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.


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Stuff I Use

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

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

Well for sale

The Well, venerable "virtual community" (that's what we had before blogs, you whippersnappers), is for sale. I've had an account on the Well for eleven years this month, so this is of some interest to me. Salon has been a great corporate parent (many Salon staffers are longtime Well members), but the ups and downs of their pennystock life make everyone uncomfortable.

Who knows what will happen -- perhaps members will chip in and form a co-op. I've got, like, $432 in my Paypal account... At least we're past the bubble years, when some flash-in-the-pan internet company would have bought it, with a wave of press releases followed by an attempt to "monetize the userbase" or something.

For more, see Declan McCullagh's article. (Declan's an old Well member too.)

The Well was the creation of Stewart Brand, publisher of the Whole Earth Catalog, who squirreled away the original VAX server in a corner of Whole Earth's decrepit offices in Sausalito, Calif. Before long, The Well's conferences were attracting luminaries like Kevin Kelly (a Wired Magazine editor), Mitchell Kapor (the founder of Lotus Development), and science fiction author Bruce Sterling.


In a discussion this week, members worried about The Well's future and speculated about forming a nonprofit organization that would purchase the online service. Others suggested, cheekily, that it be placed on Craigslist with a description of "Early Internet BBS...barely used."

Wednesday, August 17th, 2005

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