Monthly Archives: September 2004

Velorution – Luke 6:27-36

In Velorution – Dismantling the car economy, celebrating bicycle culture: Luke 6:27-36 Andreas has picked up on my searching for solutions in 42: Dangerous Cars.

His points are great! They also apply to much more than just dangerous car drivers. This kind of approach is likely to be good for evangelism, for politics but most of all for building community. It is when we doin’t meet and talk that our communities fall apart. That distrust, fear and crime rise.

So why don’t we do it? Maybe we have overfilled our lives, maybe we feel safe and protected in our homes and cars and vulnerable when out in our front gardens (yards), on the pavement (sidewalk). Maybe we are too lazy. But the retreat from meeting the people nearby is a step to many of us have taken towards giving up on a safe friendly community in which to live.

Anyway a lot of this is tough. For example we worry when the kids play in the road after school (we live in a close – a dead end of 30 odd houses so there is only the traffic to our own homes). Why – well when there are 10 of them outside it can be a bit noisy, but most of all they are not going to be careful about watching for cars when they run accross. But there shouldn’t really be a need for them to be careful. The good thing is that having tyhem out there is such a good way to break the ice and start building relationships.

We need home zones!

A Warning on stories Dan Rather Meets Teddy Stallard: A Warning contains excellent advice for preachers on using stories.

But there are other sides to story, First real honest fiction. This type of story can be very powerful, a good friend uses it well but the stories are clearly written for the occasion and presented as fiction with a moral, they are powerful and memorable.

I have also found the concept of “our story” to be helpful and important in understanding ourselves in relation to God, family, community etc. It is particularly good with mixed age groups.

Of course the othger good thing about these two types of story is that they take us beyond mere facts into a much richer understanding – one that also helps us reconnect in new ways with scripture.

Thanks to Adrian Warnock for the link and his thoughts.

Also see the JollyBloggers thoughts in Looks like I’ll have to quit throwing stones at Dan Rather

ElementTree is easy

Well the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I had a real world task to do and as it was a standalone overnight processing so I used Python.

Ok the task was pretty straightforward consisting of 8 SQL statements (mixture of updates and inserts) that take approx 1 hour to run. Then a loop through a list of results, for each result I needed to make 2 calls to a web service. Each call returned xml. The xml result of the first web service contained details that influenced the second web service call. I then needed to pick a couple of numbers out of the xml results of the second call, then update the database row.

Thanks to KInterbaseDb for the python database driver for Firebird as well as for OpenAnything from DiveIntoPython which made that bit trivial. Into the mix came ElementTree for parsing the xml.

Remarkably few lines of code were needed and the whole thing went together very neatly and quickly. Have to say that this was much simpler than it would have been using my java toolset despite it being powerful and well designed.

More Programming Language Popularity

After 42: Programming Language Popularity I decided to play a little with google. So I downloaded PyGoogle, got myself a google api license key.

My Google Totals at 2004-09-28

Programming Development Support Training Skills Learning Testing Help TOTAL
c# 66700 3380 2134 3045 882 4893 245 8090 89369
python 72940 8240 6550 1406 614 9786 622 4210 104368
visual basic 156900 9250 3894 25920 1974 5680 357 5042 209017
perl 286900 16150 34640 10470 2328 42550 3561 20460 417059
c++ 411500 20160 16530 5897 3850 10700 911 35060 504608
php 261000 97800 178000 232000 14930 25990 5320 294000 1109040
java 590700 306000 380700 44760 8770 32900 7940 140600 1512370

For each term I searched pre and post eg “java programming” and “programming java”

My very basic and simplistic code for this is below. Pretty easy, think I’ll shove it in cron and run each month.

import google
from datetime import datetime
def search():
languages = ("java","python", "perl", "c#", "c++", "visual basic", "php")
selectors = ("programming","development","support","training","skills",\
summaryresults = {}
for language in languages:
detailedresults = {}
summaryresults[language] = detailedresults
for selector in  selectors:
query1 = '"%s %s"'%(language, selector)
query2 = '"%s %s"'%(selector, language)
resultset1 = google.doGoogleSearch(query1)
resultset2 = google.doGoogleSearch(query2)
detailedresults[selector] = resultset1.meta.estimatedTotalResultsCount\
+ resultset2.meta.estimatedTotalResultsCount
print 'Totals at %s'%(
print ',',
for selector in  selectors:
print '%s,'%(selector),
print '%s'%("TOTAL")
for language in languages:
print '%s,'%(language),
values = summaryresults[language]
total = 0
for selector in  selectors:
value = values[selector]
total += value
print '%d,'%(value),
print '%d'%(total)
if __name__ == "__main__":

Programming Language Popularity

Interesting article at Programming Language Popularity.

No real surprises and a good starting point. It would be interesting to follow some of these up in other ways. For example to look at geography (is the relative popularity of Java vs C# similar in the UK to the US) that could be both by google geography but also by language (do french speakers use the same languages).

The search terms could at other search terms eg “x programming” was used, how does that compare to “x development”, “written in x”, “x tutorial”, “x libaries”, “supports x”, etc.

The idea of looking at books is good (both number of books and sales ranking), also looking at newsgroups/mailing list volumes. Not ignoring the blog universe, there must be lots of useful data to be gleaned from technorati, bloglines etc

Maybe most of all it would also be very informative to see some trends, so repeat the same queries every couple of months.

Thanks to LWN: Programming Language Popularity for the link.

John Clingan: Name my blog

John wants feedback in John Clingan: Name my blog cos he has taken a hit on his web counter – h’mm not sure about perceived cause and effect here. Anyway I don’t comment often enough to give input ;-) But I do like the Clingan Empire suggestion by Kevin in the comments.

Anyway my original point was going to be about the hit counter. How accurate is that? For example John’s weblog comes out absolutely fine in Bloglines both on it’s own and as part of Planet Sun. So I rarely directly visit – my guess is that therefore I and the 25 other bloglines subscribers rarely get caught by the hit counter. On the other hand there are 56 subscribers to Planet Sun, my guess is that more of these will visit actual weblogs as the formatting sometimes goes a bit crazy.

If this (people not visiting cos they read it all in the feeds) is considered a problem (due to its effect on reducing hit counts) then I guess the only solution is to use summaries and extended posts so that to get the full detail we need to visit. I would do so for most of the posts.

My own hit counter varies from day to day by a lot more than 10% anyway depending on which/if any posts get caught on aggregators like Daily Python-URL (I don’t belong to many automatic aggregators as my posts are so varied – it is a pity the aggregators can’t look at the category to decide which posts to pickup – that is one reason why the Daily Python-URL is so good – it has a filtering selection of posts to only catch relevant ones).

Stupid Cyclists

It is I suppose only fair to follow my posting 42: Dangerous Cars with the flip side of the coin.

Last night I walked toi blockbusters to resturn some videos the kids have had out. While walking on the pavement (sidewalk for the Americans listening) there is a sudden whoosh and a cyclist waering black with no lights suddenly zips past skidding on the grass verge.

Bewfore and after school when the pavements are full of young children and their parents walking to school we have a number of adults and older children riding their bikes on the pavement. They don’t concentrate at vall, they don’t give way, they don’t look when they cross roads.

I suppose I should be glad that they are not in cars but

a) It is intimdating for a pedestrian (particularly the young and old) to have a large teenager or adult bearing down on you on a bike with no intention of giving way.
b) You never see these cyclists taking care and looking as they cross junctions, they just bounce on and off the curb in a competely unpredictable way. Deaths and serious injuries are inevitable.
c) At night none of them have lights to see or be seen by.

Note I am not talking about young kids playing on their bikes close to home after school or at the weekend. I am talking about utility cyclists going from A to B who would be safer and faster on the road. That safer is true even with the dangerous drivers I mentioned in my earlier post. Those same dangerous drivers are the ones likely to hgit stupd cyclists who don’t look when they cross junctions.

Again what can be done? I want to see lives saved and neighbourhoods where everyone feels safe walking and playing on the pavements.

Dangerous Cars

Why are so many car drivers so stupid? They have this insane idea that they cannot stay behind a bike. So coming up to traffic lights while going round a blind bend they seem to feel the need to overtake bikes that are travelling at the same speed as the cars in front! AAARRRGGGGHHHHH!

Then you go past the traffic lights and go around another blind bend before a long straight and more cars overtake.

This is a small residential road, there are frequently parked cars. It is not wide enough for 2 cars and a bike. So if a car comes the other way the bike is going to get squeezed out.

So I take the lane, remember this is in a stream of cars just coming out of traffic lights. So we are maybe 5 seconds behind the car in front by the end of the bend. Yet they still overtake, on the wrong side of the road going round a blind bend.

Are they morons? Are they trying to kill my children (I was riding with 1 son on his own in front and another on the trets behind)?

What are we do about this? After my comments about Jimmy Swaggart you will not be surprised that I am not in favour of killing drivers just because they seem to be trying to kill me. But I would like to know how to challenge them about their behaviour before they ruin their own lives (as well as those of another family) by killing an innocent person through their stupidity.

What works, is safe and unthreatening for all involved? Any suggestions?

NB Any solutions should fit with Luke 6: 27-36 as well as the law.

For those who know Crawley I am talking about Bycroft way from the Tesco garage going under the railway bridge and then the bend in St Marys Drive. Mind you the same thing happens round the sharp bend in Three Bridges Road by Three Bridges Free Church. :: ElementTree, my dear Watson

I have mentioned ElementTree in passing a couple of times (here and here) now another mention of how easy to use at :: Efectos Especiales:: ElementTree, my dear Watson. As I have hinted at in regards to a href=””>SQLObject it is great that there are tools coming along that are pythonic from the ground up as they are then easier to use and have better performance.