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June 27, 2005

London Flat London Sharp

Filed under: Music — see @ 9:16 pm

just bought Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “London Flat London Sharp”, one of the liveliest jazz CDs in the last months (I got a lot of jazz this year ;)

really quick, sounds old (meaning traditional) and very modern at the same time and actually fits the title too. reminds me of London and makes me wanna move back there…

June 26, 2005

encutils 0.1

Filed under: cssutils,encutils,Python — see @ 9:48 pm

Originally developed for an addition of the cssutils package this small helper set of functions sprung out. The whole issue of encodings relating to HTTP header information, Media-Types, encoding information in the files themselves like HTML meta elements or the XML declaration is a tricky business. I read the O’Reilly article XML on the Web Has Failed quite a while ago and actually used it as a starting point. I guess I missed lots of tiny bits in the array of specifications but hopefully this thing will prove useful.

I could not find any Python library doing this kind of stuff (I currently need HTML and XML only) so I thought thats a small enough project I might be able to handle. If there is a similar
library or so available please let me know but at least it was kind of fun to work on it.

If you find any problems, issues or spec violations please tell me too…

June 24, 2005

hitchhiking Batman

Filed under: Film — see @ 4:45 pm

Just seen “Hitchhikers Guide to the galaxy”. Brilliant, very british and also or therefor lacking all the boring stereotypes some (not all though) Hollywood films and other massive productions use.

I’ve seen “Batman begins” the week before and altough I liked it and think it is in some respects similar to the IMHO really good “Spiderman I” film it had some annoying aspects. The music was the main drawback of Batman as it is almost the same as the music in “Gladiator” or “King Arthur”. It seems composer Hans Zimmer is only able to compose one type of music and it almost seems he uses a template score to which he applies some slight random changes (at least for a certain kind of movie). The dark horns and the usual strings were getting on my nerves even during the film, especially during fight scenes. The music made them boring and I thought no music at all would have been better for some scenes.

I wonder if movie scores have evolved in the last 30 years at all.
Until the 60s there were big orchestral scores including the great ones by Bernhard Herman for the Hitchcock movies in the 50s and 60s.
In the late 60s these scores almost vanished and I remember (not personally at that time though ;) some really strange scores like the one from “Planet of the Apes”.

During the 70s orchestral movie scores came into fashion again (Taxi Driver again by Bernard Herman and the first Star Wars and other scores by John Williams).
But since then I hardly remember (I have not the best memory though ;) any interesting new kind of movie score. John Williams scores for movies like the Indiana Jones trilogy are great and had brilliant themes but nevertheless are “big-orchestral-movie-scores”.

During the 90s with films like Armageddon and the films mentioned above the stereotype-music came up it seems. I kind of remember Gladiator being a good film and the music I liked too, but copying this type and sometimes almost the same music and recycling it for similar-type movies is a bit to safe. I don’t want to bash on Hans Zimmer alone, Batman was just a striking example and the music was really an annoyance.

But also the fight scenes in Batman were annoying. They used a similar kind of camera work I noticed for example in “Episode II” during the massive Jedi Knight fight scene. The camera and editing in these scenes make it impossible to actually see anything. Strangely enough but the rapid MTV-style cutts and extreme near focus on the people actually hinder seeing more then they help seeing…
I remember older movies like fight scenes in “Goldfinger” or the elevator fight in “Diamonds are Forever” that were cut rough and fast too but actually did enable the viewer to actually follow and comprehend what was going on.

Generally it seems bigger films try to play a safe game which I don’t think is nessesary. Good stories do work and can be successful even with a more experimental or maybe just new ideas for music, camera etc.
But maybe I am too naive and people who watch TV the whole day need boring, repeating films…

Anyway, “Hitchhikers…” was not a template film but was original. Maybe easy for a film based on such a strange book (which I did not read though having played only the text adventure in the 80s, and that not even through). But the ideas how to adapt it with all the graphical interludes worked really well. Of course I am a bit biased as I do like the very english accent a lot but the film was fun and I guess I’ll buy the DVD as soon as its out…

June 20, 2005

cssutils after a long time…

Filed under: cssutils,Python — see @ 8:37 pm

Started working on the cssutils Python package again.

I should reimplement the parser but never get the nerve to do it really (also no one complaint too much yet, just the tests are really imcomplete, do not run through and I still don’t like the way it is done).

Instead I started working on implementing some DOM Level 2 interfaces namely StyleSheetList and StyleSheet. Not for the sake of it but this time I actually started writing something like a short requirements list for what I want to add to cssutils and hopefully don’t get lost in implementing lots of DOM interfaces again. At least that is my memory of the last time I worked on the package quite a while ago.
I want to enable the script to download all associated CSS files for a given URL and somehow these seem to be the interfaces to do. MediaList I even did before so it seems not too difficult.

(Another thing worth adding would be a filter to show all rules for a given element/selector which did bite me a few times with a complex set of stylesheets I used at work. With quite a few stylesheets overwriting each other also with various priorities (so a complex cascade) it sometimes is difficult to find the one rule which actually triggers a certain color or whatever on an element it should not have. So a filter would show me all relevant rules and simplify things quite a bit. So kind of a real CSS parser not just the pretty printer this project started out with.
But that is really future and might not happen at all. But at least downloading a complete set is a goal I think I can reach (regarding the current nasty hot weather and my not so great coding abilities…) and hopefully something useful will come out of it (at least for my own use).

One thing I thought would be easier to do is the auto-detection of the encoding of a URL-response which may be HTML, XHTML or XML (maybe even other). I know the auto-detection script for XML in the Python Cookbook (actually saw that that was submitted by Paul Prescott whose talk at Xtech 2005 I heard and quite enjoyed [maybe more to that another time]).
But auto-detecting the encoding of a HTML file coming from a server with all information in server headers, possible XML declaration, possible META element, different mime-types or no information about an encoding at all will be a bit more complex. I remember the article on O’reilly XML on the Web Has Failed by Mark Pilgrim and probably try to go from there. The article to which I don’t fully agree by the way described a lot of issues about encodings and should be useful.
I actually though there should be a Python package out that does just that but my googling was not really successful. Anyway, a good reason to write one myself and to improve my Python capabilities (well, hopefully…).

June 17, 2005

import this

Filed under: Python — see @ 1:07 pm

I kind of remember the Zen of Python having read it somewhere. What I did not know was the import this in the Python shell. Read in “Cooking with Python, Part 1

Another bit of Python learned…

June 14, 2005

suicide on rails

Filed under: Death — see @ 11:48 pm

I wonder why people commit suicide on rail tracks. Today the train I was travelling with, caused such a death (and consequently delayed all people for at least 2 hours). Maybe the suicidalist actually wanted to put off all these people…

Anyway, in my opinion there are far nicer possibilities for suicide. Apart from my first unintentional attempt by trying to plug my lego train into the main power outlet to speed it up when I was about 5 or 6 years old (nothing happened BTW, I just ruined the train…) I always imagined if I really wanted to commit suicide it would be in a nice way and in a way I could do something I always wanted to do namely flying (I guess only germans write such long sentences…). I imagined jumping from a really high mountain or better a skyscraper would at least be some fun. Of course there is the danger of actually hurting innocent bystanders by “dropping dead on them”. (This gets silly…) Also there is the danger that while actually flying it makes so much fun that the death wish finally is no one anymore…

Sorry for babbling about probably a sad thing but well…

(And sorry for the title, any similarity is totally intended as anything seems to be “on rails” currently).

June 12, 2005

XSL template patterns

Filed under: XML,XSLT — see @ 12:57 pm

I only realized a few days ago that pattern matches of xsl:template are not XPath patterns at all.

While reading the new edition of Michael Kay’s great (again) book about XSLT – this time 2.0 – it paid off to read through all introducing chapters which contents I should have known anyway. I knew before that match patterns cannot contain variable references (at least in XSLT 1.0) which I found odd (and which has changed in XSLT 2.0) but I always thought I could use any axis in patterns. I think I tried to match something on the preceding-sibling:: axis some time ago which of course did not work at that time but thought I made a mistake somewhere else. Now I realize that this is not even supposed to work…
After 3 years working with XSLT the problem never really have made me stumbled (apart from the 1 or 2 occations where I found another solution) so it seems not a big issue but at least worth knowing.

I guess that’s the finer stuff to really let you write stylesheets which do work and let you realize why they work (or don’t)…
A pity XSLT 2.0 is so much bigger than 1.0 that knowing everything is so much difficult…

June 11, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — see @ 7:45 pm

Again a new BIOS for my PC’s mainboard is available. Sadly it seems there is no way to download the BIOS file as the website (Asus BTW) does not really work with Firefox nor Internet Explorer (!). It’s very slow, some 404 for links to the german website and uses Flash for the main navigation which is really odd for a hardware company.

It might be my router but that would be an odd reason as all other webpages I frequently use do not have any problems. E.g. I just downloaded a new ATI graphics driver without any problems.

Strange stuff…

June 10, 2005

scripting life…

Filed under: Life,Python — see @ 11:07 pm
for d in range(1, 365, 7):

sometimes I notice thinking to myself how easy it would be to script some stuff in real life like cleaning, shaving… all the stuff that is a necessity but is not really fun… (BTW, me cleaning every 7 days is not really realistic ;)

well – at least I recognize this is just thinking – at least until now I do recognize…

docutils, rest and s5

Filed under: reStructuredText — see @ 9:07 pm

At Xtech 2005 I noticed quite a few of speakers used S5 presentations.

I did notice S5 some time before that and actually had the chance to use it for a small workshop in the company I work for. Favoring reStructuredText of the Python Docutils project I was very happy to find the RST2S5 converter script which is just great. This way I am able to simply write a presentation which almost autoconverts to an S5 presentation with a simple batch script even with working HTML examples which this particular workshop was actually about. I always tried to stay away from PowerPoint anyway (Impress is not that much better I guess), but now there’s a real alternative…

Adjusting the S5 template to fit what I wanted was another thing though. Being quite fluent with CSS I thought it easier but 4 different stylesheets which are sometimes not very logically divided which one defines what was a bit tricky. And I disabled the “click-for-next-page” functionality which I noticed during most talks just irritates most speakers who try to show or select a part of a page to highlight it.

But anyway, a very fine tool…

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