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Author Archive

The Color of Compulsion

One of the most startling consequences of Noah’s injury has been how parts of his personality have been magnified.  He was a sweet child before, and he is now the most gentle, kindest soul you will meet.  He enjoyed ordering things, arranging toys in patterns.  Now he’s quite obsessive about it.  I snapped this after one of his (now squelched) 3 a.m. coloring sessions:

Notice how it’s not just the chromatic ordering of the crayons; it’s also the stripping of the paper wrappers and the (functionally needless) sharpening.  He sits for hours at a time at the table, absorbed in these activities.  He prefers coloring to all else; no books or television or games  (well, a few games).


That Which Did Not Kill Him…

…has only made him stronger.  Praise God for this miracle in particular.


Yes, Sweetheart, W is a Vowel

I have a very distinct childhood memory of hearing that the letter W is sometimes a vowel. I do not recall where or when I heard this, but the memory is strong, and believe I heard it exactly once. When my oldest son Dax was three, just as he’s learning about consonants and vowels, he recites the list for me, “A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y.” I tell him that it’s also “and sometimes W”, which I probably shouldn’t have done without checking. But I did, and sure enough, Dax takes it to heart (all of you fathers, you should be so fortunate as to have a child that listens and believes you so thoroughly). For years, he would correct his siblings, particularly his younger brother Noah when he was learning his letters.

Just the other day, Dax repeats this “and sometimes W!” catechism, and my wife decides she’s had enough. “Prove it, or lose it!” she tells him. I recast her ultimatum as a challenge. “Dax”, say I, “it’s a research project. Go ask Google!” His face becomes a sunrise of excitement. He squeals his agreement and races to the computer. A few moments later, he comes back to me meekly and says, “Daddy, what do I look for?” (we haven’t yet gotten to ending sentences with prepositions). I tell him something along the lines of “Type in Is W a Vowel?”. He races back and moments later he returns triumphantly.

Here’s the page he found: When is W a Vowel?

And here is the example cited: cwm.

We’ve tried to soften this a bit by using the phrase “and rarely W”. But now we have proof positive, and a little bit more family lore.


More Praise for “Expert Python Programming”

The kind folks at Packt Publishing contacted me two weeks ago and asked if I would review Expert Python Programmingin exchange for a free copy. I enjoy free things, especially beer, even if there’s a bit of work involved, so I agreed. The book arrived a few days later as promised.
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ProfitPy Does Windows

New release coming soon. And it now runs on Microsoft(r) Windows(tm)! I like pretty pictures:

See all the screenshots here.

Release seems close. I think 0.2 will be ready within a few weeks (read: 3-4 months). The project has a new home, too: here.


Automated Translation of Java to Python

I’ve written a tool to automatically translate Java source code to Python source code. The tool is useful, and it’s already working for me as I intended. It’s called java2python (clever, no?) and you can download it here.

Let me back up a bit and explain the motivation behind this. I’m the author and sole maintainer of the Python port of the Interactive Brokers API (IbPy). IB provides a default/reference Java implementation for UNIX and MacOS. This reference implementation is straight forward: it contains a Thread subclass that reads from a socket, an associated class for writing to the socket, plus a few other support classes. Conceptually pretty simple, and the initial port was actually easy (once I figured out the difference between writing data to a socket in Java and writing data to a socket in Python).

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Beryl Keeps Getting Better

I put together a quick demo of some of the (newer) Beryl window animations. Included in the video are samples of Explode, Domino, Glide, Leaf and Razr. Enjoy.

Appropriately, the audio track is “Future” by Sungirl.