Thom Nichols


Technology is evolution outside the gene pool

Articles from the year 2009

A Better Cygwin Console with RXVT

Cygwin 1.7 was just released a few weeks ago, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to share an old trick for making Cygwin's terminal window a little nicer by using RXVT and 'screen.'

RXVT is a console emulator; basically it replaces the 'cmd' executable that displays the native Windows terminal.  You can also specify the font and use screen to get multi-terminal support ...

I Wrote the Code for this Blog

Well, not all of it.  The software for this blog is a derivative of Bloog, originally written by Bill Katz.  It runs entirely on Google AppEngine for Python, and it is completely open source.  I took Bill's code and forked it on GitHub, and worked on a lot of improvements over the the course of several months. 

Here are a few of the more significant changes I ...

RESTful File Upload for AppEngine

Google's AppEngine is an awesome platform for simple web apps. Unfortunately one of the more glaring limitations is the lack of filesystem access. Fortunately, their robust data storage API can make up for the omission in many cases.

The Use Case

I wanted to have integrated image hosting for this blog so I wrote a REST handler to upload and serve image files for GAE's Python ...

Darken Google and other UserContent CSS tricks

So Stylish is a popular FireFox extension that allows you to change the way certain websites look.  Being a minimalist, I'm generally happy with the way websites are presented by default (once ads are removed, of course) and don't want to install another FireFox extension.

There are, however, a couple rare sites that I do have the desire to change.  The main culprit being Google.  More ...

The new XML: High Performance Serializers

While JSON has been regarded for some time as a good alternative to XML, binary data serializers such as Thrift and Protocol Buffers have more recently been gaining traction for their performance and compact output. Just the other day I came across Avro (now part of the Hadoop project) which puts itself as a direct competitor to Thrift and ProtoBufs.  Avro looks neat, but there are a few ...