I am the ghost of groovymother.com. Woooooo!

This is an old page from Rod Begbie's blog.

It only exists in an attempt to prevent linkrot. No new content will be added to this site, and links and images are liable to be broken. Check out begbie.com to find where I'm posting stuff these days.

Entries for week beginning August 6, 2006

August 12, 2006


I’ve decided that on my forthcoming trip to Scotland, I’m going to play the British National Lottery.

The plan: Buy one lucky dip ticket for the main Lotto draw, every day that I’m in the UK . None of those scratchcards or EuroMillions bollocks for this punter.

I’m aware that the lottery is a mug’s game, and the statistical odds are crappy, and all that. Don’t care. Pappa wants a HDTV.

Indeed, Joy & I have been quite lucky on previous trips. On our cruise to Alaska, the very first quarter Joy dropped into a slot machine netted her $80. Of course, we pissed that up the wall, and I now have a conspiracy theory that on cruises, the slots are looser at the start of the week to trick passengers to spend more as the week goes on, but luck nonetheless.

It doesn’t hurt that UK lottery winnings are tax-free. And there’s no need for Uncle Sam to find out, right?

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Joho the Blog: How to catch very bad guys legally

Reminder: The British terror suspects weren’t found through profiling and illegal mass-data-trawls, but by good community policing and focused, restrained intelligence operations.

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Addiction is...

A discussion the other day reminded me of this post by Mark Pilgrim from 2001, and re-reading it, damn if it isn’t one of the best things ever written in the name of “blogging”.

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Technobabble and Social Engineering 101

Posting a nonsensical item on a company’s “For Sale” board, and watching the responses. I’ll have to try this on the RhymesWithNose message board!

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August 11, 2006

Presentation Tips For The Technically Gifted

Good tips on how to do your tech project demo. Should be required reading for anyone talking at WebInno meetings.

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August 10, 2006

Amazon.com: 1Lb Fat Replica

Just the thing to keep in the fridge next to the Green & Black’s.

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You manufacture a webapp to index and search logfiles. AOL accidentaly releases a heap of log files that people want to search. Et voila! Viral marketing is born.

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Nerds Like It Hot

Nerds Like It Hot

From the cover: "Some like it naughty, some like it nice, but Nerds Like It Hot"

Spotted on sale at Shaw's in Porter Square, Cambridge.

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August 9, 2006

BookMooch: free book trade and exchange community

Free used-book trading site — Get points for listing & sending books (plus bonus points for browsing other folks’ wishlists and making offers), spend them requesting books. Business model is commission from links to Amazon.com. Seems more likely to succeed than Swaptree did.

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CD Purchase: Björk - Surrounded

August 8, 2006

AOL Search "Anonymous" User 711391

Fucking hell, this is gutwrenching — The story of a woman’s affair told through search strings. Names are included too. “i took cyber sex to a physical level and it was a mistake”, “how can you tell if your spouse put spyware on your computer”, “pictures of marie osmond’s slutty daughters”, and more.

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AOL Search Log Profiles

Your guide to some of the interesting folks you can meet inside the AOL search data leak. “1045042 is researching the relationship between Republicans and terrorism.”

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August 7, 2006

Apple - Apple - Mac OS X - Leopard Sneak Peek - Time Machine

Most of the Apple stuff announced today was fairly unexciting. Nice improvements, but not revolutionary. But this, their constantly rolling system backup looks brilliant. The UI, if it works as advertised, is genius too.

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django: Web Development for Perfectionists with Deadlines - Google Video

Google Tech Talk from Jacob of the Django team. Good overview of the origins and philosophy of Django.

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Concert Ticket Generator

Create real-looking ticket stubs for the shows you wish you’d been to (or wish existed)

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What I Did With My Weekend

Django rocks my world
My IM status, yesterday

I’ve recently been working on a project that exposes a simple web service. When I first wrote the web service last year, the best option to connect Python code to the web had seemed to be mod_python. So I’d knocked up a couple of scripts that parsed URLs and generated POX in a vaguely RESTful manner. Good enough for a prototype.

But now there’s lots of ideas swirling about how this could grow, so I needed something a bit more manageable/scalable/enterprisey.

Earlier this week, I saw the news that there was a new release of Django, a Python webapp framework.

How serendipitous.

So on Tuesday evening I ran through the tutorial, and thought “Oooh!” In much the same way as when I first used the ElementTree XML interface, I had that feeling of “Wow. Finally a framework written by someone whose brain works in the same way as mine.”

I think that’s a good thing.

On Friday, I converted the webservice to use the Django API instead of the mishmash of intertwingled SQL calls it had been. It all worked a treat. Hurrah!

And then over the course of the weekend, I’ve been hacking away, creating a website around my webservice.

Of course, Django’s not perfect. But reassuringly, as I find “holes” and Google for them, I find that there’s plenty of thought being given to them on the Django mailing lists. For example, when I noticed that it wasn’t encoding user-inputs, thereby making it really freaking easy to accidentally expose your site to XSS attacks, I was disappointed. But then I found Simon Willison’s plan for AutoEscaping, along with associated mailing list discussions, and was reassured that this is being thought about, and in a way that will help avoid another magic_quotes-style farrago.

I’m really excited about moving forward with this project, and seeing how far I can stretch Django. If you’re not keen to learn Ruby just to get on Rails, then Django’s a good way to go.

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August 6, 2006

YouTube - wilkins coffee 1

A massive collection of the “Wilkins and Wontkins” coffee commercials made by Jim Henson in the late 50s. Splendidly violent!

YouTube - Bump keying

Practically every lock out there can be opened with a filed-down key and a hammer. Methinks home insurance premiums are about to go up.

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BBC World » Advertising/Design Goodness

Cool new print adverts for BBC World. The theme is “News beyond your borders”. Took me a moment to “get” them.

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One of my pet peeves is when I'm trying to find a friend's house, but can't read any of the house numbers on the street.

I just installed this number on our house this week. It's a nifty design -- It's solar-powered, so it charges its battery during the day, then when it gets dark, lights up using a couple of white LEDs.

The things I do to help out our friends. (OK, I'll be honest: Most visitors to our front door are Chinese and Pizza delivery guys).

$20 from ThinkGeek.

About This Site

This is an archive of groovmother.com, the old blog run by Rod Begbie — A Scottish geek who lives in San Francisco, CA.

I'm the co-founder of Sōsh, your handy-dandy guide for things to do in San Francisco this weekend.