Saturday, August 30, 2008

Django 1 is coming, so get ready

You can consider Django for inclusion in the category of things that make your life easier instead of more difficult if you find yourself needing/wanting to do web development for some specific purpose, but you find web development with Java based frameworks tedious, and consider PHP hokey (or, if, like me you are a former Perl freak who is still pissed at PHP for stealing Perl's thunder).

For all its greatness, it's been avoided by many for reasons including:

  • It's not Java based
  • It's not ASP.NET
  • It's not Ruby on Rails
  • It's not PHP
  • The version number < 1.0
The final item in the list can be scratched off soon as 1.0 is apparently out next week (the alphas and betas have been around for a while now). If you are in Mountain View, there's a release party.

Now that the magic 1 number has been reached those wishing to join in the fun can find out what it's about via this tutorial wherein SOFENG builds a blog. You will want to know Python, of course. The Django Book is nicely laid out and organized. It's worth purchasing, and is also freely available on-line.

It's 'the web framework for perfectionists with deadlines' (tm). From my own admittedly limited exposure to it so far, what this means is:

  • It's pretty easy to learn
  • It provides a really nice built-in admin framework saving you from having to write the same code you've written a hundred times before one more time
  • You can get the basic outline of your app up and running quickly.
  • It's got a nice template system
  • It's got modules for doing things like adding RSS or Atom feeds for your site with such ease it oughta be against the law.
This blog post has been far too lopsidedly positive. I hate it when the Herald-Times Editor does that Orchids and Onions thing, but doesn't give out Onions. Onions to Comcast for our overpriced internet connection that keeps dropping out. Onions to humidity. Onions to people on the cell phone while driving. I feel better now.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Sad Sad Story of Zines are Dead

Before the internet and outside academia, zines were a way somewhat disaffected and alienated people of like minds found and communicated with each other. The letters section of Maximum Rock-n-Roll, featuring writers from all points on the intelligence continuum debating everything from is racism bad to should you eat meat was a precursor to the punky's punk forums on the Web today. In Maximum Rock-n-Roll's Letters section you could read both the insane ramblings of GG Allin and the very poorly spelled rants of Courtney Love. You could also get your letter published even if you were an absolute nobody.

As a grad student in ultra-religious South Carolina, I could ignore the pile of Chick Tracts in the Post Office on the way to fetch a zine full of detourned comics written by a guy in the UK that I found out about in FactSheet 5. At $1-$2 a shot, they were low-risk, but since they weren't completely free you had to take that risk, however small, and hope for the best. More often than not, there'd be a brief personal note from the zine's author in the envelope (as were sometimes found in orders from Dischord or K records).

Bloomington's best Bookstore, Boxcar Books (now at the new location next to the Runcible Spoon) has a good-sized zine collection, but if you look closely you'll notice many of the zines are a year or more old. I picked up a couple of zines and didn't notice this until I got home. It's not bad that they're old, but why aren't there enough new zines to fill the shelves?

It's the foul internet that's destroyed them. has helpful info about signs you have gonorrhea or other STDs. There are plenty of e-zines, but they aren't made of paper. If you read a story about strange shit happening on a long Greyhound Bus ride, like I found in an issue of Big Hands, it works a lot better on pieces of paper that have been folded together and stapled by hand than on my MacBookPro's glossy screen. It might work on a library computer's monitor, but the kids doing their damn MySpace and playing games hog those terminals. Damn kids.

The internet is everywhere now, except maybe parts of Mongolia. You could start and publish an e-zine from Antarctica. You could keep up with what's going on in the outside world from Greenland. In some ways you can't be disconnected at all in the ways that made people want to publish and read zines at one time.

Of course being out of it I have no idea how alive and vibrant today's zine scene really is. People are publishing zines about Ruby on Rails and their favorite podcasts. Hypermilers publish zines that share tips for using as little gas as possible. Disaffected but comfortable white youngsters put out Zines about Ron Paul. Or something.

Well, I'd best turn it over to the youngsters. Here are some jumping off points:

Action Girl Newsletter - How do you find zines? How do you make zines? Plus: a manifesto.

Portland Zine Symposium
- You've already missed this year's. Plan ahead for 2009. - nicely designed. professional. multi-lingual

sordidzine - no idea. from page 23 of the Google search 'zines'

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Talk to your Doctor about Leon Redbone

I missed a lot of work this week due to Lianard Bones, something I got in my ankles from excessive running. I had not run for a long time because of ennui and knee pains, also people would not leave me alone all day at work, so I could get nothing done, and I was overwhelmed and paralyzed by guilt at not getting anything done. I did not deserve burritos. I did not even deserve browned iceberg lettuce and Ranch dressing. I could possibly eat Jalepeno Cheet-os, but I would hate myself afterwards.

The past couple of weeks the temperature has been down below 80 again. My horrible peeling sunburns were gone and forgotten. So I went out at lunch and ran hard. It felt good. Better than watching baseball highlights on the elliptical. Better than riding the bike downhill and keeping a car behind me for a while. It felt hard enough that I felt like I was struggling all the way, and that was great. The truly great part was when I returned and had some water and sat down. I felt fully narcoticized. I wanted to feel that way forever and never stop. So I ran too much and I fucked my bones up. Getting old really sucks.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Why oh why does anybody ask Rob Enderle about anything?

I was enjoying this article about a grad student's plans for a $12 computer until the Rob Enderle quote showed up on page 2. His appearance in an article or the sound of his voice on a 'Marketplace' segment is the signal to stop reading or listening. This 2002 (2002!) posting from Dave Winer explains it as well as anything:

Michael Williams: "That guy has always struck me as all hat and no cattle. Drives me nuts to see him quoted as an 'expert.' I'd be shocked if he's ever installed anything more than Windows on a laptop or written any code other than pseudo in an e-mail."

John Robb: "The guy is a carpetbagger quotemill of the worst sort. Nobody ever called him on it until today."

Joe Rotello: "Why don't we just replace him with a large switch marked OFF, and be done with it."

Assembly-line journalism

Got a couple of emails from Enderle, unfortunately he doesn't want them on the Web. They were long. I would love to publish them. See how the mind of a quote mill works. 1300 quotes per year. I guess he counts. Anyway, he's not that interesting. I hope Cydney writes a piece about this. And I also hope she keeps developing sources who know what they're talking about and avoids assembly-line journalism.
Actually according to this JargonWatch article on workbench, Enderle was the original quote mill. He's the DJ Kool Herc of sloppy tech journalism. The first of his kind.

Seeing as the article mentioned earlier was from ABC, we can maybe understand some newbie journalist not doing any kind of homework and thinking Enderle is some kind of authority on something, but you'd think a tech type company like Dell would know better. No such luck.

In other news, Dell has hired moron-hack-hall-of-famer Rob Enderle of "the Enderle Group" (also known as Rob and his Wife) to consult on their sure-to-fail iPod+iTunes competitor. Man, they sure are getting taken for a ride by this idiot.


That's astonishing. Michael Dell must have a screw loose somewhere. It could be a good thing, though, in the sense that it might shut down the "Enderle Quote Mill" that consistently spews out the most incorrect propaganda the Interwebs have ever seen. Who's going to go to him now? If he's on the DELL payroll, how can he pretend to be objective in his "anal-ysis"?


Rob gained a bit of fame in the hysterical hyperbole arena for comparing Linux users to terrorists in this really awesome tour de force of bad writing and bad logic fusing together like 'Wonder Twin Powers, ACTIVATE!' - 'Pros, Priests, and Zealots: The 3 Faces Of Linux'.

When he's not being wrong about Linux, he's leaving his peers in the dust being wrong about Apple. His wikipedia article, as of this writing, credits him with

predicting the demise of the Macintosh more times since 1995 than any other industry observer.

Technology observer John Gruber has described Enderle's predictions on Apple as "nearly always completely wrong (at least regarding Apple), and that "the only way it would be worthwhile for tech reporters to continue to press Enderle for quotes would be if they were willing to describe him as “almost always utterly wrong”, thus letting readers know that the opposite of what he claims is probably the case"
In conclusion, if you are reading an article or listening to a segment, when the name 'Enderle' comes on, treat what follows with the same reverence and seriousness you would give to investment advice from a cracked-out Amy Winehouse.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Cussinest Bunch Of Cuss Ever

Do you ever wonder what happened to the cuss words that got edited out of Eazy-E's first album and NWA's 'Straight Outta Compton' to make the clean radio versions?

They ended up in this lovely mix featured recently on the Coffee2Go podcast from WFMU (featuring Noah). Noah typically focuses on unsigned artists and his show succeeds when I listen while running or otherwise cardio-izing.

The sad thing is when I listen to this it's pretty easy to tell which song is which even though all that remains are the naughty words.

In related news, according to oneplusyou's cuss-o-meter, 22.3% of the postings on this blog contain foul language.

Take the wordsofadvice4young people challenge: play the cussy cuss mix very loudly outside the theater showing the premiere of Ice Cube's next family-friendly movie and you will win a wordsofadvice4young t-shirt.

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou - Free Dating Site

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Top 10 record companies in my collection thus far, acc to

Warner Bros / Wea|35
Elektra / Wea|26
Matador Records|25
Merge Records|19
Polygram Records|17
Geffen Records|16
Reprise / Wea|16

Top Artists:

Sonic Youth|14
Yo La Tengo|12
The Chemical Brothers|10
Steely Dan|8
Super Furry Animals|8
Miles Davis|7
Aphex Twin|6
David Bowie|6

Beastie Boys|5
Kate Bush|5
Massive Attack|5
Stevie Wonder|5
The Beatles|5

Aimee Mann|4
Depeche Mode|4
Herbie Hancock|4
Johnny Cash|4
Jonathan Richman|4
Os Mutantes|4
Talking Heads|4
The B-52's|4
The New Pornographers|4
The Orb|4
The Velvet Underground|4
Thelonious Monk|4

A Tribe Called Quest|3
Béla Fleck & The Flecktones|3
Caetano Veloso|3
Charles Mingus|3
Cypress Hill|3
DJ Shadow|3
Ghostface Killah|3
Giant Sand|3
Guided by Voices|3
James Brown|3
King Missile|3
LL Cool J|3
Neil Young|3
Peter Gabriel|3
Rage Against the Machine|3
The Clash|3
The English Beat|3
The Golden Palominos|3
The Who|3
Tom Waits|3
Trans Am|3

Bebel Gilberto|2
Beth Orton|2
Bustle and Out Up|2
Cibo Matto|2
Darren Emerson|2
David Byrne|2
Dead Can Dance|2
Drive Like Jehu|2
Galaxie 500|2
Howe Gelb|2
J Dilla|2
Jimi Hendrix|2
John Coltrane|2
Joy Division|2
Kruder & Dorfmeister|2
Leonard Cohen|2
Lori Carson|2
MF Doom|2
Martin & Wood Medeski|2
Mazzy Star|2
Medeski Martin & Wood|2
Mission of Burma|2
Missy Elliott|2
Missy Misdemeanor Elliott|2
Mouse on Mars|2
Nine Inch Nails|2
Ozric Tentacles|2
Peter Tosh|2
Public Enemy|2
Roots Manuva|2
Shudder to Think|2
Sisters of Mercy|2
Skinny Puppy|2
Squirrel Nut Zippers|2
Stephen Malkmus|2
The Art of Noise|2
The Breeders|2
The Flaming Lips|2
The Jimi Hendrix Experience|2
The Sex Pistols|2
The Shamen|2
The Undertones|2
Thievery Corporation|2
Transglobal Underground|2
Velocity Girl|2
Weather Report|2

Friday, August 01, 2008

Meme-o-rama - the best album from each year I've been alive so far

1970 - The Stooges: Funhouse
1971 - Os Mutantes : Jardim Electrico
1972 - David Bowie: The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars
1973 - The Stooges: Raw Power
1974 - Steely Dan: Pretzel Logic
1975 - Steely Dan: Katy Lied
1976 - Boston: Boston
1977 - Talking Heads: Talking Heads '77 (sorry Punk Rock)
1978 - Devo: Q: Are we not men? A: We are Devo!
1979 - Talking Heads: Fear Of Music
1980 - David Bowie: Scary Monsters
1981 - Rush: Moving Pictures
1982 - Kate Bush: The Dreaming
1983 - ZZ Top: Eliminator
1984 - The Minutemen: Double Nickels On The Dime
1985 - Sonic Youth: Bad Moon Rising
1986 - This Mortal Coil: Filigree and Shadow
1987 - Sonic Youth: Sister
1988 - Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation
1989 - Galaxie 500: On Fire
1990 - The Breeders: Pod
1991 - Superchunk: No Pocky For Kitty
1992 - Pavement: Slanted and Enchanted
1993 - Underworld: dubnobasswithmyheadman
1994 - Portastatic: I Hope Your Heart Is Not Brittle
1995 - Tricky: Maxinquaye
1996 - Beck: Odelay
1997 - Radiohead: OK Computer
1998 - Belle and Sebastian: The Boy With The Arab Strap
1999 - MF Doom: Operation: Doomsday
2000 - Deltron 3030: Deltron 3030
2001 - Super Furry Animals : Rings Around The World
2002 - Sigur Ros: ()
2003 - Super Furry Animals : Phantom Power
2004 - Madvillain: Madvillainy
2005 - Deerhoof : The Runners Four
2006 - Jay Dee (J Dilla): Donuts
2007 - Aesop Rock : None Shall Pass
2008 - ?

That took longer than I thought it would...