the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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Freeform Night at Clepy and the Ghost of Gary Bernhardt

April's Clepy meeting saw a much smaller than usual crowd, and a much more casual program--everyone who'd been lined up to give talks had had to bail at the last minute. So instead of covering anything formally, we spent a relaxing two hours enjoying beer, pizza, and various freeform, impromptu lightning talks. You couldn't even really call them lightning talks since we had no time limit, just an unspoken gentlemen's agreement to yield the projector cable when the time was appropriate.

Steve Dee showed off his CWRU senior project, jsPrettify, a bit of Javascript tomfoolery to automatically turn ASCII sequences into appropriate (and arguably prettier) Unicode equivalents. We also had a nice chat about the Closure Javascript tools that Steve had been introduced to while interning at Google. (Some aspects, like the provide/require system, remind me a lot of Dojo, and while it seems intriguing, reading some other opinions has me back in the skeptical category.)

Mike Crute showed us his not-yet-ready-to-release tool for automating provisioning and deployment of VPS nodes and the apps they serve, which seems like a really slick way to react to traffic needs (consolidate apps onto fewer boxes during low traffic periods, rearrange on the fly if someone's site is spiking). He also showed off something else that I mostly missed, so the Python code we glimpsed (featuring a lone "Oh, my..." comment to apologize for the 100-line method that was about to commence) didn't really mean a lot to me.

We had a brief glimpse of Mike's desktop wallpaper (a demotivational poster featuring a stern-looking John McCarthy) which inspired me to create this little gem (sorry in advance, Gary!):

image: Gary Bernhardt (as John McCarthy): 'Programming: You're Doing It Wrong'

Nick Barendt gave a quick introduction to Buildbot while I VPNed into work to prep my own demo of Das Blinkenlights, my little AIR app for monitoring the current build status of our various build slaves at work. The Python code to emit the JSON feed that Das Blinkenlights consumes hasn't yet been released to the public, but I have permission from the Powers That Be to do so, so I should get around to it before too long. (Beware my extremely unfinished and gross Javascript code in Blinkenlights--it's still in very rough shape at this point).

We had a new member tonight who was interested in applying Python for developing web apps, so we may try to pull together a "web framework shootout" for next month, which I envision as four or five different presenters simultaneously live coding the same basic web app (probably a wiki, blog, or to-do list) using different toolkits. We'll need to see about some cabling and KVMs, I think, so that we can rapidly switch back and forth between presenters. More details to follow, I'm sure...

If you're in Northeast Ohio and want to hang out with smart, friendly people who like Python, come on down! Meetings are held on the second Monday of the month aboard LeanDog's awesome boat, and we have an official pizza and beer fund going to supply us with tasty treats. It's a good time that I highly recommend.

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