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.

Mining Monday: link.toolbot.com

Starting today, every Monday (or when I happen to remember to do it) I'll survey my vast empire of websites and find something interesting, amusing, or useful (in my estimation) to post here.

Up today: link.toolbot.com, my link-shortening service. It makes what are probably the longest links of any link-shortening service out there. However, it has two features that I haven't seen elsewhere which I think are kind of neat. I continue to use it myself because of them. They are:

  1. Domain names in the shortened links. You are guaranteed that a link of the form link.toolbot.com/example.com/99999 redirects to the example.com domain.

  2. Canonical shortening. The service has internal recipes for trimming bloated URLs from Amazon, eBay, news.com, dealnews.com, and others. It strips out the superfluous cruft and gives you an alternate URL at that same site (e.g. eBay) that is much shorter. With the recent trend of inserting verbose, but discardable, page titles into CMS URLs (presumably to be more search-friendly), I expect this feature to become more and more useful.

There's a handy bookmarklet, too, so you can shorten the URL of the page you are viewing with a single click.

So there you have it. As always, feedback and suggestions are welcome.

Monday, September 19th, 2005

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