Felix Crux

Technology & Miscellanea 

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Firefox already has an excellent cloud-based Sync system for sharing settings and browser history between computers — but perhaps you don’t want any of your data stored on remote servers; or you keep separate work and personal profiles; or you don’t want to have to set it up in several places (like short-lived virtual machines); or maybe you just like to keep all your settings in plain text files you can copy around.

I fall into several of those categories, but until recently, I didn’t know Firefox had a built-in solution.

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Last year at PyCon I organized a small Open Space event for OpenPGP key signing. Based on the success of that event I'm doing it again this year at PyCon 2015 in Montréal. We'll be in room 512cg at 18:00 on Saturday the 11th.

I wrote up a very short superficial guide that covers what this is all about, how to get started, how key signing happens, and where to go from there; you can read it here.

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This is a little snippet that's been sitting in my .zshrc for years, and which people always seem to like. With a little bit of aliasing and with the help of the pygmentize utility from pygments, we can get stodgy old cat to produce colourful listings with syntax highlighting.

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When I was first introduced to Django, I found it so pleasant to work with, and so productive, that I ended up accidentally creating this site. I still stand by this first impression, and I still recommend and promote Django whenever I get the chance.

But sometimes it just isn't the right tool for the job. For a site like mine, which has essentially no dynamic content whatsoever, and is infrequently updated, it doesn't really make sense to keep up with the treadmill of updates, both to Django itself, and to the supporting infrastructure like the PostgreSQL database that sits behind it. Static HTML pages would be simpler to maintain, and, as an added benefit, load faster.

However, I didn't want to give up on some of the key parts of Django that really made my life easier. The templating system, for example, meant that I could tweak the look of the site and have changes consistently propagated across all pages, without manually updating each one. The automatic generation of RSS feeds was another nicety I didn't want to lose.

I therefore put together a system that allows me to retain the key benefits of Django, while producing an end result that is in fact a whole bunch of static HTML pages. It's called Transcribe, and it currently powers this site and a couple of others that I maintain.

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I know that around this time of year, a lot of people are in a giving mood. And it's not just limited to exchanging gifts, but also donating to charity. In addition to the humanitarian causes that many people support during the holiday season, consider helping out these somewhat geekier groups too.

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