Friday, December 11, 2009

Blog is moving!

This blog is going to the cellar. New blog at

Uh, actually, no. Blog is going away. Continue at

Friday, August 14, 2009


Pyrant ( is a fork of pytyrant that supports the TokyoCabinet table data store. Still in beta, but more actively developed than pytyrant.

recession proof graduate

Interesting. Especially since it comes from a 22 year old.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Great get-together at the socal-piggies meeting today!

Cool presentation on some tools Dan Stromberg put together (pnetcat, looper), and a nice demo of TokyoCabinet+TokyoTyrant+pytyrant+restish by Grig Gheorghiu, following a retailed presentation, also by Grig, and discussion about REST for those in the meeting who had not been exposed to it.

There was a discussion on whether is was ever appropriate to expose (db) transactions as REST URI. Grig Spoke highly of RESTFul Web Services by Leonard Richardson and Sam Ruby.

I passed around some back issues of Python Magazine encouraging people to take the ones they would find interesting, and about half were taken. I'll bring them to the next meeting and hopefully they will all be gone!

I also promised Grig that I would do a socal-piggies presentation on the backend for that I am building. It involves an API in FAPWS with pytyrant that stores and retrieved data from TokyoCabinet throught TokyoTyrant.

I personally liked the discussion on how to use TokyoCabinet tables from within python. Great stuff!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Saturday, August 01, 2009


>>> import pytyrant
>>> t ='', 1978)
>>> t['__test_key__'] = 'foo'
>>> t.concat('__test_key__', 'bar')
>>> print t['__test_key__']
>>> del t['__test_key__']

obvious no?


Monday, July 27, 2009

Sharin's poem

I wrote a poem for Sharin Bhatti. She really liked it.

She noted that she'd never come across that meter. She called it Chris Meter. 8-6, repeat.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Recent tweet by a coder I know (VS2008)


Discouraged by version control

So I watch the Git vs Mercurial vs bazaar vs SVN low-intensity conflict simmer on the intarweb and I wonder... Is is me or has all that stuff suddenly become Too Hard to use? Where has it all deviated from the Unix philosophy and gone down the Enterprise Way?

I think I'm just going to go back to the old way: compressed archives of (few) directories.

For those who ask, indignantly, and not on this blog because comment count is almost negative, about the multi-member team working on massive software, I reply: The Rule Of Modularity (, which I transcribe here purely for effect.

As Brian Kernighan once observed, “Controlling complexity is the essence of computer programming” [Kernighan-Plauger]. Debugging dominates development time, and getting a working system out the door is usually less a result of brilliant design than it is of managing not to trip over your own feet too many times.

Assemblers, compilers, flowcharting, procedural programming, structured programming, “artificial intelligence”, fourth-generation languages, object orientation, and software-development methodologies without number have been touted and sold as a cure for this problem. All have failed as cures, if only because they ‘succeeded’ by escalating the normal level of program complexity to the point where (once again) human brains could barely cope. As Fred Brooks famously observed [Brooks], there is no silver bullet.

The only way to write complex software that won't fall on its face is to hold its global complexity down — to build it out of simple parts connected by well-defined interfaces, so that most problems are local and you can have some hope of upgrading a part without breaking the whole.

On writing software.

Excellent rant by Bruce Eckel on what it's like to write software. Along a similar vein, a post by Mark Ramm that generated lively and interesting comments!

Then more interesting stuff here from Jakob Kaplan-Moss with lively discussion, including Ian Bicking.

On thinking in

Part of the ongoing thinking forming in my mind about how I create software.

I left a comment there:

See also:

I've just made another interesting deviation while rereading the above. The rulers in Dune relied on the mentats to best determinate long-term strategy, as well as implementation details. The elder Herbert continues to amaze me.

Python in the Browser?

I so can't wait for this to work!

By work, I mean usable by mortals like me.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thoughts on Iran, June 20 2009 10:57PM

I think there will be a massacre today in the streets of Tehran.

I am deeply proud of the courage and dedication shown by the protesters. I feel honored to be able to witness their courage and sacrifice.

I think the regime is not using the army and the revolutionary guards because they would turn to the opposition. If there is widespread death today, the army and revolutionary guards will swing into action. No doubt of that. I am sure they are getting everything ready in the barracks for a long fight.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Iran power struggle switching sides?

5:52 PM Pacific time.

Personal opinion from web-wide look:

The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran will be replaced, as well as Ahmadinejad.

The police and army will side with peaceful demonstrators and Basiji will be blamed for worst of violence, shootings.

Iran will remain Islamic country, but with a much better understanding of democracy.
I fear the government of Iran is planning a massive crackdown on its own citizens, which will result in much bloodshed.


I'm following the news out of Iran on twitter on #iranelection.

The rest of the news media are playing catchup.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lessons in Leadership from the USS Nimitz


No wonder we're safe.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

extremely strange problem

I have the weirdest computer problem.

I bought a Acer Aspire One D-150 (AOD150) in December 2008. So far I absolutely love it. It's a very capable machine.

When I play ogg vorbis files with high encoding, I get skipping in the files. This occurs both with the latest version of VLC, and foobar2000, my music player of choice.

What's high encoding you ask? 340 kbps to 504 kbps.

I had these files on other computers and they all played fine, without any skipping, so that rules out bad ripping.

I was resigning myself when I noted that:
C:\moozak\Prince And The Revolution\Prince - Purple Rain - 05 - Darling Nikki.ogg
skips, whereas
C:\moozak\Prince And The Revolution\05-Darling Nikki.ogg
plays just fine. These are copies of the same file! Both are exactly: 13,996,959 bytes. I can run an md5 on these, but I am fairly sure that they are the exat same file, because they were ripped from the same CD on the same computer using the same tool: FreeRip.

Arrgghhh! I just realized that the files that skip were encoded before 2008. The ones that don't were encoded in 2008.

Weird huh?

Maybe the 2008 and after vorbis encoding codecs are more efficient for my Intel Atom processor?

Comments, questions?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Zinger

Let's mark the date. Today, my friend "AB" came up with a good zinger!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lists on

There are now lists on These don't yet behave as python lists, but they are quite useful for to-do lists.

Also, I'm hosted with rapidvps. I'll be looking to add one or two VPS providers. Am looking at, and need another.

My requirements 64MB-128MB, (only using 33MB right now) with debian 5 and about 100 gb of monthly transfer. I also have minimal storage requirements. I don't need more than 1GB of storage.

But I do need reliability.

I went with Any other suggestions?

I also registered Any idea what I'm gonna do with it?

Update 2: I also use

Sunday, May 17, 2009

trouble in google-land?

The Gods of Email (namely gmail) are AWOL today.

Ok, it seems that firefox 3 is having issues on my computer... Argh!!! but chrome worked.

Update: Reinstalling firefox 3.0.10 on top of firefox 3.0.10 fixed the issue.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Monkchips on web app PR and suckiness.

monkchips in general if i hear about a new web app from a press release its going to suck. good web apps don't need PR. the net gets there first.

I like that.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


rapidvps is being slow right now. Getting intermittent page timeout errors. Not good. This was May 12 2009.

Update: received an email update om May 13, 2009 that states:

We are opening a maintenance window on May 17 2009 from 9pm - May 18 2am EST. During this time your service will be intermittent while we replace a Sup720 3bxl card in a core router. We will have operations staff onhand in the data center and will work intelligently to minimize downtime.
Could these be related?

Saturday, May 09, 2009 update

I changed the names of the log functions. Aldrin, this is for you.

Friday, May 08, 2009

better queue management

Added the option to delete a queue. The queue must be empty. I also added the option for force-delete a queue.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

a little web service

I started a little web service on a virtual machine hosted at

The service is available at

Why kissws? stands for KISS and ws for web service.

It's all in xmlrpc, because I like it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

On amnesty for CIA torturers

I left this comment in my petition at

Obama was stunned that Iran sentenced an American journalist to 8 years in prison for allegedly spying. The trial was closed door, and seems an affront to our sense of justice.

Likewise the CIA interrogators' actions are an affront to our sense of justice, and those who did the torturing should have quit their jobs rather than take part in this heinous crime.

That they did not quit their jobs demonstrates their moral bankruptcy, lack of personal integrity, and total disregard for human dignity and international law.

The worst thing, however, is that the Obama administration is actually helping protect these people. Unbelievable. The next Senate will be 61% Republican if he does not revert this decision.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Organic Farming in Nairobi Slum

Here's an interesting look at organic farming in 1 million people slum Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A little Python

I found a little python chat server at I tried it in python 2.6 and I got a few errors. So I fixed it. But then I saw no license on the code or the page so I just emailed the new file to the author and we'll see what happens.

Update: the author said all that python code is public domain and I may do with it as I wish! Yay!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

BarackObama at FAIL

What happened with Barack's twitter account?

Can't be bothered to let us little people know what's going on?

Oh well, I'm starting to feel like a trampoline. Now that he's in the leather chair, he doesn't feel he needs us anymore.

On Net Neutrality.

I watched this video, from gammill (on twitter), and while it is sensationalized, it explains fairly well what net neutrality is about and what the stakes are.

What the video says

Basically it says that if net neutrality is defeated, the telecommunication companies will eliminate nearly all non-corporation-produced content from the internet. What is this content? Web sites, blogs, videos, podcasts, social networks. Essentially, they want the internet to become their exclusive content-delivery network.

Independent content provider: DIE!

My take on the message behind the message? As long as people can find free stuff on the web, people won't want to pay for content from the big media providers. So their idea is to eliminate all content that is not theirs by requiring all web sites to pay large fees to gain access to dedicated bandwidth.

For example: you have a simple web site. Your bandwidth upload speed need is, on average, 50 Kb/s (kilobits per second). That's not a lot. Now imagine that your internet service provider says that in order to go over AT&T-owned continental backbone, from your datacenter in Dallas, Texas, to Los Angeles, they provide 1.5 Kb/s at the standard rate, the next 30Kb/s at $0.03 per Kb/s and anything above that at $0.05 per Kb/s. The next month, your little web site gets a bill for $38,960 for continental backbone useage, and you decide: "Hell, ain't worth it" and you shut it down.

Sounds far fetched?

The numbers may not add up (these were pulled right out of the ether) but that's essentially what the deal will be.


Now, you might think: I want video to work well on the web and I don't care how it happens, I'll just trust the media company. You want video? Get a Netflix account. Here's a sign up link for you. Go stream the 12,000 titles they have available, and spend the rest of you life on the couch.

Don't be a victims of marketing

See, the internet is already capable of delivering video straight to your TV. Don't be fooled by the telecommunication companies. Their marketing departments hire people with degrees from fancy universities in order to create specially-crafted messages to trick and confuse you into thinking that it is in your best interest to give them more money. Think about that. They pay people to trick you. Is that who you want to trust? No wonder they're rich and you're not.


Phone calls? Get skype. Or get Time Warner (substitute your cable company's offering) digital phone service. I just got that at home and it works great. Oh, what's that? It works "Just Fine" over the regular internet.

Geeky Stuff

Finally... Some people do work with the internet. Are you a system administrator who remotes into computers across the net? Do you ssh into your *nix boxen across the planet (and beyond)? Do you use GotoMyPC, webex, or even copilot? Get ready for the "Enhanced Service Delivery Fee" coming to you from your friendly local telco.

What you can do

In the grand sceme of things, not much. Just be find out how your elected representatives feel about this issue and vote against them in the next election if what they do is not what you want them to do. That's the way it works in this country.

Oh, wait, how will you find out what they are doing with your money unless there is solid, independent reporting out there?

Remember: Don't be a victim of marketing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Avira AntiVir false positives

Avira AntiVir personal keeps getting false positives on

No good.

Friday, March 06, 2009

A comment to Seth Godin

I was going to leave a comment on his blog, yet I could not find the "comment" link. It's pretty ironic based on what the post was about... Anyway, that's not what I'm here for.

Yesterday at the office I searched for "health net" (the company I work for) in As you can imagine, I found some interesting comments.

I thought, mmm, who is "girlgonechild"? So I followed the link, which let to her tweeter account, that showed 1000+ followers. I thought, ok, she's a little famous. From there I noted her facebook page, which is open to all, and has pictures of her. So I thought, OK, she's real. meaning she's not a Loser who makes herself look like a Winner through the veil of Photoshop. Then I notice she wrote for the Huffington Post. She has reach, that twitterer!

So I send her an email... (lemme dig.)


Saw your comment about Health Net on twitter.

I work for Health Net in IT. I'm getting laid off in a few months so my loyalty is near-zero, yet I'd like to see if there is anything I can do to fix whatever problem you're having (maybe not for you, but for others who go through the same)


Chris Mahan
grandcentral (818) 671-1709
Which, a day later, I still have no reply to. But she's a busy mommy and she might get around to it and she might not. I have a busy mommy in my wife so I know how these things go.

How does this relate to Seth Godin's blog? We're getting there.

I replay the whole thing to my co-worker; a fellow IT guy. He listens patiently as I trail him through the twitter and the facebook and the huffingtonpost page, and then declares: "The company doesn't care about this one person."

Not wanting an argument, near my cube, I desist (well, I did make a few remarks later on).

The thing is, really, that this one person is a Health Net customer.

Now, in the screenshot, the second link is gone from twitter, but the "Health Net can suck it" on is still there. Some people might not like it, but it's better than a lawsuit, you know?

Now we're getting to Seth's point.

Why did Rebecca vent on twitter? Does she vent on twitter about her local grocery store? I bet not. I bet that when she has a problem at the local grocery store, she goes to an employee there and lets them know what's up. If it's a bigger problem, I am sure she will find the manager and let him have it. And what will the store manager do? He will listen to her, and then he will either say that he will fix whatever the problem is, or otherwise explain why things are the way they are. Either way, though, he will say: "thank you for letting me know".

And that is what Health Net is not doing: allowing the customer to walk up to someone (in person, via phone, IM, email, matters not) , letting them know what's wrong, and getting that "Thank you for letting us know" statement.

Now, in all fairness, Health Net does have a customer service line. But I wonder how effectively they listened to Rebecca Woolf. I wonder how well they said "Thank you for letting us know."

Do I care? Yes. Because every two weeks I draw a paycheck, and in there is a little money that comes from Rebecca's bank account that she could have used for her son and daughter, so I certainly hope the money she gave us wasn't wasted but instead provided value to her and her family.

So when she writes "Health Net can suck it", I start to wonder whether we're actually delivering the value.

Oh, and by the way: Rebecca Woolf produces outstanding content: see the article and watch the video.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Asala Nasri

I recently discovered the music of Asala Nasri, and I really like it!

Update: Bought a CD of her music. (I know, amazing, huh? I bought a CD.)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Jay Gellert on

Health Net CEO Jay Gellert was on and spoke about the future of health insurance.

Bored in Biology

Thanks to extreme censorship of high school students and the most inane reasons for being expelled, I am now bringing you an anonymous comment by a highschooler about her biology class this morning:

Forgive the childish rant, but it must be done.
Sitting in biology class is probably one of the most painful things in highschool. It doesn't help that I don't like the subject, or it's just impossible to understand, but then you add my teacher to the equation and it equals nap time.
Sometimes she talks to us like kindergardeners, other times she talks in the most annoying monotone that stays at one tone for a few minutes, and then goes up and down in a "set in stone" schedual.
A woman with that much education, at that age, just doesn't work for highschool Biology. Normally, I have biology at the end of the day, and so I get tired anyway.... But on fridays, I have it before lunch. It's 11:53, and I swear I am going to die of boredom...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Interesting concept. Gaza 2009

Gaza 2009: The first war won by civilians? Civilians on the ground, civilians in democracies around the world voicing their outrage, overwhelming official news channels through the internet and cell-phone technology, making boots on the ground change direction through bits on the wire/less?


200 million bombs in Laos

Just watched on AlJazeera english. The US dropped 200 million bombs in Laos. Many people are maimed and die each year, especially children, who play with cluster bombs or gather them for metal recycling.

World-class reporting. A bit sided to Middle-Eastern/Muslim sentiments, but not more than the BBC is to western sentiments, in my opinion.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My message to Brad Sherman, my US House Representative.

Dear Brad,

I would like to voice my deep concern over the Israeli government's handling of their offensive against Hamas in the Gaza territory. I am deeply concerned that Israel is not doing what it should to protect civilians in Gaza, specifically using weapons such as white phosphorus on civilian areas, not allowing sufficient humanitarian aid such as water, food and medical supplies, as well as not allowing Red Cross/Red Crescent personnel access to injured civilians, and not allowing Egyptian ambulances into the Gaza territory to evacuate injured civilians to hospitals in Egypt that have the capacity to treat the injured and have announced their readiness to do so immediately.

I do agree that Israel has a right to defend itself, and that the Hamas group is a legitimate military target because of their daily rocket fire on Israeli territory.

I do not agree, however, that this attack on Gaza grants them "carte blanche" to conduct a punitive campaign on Gaza civilians, as indeed their military tactics, as well as media and humanitarian blockade of Gaza looks like in my eyes.

I would like you to work on my behalf to place pressure on Israel to allow full humanitarian and media access to Gaza, as well as restrict their use of weaponry that according to the international community should not be used in heavily populated areas.

I do not know how much you can do, but I urge you to do as much as you can.

Please let me know what I can personally do to help.

Very sincerely,

Christopher Mahan

What's the best way to help the children of Gaza

I have some time, some money, and some US State and Federal representatives letter-writing availability.

What's the best way to help the children in Gaza?

New Friends

The US needs new friends, because our friendship with Israel is proving quite embarrassing. Why embarrassing? Using white phosphorus on civilians? Not allowing the Red Cross access to injured civilians, not allowing humanitarian aid such as water and food to reach civilians, and not allowing world journalists to enter the combat zone? Not exactly the sort of things that give a warm fuzzy feeling to people around the world.

Not exactly the sort of friends we want to have, is it?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

No Support for Israel

The use of high-explosive weapons against women and children by the Israeli Defense Forces, in violation of UN orders, have demonstrated to me that the Israeli leadership is no longer accountable to the world community and is not to be supported.

While I accept that Israel has a right to defend itself, there is a difference between self-defense and use of high-explosives in a densely populated civilian area. Israel has crossed that line and should be both condemned and punished.

I will no longer support Israel businesses with my money, and I will press my government representatives to not only stop supporting the State of Israel in any way, but also to place political and military pressure to force the Israeli government to cease their offensive against civilians.

Furthermore, the US should do everything in its power to support the UN's efforts to provide food, water, medical supplies, and other forms of support.

Furthermore, the Israeli blockade of Gaza needs to end. They are hurting the civilian population of Gaza by maintaining the siege, and they need to stop.

The Israeli argue that they are only defending themselves against terrorists. I suggest they are not willing to create a society in which terrorism would become obsolete.

Friday, January 09, 2009

International Red Cross Claims IDF hinders its ambulances

The International Red Cross, on their website, claims the Israeli Defense Forces blocked ambulances from reaching wounded in Gaza from January 3, 2009, only allowing them in on January 7, four days later. Unbelievable.

Wearing black

Taking a cue from Johnny Cash's song "Man in Black" and changing the blog colors to black, because something in me died when the IDF killed children in Gaza with artillery shells and rockets paid for by US taxpayer money; my money. This is a great injustice and must end.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Not Happy

I'm not going to tell Israel how to conduct its foreign policy. I am going to tell my government to stop sending my money to Israel.