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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Mining Monday: FreeBSD, KDE and Me

Another in a weekly series of unearthings.

Two years ago my titanium PowerBook died and I took an unplanned six-week leave from OS X. Afterward I wrote up my experiences in an essay called "FreeBSD, KDE and Me" (you might miss the title reference if you're not of a certain generation). Within 24 hours the essay had gotten about 10,000 page views -- easily the most popular thing I had ever posted.

When I re-read it now I'm surprised at how much of it is still relevant. Two years later, OS X is much better, but it still doesn't incorporate any of my wish-list items from the essay.

Here's how the adventure began:

My Titanium PowerBook had been exhibiting a nasty freezing tic for a while. I had been toughing it out, and it sucked. I lost unsaved work. I found myself crossing my fingers when rebooting. I developed overcautious, superstitious work habits. Just like the bad old days when I was a magazine designer running classic MacOS.

One day after a particularly inopportune freeze, I closed the PowerBook, put it aside, and dragged the FreeBSD box over to my desk.

(Full essay)

Monday, September 26th, 2005

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