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.

Filed under 'python'

June 21, 2010

Slide, Inc. - open source

Some Python libraries opensourced from the Slide codebase. “wirebin”, the superfast object serializer, is my favourite.

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March 2, 2010

Nose Achievements

Fabulous! Xbox-style achievements for your Python unit tests. “Heisenbug: Make a passing suite fail without changing anything.”

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October 4, 2009

You’re not going to care about any of this…

… but I’ve spent a Saturday night working on this stuff, so I’m going to share.

I’ve spent the evening getting groovymother.com up and running on a new VPS box from VPSLink.

Of potential interest to other nerds is the fact that the whole shebang is now running Apache-free. The Django app that powers the site runs under the coroutine-tastic Spawning. In front of that, and serving static files, is the still-sexy nginx.

The Spawning processes are started and managed by Supervisor, which also takes care of running and monitoring the jobs that pull in feeds and grab screenshots.

All in all, a tremendously productive, if really rather sad, Saturday night.

March 30, 2009

Circumventing Adobe ADEPT DRM for EPUB

A pair of interesting Python scripts. One of which grabs your decryption key from the Windows version of “Adobe Digital Editions”, the other using the exported key to decrypt legitimately purchased eBooks and output DRM-free copies.

I imagine if one were to use them in conjunction with some sort of ePub -> Mobi converter (such as the open source “calibre”), one could purchase eBooks which are not available for the Kindle, conduct some sort of potentially illegal (Fuck you DMCA) wizardry, and enjoy reading said eBooks on the portable device of one’s choosing.

Unrelated: Currently reading “The Damned Utd” by David Peace on my Kindle.

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February 12, 2009


Pure Python search engine. Might be just the ticket for fixing the groovymother.com search box, which has been busted for six months!

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January 26, 2009

Dive into Python 3

Mark Pilgrim is updating Dive into Python for the new version of the language. Farewell, chapter on SOAP Web Services. You will not be missed.

January 4, 2009

December 4, 2008

Python 3.0 Release

The backwardly-incompatible “Python 3000” gets its release. Will be interested to watch and see how fast code transitions to the new form.

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September 29, 2008

Hadoop + Python = Happy

Framework that combines Jython and Hadoop to make writing distributed mapreduce in Python easy. This might finally get me to dive into Hadoopyness.

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September 4, 2008

Django 1.0 release notes

Django hits the big One Point Oh. Congratulations to all involved. I hope to have groovymother switched over to 1.0 this weekend.

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August 18, 2008

BackwardsIncompatibleChanges - Django

Suspect I will be referring to this a lot over the next week or so as I bring my blog code up to snuff with the impending Django 1.0 release. (Currently have 95% working, but the hackedup comments code will take a bit more work…)

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March 5, 2008

My first FireEagle query

My first FireEagle query

About 10 lines of Python can now work out my physical location.

Next task, integrate this info into my blog. Task after that? A cool ambient location-setter idea I'm hatching.

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February 25, 2008

Word Aligned

Excellent geekyblog recommended to me by a co-worker. Interesting articles, which delve into algorithms and some of the guts of Python I never consider.

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January 16, 2008

SimpleDbIntro - boto - Google Code

My SimpleDB account got enabled yesterday, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it. This looks like a handy Python library for accessing it (and the other Amazon Web Services)

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January 14, 2008

Shelf - jerakeen.org

Cool prototype application by Tom Insam which monitors your foreground application in OS X, and tries to provide you some context by matching it to someone in your Address Book. It’s early days yet, but decidedly cool (and written in Python)

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December 16, 2007

The Django Book

The published (but not final — there’s still functionality for comments and improvements) version of The Django Book is up.

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December 14, 2007


Control AppleScript from Python. The prospect of using Python to hack on my iTunes library is massively exciting!

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December 12, 2007

IronPython Studio

Free development environment for Python code under .NET. Will definitely be having an in-depth play with this soon.

December 5, 2007

xkcd - Python

“You’re flying! How?” “Python!”

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November 23, 2007

django-evolution - Google Code

Work-in-progress project to keep database schemas in sync with changes made to Django models.

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August 21, 2007

livinghardknox: Django and the iPhone

Quick guide to installing ssh, Python and Django on your iPhone, so you can run local webapps. OK, I admit defeat: I’m finally tempted to hack my iPhone and install crap on it!

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July 26, 2007

Code Like a Pythonista: Idiomatic Python

Good summary of some of the powerful pieces of Python that are easy to overlook if you’re used to other, let’s say “more verbose”, languages. I’ve been coding in Python for close to three years, and there was stuff I learned here (dict.setdefault: where have you been all my life?)

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July 24, 2007

Django Master Class

Bunch of interesting topics covered at the Django tutorial at OSCON yesterday. I hadn’t heard of Django signals before, but can already think of three hacks in my code that they can replace!

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July 6, 2007

Introducing templatemaker

Python library that analyses a corpus of web pages, works out where the dynamic values are in the template, then allows you to scrape out the juicy details. I can think of oh, so many uses for this.

May 8, 2007

SourceForge.net: Detail: 1643943 - strptime %U broken

The bug that was fixed in Python 2.5.1 which caused permalinks in my blog to break this afternoon, cause I was working around it.

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April 24, 2007

Turn your Django application in to an OpenID consumer

Simon Willison’s OpenID consuming middleware for Django. I’ll probably have a stab at mixing this with my blog comments shortly.

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April 3, 2007

phpsh -- an interactive shell for php

This could come in handy for sanity checking syntax when writing PHP. Bizarrely, it’s mostly written in Python!

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March 27, 2007

gdata-python-client - Google Code

Python library for working with Google’s GData web services (Calendar, Blogger, Picasa et al)

Python extension for libmemcache

C-based client for accessing memcached from Python. Reportedly at least 2 times faster than the pure python python-memcache library.

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February 8, 2007

Parallel Python

Python library for running parallel jobs on SMP machines, or networked clusters. Requires further investigation when I’m not so tired.

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January 7, 2007

DjangoID - Trac

Django-based OpenID server. It almost seems daft *not* to be running that here.

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December 13, 2006

Collaborative filtering made easy

Dirt simple implementation of Slope One collaborative filtering algorithm in 40 lines of Python.

November 1, 2006

The Django Book

Book about Django, being written in public to encourage peer review. The commenting system is particularly clever.

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September 6, 2006

IronPython 1.0 released today!

IronPython, the Python that compiles to .NET CLR code, has hit 1.0.

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August 7, 2006

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 4, 2006

import this. » Blog Archive » HOWTO: Django on Windows

Links to all the pieces you need to get Django up-and-running on Windows. I’ve just started poking at Django, and I’m liking it so far.

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July 21, 2006


Python package for modelling and graphing networks. Looks like it’ll be easier to work with than GraphViz.

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July 18, 2006

IPython - An enhanced Interactive Python

Improved console for Python. Includes, be still my beating heart, tab-completion for Python commands.

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Matplotlib / pylab - matlab style python plotting

About to do a bunch of graphical data analysis. This seems to be the best graphic package for Python.

June 6, 2006

Develop for the Web with Django and Python

I’m going to have to give Django another crack some time soon.

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May 25, 2006

Beautiful Soup

Python HTML parser which doesn’t choke on malformed markup. Handy for screenscraping.

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April 26, 2006

hackdiary: Last.fm isn't just for humans

Matt Biddulph scripted an AudioScrobbler profile containing a live feed of the music played on the BBC 6Music radio station.

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April 12, 2006


Jeepers, this is a cool hack. VT100-emulator running in Javascript over AJAX to allow you to remote-control a server over HTTP.

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April 5, 2006

What's New in Python 2.5

The conditional expressions are a welcome addition (the old and/or syntax was clunky), and the ‘with’ context managers will cut a lot of lock/release crap out of my code.

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March 15, 2006


Control other Windows applications from within Python.

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December 7, 2005

web.py: makes web apps

New minimalistic Python web framework from Aaron Swartz.

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October 24, 2005

Python Unicode HOWTO

Linked to, because I keep forgetting this shit.

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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.