February 28, 2007

Impressions of PyCon

Well, since a laptop fault meant I was without a computer for PyCon I wasn't able to do the instant blogging I did last year - sorry if you were expecting that. Instead I decided I'd try an experiment and turn my photo collection into a video on YouTube - too late to enter the photo competition anyway, so now for something completely different. Hope you like it.

February 22, 2007

Tutorial Is Ready

I wanted to make sure that the tutorial materials were available on the web before I started this year. Sean Reifschneider established network connnectivity earlier this evening, meaning that those students who can't read a thumb drive will be able to download the slides and sample code.

So can anyone else, come to that. I hope that the materials will be helpful to anyone who wants to learn to use databases from Python.

February 21, 2007

At PyCon!

I thought I was going to have a difficult journey when the airline announced that the flight was delayed for engineering reasons. Fortunately the delay was minimal and my flight to Fort Worth from Dulles actually arrived slightly ahead of time!

I met up with Andrew Kuchling, who's done a terrific job of organizing the last two PyCons (with able assistance from his co-chair Jeff Rush) and we shared a cab to the hotel. After we checked in we spoke to the sales staff about the accommodation issue. It now sounds like the relocation that some delegates have been forced to into should be for Thursday night only. This will mean a move after their first night, but at least they'll be able to spend the rest of the conference in the same hotel as everyone else.

I have to put the finishing touches to the tutorial presentation for tomorrow, and then we'll see how the rest of the evening goes.

February 19, 2007

Brown Bears Threatened by Builders

My son has just sent me details of a development in Northern Spain that threatens the brown bear population. Apparently one of the greatest problems suffered by the bears is insularization - separation of the habitat areas by removal of the corridors between them by building development. Apparently this particular development proposes a ski resort be built in an area of low snowfall across a migration corridor used by a threatened population of bears.

This is in contravention of EU law, in particular NATURA 2000. Clearly someone's narrow economic benefit is being put before the law, let alone the welfare of the bear population. If you value species diversity and want to help please sign this petition and request that the Spanish Minister for the environment enforces European law to preserve a threatened population in preference to a development of marginal utility.

February 14, 2007

Are Viacom Threatening You?

Have you received a notice from Viacom demanding that your remove YouTube content? Apparently they sent 100,000 take down notices about YouTube content in a single day.

Obviously each of these notices would be meticulously researched, which is why some of them were completely unconnected to the corporation or its content. If you received a notice you feel is unfair and you need help you can contact the Electronic Freedom Foundation for help.

It's time that media giants stopped abusing their position. Once they do that we can address the issues raised by their blatant manipulation of the political process in their favor. If they had their way there'd be no fair uses at all for their content other than paying for it before any use at all.

February 11, 2007

Five Years as a Blogger Tomorrow

I just read via Unofficial Planet Python fuzzyman wishing his Voidsapce blog a happy fourth birthday - congratulations, fuzz. This caused me to dig back into my own archives and realise that "... for Some Value of Magic" will be five years old tomorrow. So if four years is "practically ancient" I suppose this blog must go back into pre-history.

Why couldn't this wait until tomorrow? Because that'll be my last full day in the UK for some time - we are moving back to Virginia and I very much doubt I'll have the time to be writing blog entries as we have to get the cats to the airport and various other mundane but necessary tasks. I'm not looking forward to the joys of a 5:50 am flight out on Tuesday, but can't help being excited at the prospect of this return.

February 4, 2007

The Purpose of Advertising

A recent Seth Godin post about changes in the way advertising has been changing over the last quarter-century ends with an interesting quote:
"The winners, I think, are the agencies and the pundits and those that would like advertising to be more than it actually is."
He makes the point that advertisers are more interested in creating a short little movie that spreads - which if you think about it is exactly what everyone on YouTube is trying to create.

Bloggers are trying to create compelling writing that holds the interest of a (probably quite select) group of readers. Is this the same thing? Not really, in my view. Most bloggers aren't doing it for the money, but to promote their opinions and share their knowledge, but there's still the desire to promote a particular point of view - even if successful promotion doesn't result in the reader buying something.

While there's always a chance that a successful blog will attract enough readership to make advertising a money-earning proposition most blogs aren't going to be popular enough to attract advertisers. Yet still their dedicated authors keep pushing out the material. Just like I do, I suppose.

For some reason a number of posts were stuck in the blog as drafts. This one is from February 2007.