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  1. Money and California Propositions (2020)

    Ten years ago, I made some plots for how much money was contributed to and spent by the various proposition campaigns in California.

    I decided to update these for this election, and here's the result:

    Money Raised for CA Propositions November 2020 Election. Visualization by Paul Ivanov

    Just in case you didn't get the full picture, here is the same data plotted on a common scale:

    Money Raised for CA Propositions November 2020 Election shown with a common scale. Visualization by Paul Ivanov Money Raised for CA Propositions November 2020 Election shown with a common scale. Visualization by Paul Ivanov

    So, whereas 10 years ago, we had a total of ~$58 million on the election, the overwhelming amount of in support, this time, we had ~$662 million, an 11 fold increase!

    The Cal-Access Campaign Finance Activity: Propositions & Ballot Measures source I used last time was still there, but there are way more propositions this time (12 vs 5), and the money details are broken out by committee, with some propositions have a dozen committees. Another wrinkle is that website has protected by some fancy scraping protection. I could browse it just fine in Firefox, even with Javascript turned off, but couldn't download it using wget, curl, or python, even after setting up all of the same headers, not just the User-Agent one. I would just get something like this:

    <META NAME="robots" CONTENT="noindex,nofollow">

    or this

    <html style="height:100%"><head><META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX,
    NOFOLLOW"><meta name="format-detection" content="telephone=no"><meta
    name="viewport" content="initial-scale=1.0"><meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible"
    content="IE=edge,chrome=1"></head><body style="margin:0px;height:100%"><iframe
    frameborder=0 width="100%" height="100%" marginheight="0px"
    marginwidth="0px">Request unsuccessful. Incapsula incident ID:

    Luckily, while I was working on the scraper, I took a break and found another source that already has the tabulations.

    The only catch is that this source was last updated two weeks ago, so it's not the freshest data. Also, last time I had data for both contributions and for money spent, but this summed page only has contribution totals, not spending totals (the spending figures are still there)

    But I figured it's good enough to get the big picture.

    Also, here's the python code used to generate these plots (largely reused from last time, so don't expect it to be pretty).

    # Create contributions  bar charts of committees supporting and opposing
    # various propositions on the California Ballot for November 2020
    # created by Paul Ivanov (https://pirsquared.org)
    # figure(0) - Contributions by Proposition (as subplots)
    # figure(2) - Contributions on a common scale
    import numpy as np
    from matplotlib import pyplot as plt
    import locale
    # fun times! without this next line, I got a
    # ValueError: Currency formatting is not possible using the 'C' locale.
    locale.setlocale(locale.LC_ALL, 'en_US.UTF-8')
    elec = "Nov2020"
    election =  "November 2020 Election"
    # This part was done by hand by collecting data from CalAccess:
    # https://www.sos.ca.gov/campaign-lobbying/cal-access-resources/measure-contributions/
    # proposition: (yes, no) 
    cont = {'14': (12810328, 250), 
            '15': (56320926, 60905901), 
            '16': (19926905, 1172614),
            '17': (1363887, 0), 
            '18': (835064, 0), 
            '19': (37794775, 45050), 
            '20': (4829677, 20471086), 
            '21': (40184953, 59379159), 
            '22': (188937777, 15896808), 
            '23': (6917438, 104405156), 
            '24': (5907002, 48368),
            '25': (13446871, 10181122)
    def currency(x, pos):
        """The two args are the value and tick position"""
        if x==0:
            return "$0"
        if x < 1e3:
            return '$%f' % (x)
        elif x< 1e6:
            return '$%1.0fK' % (x*1e-3)
        return '$%1.0fM' % (x*1e-6)
    from matplotlib.ticker import FuncFormatter
    formatter = FuncFormatter(currency)
    yes,no = range(2)
    c = [(6.,.5,0),'blue']  # color for yes/no stance
    c = ['red','blue']  # color for yes/no stance
    c = [(1.,.5,0),'blue']  # color for yes/no stance
    a = [.9,.9]             # alpha for yes/no stance
    a = [.6,.5]             # alpha for yes/no stance
    t = ['Yes','No ']       # text  for yes/no stance
    raised,spent = range(2)
    title = ["Contributed to", "Spent on" ] # reuse code by injecting title specifics
    field = ['Contributions', 'Expenditures']
    footer ="""
    Total %s 1/1/2020-10/14/2020  (1/1/2020-10/16/2020 for Prop 15)
    Data from http://www.sos.ca.gov/campaign-lobbying/cal-access-resources/
    cc-by Paul Ivanov (https://pirsquared.org)
    """ # will inject field[col] in all plots
    color = np.array((.9,.9,.54))*.9 # spine/ticklabel color
    color = np.array((.52,.32,.12)) # spine/ticklabel color
    color = np.array((.82,.42,.12)) # spine/ticklabel color
    color = "gray"
    color = np.array((85.,107,47)) / 255 # darkolivegreen
    plt.rcParams['savefig.dpi'] = 200
    def fixup_subplot(ax,color):
        """ Tufte-fy the axis labels - use different color than data"""
        spines = list(ax.spines.values())
        # liberate the data! hide right and top spines
        [ax.spines[s].set_visible(False) for s in ["top", "right"]]
        ax.yaxis.tick_left() # don't tick on the right
        # there's gotta be a better way to set all of these colors, but I don't
        # know that way, I only know the hard way
        [s.set_color(color) for s in spines]
        [s.set_color(color) for s in ax.yaxis.get_ticklines()]
        [s.set_visible(False) for s in ax.xaxis.get_ticklines()]
        [(s.set_color(color),s.set_size(8)) for s in ax.xaxis.get_ticklabels()]
        [(s.set_color(color),s.set_size(8)) for s in ax.yaxis.get_ticklabels()]
    adjust_dict = {'bottom': 0.052, 'hspace': 0.646815834767644,
     'left': 0.13732508948909858, 'right': 0.92971038073543777,
     'top': 0.94082616179001742, 'wspace': 0.084337349397590383}
    # subplots for each proposition (Fig 0 and Fig 1)
    col = 0 
    f = plt.figure(col); f.clf(); f.dpi=100;
    for i,p in enumerate(cont):
        ax = plt.subplot(len(cont),1, i+1)
        #p = i+14    #prop number
        for stance in [yes,no]:
            plt.bar(stance, cont[p][stance], color=c[stance], linewidth=0,
                    align='center', width=.1, alpha=a[stance])
            lbl = locale.currency(round(cont[p][stance]), symbol=True, grouping=True)
            lbl = lbl[:-3] # drop the cents, since we've rounded
            ax.text(stance, cont[p][stance], lbl , ha='center', size=8)
        ax.xaxis.set_ticklabels(["Yes on %s"%p, "No on %s"%p])
        # put a big (but faded) "Proposition X" in the center of this subplot
        common=dict(alpha=.1, color='k', ha='center', va='center', transform = ax.transAxes)
        ax.text(0.5, .9,"Proposition", size=8, weight=600, **common)
        ax.text(0.5, .50,"%s"%p, size=50, weight=300, **common)
        ax.yaxis.set_major_formatter(formatter) # plugin our currency labeler
        ax.yaxis.get_major_locator()._nbins=5 # put fewer tickmarks/labels
    f.subplots_adjust( **adjust_dict)
    # Figure title, subtitle
    extra_args = dict(family='serif', ha='center', va='top', transform=f.transFigure)
    f.text(.5,.99,"Money %s CA Propositions"%title[col], size=12, **extra_args)
    f.text(.5,.975,election, size=9, **extra_args)
    extra_args.update(va='bottom', size=6,ma='center')
    f.text(.5,0.0,footer%field[col], **extra_args)
    f.set_figheight(20.); f.set_figwidth(5); f.canvas.draw()
    f.savefig('CA-Props-%s-%s-Subplots.png'%(elec, field[col]))
    # all props on one figure (Fig 2 and Fig 3)
    f = plt.figure(col+2); f.clf()
    adjust_dict.update(left= 0.045,right=.98, top=.91, bottom=.12)
    f.subplots_adjust( **adjust_dict)
    extra_args = dict(family='serif', ha='center', va='top', transform=f.transFigure)
    f.text(.5,.99,"Money %s CA Propositions"%title[col], size=12, **extra_args)
    f.text(.5,.96, election , size=9, **extra_args)
    footer = footer.replace("/\n", "/") #.replace("\nc", "c")
    #footer = footer.replace("\n", "") + "\n"
    extra_args.update(ha='center', va='bottom', size=6,ma='center')
    #f.text(adjust_dict['left'],0.0,footer%field[col], **extra_args)
    f.text(.5,0.0,footer%field[col], **extra_args)
    ax = plt.subplot(111)
    for stance in [yes,no]:
        total = sum([x[stance] for x in cont.values()])
        lbl = locale.currency(round(total),True,True)
        lbl = lbl[:-3] # drop the cents, since we've rounded
        lbl = t[stance]+" Total "+ lbl.rjust(12)
        plt.bar(abscissa,[cont[p][stance] for p in cont], width=.1, color=c[stance],
                alpha=a[stance],align='center',linewidth=0, label=lbl)
        for i,p in enumerate(cont):
            lbl = locale.currency(round(cont[p][stance]), symbol=True, grouping=True)
            lbl = lbl[:-3] # drop the cents, since we've rounded
            #ha = 'center' if i != 2 else "right" # tweek by hand to make numbers show up
            ax.text(abscissa[i], cont[p][stance], lbl , ha="center",
    ax.xaxis.set_ticklabels(["Prop %s"%p for p in cont])
    # plt.legend(prop=dict(family='monospace',size=9)) # this makes legend tied
    # to the subplot, tie it to the figure, instead
    handles, labels = ax.get_legend_handles_labels()
    l = plt.figlegend(handles, labels,loc='upper right',prop=dict(family='monospace',size=9))
    ax.yaxis.set_major_formatter(formatter) # plugin our currency labeler
    f.savefig('CA-Props-%s-%s.png'%(elec, field[col]))
  2. aka: also known as

    I was chatting with Anthony Scopatz last week, and one of the things we covered was how it'd be cool to have a subcommand launcher, kind of like git, where the subcommands were swappable. If you're not familiar, git automatically calls out to git-something (note the dash) whenever you run

    $ git something

    and something is not one of the builtin git commands. For me, ~/bin is in my PATH, so

    $ git lost
    git: 'lost' is not a git command. See 'git --help'.
    $ echo "echo how rude!" > ~/bin/git-lost; chmod +x ~/bin/git-lost
    $ git lost
    how rude!

    And so what Anthony was talking about was having two commands that are supposed to do the same thing, and being able to switch between them. For example: maybe we have git-away and git-gone and both of them perform a similar function, and we wish call our preferred one when we run git lost.

    One way to do this would be to copy or symlink our chosen version as git-lost, and replace that file whenever we wanted to switch between git-away and git-gone. Another would be to rename both as git-lost and store them in different folders, adjusting our PATH variable so the preferred version of git-lost would get called.

    Now with git itself, you can do this by making a git alias. Here are some of my frequently used aliases from my ~/.gitconfig:

        diffw = diff --word-diff=color --ignore-cr-at-eol
        root = rev-parse --show-toplevel
        lazy=commit -a -m.

    git diffw will highlight only parts of the line that were added and removed, instead of whole lines
    git root prints the top-most directory of the current git repository
    git lgo is a typo for git log (I also have several versions of checkout typos)
    git lazy is for those frequent times when having to think of a commit message is too onerous.

    So we would add lost=away to our alias block to have git lost call git-away and change that alias to lost=gone when we wanted to have git lost call git-gone, instead.

    I wondered what a simple, generic version of such capability might look like and wrote a short shell script and then a README file that's ten times longer than the script itself to explain it. :)

     / aka - also known as /
    Simple, persistent, shell-based command aliasing
    Usage: aka alias               show stored aliases
           aka alias NAME CMD...   store an alias for CMD
           aka NAME [...]          run CMD, optionally with more arguments

    By default, aliases are stored in the .aka file of the current working directory. Optionally, the location of that file can be modified by setting the AKA_FILE environment variable. Tested on Debian, OpenBSD, and OpenWRT, aka uses portable shell syntax and should work everywhere that has a typical /bin/sh


    $ aka alias demo more
    $ aka demo --version
    more from util-linux 2.36
    $ aka alias demo git
    $ aka demo --version
    git version 2.28.0

    The command you alias can have parameters

    $ aka alias l ls -f
    $ aka l
    .aka .. aka aka_tiny . README .git

    And you can pass additional parameters

    $ aka l -tR
    .. aka_tiny aka .git .aka README .

    You can see all of the currently stored aliases

    $ aka alias
    l='ls -f'

    And edit them using your favorite text editor

    $ cat .aka
    alias demo='git'
    alias l='ls -f'

    Everything that is not aliased will get executed as a regular command.

    $ aka python3 --version
    Python 3.8.6

    Why would anyone want this?

    A practical use case might be to have

    ├── c_proj
       └── .aka       | alias doit='make install'
    ├── go_proj
       └── .aka       | alias doit='go run'
    └── python_proj
        └── .aka       | alias doit='pip install .'

    Now you can aka doit to your heart's content inside each of those folders, and have that execute the appropriate build commands for the type of project it is.

    $ for x in *; do (cd $x && aka doit); done
    make: *** No rule to make target 'install'.  Stop.
    go run: no go files listed
    ERROR: Directory '.' is not installable. Neither 'setup.py' nor 'pyproject.toml' found.


    Grab aka, make it executable, and place it somewhere in your path.

    The standard version of aka (~40 lines) that prints usage and has comments explaining the code is here:


    If you just want the business logic, functional equivalent (~10 lines) is here:


    How it works

    aka is a tiny portable shell script that gets executed via /bin/sh, sources AKA_FILE and evals the positional parameters, thus applying aliases and whatever other shell script shenanigans stored in AKA_FILE.

    For example, this means that you can put something like

    alias my='AKA_FILE=~/.my_aliases aka'

    in your shell's startup files, and thereafter use the my command as an aka invocation that always sources ~/.my_aliases file in your home directory, regardless of where you run it.


    Initial prototype uses aliases, which may not work for programs that depend on establishing their behavior based on the argv[0] name they were called by (busybox, for example).

    If you want to create aliases that include quotes, multiple commands, output redirection, or job control, you either have to escape the special characters like > and & with backslashes when creating the alias, or edit .aka file to add them directly in there:

    $ aka alias redir_example echo \"hi\" \> log.txt
    $ aka alias double_date date \;  date

    In the example above, if we don't put a backslash in front of the semicolon, we will be terminating our aka alias for double_date with just one call do date, and calling the second date command immediately.

    And finally, aka stores the aliases using single quotes, so if you have commands where you need to preserve single quotes, you should edit the .aka file by hand to change the alias definition to use double quotes.

    https://direnv.net: "direnv is an extension for your shell. It augments existing shells with a new feature that can load and unload environment variables depending on the current directory." The direnv website has links to a half dozen similar projects.

    Debian's update-alternatives Debian's alternatives system is similar: it lets you switch out raw XX command for all users, which is why you have to run update-alternatives as root. With aka, you're defining the aka XX commands and they only apply on a per-folder basis (or per AKA_FILE environment variable, if set).


    aka is distributed under a 3-clause BSD license.


    aka was written by Paul Ivanov



    2020-10-02: initial version

    2020-10-03: added AKA_FILE environment variable

    2020-10-08: publicly announced

    2020-10-28: added notes about multiple commands, redirection, and quotes

    Source code

    Standard ~40 line aka with comments and usage printing:

    # aka, written by Paul Ivanov: https://git.sr.ht/~pi/aka
    if [ $# -eq 0 ] ; then
        set -- -h # print usage on 0 arguments
    if [ $# -ge 1 ] ; then
        case $1 in
    echo "Usage: aka alias               show stored aliases"
    echo "       aka alias NAME CMD...   store an alias for CMD"
    echo "       aka NAME [...]          run CMD, optionally with more arguments"
                exit 0
    # Is this an alias creation? If so, we should have at least 3 arguments,
    # such as:
    # $ aka alias pager more
    #    \     \     \    \
    #     $0    $1    $2   $3
    if [ $# -ge 3 ]  && [ $1 = alias ] ; then
        # cmd='pager'
        # make 'more' the new $1
        shift 2
        # remove previous aliases for 'pager'
        [ -e "$aliasFile" ] && grep -v "alias $cmd=" "$aliasFile"  > "$aliasFile"~
        echo "alias $cmd='$*'" >> "$aliasFile"~ && mv "$aliasFile"~ "$aliasFile"
        exit 0
    # Load up aliases...
    [ -e "$aliasFile" ] && . "$aliasFile"
    # ...and execute command
    eval $*

    Tiny ~10 line aka without comments:

    # aka, written by Paul Ivanov: https://git.sr.ht/~pi/aka
    if [ $# -ge 3 ]  && [ $1 = alias ] ; then
        shift 2
        [ -e "$aliasFile" ] && grep -v "alias $cmd=" "$aliasFile"  > "$aliasFile"~
        echo "alias $cmd='$*'" >> "$aliasFile"~ && mv "$aliasFile"~ "$aliasFile"
        exit 0
    [ -e "$aliasFile" ] && . "$aliasFile"
    eval $*
  3. Lazy River of Curious Content 0

    This is the first post of what I'm calling a Lazy River of Curious Content. This is a way to review stuff that I've been doing, dealing with, or find interesting during the week recently (This was originally written two weeks ago, May 3rd, my shoddy internet connectivity kept me from posting it.). I'm loosely following the format that Justin Sherrill uses with great effect over at https://dragonflydigest.com

    Learn NixOS by turning a Raspberry Pi into a Wireless Router Friend of the show, Anthony Scopatz, tried NixOS for the first time and provides a detailed report:

    "While I had read the NixOS pamphlets, and listened politely when the faithful came knocking on my door at inconvenient times, I had never walked the path of functional Linux enlightenment myself"

    Reading through that made me file away a todo of writing up how I use propellor (and why). But those todo sometimes just pile up for a while...

    An interview of one of my long time nerd-crushes, Rob Pike. The questions focus on the Go programming language, but read carefully, specifically the tone and considerate nature of intent.

    Owning up to still getting it wrong sometimes. Over on The Unix Historical Society list, there was a thread about the origin and meaning of Plan 9 from Bell Labs. Venerable computing deity Ken Thompson sends a private message to aforementioned computing demi-god Rob Pike, Rob forwards the admonishment back to the list.

    I started playing with Krita a few weeks ago, using a tablet input device. I found out about Krita and felt empowered to try it thanks to this excellent explanatory video tutorial by David Revoy. Again, recurring theme of humility and gentle nature of creative high-output individuals. Thank you, David!

    Fellow San Francisco Randonneurs cyclist Roy Ross passed away unexpectedly. A gentle soul. This thread on SFR gives a some sense of a quiet Deborah Ford put up some great photos of Roy, and the Metin Uz shared an album, with others pitching in

    I set up a mumble server and have been mumbling with some old friends and family.

    After Matthew and I chatted, I re-read his post about the XFree / X.Org fork and open source governance project death, then went hoping around some links and came across Rick Moen's fear of forking essay, and he followed up with this bit of Emacs / XEmacs history

    I showed Matthias and Camille my first tracing using Krita, and Matthias made me aware of Grease Pencil - a way to do animations in Blender, and Camille sent me an awesome and sweet comic book she made about their cat.

    Matthias showed me that there's a way in Git now to have git blame ignore stylistic commit changes - see ipython PR#12091 for how to set it up, and #12277 where we start using it. This was a pet-peeve of mine back when Nelle started to apply semi-automated PEP-8 formatting to parts of the matplotlib codebase - that it was making it more difficult to use git blame to track down when lines were changed functionally, and why.

    And then, while we were chatting about a custom LaTeX completer PR that he has open, he arrived at "wouldn't it be cool to throw and exception with the table-flip emoji in your code?" ... and a short while later, he made that work:

    You can also see it in it's original tweet form and send Matthias some love. And by the way, Matthias has a new gig at Quansight.

    I've also tried out Mupen64Plus - a Nintendo 64 emulator (which I found out about via OpenBSD ports list). I found some ROMs that fell off the back of a truck, but without a proper controller, it's kind of difficult to play (I tried with an SNES-like USB controller, no dice). So now I've ordered a USB N64-like controller.

  4. pheriday 3: infrastructure

    Looks like we can't inline audio for your browser. That's cool, just find the direct file links below.

    paul's habitual errant ramblings (on Fr)idays

    pheridays: 3

    2020-04-10: A week ago, I recorded a 5 minute audio segment of some stuff I've been thinking about, but when I started to write it up I stumbled into and kept dropping down a deep technostalgic hole.

    fall down along with me:


    The recording is just shy of five minutes long, you can also download it in different formats, depending on your needs, if the audio tag above doesn't suit you:

    https://pirsquared.org/pheridays/2020-04-03.ogg (2.9 Mb)
    https://pirsquared.org/pheridays/2020-04-03.mp3 (4.5 Mb)
    https://pirsquared.org/pheridays/2020-04-03.m4a (6.3 Mb)


    Stuff I mentioned in the audio:

    Propellor - "configuration management system using Haskell and Git" by Joey Hess

    OpenWRT - specifically - reducing Bufferbloat

    Mumble - "a free, open source, low latency, high quality voice chat application."

    sourcehut.org - "the hacker's forge" also know as sr.ht by Drew DeVault

    Jitsi - "Multi-platform open-source video conferencing"

    OpenFire - "real time collaboration (RTC) server licensed under the Open Source Apache License." Extensible XMPP server, with plugins, like a Jitsi-based video meeeting one claled OpenFire Meetings.

    Though this is the fourth installment, the last time I recorded and posted a rambling was back almost 8 years ago! In fact, it was 2012-08-03, so 7 years and 8 months, to the day.

    Having control of your infrastructure is a longtime thread for me.

    For starters - there's the bicycle. That's been my primary and preferred mode of transportation for 30 years. As a kid, I was empowered by the sense of freedom, independence, and self-sufficiency that came with a bike. All these years later, I'm still a fan. You can see just how happy I am on a bike at the top of this interview , thanks to a sweet photo that was taken by Robert Sexton right by the Golden Gate Bridge at the end of the Lucas Valley Populaire in 2015.

    Those of you who knew me back in college might remember how at UC Davis I ran my own "pirate" internet radio station - KPVL - with the cheeky tagline of "More broadcasters than listeners". (I say "pirate" because it has not relation to the actual KPVL radio station). But there are earlier remnants and traces of my efforts to exercise control and build my own reality.

    I think it was in 1999 that my brother Mike and I started using Redhat (6), then Mandrake Linux 6.5, dual booting on a computer at home and I separately around the same time I got myself an sdf.org account. Though I wasn't sophisticated enough to have a constant internet connection in high school, I was lucky enough to get an account on Robert Chin's laya.com server. The url was - p.laya.com - it's long gone, but luckily, Archive.org has a copy from 2001.

    Wow. I just took a look and so much came flooding back.

    Here's the thing: April is an anniversary of sorts for me. Back in 1999, it marks my first time breaking anonymity and pseudonimity and using my real name on the internet. I've written about this before under the title of Publisher's block ten years ago - just about half way between now and then. This time, though, let me inline the piece I linked to as proof of the deliberate nature of my lack of anonymity.

    An account of my life at 15, as I live it.
    traces of my awareness of the world, I can look back at later
    My first attempt at a memoir
    My goal is to capture my many thoughts emotions, behaviors, incidents, and
    and to arrive only at an exponential number of those,
    hoping yet being afraid that it might be zero
    making everything about me: one

    I'm glad I can now reflect on the kind of kid I was, thanks to the amazing folks who had the foresight to start archiving all of the web for The Way Back Machine. I used that p.laya.com page as a todo list and notes for myself using a hipster combination of the default file index listing with a FOOTER.html. It was captured in 2001, I was in 17, but some of this was written when I was 15 or 16 (I found contents from November 2000), I make mention to my then freeshell.org account (it's now been ivanov@ since 2012). I link to the source code of a MUD - ftp://ftp.game.org/pub/mud/diku/merc/rom/tartarus/tartarus.tgz - which is a broken link now, but I found a mirror over here: which is amazing, because just a week or two ago, I was hanging out with fellow SciPy 2020 program co-chairs Madicken Munk and Gil Forsyth over video chat after one of our meetings and I was happily reporting about how one of the positive things to come out of the shelter in place for me is that "I've fixed my mutt configuration and started using it again!" - but they both heard "mutt" as "MUD" and got very excited by that prospect. So much so that we all agreed that we'll have to follow up and actually follow through to build a MUD. And I brought up how at some point in high school I was mildly active in a pair of MUDs, and wanted to make my own, but never got around to it.

    The last link I left for myself on there points to pinkmonkey.com - a homeschooling resource - which is probably handy for the parents with little ones these days.

    Here's the most concrete infrastructure project I can find from then: I collected bookmarks from my friends to share them. The "service" lived at http://p.laya.com/bookmarks - and predates del.icio.us and pinboard. I bet I "advertised" it in my AIM profile.

    If you're curious, there's a link to the archive.org copy near the end of this post, but I had this urge to show it to you much closer to its original glory.

    Let me set the scene: It's Friday in April, the year is 2020, I'm running Windows 10 on my work laptop in poorly connected home in California, where a pandemic has most of the state's residents staying put at home for the several weeks already, and I decided to make a screenshot using the tool du jour of yesteryear

    Netscape Navigator!

    The timestamp on my bookmark website says I last updated it on: Thu Aug 30 20:14:14 PDT 2001

    OldVersion.com tells me that the latest release for Windows that Netscape 4.79 was released in November of that year, and the closest antecedent version available is 4.72 (from February 2000).

    I downloaded it and tried fiddling around with the compatibility settings, but without any luck.

    Then I tried 4.79, and nope, that didn't work, either. So then I tried Netscape 6.01 - release February 2001.

    I happened to have Chrome running at the time because in Firefox I have 1500 tabs open -- fifteen hundred and seven! ;) -- whereas in Chrome it's under 500, so I was trying to tread lightly. How do I know these numbers? For Chrome I found an extension that allows me to copy into the clipboard all open tabs' urls as plain text. It helpfully announces how many such tabs were copied. In Firefox one of the webextension examples gives you a counter.

    Do you remember the web without tabs? Time was, you wanted to visit another webpage, you got two option: you navigate away from whatever you're looking at now, or you hit Ctrl-N to make an new window. I think most people used one or a few windows. But you were not gonna be crazy and open more than a dozen windows. I would have, and probably tried but I couldn't. And session saving across crashes or clean exits? Forget it! That what your history and bookmarks are for, grasshopper.

    But let's get back to the task at hand: this was the lower right of my screen...

    Downloaded Netscape601.exe

    and I decide to start taking screenshots of this journey, click it, and let Windows 10 apply the compatibility settings, and then I'm faced with

    the most improbable error message:

    Setup detected another instance of Netscape 6 is currently running



    I didn't think Chrome had any ancestry shared with the Mosaic super-tree, but whatever - you can't exactly argue with software from 2001, and I have an important screenshot to take...

    So now I've quit Chrome, just in case, and going to retry....

    Setup detected another instance of Netscape 6 is currently running

    no dice....

    Damn, what could it be...I've got the Bloomberg Terminal open, I know portions of it are built on Chromium browser technology (had to look it up if this was officially stated somewhere - it is). Ok, so maybe that's what causing the false positive? I close that, and...

    Setup detected another instance of Netscape 6 is currently running


    I hardly have anything open anymore ...is it VLC?


    Setup detected another instance of Netscape 6 is currently running

    nope... Ok, what's left still open... Snipping tool I'm using to capture this epic adventure, a few WSL Debian console windows... the voice recorder that started this post... Task manager and Sysinternals' Process Explorer - where I was checking if perhaps somehow the failed attempt at running what was probably a 16 bit version of Navigator 4.72 was still lingering somewhere... SumatraPDF, Windows Terminal (Preview), gVim, and ...



    Initial Netscape 6 Setup screen

    Initial Netscape 6 Setup screen

    Oh right - I guess Zotero uses XUL technology. I didn't really think much about it, but Zotero did start off life as a Firefox extension, and the standalone version came out later, makes sense that it would have grabbed a browser when it struck out on its own.

    At this point I had already sent Madicken, who works at NCSA where Mosaic, the progenitor of Netscape hails from, the first two images... So I wanted to play with fire a bit....

    Now that I've closed Zotero - can I have Firefox 74 open while installing Netscape 6.01?

    Setup detected another instance of Netscape 6 is currently running

    Rats! same error...

    how about Chrome again?

    Initial Netscape 6 Setup screen

    Initial Netscape 6 Setup screen

    oh yeah! Sweet. The world makes sense again.

    Back to the setup.exe...

    I scroll through the EULA - and randomly stop on this section:

    12. HIGH RISK ACTIVITIES.  The Product is not
    fault-tolerant and is not designed, manufactured or
    intended for use or resale as on-line control
    equipment in hazardous environments requiring
    fail-safe performance, such as in the operation of
    nuclear facilities, aircraft navigation or
    communication systems, air traffic control, direct
    life support machines, or weapons systems, in which
    the failure of the Product could lead directly to
    death, personal injury, or severe physical or
    environmental damage ("High Risk Activities").

    By the way - here's a good idea I came across a few months ago: throw EULAs (End User License Agreements) into some publicly indexed version control repo (I saw folks using gists for just that sort of thing: here's the Netscape 6.01 EULA.txt)

    Let the folks at Redmond host it.

    Fine. I click next...

    Interesting - there's a "Read Me" button... I do as I'm told, so I click it.

    Oh, a README.txt popped up in Notepad.exe - full contents of that are in that same gist as the EULA

    but in them, there's a link to the full release notes over at


    Let's try to go there now:

    "Yahoo! will be right back... Thank yo for your patience."


    Yeah, I'm sure Yahoo! engineers are jumping right on that.

    How did a Netscape site ended up redirecting to Yahoo...

    oh right, so AOL bought Netscape (1999), merged with Time Warner in 2001, was spun out again in 2009, after some rough times, and then purchased by Verizon in 2015. In the meantime, Yahoo acquired Geocities (1999) and shut it down in 2009 (yes, I'm still mad! All I remember was that it had some crispy banners, one of which was a scan of a sweet pencil lettering I made of my nick at the time - "ShadowKnight"). No one really cares what happened to Yahoo in the interim, aside from some massive data breaches, until finally, Verizon bought Yahoo in 2017 and merged AOL and Yahoo into one division.

    Ok, so fine, maybe fine folks at The Internet Archive (archive.org) can help us with the WayBackMachine.

    And indeed we can see what it looked like originally. This site has seen so many redirects over the years - it'd be a fun exercise to go through all of the indexed versions of this kind of site to see how people tried to preserve links. For example, I found out in 2010 it 301s ("Temporary redirect") to http://www.netscape.com/eng/mozilla/ns6/relnotes/6.0.html which then 302s ("Permanent redirect") to http://www.propeller.com/eng/mozilla/ns6/relnotes/6.0.html - which was indexed but happens to be a 404 ("Page not found") error page, at least in 2008. But this wasn't what we came here for, so this yak can roam free among the hills, the valleys, and the caverns of our minds.

    ... for now...

    Where were we?

    Oh right, we have to choose an install option. Back in the day I might have clicked "recommended" here, but we're not back in the day, and who wants to play life on easy mode? Let's go custom to see what the options are (I am a control freak, after all)

    Custom Install Option selected

    and immediately get another pop up:

    "Create install directory?" prompt

    Whoa, let's pause here for a moment.

    I am digging such a consent model. The installer is establishing trust: it will not try to do anything behind my back and without my permission. I'm sure it will never abuse that trust. As a 2001 user, I sure am glad that folks involved with computing have such a well-develop sense of ethics. In 2001, the Future is bright. Computing will be filled with transparency. Consumer software and services will be built by folks with a strong moral compass. These are people with principles. With the dot-com bubble burst, we've swiftly inoculated tech from sleazy opportunists. It won't fall victim to the excesses and greed rivaling Wall Street in the 80s...

    Which reminds me - how is it that this brilliant video only has 277 thousand views? Here's a excerpt:

    Your users won't always understand just how much economic sense it makes to sell them out. And you don't want to alienate them, that would drive down their value.

    By the way - the embed code I used above uses the youtube-nocookie.com domain - which is still from the folks at Goolag, but does what it says on the tin and doesn't issue cookies. Also, did you know there used to be a way to disable those annoying related video links from popping up at the end of the video? It's true. You used to be able to just append a rel=0 query parameter to not show related videos. But the corporate overlord bean counters didn't like that. They had to make sure that kids would get glued to the site by feeding them progressively conspiratorial garbage content. So that watching any video would nearly guarantee to pull them into the black hole cesspool of maximally "engaging" "content". What was that quote about users again? Ah yes:

    Your users won't always understand just how much economic sense it makes to sell them out. And you don't want to alienate them, that would drive down their value.

    Ok, so, in fairness, rel=0 query parameter still does something. It limits the suggested videos to the channel they are from. That's good. But what happens if we follow one of those links? First, we end up on the full youtube site, so that means the cookies are back. Hurray for surveillance capitalism! Also, the recommendations on the right are curated specifically for us, and not limited to the channel the previous video was one. Goodbye, rel=0!

    So I have to install Navigator, but I can unselect Mail, Instant Messenger, and Spell Checker... I don't need mail, but whatever, let's just go with the defaults.

    Oh, look at all this wonderful bundled crapware. Just in case you had any doubts.

    That last one made me throw up a little in my mouth.

    I opt for just the classic skin - and it tells me that the total download size will be 9959 K.

    I thought about censoring this next screenshot, but 15 year old me wouldn't have like that... What's in the shot is in the shot..

    Alright, and when the installation finished here's what we're greeted with:

    Did software in 2001 try to phone home? "activation.netscape.com could not be found." sure seems so.

    Yes, No, Cancel?

    What if I cancel?

    Alright, let's go for broke and get that retro look...

    Remember all those redirects? Well the browser froze when I got overzealous, clicked on "Interact" at the bottom there and chose to open chat... And on the next load, it crashed... And again...

    Netscape 6 Frozen on Yahool Will be be right back page

    Netscape 6 Frozen on Yahool Will be be right back page It just kept crashing...

    In case anyone else gets stuck on the same issue ;) I got around this by using the Profile Manager, where I had the option to start the browser in Work Offline mode. Then I turn the "Work Online" option on after the browser loaded (which you can do by plugging together that cute outlet pair on the bottom left).

    I do some ego surfing and go to my own site first.


    pirsquared.org using Netscape 6

    pirsquared.org using Netscape 6

    I got too fancy with my unicode... But hey, this is totally functional.

    I made this Loading gif via a screen capture tool and then it finally clicked that not only did I not use Netscape 6 - I remember most everyone's experience was to stick to the 4.x series, because it was so much more usable and not bloated with nonsense, etc, etc.

    Alright, but at least I got 6 to run on Windows 10 and that works...When it doesn't crash, anyway... But I did get a error about youtube-nocookie.com... (some of the time, at least)...

    And then I realized that I can't go to any site that has https... Because... you know, the protocol that provides that 's' has changed over the years, and our 2001 browser could do SSL 2 or 3 or TLS 1.0... But my website uses TLS 1.3...

    I couldn't run to duckduckgo, either, since it redirects plain http to the https endpoint and that also runs TLS 1.3... I couldn't even go to archive.org to view my old site directly on the way back machine, because archive.org run TLS 1.2 at the moment.

    It's difficult to find any place that still runs such outdated standards... I tried to search for just a TLS 1.0 test server - but didn't find anything suitable... But then I happen to flip through the recent changelog for Firefox:

    Firefox 74 Reverting deprecation of TLS 1.0 and 1.1

    Cool - so now we know if we want to find TLS 1.0 and 1.1 website, we should turn to the government of... damn a specific country wasn't specified...

    But wait a minute... Firefox 74.0 came out on March

    How did Mozilla release an update to a version of Firefox that was in the hands of a bunch of users without... umn...what's the word I'm looking for here...you know, that thing no one seems to think is a thing anymore... user consent?

    How Mozilla released an update without user consent


    This is the way consent ends
    This is the way consent ends
    This is the way consent ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper

    I'm late to the party - this has been going on for about three years - with what I now recall was caused a bit of a splash back in 2017 (Drew DeVault covers in "Firefox is on a slippery slope"). But I didn't know the extent of it. Who has the time to pay attention to the way in which all the software they use changes in anti-social ways.

    Anyway, if you don't want the fine folks at Firefox to change your preferences out from under you, I think you go to about:config and switch the app.normandy.enabled setting to false. And if you're interested in specifics of how you've been a guinea pig: about:studies will tell you. And you can go to about:preferences#privacy to disable them.

    But I digress...

    Let's wrap this up...

    At this point, I used my 2020 browser to grab historical snapshot of my old bookmarks site, stripping off the tastefully annotated Way Back Machine user interface insertions, and serve it locally over http via python -m http.server, making sure to change the URL bar to make a historically accurate re-enactment. And now that you know how I got here, you can fully appreciate the effort that went into this next screenshot:

    My bookmarks Gallore site in Netscape 6

    My bookmarks Gallore site in Netscape 6

    So much so, that I couldn't resist making a video a scroll through :

    You can download it as webm, mp4, ogg, or gif.

    If you're interested - you can go http://p.laya.com/bookmarks/ (archival copy) or see the rest of p.laya.com from 2001

    That's all

    The ongoing crisis has been a circuit breaker to our usual patterns. I am taking advantage of this affordance to experiment with and establish channels of communications that are not controlled by others.

  5. Uvas Gold 200

    My poem about a rainy 200k was published in the Fall 2019 issue of American Randonneur (a quarterly magazine published by Randonneurs USA)

    I've been doing samizdat poetry for as long as I've had a web presence (since 1999), but I am now officially a published poet! (I am deliberately not counting the embarrasing hackjob that was published in a youth anthology when I was in 8th grade.)

    You can find "Uvas Gold 200" on page 26 - either directly on this skeuomorphic leafing viewer or the PDF, but I'm republishing both the exposition blurb and the poem below. If you prefer to listen, I recorded a reading of it that you can download in different flavors: a local audio only, a local video, or the embeded video version below.

    American Randonneur Fall 2019 header

    Uvas Gold 200k starts and ends in Fremont, CA and was held on Saturday, December 1st, 2018. The ride frontloads the climbing by going nearly half-way up Mount Hamilton, the tallest peak in the San Francisco Bay Area, and then leads down south as far as Gilroy, "Garlic Capital of the World." Our RBA, Rob Hawks, sent this note the evening before the ride: "While we once had 75 riders signed up, we are now down to 59 even though a number of new names have been added since this was sent out on Monday." It had been a foul weather week, and by the time we were ready to start in rain at a balmy 48 degrees Fahrenheit, there were fewer than thirty people who would brave the cold wetness. The rain was at its worst the first half of the ride, so my memories are skewed toward that portion, with the poem content reflecting that. Call it Inverted Randonesia, the second half of the ride was just spent processing how I made it through the beginning of the day and how epic it was.

    Weaving upstream the icy slush
    Mount Ham – no cheese
    Rough grind of gears and teeth
    Steam locomotive breath
    The paceline I abandon
    Time stretched – warm pizza dough
    Intent, attention rising
    I take a pull
    Thick spray across my rhythmic fogging glasses
    Our feet make Revolutions, Randonneur!
    With pavement gliding under top tube
    It's all the same to you
    Mile-marker Marxist
    Unbound by thermal fear
    "Fair-weather cyclist" you are not
    A dreamy cold wet blanket smoky charcoal skyscape
    High pitched frying sizzle
    Tire fully splashing
    The tug of war of winds where we're the rope
    Off camber turn, soprano yodeling disc brakes yards ahead
    Refreshing wafting garlic wake up – dreamy ride continues
    Alert again in the slow slither through Coyote Creek
    K-Hound chasing, headwind facing
    Camaraderie, half-way in Gilroy supermarket shack
    Then on the road again, occasional "Car back!"
    December, Northern California, Reign of Rain
                      / \
                    A*   \^   -
                 ,./   _.`\\ / \
                / ,--.S    \/   \
               /  `"~,_     \    \
         __o           ?
       _ \<,_         /:\
    --(_)/-(_)----.../ | \
  6. My first DNF (Ft Bragg 600k)

    SFR logo

    It's been six years since my first ride with The San Francisco Randonneurs and four years since my first 200k. I've ridden 18 rides that are at least that distance since then (3x 300k, 2x 400k, 1x 600k), completing my first Super Randonneur Series (2-, 3-, 4-, and 600k in one year) last year after not riding much the year before that. And this weekend I had my first DNF result on the Fort Bragg 600k. I Did Not Finish.

    The best response to my choice of abandoning the ride to enjoy the campground came from Peter Curley, who said "That was a very mature decision." A clear departure from typical randonneuring stubbornness and refusal to give up, I celebrated my decision to quit as a victory when I arrived at the campground and made my announcement to the volunteers. I think I was so energetic about it that they did not believe me. I was being kind to myself, to my body, and at peace with the decision by the time I rolled in.

    I ride for myself. I ride because it feels good. I ride to challenge my body, to be alone: just my thoughts, my legs, and the road. This weekend, my legs felt strong. Stronger than they did a year ago when I finished the ride. But my objective was different. Paris-Brest-Paris is a 1200 kilometer ride across France which must be completed in under 90 hours that runs once every four years. I have been telling anyone who would listen once they found out about my cycling proclivity about how it is my intent to ride PBP this year for the last two years. That was still my intent this year, and it was my intent during much of the 600k.

    But I was not willing to do so at any cost. Thoughts have been lingering about whether these distances are worth it for me since the 2018 Hopland 400k, where I threw up at the last control and struggled to the finish. Nausea again caught me just outside of this same campground in the outbound direction on the Fort Bragg 600k ride last year. This year on Hopland, though riding stronger overall and conserving my strength, I joined a fantastically energetic group and rode too hard before that last control and threw up there again. Though getting much more sleep and feeling fresher at the end, I finished within minutes of my time the previous year (24 hours).

    I rode mostly alone on this ride. After letting go of the lead pack on the Camino Alto climb, only a pair of Santa Cruz Randonneurs' jerseys passed me between there and Point Reyes Station. I rolled out of Point Reyes on my own, gaining the only company I had for this ride by catching up to and following a pair of riders on the climbs on Point Reyes-Petaluma road. My legs felt good, I was not pushing too hard, just a sustained and seemingly sustainable effort. I made it to Healdsburg at half past noon. Six and a half hours to cover 88 miles. Perhaps I ate too much here, opting for both a small chicken noodle soup, and some sushi, whereas I usually eat just the soup. Still making progress to Cloverdale, I briefly chatted with a Texan who was visiting and exploring the local routes, crossed and then rode along the cycling leg of an Iron Man event that was going in the opposite direction.

    I was starting to be affected by the heat. It wasn't that warm, but I needed to stop at a brand name coffee place in Cloverdale, and had a fizzy water with just a tad bit of juice to regain composure for the climb up 128. The climb rolled along nicely, I shifted down and just kept pedaling at a steady pace and easy effort. But I wasn't eating anymore. By the time I got to Yorkville, I needed another break, and luckily Michael had just stopped at the Yorkville Market, so I decided to stop, too. I got another carbonated beverage, a cherry cola this time, and in what might have been another mistake - honey-mustard flavored pretzel pieces. When I first started riding brevets, salted peanut-butter-filled pretzel pieces were a staple go-to in my basket - I'd just reach down to grab a few every couple of minutes. I thought about reaching for the simpler salted pretzel sticks this time, because I never have trouble consuming simple salted unflavored bread products, but the lizard brain sabotaged the rational sensibilities and swayed the scales in favor of the honey-mustard, which also had some sugar. As a little glimpse into my somewhat delirious state, I thought I had seen four to six cats in the shop. When I asked the proprietor, it turns out there were only two. She wished me a good ride, to be careful on highway 1, and asked if I thought I could make it to the camp before dark. I expressed serious doubts about that, but it turns out I was wrong.

    I got to Boonville, another dozen miles out, and took another break, the nausea kicking in again. The next five miles I started to get cold, the sun not yet setting but the cold ocean headwind was starting to take its toll. I stopped to get dressed, and deliberately cycled past the campground without stopping there for another rest though I probably could have used it. And then something clicked in my head. A had been trying to fit a great deal many things in life but cycling had begun dwarfing all my other joys and pursuits this year. My reward for finishing the 600k would have been to train more, probably ride the NorCal Brevet week in June, to get ready for PBP and ride that in August. Instead of PBP, I'll be taking a break.

    Randonneuring can be addictive. You keep putting goals out and keep accomplishing them, so you set higher, more challenging goals. Rinse and repeat. This year, cycling has started to become a kind of rat race for me. Yes, I still enjoy cycling, very much, but it has started to grind me down. I lost sight of why I enjoy this sport so much to begin with.

    I decided to stop. I decided to exert and reaffirm control over what I value in life. The campground was by far the biggest highlight of my 2018 finish on this ride. I was the very last rider into the overnight control, rolling in half-past 3am or so. I sat myself down on one of the folding chairs in front of the fire pit, was fed without having to get up, and drifted off in that same spot around 4am. Two hours later, before I could open my eyes, my olfactory system was cannonballed into a perfect aroma pool of fresh coffee and bacon. "This is AMAZING!" That campground served as my magical site of rejuvenation after just two hours of sleep. My spirits lifted, though I did hang out longer than most at breakfast that year, in no rush to head out, taking in the gurgling creek, the majestic towering redwoods all around, inhaling and ingesting the sights and sounds and smells all around.

    So less than 12 hours and 145 miles into the ride, and a few miles past the Indian Creek Campground that was the planned overnight, I decided to turn around and go directly there. It was about 40 miles to the Safeway in Fort Bragg, 42 miles back. I could have done it. I could have taken a break, even after I got to the campground. There was plenty of time left on the clock.

    I could have finished the ride. The weather was great, and I had plenty of clothes to keep me warm, something I learned to appreciate on this ride the year before, confusing being cold with being exhausted, and quickly regaining my legs after finally throwing a jacket on. I could have finished the ride, but I also needed to get off the treadmill, the hamster wheel that was starting to grind away at a sense of balance in life. I've been spending more and more time on the bike recently, and not because I was so thoroughly enjoying it. It had become almost a job. Not a particularly unpleasant one, I like riding bikes, but the compulsory nature of it did not sit well with me. I rode in the rain to work. I rode in the hotel gym morning before and again at night after while traveling for a conference the week before. I was just biking too much. Too many other parts of my life were getting squeezed out to make room for the PBP effort. I still want to ride PBP, but letting go of this year's attempt is what I need to focus on other important aspects of life.

    So after I had a beer and regained composure, I switched modes. Chatting with the volunteers during much of the night. Then as the riders started to come in, we'd offer them food, refilling plates when they were done and still hungry, insisting they can stay seated. Reed, a fellow campground DNFer, and I kept mentioning how we were earning our keep. Conversation flowed, lots of chuckling, story telling, sharing of experiences. I'll treasure these hours I spent in camp instead of on the bike. Chuck graciously offered me a tent and a sleeping bag and I was in bed a quarter to 11pm, fed and off the bike for 5 hours by then. It would probably have taken me again until 3am had I continued to Fort Bragg. I got 7 hours of sleep, instead of 2. It was a DNF, but it was also a DHF - I Did Have Fun. :)

    The campground volunteers were rock solid! Eric and Arthur the big goofball dog, Grace and Rick, the two co-owners of Bo the smaller goofball dog, Aaron, Sourav, Chuck, Robert, Reed. Thank you all for such an memorable experience. It was a privilege to spend several hours with you. Thank you.

    We cleaned up and packed up in the morning after the riders left. Chuck has an amazing van set up to carry up to 8 (!!) bikes, offered a ride for our bikes. Sourav offered to deliver our bodies. On the way back, Reed, Sourav and I discussed just how special and unique the San Francisco Randonneurs community is. The level of and attention to detail, the shared sense of purpose, the volunteer involvement. Thank you Rob Hawks. Thank you to everyone who volunteers to support SFR rides. Thank you to everyone who rides, you give us plausible deniability: we can't all be crazy :)

    Carrying my bike as I climbed up the long sets of stairs from the BART station platform this morning, I had a liberating realization. It was the first time in a long while that I was not internally justifying the effort as "this will help me on PBP". I was once again doing it for the sole simple reason that this is just what I do.

                      / \
                    A*   \^   -
                 ,./   _.`\\ / \
                / ,--.S    \/   \
               /  `"~,_     \    \
         __o           ?
       _ \<,_         /:\
    --(_)/-(_)----.../ | \
  7. PyCon2019 poem

    I'm back in Cleveland for another Pycon. Yesterday was my first full day here. Along with Matt Seale, I was a helper at Matthias Bussonnier tutorial ("IPython and Jupyter in Depth: High productivity, interactive Python). The sticky system is efficient at signaling when someone in a classroom needs help, and a lot of folks don't know that this practice was popularized by Software Carpentry workshops and continues to be used at The Carpentries.

    Explanation of The Carpentries Sticky system: "It is easy to get help.
We use a system of sticky notes to allow learners to seek help without having to
call attention to themselves or interrupt the Instructor’s flow. Learners are
issued sticky notes of two different colours - generally red and green - and use
them to signal ‘it’s all good’ or ‘I need help’. When a learner posts a red
sticky, a helper in the room will assist them to get back on track"

    I stepped out for a coffee refill and bumped into a large contingent of Bloomberg folks I'd never met (Princeton office). I guess we have something like 90 people at the conference this year, and I made the usual and true remark about how I go to conferences to meet the other people who work at our company. Then after his tutorial concluded, Matthias and I bumped into Tracy Teal, exchanged some stickers, and chatted about The Carpentries, Jupyter, organizing conferences, governance and sponsorship models, and a bunch of other stuff.

    Matthias was a good influence in trying to participate in the swag bag stuffing, but it turned out we had almost an hour to kill maim (we decided injury's a better fate than death for that hour). Luckily, we bumped into John Lam and proceeded to chat away and entertain one another. The swag bag stuffing was really fun - highly recommend it to everyone! Smart people performing a task that allows for lots of banter and brief social interaction turn while there's music and a chance to move around turns out to be a good way to have time continue flying by. Too many people to name here, but Scopz was there and we made terrible puns, as usual.

    After the swag bag stuffing party, reconnected with Tracy and we chatted some more while walking around and picking up swag (mostly socks), joined by Gil Forsyth who handed me Xonsh sticker, bumped into Saul Shanabrook. Then stopped by to say hi to Jess, a friend of Anna Vu's, whom I only ever see at PyCon), and then chatted with Scott Sanderson, met Hugo Bowne-Anderson, and got to briefly greet Jonathan Helmus.

    I walked Matthias to his hotel, then went back to Butcher and the Brewer (again, Matthias joined me for dinner there the night before), and wrote out the poem you'll find below. After I wrote it, a bunch of my Bloomberg colleagues showed up, and I ended up chatting for long time with John Purviance. In keeping with tradition, though we work at the same company, I met John by accident at a coffee shop during last year's Pycon (he works in the New York office, whereas I'm in SF).

    One day down, and it's already been a wonderful Pycon.

    Pycon 2019

    May 2nd, Pycon Cleveland Two, as well
    The social wealth observed, created
    not jaded, lots to say and listen to
    Bring energy and silliness, too
    My objective to subjectively inject 
    a crack and tear decorum fabric
    be vulnerable
    a buzzing bee
    break up the swag bag stuffing monotony
    walk the path, switch sides, talk trash
    Great folks, give stickers, smiles, rehash
    A splash of warmth, a squak, a "BAM!"
    A nudge - we jam enjoying this team work
    not work at all - a play - a sandbox
    roles all clear yet much room left 
    to improvise
    Devise a way to make us laugh
    each finds their path
    rocking forth and back
    swaying fro and too
    a rhythm of a train a-moving
    Clapping celebration when we're done
    "Hey-hey! We're done!" - a dinner earned
    and well deserved - many socks collected
    New people met and old friends reconnected
    Tutorials and opening reception done
    and now Pycon 2019's officially begun
  8. Get in it

    Two weeks ago, Project Jupyter had our only planned team meeting for 2018. There was too much stuff going on for me to write a poem during the event as I had in previous years (2016, and 2017), so I ended up reading one of the pieces I wrote during my evening introvert breaks in Cleveland at PyCon a few weeks earlier.

    Once again, Fernando and Matthias had their gadgets ready to record (thank you both!). The video below was taken by Fernando.

    click to view the video

    Get in it

    Time suspended
    Gellatinous reality - the haze
    submerged in murky drops summed
    in swamp pond of life
    believe and strive, expand the mind
    A state sublime, when in your prime you came to
    me and we were free to flow and fling our
    cares, our dreams, our in-betweens, our
    rêves perdues, our residue -- the lime of light
    the black of sight -- all these converge and
    merge the forks of friction filled with fright
    and more -- the float of logs that plunges deep
    beyond the fray, beyond the keep -- a leap of faith
    the lore of rite, with passage clear, let
    fear subside, the wealth of confidence will
    rise and iron out wrinkles of doubt
    Commit to change and stash your pride
    then push your luck, and make amends.
    Branch out your thoughts, reset assumptions
    then checkout.
    The force of pulls t'wards master class
    Remote of possibilities. Rehash the past
    Patch up the present -- what's the diff?
    There's nothing left -- except to glide -- and
    soar beyond your frame of mind.  try not to pry
    cry, freedom, cry.
  9. SciPy 2018 dates and call for abstracts

    I'm helping with next year's SciPy conference, so here are the details:

    July 9-15, 2018 | Austin, Texas

    Tutorials: July 9-10, 2018
    Conference (Talks and Posters): July 11-13, 2018
    Sprints: July 14-15, 2018

    SciPy 2018, the 17th annual Scientific Computing with Python conference, will be held July 9-15, 2018 in Austin, Texas. The annual SciPy Conference brings together over 700 participants from industry, academia, and government to showcase their latest projects, learn from skilled users and developers, and collaborate on code development. The call for abstracts for SciPy 2018 for talks, posters and tutorials is now open. The deadline for submissions is February 9, 2018.

    Talks and Posters (July 11-13, 2018)

    In addition to the general track, this year will have specialized tracks focused on:

    • Data Visualization
    • Reproducibilty and Software Sustainability

    Mini Symposia

    • Astronomy
    • Biology and Bioinformatics
    • Data Science
    • Earth, Ocean and Geo Science
    • Image Processing
    • Language Interoperability
    • Library Science and Digital Humanities
    • Machine Learning
    • Materials Science
    • Political and Social Sciences

    There will also be a SciPy Tools Plenary Session each day with 2 to 5 minute updates on tools and libraries.

    Tutorials (July 9-10, 2018)

    Tutorials should be focused on covering a well-defined topic in a hands-on manner. We are looking for awesome techniques or packages, helping new or advanced Python programmers develop better or faster scientific applications. We encourage submissions to be designed to allow at least 50% of the time for hands-on exercises even if this means the subject matter needs to be limited. Tutorials will be 4 hours in duration. In your tutorial application, you can indicate what prerequisite skills and knowledge will be needed for your tutorial, and the approximate expected level of knowledge of your students (i.e., beginner, intermediate, advanced). Instructors of accepted tutorials will receive a stipend.

    Mark Your Calendar for SciPy 2018!


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