Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ecosystem Software


wxPython (classic) has been released and is now available for
download at  This build adds some
updates of the 3rdParty libraries that were left out of the last build
by mistake.

Various binaries are available for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows, and also
for OSX using the Carbon and Cocoa APIs, for Python 2.6 and 2.7.
Source code is also available at of
course, for building your own.

What is wxPython?

wxPython is a GUI toolkit for the Python programming language. It
allows Python programmers to create programs with a robust, highly
functional graphical user interface, simply and easily. It is
implemented as a set of Python extension modules that wrap the GUI
components of the popular wxWidgets cross platform library, which is
written in C++.

wxPython is a cross-platform toolkit. This means that the same program
will usually run on multiple platforms without modifications.
Currently supported platforms are 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows,
most Linux or other Unix-like systems using GTK2, and Mac OS X 10.4+.
In most cases the native widgets are used on each platform to provide
a 100% native look and feel for the application.

Robin Dunn
Software Craftsman

       Support the Python Software Foundation:

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Quoting Nietzsche

Walter Kaufmann of Princeton University, where I met him late in his life -- he'd had a long track record before that -- used to quote with approval Nietzsche's  advisory:  "be a hard bed for your friends."

Now why would anyone wanna be that?  Aren't friends precisely those people with a soft lap, more cuddly?

Well, if you think of cop or doctor shows where there's some conflict -- or lawyer shows -- you get the alpha apes playing racket ball.

They're on the opposite side of some issue at work, so there's a plot.  They've been at loggerheads before.

That's part of what drives the season (plots involve opposition and tension).

"These two women are friends" (just to go against the stereotype) one soon realizes, yet they're each into trouncing the other in some professionally recognized way, like in sports.  Racket ball becomes a metaphor.  Or tennis.  The CIA executive director (e.g. Nora Slatkin) is always leaving her 7th floor office to go play tennis with the FBI director (DiCaprio?); the spy novels are full of that stuff.

So in that sense I think Nietzsche was saying to be a strong racket ball partner for your friends, like a coach or better, a sparring partner.  What better way to develop your immune system, your defenses, than by working out against a lesser enemy, i.e. a friend.  I know it sounds weird to put it that way, which is why I did so on purpose.

When you have someone's interests at heart and yet appear to present obstacles, you're in well known territory where storytelling is concerned.

Married couples often confuse themselves in not recognizing that they're also racket ball partners i.e. well positioned as trainers to play hard ball in such a way as to improve the others' performance.  That's the theory anyway.  The mindset to adopt is your opponent is not "unfair" or "out of line" but "highly paid by invisible others to serve just exactly in that way".  That's a meditation, like when the Dalai Lama says to imagine everyone as your mother.  I'm not trying to make you paranoid.

Monday, September 01, 2014

DjangoCon 2014

Portland is lucky to get so much of the open source world coming through its venues, this week, Labor Day week, being DjangoCon 2014, produced by The Open Bastion.

As per usual, I'm ensconced in the office suite, using Hilton Wifi to perform some tasks in Cyberia.

Today being a holiday, post Burning Man's man burning, and the temple too, I'm also kicking back to watch Little Stewart, Mrs. Swan and other MAD TV offerings.  I get my mini-vacations through multitasking sometimes.

At lunch I enjoyed the company of Jeff Tripplett, one of the in-on-the-ground-floor people around Django, a web framework originating from the Lawrence Journal-World and its newspaper culture.

Portia, local like me, and Leah, from Seattle spoke of Angular.js and the morning tutorial.  Steve Holden and others joined us later.  This is a small conference, which I like.

We talked quite a bit about version control systems as applied not to source code necessarily, but to contracts and legislation.  A lot of legal language is about amending this or that, what we call "patching" the code.  The gentleman to my left, from Minneapolis, was aware that the practice of using software for version control behind legal contract language was already spreading.

I'm interested in version control software within Quakerism.  How might the differing meetings swap DNA around to find the right rules just for them, yet with a family resemblance to the others?

Forking and branching as a managed process makes a lot of sense in this context.

Coming home on the 14 bus, I read Polo's piece in Asian Reporter, about Asians succeeding in mainstream America and needing to maybe adjust to having arrived.  He was giving a talk at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) and seeing that as a metaphor for really making it, as an ethnicity and minority -- but then we all qualify in having those attributes (some minority ethnicity, such as "djangsta") in some dimensions.

I know my daughter really enjoyed her high school summer internship at OHSU, doing some pretty serious lab work for a person her age.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Comic Material


The English language is too cold with its "it", such that we're considered abnormal if we have a date with an automobile.  You're allowed to have a date in your automobile, but not if the automobile itself is your date.

The reason I bring this up is not just that Hindu festival honoring machinery, which I think we should have in "the west" of all places (the rusting side of the globe).  I'm encouraging better treatment of our stuff, honoring maintenance, not as a sorry chore but a privilege.  We get to participate in various upgrades.  Computer people have that enthusiasm for the next version.

Anyway, I took Ms. Nissan, aka "maxi taxi" on a date to Jiffy Lube yesterday.  She'd started lurching the other day, fuel filter suspected, long time since last oil change.  She deserved it.  Rather than be all resentful, I should celebrate this little affair we're having.  Sounds crazy, I know.  English.

Car talk:  the yellow light I brought her in on is still on though, and decodes to needing a sensor fixed.  We're talking about a pretty old car here, well over 200K, but in good condition.  I'm optimistic the sensor issue is secondary and the fuel line cleaning / oil change will have her back in good running condition.  Here's to Her.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Alberta Street, NE Portland

:: from a walk form 24th to St. Andrew's and back ::

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wanderers 2014.8.20


Carol Urner, my mother, had the floor again this morning.  She was presenting on "reasons for hope" within the nuke weapons abolition movement, a campaign variously named, sometimes called "Countdown to Zero" in this blog.

Her reasons for hope centered around:

(a) a meeting on September 26, 2013
(b) actions by the non-aligned nations
(c) the World and US Council of Mayors
(d) the lawsuit by the Marshall Islands

Some of her statements were quite pro-Iran as she's in the camp thinking Iran is muscling around the edges of the nuclear weapons club in order to push for a no nuke weapons future, or call it leverage.

The same theory was floated about the USSR before its dissolution i.e. that an uber-goal of the Russian leadership was likewise a nuclear weapons free world.

Such hypotheses do not usually sit well with Americans, as the primary justification for the USA's continuing to stockpile is "crazy rogue nations" such as the USSR, Iran and North Korea.  Imputing motives such as "attaining a nuclear weapons free world" to crazies makes them sound sane and US foreign policy is premised on the craziness of its enemies.  The idea of any "hope" gets cold water in the US press, for the most part.  Encouraging fear over longing seems more like DC's strong suit and leadership style.

Carol is giving a similar talk tomorrow at Thirsters.

During the middle of the Carol's talk, Lindsey and Melody dropped by and I made the brief announcement that this was Lindsey's last day in the US for some months, given her immanent departure from PDX this evening.

Lindsey has occasionally joined us at Wanderers over the years and is friends with many of us.  Her official goodbye party was this passed Saturday.

Good seeing Elizabeth Furse again, former US Congresswoman, and David Tver at the table, along with other august attenders, like Dick Pugh.

Dick corrected Carol on a couple of points:  the rocket used to launch the plutonium-carrying satellite was not itself a "nuclear rocket" (as in nuke-powered) and the nuclear devices exploded in the Pacific were not technically "bombs" i.e. were not "dropped", even if the tests were indeed atmospheric.

Carol spoke quite a bit about native / indigenous concerns regarding the nuclear industry, which has impacted North American tribes a lot, not just Pacific Islanders who've seen their homelands and way of life destroyed by Pentagon bozos.  We talked about how men, more than women, tend to be bozos and how future world summits will need at least 50% women if they want any legitimacy.

September 26 is a new UN official day.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The House I Live In (movie review)

What this documentary brings to the foreground is a trick has been played with people's fear of the drug-crazed.  Rush Limbaugh was drug-crazed and on national radio for years, but the point is to demonize those "other people's drugs":  opiates in the case of Chinese, hemp in the case of Mexicans, and Blacks got blamed for everything else, but crack especially, the CIA's favorite under Reagan.

The unfairness of the "crack laws" and mandatory sentencing rules, which bypass the whole idea of judges (only robots need apply), has eroded both the police force and the justice system behind it to a mere shadow of what it could be, were "trust" still a word in the English language (only in translation maybe).  The movie draws the analogy to the holocaust quite adroitly:  first you confiscate their property, because they're "bad people", then the people themselves, leading to incarceration and concentration, then annihilation.  The pattern is played out over and over, against gypsies, gays and Jews (but it doesn't stop at that point).

The US emerged from its Civil War bruised and battered, optimistic about democracy still, but terrified of what "equality" might really mean.  What if blacks were allowed to play baseball?  The KKK was not amused by such suggestions.  The Henry Ford Museum memorializes the story in glass cases.  Part of the solution:  deny them the vote by establishing a criminal record, which in turn hinges on which of the many drugs to make illegal to blue collars without health insurance or legal representation.

The movie opens up a wider debate around prisons for profit, i.e. prisons motivated enough to give your neighbors a "finder's fee" if they catch you sodomizing some sausage or whatever, through their prison-paid-for night scopes.  Before you know it, enticement and entrapment become number one sports, with for-profit prisons hosting the Hunger Games behind the scenes.  Are we far from that now?  Not really.

The USA is still a dystopian nightmare, but it's still better than the Civil War, and Prohibition is at least partially lifted, while slavery is officially outlawed, even if practiced against the undocumented aka stateless and/or houseless population.  As a Quaker with a lineage around prison reform, I would have no trouble suggesting high bandwidth Internet to all offenders with uncensored access to Youtube at least.  That's a starting point.  Reintegrating the prison populations via social media is the job for coming generations of social media engineers.  Facebook for Inmates?  Don't call it that, but sure.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Outdoor Art (Quaker Meetinghouse)

No, I had nothing to do with its production or placement, just stumbled upon on a morning walk, and yes, I usually carry a camera (not just a smartphone), so I was ready to capture the scene.  Caption: "You will see him picking at the delicate fibers of his own reality".





Thursday, August 07, 2014

Henry Ford Museum

My geography is not that good and where Dearborn, Michigan might be, relative to Detroit, was not "recall knowledge" though my smartphone ("him or her", "the Android") would know.  Once I found out, just eighteen minutes from St. Regis Hotel, twas a no-brainer to go there, as seeing Fuller's one remaining Dymaxion House had long been a "bucket list" item.  Here were Tara and I, freed from the WILPF bus tour by reason of it was completely booked (good reason), which would have been interesting, but hey, what better time for this outing?

The museum was way more intelligent and charming than I'd anticipated, as is the whole of Motor Kingdom and what it had wrought from wrought iron.  The size of the steam engines was impressive and I'm not just talking stereotype rail car pulling engines.  I'm talking about the mother of all steam engines used to make motor-vehicles, around which Ford had the museum built.  At least that was my understanding.  Such breath-taking wonders.

Shortcomings?  Well, the AC versus DC chapter is followed the The Revenge of DC, i.e. HVDC across distances, such as from Oregon to California.  But I'm sure those exhibits will be updated one day.  You're not trying to hurry it along, as a museum, more you're wanting to linger.  "Here was my childhood bedroom" many a stroller-pushing parent might think, seeing a realistic-enough diarma, set in the 1980s (I was already post college by then).

Best of all were the heartfelt and lavishly curated exhibits on overcoming slavery, oppression of women, and the US Civil War, with Lincoln an icon, but also Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks.  Her bus is right there.  I sat in the back (by choice, for the longer view camera shot).

I should have expected such an intelligent museum knowing the one Dymaxion House had been done up like new and showcased.  The museum guides say nothing bad about organized labor, when giving reasons for this enterprise falling through.  Did it really fall through or just take a few detours?  The mobile home age, the RV age, was coming up on Peak Oil.  Here's the prototype just as Bucky might have envisioned it, sprung from a time capsule, inspiring imaginations to think big in terms of what technologies we have today.

O-volving shelves?  Brilliant.  Great to see them operational.  And the one-piece bathroom (not just the shower stall, but the whole thing), very 747.

The Imax film about penguins was truly excellent, family friendly and somewhat sad.  Nothing really bad happens, it's just that being a penguin looks like such an ordeal.  I think if a human feels maudlin she or he should be given space, as projecting one's own sense of a "daily grind" onto the big screen, and working some alchemy with it, is a big part of what the film medium is all about.  Lets hear it for IMAX.