Lesson learned re: smptlib, hostname and OS X.


To allow Django to send email using smptlib, use NetInfo Manager to create a new machine whose name corresponds to the output of hostname, so that socket.gethostbyname(socket.gethostname()) returns something. (useful for laptops whose local DNS server may not know about their hostname).

Looking for some superlative Python Talks for OSCON


I’m on the program committee for OSCON, and I just got word that we have some slots available for some good talks. Advanced topics (PyPy, IronPython, other stuff) would be great. Let me know if you’re interested or you know someone who you think should talk there.

Apple Remote and Hauppage IR receiver?


I’d love to be able to use my new Apple remote control as the interface to Snapstream’s BeyondTV. Which would maybe be doable if the Hauppage IR receiver can receive the Apple signal. Is that possible?

YouTube derivative effects and gaming


Last night, I went to pick up Hugo from his best friend’s house. As usual in these scenarios, the drive home is all about the game they were playing. This one was fascinating, but not unusual.

Hugo: So we were making this movie in Halo, and M____ [his friend] knows this guy, who’se almost famous at making Halo movies on YouTube, and there were these two guys, and one was brown and the other one blue, so that the person seeing the movie could tell them apart, and there was this guy that kept on coming in and killing them all so we always had to start over, and the guys were supposed to go to the McDonald’s, but this really annoying guy kept coming, so they logged out and changed the password and went back in. This guy kept saying “cut! cut! cut!”

Me: You were making a movie in Halo?

I’m conflicted about Hugo playing Halo, and that’s a story for another post, but I was cheered when I noticed that kids like him find more satisfaction in directing a movie in a first-person networked shooter than actually shooting at avatars. It’s also intriguing from an industry perspective that the rush that comes from getting content on YouTube is turning games into opportunities for self-expression. This will, I’m sure, encourage game developers to make it easy for people to record their gaming sessions, and, I expect, to “set up” their sessions, so that they can build a plot, coordinate actors, program extras, put in soundtracks, edit out the boring bits, etc.

If you know where to look, YouTube is full of sessions from other sophisticated online games (MapleStory is a popular one for that age group), and the video mentioned in a previous post about the real estate market shows that even “roller coaster tycoon” ends up on YouTube. Both these usages are interesting in that it’s not the prowess at playing the game that’s highlighted, but something much more creative and individual. For a remarkable example of the more primitive, exhibitionist use of videos of games, see this performance of YYZ on Guitar Hero.

First-person shooters turn into multi-player shooters turn into virtual movie studios, where your co-gamers are the actors. Creativity will always find a way out of any boxed environments, and real-time collaboration makes it all more fun.

New theme


I installed and tweaked a new theme on the blog. Let me know if I broke something in the process.

Tracking the sleigh

1:37 PM   Arrived at FedEx location ANCHORAGE, AK
9:02 PM   In transit                SHANGHAI CN
10:26 AM  Left origin               SHANGHAI CN
10:22 AM  Picked up                 SHANGHAI CN
9:06 AM   Package data transmitted to FedEx