Archive for September, 2006

TurboGears at the Ann Arbor Computing Society

On Wednesday Oct. 4, I’ll be talking about TurboGears and Python, this is a little bit different demographic than I’ve been able to talk to in the past, with a bunch of people who hang out on the Microsoft side of the world. So I’m thinking about talking a bit about Python’s platform integration, and how you can use TurboGears in platform specific ways. I may not really even talk about any of the Win32 integration stuff, but it’s got me thinking about a whole new way to present TurboGears to Windows developers.

All said, I’m definitely looking forward to this talk.

PizzaThe Ann Arbor Computing Society is a rarity, a vibrant group of people who come together to talk about computing generally, not one particular technology. And they’ve been doing their thing for more than a decade, so they must be doing something right!

Anyway if you’re in town that week, it looks like a lot of fun. And if that’s not enough to get your but on over, I’ve heard there’s going to be Pizza!

Software, Politics, and Voting Machines

Recently there was a discussion of Electronic Voting Machines on NPR. My informed opinion: The current wave of computer based voting machines is a political disaster waiting to happen. I don’t care which party you are in, if you care about democracy, and should care about voting machine technology.

There’s no such thing as a totally secure computer environment, and a recent study shows how easy it is to subvert one modern voting machine. But don’t let the fact that they only broke into one brand of machine fool you, nobody is going to make a totally secure voting system. When the stakes are high enough, whatever security you have will be hacked, and we’ll have voter fraud. And even if you could be 100% sure that the machine wasn’t tampered with, it’s impossible to be completely sure no bugs have screwed up the totals?

As Software professionals, we need to speak with one voice on this issue. Bruce Schneider explains what we all pretty much already know:

Computer security experts are unanimous on what to do…

  1. DRE machines must have a voter-verifiable paper audit trails…
  2. Software used on DRE machines must be open to public scrutiny…

I know I’m pretty much preaching to the choir on this blog, but I’m also commiting to explaining the need for voter-verifiable paper trails to a dozen non-technical people over the next two weeks. If you can, I’d ask you to do the same thing. And if you have a blog, please ask your readers to do the same thing.

This isn’t about party loyalty, it’s about preserving democracy.

TurboGears Hackathon?

I’ve been talking with some people about putting together a mini-turbogears conf later this fall. Probably sometime in late November or early December. The idea would be to get together, learn more about Ajax, TurboGears, and hack on some cool stuff. It would be designed for all skill levels from total beginners, all the way up to people who want to get down and dirty with the TurboGears internals.

If you’re interested, drop me a line at Mark@(this web address).com, or leave a comment here.

TurboGears at OhioLinuxFest

OhioLinuxOn September 29th (this Saturday), I’ll be at the OhioLinuxFest, hanging out at the Spliced Networks booth talking about TurboGears, the TurboGears book, and Spliced Networks “app stack” for TurboGears deployment.

If anybody wants to get together for lunch/dinner to talk about TurboGears, Python, or web development feel free to drop by the booth, and we’ll set a time and place. You can also leave a comment here, or e-mail me (my address is my first name at

TurboGears in Linux Magazine

I’ve worked with Linux Magazine in the past, and it’s always a pleasure. But this time it’s been great, because I got to talk about all the cool stuff in TurboGears 1.0 beta. It’s only a few pages, so I couldn’t cover everything that I’d like to, but it should give people an idea of what they can do with TurboGears, and hopefully introduce a few new people to the project.

In the article I talk a bit about a project I’ve been thinking about for several weeks, which uses TurboGears to create a ticket tracker based on my ideas of how to use David Allen’s Getting Things Done system in a group setting.

Project-Page-01.jpgIt’s called Action Flow, and the idea behind it is to make it easy to capture all of the next actions for all of your projects in a simple system outside of your head. The difference between this and other similar systems is that it is designed to track actions and projects for individuals and groups in the same free-flowing self-organizing way that Agile Software projects are run.

I personally want to use it to run an IT department, and track all the various tasks and projects we have going. It’s not there yet, but as I finish up the final edits on the book I should have more time to work on this project.

I’m also hoping that it will be a good place for new folks to Open Source and TurboGears to get involved on the ground floor of a project that’s very welcoming to anybody interested, even if you don’t have experience. Learning experiences are generally effective to the extent that they require active participation from everybody involved, so I think this will a great way to learn more about web development and TurboGears.

So, if you’re new to TurboGears, new to Python, or just want to help, feel free to join the mailing list and introduce yourself. We’ll be nice, and help you get involved and get learning TurboGears the fastest way possible, by working with other people on a real project!