The Occasional Occurence


May 06, 2011 at 11:04 PM | categories: python, General

Here's a test post now that I've moved my blog to Blogofile. The blog looks pretty shabby right now. I need to pull out some CSS voodoo and ditch the boilerplate template.

I'm up and running though. Hopefully new posts will commence now that I'm rid of Wordpress.


Dremel Hack: Laptop Stand

December 09, 2010 at 02:40 PM | categories: photos, computing, General

I have this laptop stand. It puts my laptop at a nice height when I am using it at my desk.

I have this laptop. It has the headphone and microphone jacks at the front edge of the body.

I have these headphones. They don't play nicely with the laptop when it is in the stand.

So I hacked the laptop stand with my Dremel.

Before (cameo by my fingers, holding the front edge of the laptop up)

img_0 From 2010-12-09 (by Eye-Fi)

The Problem

img_1 From 2010-12-09 (by Eye-Fi)


img_2 From 2010-12-09 (by Eye-Fi)


PS - These macro shots reveal to the world that my desk needs to be dusted. How embarrassing!

More On Organic Code

November 29, 2010 at 02:07 PM | categories: Software, General

I blogged a couple years ago about Code Farming (tl;dr - the web is a more organic programming environment than packaged software). That post was mostly a commentary on another post I had read.

This past weekend I read "The Biology of Sloppy Code". It touches on some of those same ideas that inspired me to post about Code Farming.

Despite the title, it's less about sloppy code than it is about attempting to categorize different types of software development according to more traditional sciences.

I don't have any specific comments on the article, other than suggesting you read it. I will say that I particularly enjoyed the references to abstraction, Play-Doh and a few zingers the author threw in (real programmers vs. sissy Nancy-boy bedwetters).


A JSON Parser Using SimpleParse

July 21, 2010 at 02:31 PM | categories: Python, Software, computing, General

I've been reading the recent posts on CodeTalker with interest. I've written a handful of parsers using two different parser generators for Python: PLY and SimpleParse. My most recent work with parsing has had me gravitating toward SimpleParse so I thought I'd see how it stacks up against CodeTalker.

First I checked the web to see if someone had written a JSON parser using SimpleParse. I found Rob Lanphier's JsonOrder. It at least had a grammar that I could yank as a jumping off point.

The result after about an hour of coding and benchmarking is At first I tried to adapt Rob's version but I switched back to SimpleParse's dispatch processor model. Pretty much the only thing that remains from JsonOrder is the tweaked grammar.

How does it measure up to CodeTalker's JSON parser?

It's a bit slower. I added a simple timeit benchmark to the file. I used the same JSON file that Jared (the CodeTalker author) used in his benchmarks. Here are the results of running it against the latest version of CodeTalker at the time:

CodeTalker 0.0484498786926
SimpleParse 0.0623928356171

In terms of lines of code they are nearly identical. I didn't do anything fancy to omit docstrings or comments (neither module has many of either).

$ # use 'head' to strip the 'if __name__ ...' section
$ head -n 71 | grep -v '^\s*$' | wc -l
$ cat src/codetalker/codetalker/contrib/ | grep -v '^\s*$' | wc -l

The style is the biggest difference. SimpleParse uses an EBNF defined in a string to create the parser. CodeTalker uses an EBNF defined using Python code.

Both libraries let you write specialized processors for the grammar. This is one thing that I really value in SimpleParse over PLY. Your grammar and the code to act on the parse tree (or token stream) are neatly separated.

I'm still quite happy with SimpleParse. I like having the grammar in a nice contained EBNF rather than defined with Python + syntactic sugar. I'll probably give CodeTalker a look next time a new parsing task comes up though. It's great to see how the options for parsing in Python are expanding.


Rebasing to a New Branch with Mercurial

July 09, 2010 at 08:53 AM | categories: Python, Software, work, computing, General

I had a situation at work the other day where I had made a number of local commits to the default branch of my repo. I wanted to push them upstream to our central server but the feature was incomplete and I didn't want to break anything in case someone needed to make a tweak to the current code in the default branch.

I had the idea to use the `hg rebase <>`_ command to move all my local commits to a new branch before pushing. It worked, and here's how I did it.

  1. hg clone localrepo temp-localrepo. I always try crazy ideas in another local clone in case I trash the repo.
  2. hg up to the revision before my local commits that I want to put in a branch.
  3. hg branch newbranchname && hg ci -m "Branching for reason foo." This creates a new branch and head that can be used as a rebase destination.
  4. Now for the rebase. I needed to rebase the first changeset in my series of local changes onto the newbranchname changeset. Something like hg rebase --source 94 --dest 105.

That's about it. After verifying that it did what I wanted all that was left was to repeat the steps in my main local repo and push to the central server.*


* Of course what I actually did was push these changes to my main local repo and then to the central repo. Woops. That left me with the changes both in ``default`` and in ``newbranchname``.

Don't do that. Repeat the steps after you've tried them in another local clone. I leave recovering from such a situation with ```hg strip <>`_`` as an exercise for the reader.

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