Having got the first working version of the Picky Picky Game,
I have naturally now pulled it apart again. I decided
that now it is in a state where it makes sense to try to
package up a version for Adrian to try installing, I better
think about getting the module and package names right, since it
will be harder to change them later.
I have reorganized my Python classes in to their own
pdc (designed to prevent name collisions
with WWW-oriented packages by other people). I also
changed some of the file names—so that ‘
httputils’ becomes ‘
from pdc import
There is now a proper
suite for the
module (which has functions like
xmlencode). This is
easier to do for this odule than the others, which tend to
involve creating scads of HTML text which will be hard to check
for errors. For the URL-manipulating functions, the unit tests
turned out to be invaluable—there are a lot of corner
cases that I only sorted out because I had tests for
all of them.
Up until today my RSS
feed has had one link per day, even though there might be extra
(supplementary) articles on that day.
If you look at the HTML page, the first article of the day
gets the big heading with the date and suchlike, and the
subsequent articlettes get smaller headings. Up until now the
smaller articles were omitted from the RSS.
I have now tweaked the program that generates it so that these
smaller headings also get links in the RSS data. At the moment
they link to their parent item; this will change once I add
HTML anchors to the headings so that they can link direct to
those. Sorry for any inconvenience.
Last night I hacked the code that generates the archive web
pages for my weblog (or whatever it is this site is) so that the
headings of the supplementary articles also have link anchors.
In the process I broke my RSS feed slightly—it got
confused by the
id tags. (while remaining
according to the RSS validator). This has now been fixed,
so that (a) all articles have an HTML link target and
(b) all articles are linked to from the RSS feed.
Small objects of desire
I’have had a Palm 3 for some time
(creaky old 2-MB model). I used to say that when I upgraded
it, I wanted that to be next upgrade for my phone, as
well. That product now exists in the form of
Treo, a compact palmtop with a phone built in, and
has one. Sadly Handspring don’t consider Grafitti an
asset in a device aimed at non-Palm-users, so the 180g has
already been air-brushed out of history in favour of its
keyboard-sporting cousin. The problem is the Treo does cost
rather a lot more than, say, Adrian’s entry-level Sony
Clié, which is similarly compact and has a high-res
screen. I really don’t know which I would prefer as
the successor to my clunky old Palm 3.
Actually the fact is I don’t need to replace my
disfunctional old Palm 3;
I frankly don’t use very much, not the way Jo and Jeremy use theirs.
Its main failing is not its memory size but its
size—justa little bit bigger than pocket sized (unlike
both the Clié and the Treo).
I have admitedly
upgraded my Alcatel Max DB phone (the same model that caused mpt so
much confusion) for its smaller successor the 311, but that
is still one of Virgin’s cheapest handsets and I only
rarely use the thing. I have absolutely no need to upgrade
either of them. Annoyingly.
Spent another dollop of time on the Picky Picky Game, moving
code in to my
www module. This is a slow process
because I have decided that this module is going to have a
complete set of unit tests (
tests after the fact can be a little depressing—it keeps
digging up bugs (i.e., mistakes) you made when writing the
function in the first place. The Extreme Programming gurus say
this is why writing the
tests first is psychologically important (as well as being
important to their methodology) because you end the day
successfully passing tests that failed earlier in the day,
rather than not depressingly writing tests that either never get
triggered or which show up flaws in your precious code.
Anyway, the upshot of today’s not particularly intensive
work is that it does more or less what it did last week, but is
maybe a bit more reliable than it was before.
In the process of getting the CGI scripts to work again after
reorganizing the libraries, I have further refactored them my
moving the request-processing code in to the Picky Picky Game
library, leaving the CGI script to contain just a few
configuration parameters and an invocation of the library
routine. This style is not unlike that used by Joe Gregorio in
There are various advantages to moving most
of the code out of the CGIs themsevles—better information
hiding, for example (which can be considered a security feature
as well as good programming practice). It also allows the bulk
of the code to be stored in byte-compiled form on disc, which
might make processing requests a little faster.
I have created an experimental, pre-alpha, test-of-concept,
categorically not finished or complete package that is a
snapshot of the Picky Picky Game development so far (
enthusiastic web master with a Python-compatible server
should be able to install this and make it go.
What’s more, if this version can be installed, then future
versions should also be installable (since I don’t
intend to require any additional features). But don’t
hold me to that... Your mileage may vary.
There is one important unresolved issue, the ‘EAGAIN’ problem,
which I decided to put to one side
for now. I hope to use this snapshot to test the
problem in different environments.
For some reason there are a lot of comic-book adaptations of
H. G. Well’s War of the World:
of Extraordinary Gentlemen II
A retelling of Wells’s story in a Victorian-era world
where every fantasy tale (set on Mars or otherwise) is true
simultaneously. Incredibly baroque tripods.
Ian Edginton and D’Israeli D’Emon
Judge Dredd Megazine issues 4.16 to 4.18 (September to November 2002).
Set a decade after the War of the Worlds, London
has been rebuilt with Martian technology. The resulting
hybrid tech has to be seen to be believed. The web site
linked to above has all the DVD-style extras, including
production sketches, deleted scenes, and making-of
documentary. Since the strip was originally produced for
on-line presentation, some of the cut scenes are animated!
Alan Davis and Mark Farmer, Killraven
The set-up is once again a decade or so after the Martian
invasion, except this time the Martians won and humanity has
been reduced to scavenging in the ruins and performing in the
gladiator pits. Cue an escape of scantily-clad gladiator
slaves. Some message-boards state this is a revival of an old
Marvel character (and the
name does sound familiar), but I cannot find an official
Alan Davis, Mark Farmer, or Killraven web-site to
I have a nagging feeling that there was another one
I was going to put in this list, but if so its name escapes
me for the moment... :-)
Yesterday (the 23rd) we made a point of waiting for the post to
arrive before going in to work, but to no avail. When we
returned home we found yet another of those cards telling us a
parcel was waiting for us at the depot in Sandy Lane West.
Since I was taking a day’s holiday on Christmas Eve,
I set off to pick up the parcel.
Cycling to the depot would be straightforward enough if it had
occurred to anyone to add a few directional signs along the
route. You start by cycling up Cowley Road past Temple Cowley.
This is a steeper climb than I remembered, and I soon got
very hot. The intersection at Temple Cowley is a little
intimidating—in order to get to the off-road cycle lane
you have to move in to the middle lane (since the left lane is
left-turn-only). The off-road path takes you to the Ring Road
roundabout, and crossing the road on foot takes you to the
cycle+dog path that parallels the Ring Road. This is an ideal
shared cycle path: broad, flat, and only sparsely populated with
pedestrians. The first left would be Tesco’s megamart.
Skipping that you come to a confusing dip-under-the-road
junction with something labelled Barns Road. You need to go up
on to this main road and thereby cross the Ring Road. Another
off-road cycle path now appears, but ignore it; it is leading
you away from a mini-roundabout which you want to use to turn
right on to Sandy Lane West. The home stretch! The trick here
is to not look out for the
Royal Mail Consignia
sign, because all you will find at the Reception window there is
a hand-written sign telling you to go back two places to the
Nuffield Industrial Estate. Once you go down there the
Enquiries office is reasonably well signposted. Annoyingly
there is nowhere to park a bicycle. (This is Oxford, after
Even more annoyingly, there was also a piece of paper in the
window saying they were closing the office an hour an a half
early today. So the journey was all for nothing.
Could they have prevented this? Yes, by telling me the modified
office hours on the card they stuck through my letter box. This
card is completely generic, probably printed in the millions at
some central printers. Too bad they don’t produce a local
version for each Post Town so they can have the address printed
on them (we have received these cards with no address on at all
in the past). Too bad they don’t have a special Xmas
Season version of the card giving their reduced opening times.
Given that December must account for a disproportionately large
fraction of displaced domestic parcels (as opposed to parcels
for business addresses), this would seem a logical measure to me.
On the other hand, is it worth fucking over people like me for
the sake of a measly hour and a half extra holiday? Surely that
office needs at most two people present (one customer-facing,
one fetching parcels), so paying them enormous overtime would
not break the bank, right?
My Alleged Tarot 2002 project has been
stuck with an ersatz dealer for far too long (since
August, in fact). I have
used for the dealer so it takes a question and converts that
to a seed number, rather than requiring the querent to supply
their own. Entering the question corresponds to the shuffling
of the deck that you do in a tarot deal in real life.