Speed reading online

I recently approached my employer about the possibility of obtaining a “reading dynamics” course which promises to include both speed and comprehension, which I feel I could do with improving: I’m definitely a slow reader, but I have to read a lot so it seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately the application was turned down, but adversity being the mother of surfing I went out and looked on the web. Found a few interesting pages…

Suggestions For Improving Reading Speed is a page at Virginia Tech which looks pretty good (though I’ve only read the first fifth or so so far – see, I’m slow!). Particularly interested by their assertion that reading slowly actually causes worse comprehension. Will definitely be checking this puppy out further.

Speed Reading Strategies at Memphis University (?) looks similar – very in depth, free, practical advice with motivation.

www.mindtools.com has a similar page. Whole site looks interesting, in fact… :-)

www.roadtoreading.org offers a free 6-cassette set of lessons for free, but only to Americans, alas. Still, interesting, especially as the course I was applying for cost more like 170 UK pounds. Makes you think…

OK, that’s enough for now I think – enough for me to come back to and think about.

Aikido anecdotes

Here are some amusing/interesting aikido anecdotes.

extended cake mix – nice

extended cake mix – nice.

Scary Bunny

Scary Bunny, courtesy of the ever-fabulous mr pants, who wants us all to say “whooo!” a bit more.

The Close Ecounters question

Something to ask someone you’ve just met at a party: Would you go off with the aliens in their Mothership at the end of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, like Richard Dreyfuss did?

photo.net tutorials

Malc! Check out these pages on www.photo.net: light, tripods.

Other Gimbos of the world

Nothing to do with me: www.gimbo.net, Labradorblanding Gimbo, Nikum and Gimbo For Sale, The Babe TGP, I IS GIMBO GIMBO THE HUMAN

Sod it, just search google for gimbo – unfortunately the link to “Gimbo The Circus Freak” is dead. Shame.

Zope ProductDirs

Have applied this howto to create a shared Zope product directory, and have one of my Zope instances using it. Tomorrow I’ll point the other (more importnant) instance at it too, and pay close attention. Looks cool though, and should make my life easier. ;-)

Yes, DocBrowser is neat

Wow, I was right… That DocBrowser product is indeed very cool: I used it this morning to take a tree of Python code and create browsable, searchable copies of the files online in, er, about a minute. Which was handy as I was about to give a presentation at which I wished to refer to my code, and my alternative was – yick – printing.

Zope rocks. It’s as simple as that.

Text processing in Python with mxTextTools

Text processing in Python with mxTextTools: Advanced Tips.

Python’s a great language for text processing. Apparently the mxTextTools module makes it even better/faster. Here’s an article about it, which I’ll try to read myself later on in the week. :-)

More Zope stuff

Haven’t been keeping up with Zope news… Here’s some of the new stuff since the last time I looked: DocBrowser (potentially very cool), ZUnit unit testing for Zope (woo hoo – getting well into unit testing lately), WidgetTag (definitely handy), Zope News Tag (maybe good, have to see how it does its thing), ZWeather (probably won’t ever use it), File System Counter (not sure what this is, but might be cool), RSS Channel Management (could be great), a ZDG preview (jolly good), a How-To on defining extra product directories (useful for setting up a shared products directory), Example Form Validator (don’t know what this is, but want to check it out), TestMaster (same comment).

Cool. Also 2.3.2 is underway, as is planning for 2.4, the most salient feature of which (right now) seems to be that it will require python 2.1.

Hey Andy, things to do tomorrow:

Read about xml-rpc and Zope.

Read this xml-rpc discussion.

Read these notes on xml-rpc in Python.

Tell Michelle about free Zope hosting.

Try to use that DocBrowser get your RADIUS code online for that demo… :-)

This just in: Orbital still good

I’ve just noticed that Orbital can still do good techno, they just save it for the singles. This is why Orbital albums aren’t very techno any more: they’re albums. ;-)

Can’t wait ’til the first time I hear Orbital on Radio Two.

Also can’t wait to hear them playing live on Radio One tomorrow night, which reminds me: I must install RealAudio today!

Nice quote from NTK

From Need To Know:

Typically, the first thing anyone noticed about this research on ukcrypto was the site sets cookies, leading to just the kind of petty factional in-fighting that lost us the Spanish Civil War, people. Stay on target, cookie and anti-cookie-ists.

I love the “lost us the Spanish Civil War, part. :-)

Interview with GvR

Here’s an interview with Guido van Rossum, creator of Python… Fairly disappointing in terms of content, I thought, but a couple of interesting comments. He mentions a Python catalog a la CPAN, which would definitely be a good thing.

A comment from a Slashdot reader (in the discussion attached to the article) which I wholeheartedly agree with:

Unless your code is for you and only you, readability is perhaps the single most important feature of your code.

That’s just so true… A counterargument which immediately springs to mind is that correctness is the most important feature, but thinking about it, I think readability really is more important. I mean, you are, inevitably, at some point, going to write code which is not correct. When that happens, you or someone else has to correct it – and if it’s easy to discern what’s going on, that’s bound to happen quicker, and which a greater chance of success.

Another take: Knuth has said (eg here) that computer programming is not (or should not be) just about communicating your intentions to the computer – it’s also about communicating your intentions to other human beings (including yourself). If you subscribe to that, then readability is king.

What up?

Well, it’s been a quiet month so far in Gimboland. I seem to be getting busier and busier. Currently working on RADIUS stuff in python, which is nice and hairy. Once that’s done I need to get back to Zope and figure out why LoginManager isn’t working for us. Urgh… It never stops.

On a lighter note, aikido last night was a blast. Definitely starting to remember stuff now. Since I can’t allow myself to write a Gimboland entry without linking somewhere, and since I’m in an aikido mood, here’s a link to some Ki Exercises on the excellent Body, Mind, and Modem site.

Horseriding tonight, so achy thighs tomorrow…

How are the drums on Badly Drawn Boy’s “Another Pearl” so damn funky?

Turning an SGI powerhouse into a fridge

Turning an SGI powerhouse into a fridge, Mechanical Hit Counter, Find The Apricot.

More NTK goodness

Time for another Need To Know roundup: Debian Rulez, Fart Burning, WAP Elite.

Friendly beezies for the blind

Friendly beezies for the blind and the deaf. Dogs are just great.



Mr Bean Saves Plane!

Mr Bean Saves Plane!

Oy, Gimbo! Check this out…

Oy, Gimbo! Check this out…

Relation of BSD stuff to OS X

Spotted on Slashdot:

Not to nitpick or anything, but…

I hear this all the time. OS X is NOT “just BSD with some apple stuff slapped on top.” It’s not even truly BSD. It’s a Mach Microkernel with a BSD Compatibility layer on top. That means it replicates the BSD system calls but is not truly a BSD Kernel. It’s kinda like saying WINE is windows. It’s just an implementation of an API. Granted, the OS X implementation is a lot truer to correctly pretending to be BSD than wine is for windows, but it is NOT BSD. It just incorporates a lot of the BSD stuff that apple found useful