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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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.

The original Lego Star Wars

I attempted to make a Super-8 animated-Lego version of Star Wars when I was 14 -- in 1982 or so. I had made several other animated movies, Lego-powered and otherwise, but this was my most ambitious project. Over several weeks of painstaking stop-motion animation, I got as far as the escape-from-the-Death-Star scene. In real time this was about four minutes of footage (yes, it was a multi-reel production), but as anyone who has done traditional animation can tell you, that's a lot of work.

Anyway, one night, our Golden Retriever named Sugar had puppies. This event was not a total surprise, naturally, but it hadn't really been on my mind. Somebody grabbed the camera out of my room to document the miracle of birth and, well, I never made it back to my magnum opus.

Lego Wars I recently came across this tiny animated GIF I made many years ago -- I had scanned a few feet of the film and sliced the individual frames in Photoshop. In case the 0.0034-megapixel resolution makes it hard to pick out the details, what I believe is happening here is Han and Chewie are blasting their way through some hapless stomtroopers. The pyrotechnics are actual burning match-heads. Blaster bolts were to be added in a post-production phase that never came.

I still have the original film. Can anybody recommend a trusted vendor for doing a digital transfer?

Monday, March 31st, 2008
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0 comments pending approval
Comment from David Reynolds , 3 weeks later

How much of the film td you manage to do?

Comment from Paul , 3 weeks later

David -- In about 4-5 minutes of breakneck footage I think I got from the opening credits to the climactic Obi-Wan/Vader lightsaber battle aboard the Death Star. I also think that my scene-list was quite selective and completely from memory. I haven't watched it in many years. I located my old transfer box, so the digital conversion may actually happen as a summer project!

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