E-Scribe : a programmer’s blog

About Me

PBX I'm Paul Bissex. I build web applications using open source software, especially Django. Started my career doing graphic design for newspapers and magazines in the '90s. Then wrote tech commentary and reviews for Wired, Salon, Chicago Tribune, and others you never heard of. Then I built operations software at a photography school. Then I helped big media serve 40 million pages a day. Then I worked on a translation services API doing millions of dollars of business. Now I'm building the core platform of a global startup accelerator. Feel free to email me.


I co-wrote "Python Web Development with Django". It was the first book to cover the long-awaited Django 1.0. Published by Addison-Wesley and still in print!


Built using Django, served with gunicorn and nginx. The database is SQLite. Hosted on a FreeBSD VPS at Johncompanies.com. Comment-spam protection by Akismet.


Pile o'Tags

Stuff I Use

Bitbucket, Debian Linux, Django, Emacs, FreeBSD, Git, jQuery, LaunchBar, macOS, Markdown, Mercurial, Python, S3, SQLite, Sublime Text, xmonad

Spam Report

At least 237138 pieces of comment spam killed since 2008, mostly via Akismet.

Dangerous installers

It's long been a rule of mine to avoid broadband providers' installer software whenever possible. (As Mos Def's character says in "The Italian Job": I HAD A BAD EXPERIENCE.)

The intrepid Daniel Jalkut recently posted a great dissection of a Verizon "upgrade" script gone off the tracks, explaining why it was so bad and how it could have been even worse -- hard-drive-wipingly worse.

It didn't even stuff a bunch of Verizon marketing bookmarks in there to pretty up the browser. Just a big gaping hole where my bookmarks (in the bookmark bar and menu) used to be...

The installer is based on a collection of sloppy AppleScripts, and the author was kind enough to leave the offending AppleScript's source code intact in the shipping image. I know the answer to my question above: was it skill or dumb-luck that caused my Bookmarks to be backed up? It was definitely dumb-luck. In fact, it was a sloppy piece of programming that led to that remnant being left around.

Just say no.

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006
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