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

Spam Report

At least 237143 pieces of comment spam killed since 2008, mostly via Akismet.

iPod touch: holding steady

It will surprise few that I have not yet given Apple $10 for the privilege of upgrading my iPod touch ("iPt") firmware from 1.1.5 to 2.x.

Update: A month after posting this, I took the plunge. Version 2.2 came with some nice little improvements. I still miss my shell, but at least I have an SSH app!

At first, I resisted out of attachment to the open source software I had installed via Cydia -- with no supported "upgrade" process per se, I would have had to reinstall all my packages manually. Then I saw that my core uses of the iPt (email, web browsing, audio, calendar, contacts) all used the Apple software, so I leaned toward the upgrade.

I tried to find out what I would actually be getting, besides the obvious access to the App Store. (I ruled out the App Store as a factor because I still wanted to go open source for third-party additions when the time came.) So I asked many people, online and in person, what benefits the upgrade offered besides the App Store. This was less than satisfying.

On average the answers boiled down to 1) "The App Store is awesome!", 2) "More stable!", and 3) "Fewer dropped calls!" Given that I wasn't asking about the App Store, have had no stability problems, and don't have an iPhone, this left me uninspired, and I decided to wait.

What am I waiting for? Not sure. Maybe a future 2.x version that delivers something that I want. Or Apple support for Cydia or similar. While I'm dreaming, I suppose I could wish for it to be free too.

Friday, October 17th, 2008
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