Setting Up a Django Developpment Environment in Windows Using Cygwin

I love GNU/Linux.  I use it every day, all day, and I have very little interest in using any other operating system.  With that being said, not everyone shares my feelings, and when I recently volunteered to mentor a group of up and coming developers, I realized that they have enough to worry about trying to learn Python and Django, without me trying to convince them to switch to an entirely new operating system.  So in the interest of baby steps, here is the guide I put together to help them get their Python and Django development environments setup ...


Github Pull Requests: For better or for worse, they lower the barrier to entry

I have been interested in open source software for years, I think I started playing around with Linux back in the late 90's as a young teenager, and I started messing around with open source software packages, tweaking the code to fit my own specific needs, 5 or 6 years ago.  That whole time, I yearned to be part of the community, I wanted to give back, but I didn't know how.  Oh I did some reading on the subject, I learned about diffing my changes, making a patch, submitting it to the correct place and so on ...


Dreamhost Django CMS Quick Start Script

I use Dreamhost shared hosting for some of my sites that I don't feel I need a whole ton of control over, such as this one (ransomsoft.com).  I also created Django CMS Themes (the site) and django-cms-themes (the python library that adds theme support to Django CMS), and I wanted a quick way to insure that django-cms-themes was easy to plug into a django app, so I wrote a little bash script that automatically installs and sets up the following on your dreamhost account:

  • A local copy of Python 2.7
  • easy_install
  • pip
  • virtualenv
  • virtualenvwrapper
  • django 1.3 ...

I'd rather grow than be comfortable

I've been trying to learn Vim, which is a terminal based text editor used by uber geeks and longbeards.  I know how to get around in Vim, I've been using it for years because it's one of the only text editors available when I ssh into a Linux server, but I'm not nearly as fast using it as I am when using good old GEdit with a bunch of helpful plugins.  The thing about Vim is that it has a ton of shortcuts keys for doing stuff, which is both awesome and terrifying because of the ...


Google Plus' greatest advantage: It's shiny and new

Google+ is here, and it looks a lot like Facebook, only with that certain Google flair and simplicty that we all came to love about Gmail.  Some people (namely my wife) have asked me why I'd use Google+ when all my friends, family, and photos are already on Facebook.  There are a lot of reasons, and I'll go over them in a bit, but honestly the biggest reason is that it's new and shiny, and I like new and shiny things (that work).  Also, not a lot of people are on it yet, so that makes me ...


A note map for Google's Les Paul tribute

Today the Google Doodle is a tribute to the famous guitar maker Les Paul, to celebrate his 96th birthday.  The doodle is an interactive guitar that allows you to "strum" the strings with your mouse to produce guitar sounds, and it even allows recording (once you've played with it for a minute or two).  I decided to map out the notes on the interactive guitar, so here they are:

So get out there and start recording some masterpieces!

Here are some of my creations:

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring – J.S. Bach

Pachelbel - Canon In D


There are no "Facebook Killers" until Facebook is dead

I keep seeing references aruond the internet to the next Facebook Killer, because apparently building a social network that's supposed to take on Facebook is the cool thing to do these days.  That's all fine and dandy, but Facebook isn't dead, it's not even injured, it's still growing like crazy, and where I come from you're innocent until provel guilty, and nobody's built anything that can be accused of having killed Facebook yet.  In the news they use the word Allegedly when refering to a person who is beleived to have killed someone ...


Expectation Anchoring

A few days ago a client emailed me with the subject line "URGENT!" and asked if I could make some minor (but important) changes to one of their apps.  I meant to do it right away, but it ended up being a pretty hectic and busy couple of days and I didn't get to it until several days later.  I made the change, tested and deployed it, and emailed the client to let them know that it was completed.  Here's the important part: I started my email with "I apologize for the delay in getting this taken care ...


Accountability: The Ultimate Motivator

A coworker and I recently decided to start open sourcing some of the small pluggable Django apps we've been using and reusing for different projects at work.  One of these apps was django-cms-redirects, a project based off of django.contrib.redirects, but that integrates with Django CMS' Page objects.  When we'd finished packaging the app up and got it pip installing from pypi we excited posted in the #django-cms IRC channel with a link to the github repo and asked for some feedback.  The general response from the folks on IRC was "this is great, but where are ...


Solving The Wrong Problem Is Better Than Doing Nothing

Some people call it analysis paralysis, some call it over thinking.  The fear of doing the wrong thing often causes us to do nothing at all.  Sometimes we know what the desired end result should be, but we just aren't sure what the right way to get there is.  Sometimes we don't even know what we're trying to build, but management wants it finished ASAP!  

I run into this a lot with my personal projects; I have a general idea for a cool new webapp or feature for an existing project, but I don't have the ...


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