A word is worth a thousand pictures

I found this sticker inside one of a pair of new shoes:



I didn’t have any idea what this was saying. My wife suggested it meant that I ought to watch out for diamonds… and maybe nets.

I found this sticker in the other shoe. I think it means the same thing:


UI Horror: Windows 8 BSOD

My PC is sad. I know this because of the frowny face. Unfortunately, I know not much more, because my PC won’t boot, and Microsoft decided to provide as little information about the error as possible on their new BSOD screen.

Hmm… scary (but potentially useful) hexidecimal-laden error messages or cute emoticon?

Thanks for that.


Amazon Glacier and CloudBerry Online Backup

checkbox-0 Offsite backup for critical files

This task has been lingering undone on my to-do list for months. I imagined that I’d figure out some way to use Dropbox, Google Drive, Sky Drive, or something to keep my data safe in case something catastrophic happened at the house. All those solutions seem so expensive, though. When Amazon Web Services announced Amazon Glacier not long ago, with storage rates at 1 cent per gigabyte per month, I figured I’d found my storage location, but it is just an API. Finding CloudBerry Backup completed the solution.

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Coding Standards and Orthography

Sometimes when I bring up the subject of coding standards, I get an eye-rolling, aren’t-we-all-adults-here kind of reaction from my fellow programmers — or a fearful look anticipating endless debates about where the braces should go. Of course, “coding standards” can cover a gamut of subjects — from techniques to avoid shooting yourself in the foot to parenthesis placement — but even the little stuff matters, because writing code is largely about communicating with humans.

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Python Packaging Demystified

IMPORTANT: Some of the information in this post is now obsolete. Please see here.

Randomly take a couple of words from the following list, put them together, and there’s a decent chance you’ll come up with something real involving Python packaging.

  • setup
  • install
  • dist
  • distribute
  • tools
  • utils
  • easy
  • py

The packaging situation is kind of confusing with all the alternate tools, libraries and methods, so I’m going to take a stab at clarifying things — for how it seems right now, anyway.

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Three Suggestions for the Android Calendar App

1. Two reminders

I want a reminder at the specified reminder time, and another one at the appointment start time. This is how it typically goes for me:

PHONE: Ding!
ME: Oh yeah, I’ve got that meeting in 10 minutes. Let me just finish this little bit of code in the meantime…

(15 minutes later)

CO-WORKER VIA IM: Hey, you coming to this meeting?
ME: Shoot! Sorry! Be right there.

The lack of this feature has created a market for tons of reminder “nag” apps that try to make up for it. I don’t really want a whole other app that piles on inane features in an attempt to justify its existence, though.

2. Current month is white

OK, this is kind of picky, but shouldn’t the current month be white while the previous and next months are gray? The current scheme is opposite that and my brain struggled with it.

3. Combined day and agenda view

The webOS calendar has a brilliant combination of an agenda and day view. It lets you see all of your appointments without huge swaths of blank screen pushing them out of view, but still makes it easy to add a new appointment at any time of day by tapping the accordion section.

UI Horror: Untrimmed Validation

Hmm… this zip code looks pretty good to me.

This was on the Discount Tire mobile site. It’s awesome that you can schedule a service appointment on the web using your mobile phone. It’s not so awesome that the form validation doesn’t compensate for the trailing space that my phone’s keyboard automatically added. “Normal” people would give up when the site refused to accept such an obviously correct entry.