the gallery if you want to take a look.

So, we got a cup of ghastly coffee, got back in the car and set across the bridge.


Yes, I should straighten it.

Then there are some hills, and this cute tunnel:


Nice landscapes, in a surprisingly rural area 15 minutes off the city.


Really rural.

Then the infamous homemade jerky incident happened.

nota mental: contarle a mis nietos que no comi beef jerky casero por culpa de @ralsina

— Lucio Torre (@luciotorre) January 22, 2013

System Message: WARNING/2 (<string>, line 129)

Explicit markup ends without a blank line; unexpected unindent.

<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

So, homemade-jerky-less we continued into the Sonoma Valley, and got to the Viansa Winery where we stopped for a taste (Lucio, I don't drink. Also, I don't drive so just a taste).


In your face, instagram!

It's a really nice place. Lovely handrails, too.


I mean, lovely handrails.


This part was closed, boo!


Lovely views.

We got some souvenirs, some picnic supplies (salami, cheese, olives, Pellegrino lemonade, crostini), and started off again. We forgot to reset the GPS so instead of going back, we kept forward into Napa Valley. And we got to some vintner's monument which closes at sunset. Right on time.


The images don't capture the scale of the thing. Or the cold.

We got back via Oakland, at night which means there's no more pictures. I was shocked to find out that not only does ask.com still exist, but that they pay for billboards with inane questions in them.

The rest of the trip was basically work, with dinner excursions. We had american (Cheesecake Factory), lebanese (at tannourine ok, sort of boring), and .... mongolian at Little Sheep Hot Pot.

At the mongolian restaurant none thought of bringing a camera, so the only picture that exists is taken with a Nexus 7's front-facing camera. Since the Nexus has no camera app, I had to take it using twitter. I am ashamed.


Yes, worst picture ever.

So, what is that? You get a pot of soup which is about 40% garlic, 40% pepper, 20% unknown things, and you check boxes in a menu for things to dip and cook in them. Since we are adventurous nerds, we included:

  • Rice and pig blood cakes (tastes exactly like a rice and morcilla sandwich)
  • Goose intestines (taste like intestines)
  • Assorted mushrooms
  • Assorted meatballs (including beef tendon meatballs (taste like nothing))
  • Assorted seafood
  • Assorted beef slices (looks creepy, taste as beef)

and a ton of other stuff. The bad side of it is that after a while it all has exactly the same taste: hot, spicy soup. The good side: it's fun to eat, and filling.

We had a last shopping spree a few days later, (I got shirts, 24 pairs of socks, a suitcase to put all the things I could not fit in the old one), and I started back alone to Argentina (Lucio stayed).

The return trip was complicated.

  • I forgot the carryon suitcase in the airline's desk, so I had to do the security check twice.
  • I didn't know the checked-in suitcase was headed to Buenos Aires directly, so I tried to check it out and back in, and thought I had lost it. Of course, not lost, but I paid 5 dollars for a cart I used for 5 meters.
  • Dallas->Ezeiza plane got delayed because it was "too full" (WAT?)
  • Forgot my passport in the backseat pocket, so I had to run across Ezeiza twice to get it back, got so flustered and nervous my blood pressure spiked. Not fun.
  • Got stopped at customs because I had not declared my laptop on the way out. Luckily, I talked my way out of it.

But got back, was fun, and very useful in the work-related bits.

Syndicated 2013-01-26 12:22:56 from Lateral Opinion

Refreshed rst-cheatsheet

A while ago, I created a 2-page PDF version of the restructured text quickstart meant to be printed, folded in half and kept handy until you finally remember how to do footnotes (10 years and still waiting, in my case).

It was brought to my attention that the github project did not mention how to build it. Then I noticed that not only it didn't explain that, it was also missing critical files.

So, I added the files, fixed a couple of things that were not working perfectly with the latest rst2pdf and there is now a fresh PDF ready for you!

Syndicated 2013-01-24 09:54:25 from Lateral Opinion

Nikola Can Parse That

Just for completeness' sake I have gone over Wikipedia's list of lightweight markup languages and added support in Nikola (a static site and blog generator) for a couple of them: BBCode and txt2tags, which brings the number of supported markup formats to 7 (the others are reStructured text, markdown, HTML, textile and Wiki).

Of the list of markup languages, the only missing ones with a Python implementation are AsciiDoc and Markdown Extra.

Why bother with this? It's not as if there was someone asking for BBCode support. However, one of the uses I want to support is archiving sites. Suppose you have a forum you want to shut down? I want you to be able to archive it (even if it's some work) and keep the data out there. A wiki? Same thing.

This is a first step in that direction.

Syndicated 2013-01-22 17:05:04 from Lateral Opinion

Make Me Talk

One of the things that have helped me be less shy and thus have helped me move forward in life is speaking in public. However, I have been speaking in public very little these last couple of years.

So, make me do it more. I am looking forward to speaking in places I haven't been. If it's not horribly far from Buenos Aires, I may not even ask you to pay for my trip and/or hotel, I will pay for it myself if the event is interesting or the place looks like a fun place to travel to.

I can speak about python, free software in general or other things you may suggest, and I can do it in spanish or in english.

Syndicated 2013-01-21 10:13:49 from Lateral Opinion

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