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by Glenn Franxman, Django Developer / Stunt Programmer.

MetroPulse launched

posted: 2008-04-05 02:35:56

We just launched the new MetroPulse and I'm still in the 'keep an eye on it' mode. The site looks great and will only improve as we round out the features and their staff get more content plugged in.

One of my favorite things about the MetroPulse is their photography. And one of my favorite things about my desktop computer is that it's a mac. And one of my favorite things about macs is the unix underpinnings of OS X. And one of my favorite things about OS X is that it ships with python.

I had to do something about that.

First, I created a folder under my Pictures folder called ScreenSaver.

In there I created which contained this wonderfully simple python script:

#! /usr/bin/python
import os
from urllib import URLopener
from urllib2 import urlopen
from xml.dom.minidom import parseString

rss_url = ''
dst_dir = os.path.expanduser('~/Pictures/ScreenSaver/' )

fd = urlopen( rss_url )
src =

dom = parseString( src )

for i,e in enumerate( dom.getElementsByTagName( 'item' ) ):
enclosure = e.getElementsByTagName( 'enclosure' )[0]
link = enclosure.getAttribute( 'url' )
mime = enclosure.getAttribute( 'type' )
ext = mime[ mime.index('/')+1:]
URLopener().retrieve( link, filename="%s%s.%s" % (dst_dir,i,ext) )

Next I created a new file called sscron to run hold a schedule for running that python script:

1 1 * * * /Users/gfranxman/Pictures/ScreenSaver/

( If you are playing along at home, you'll need to change the 'gfranxman' to your own user name. )

And then I marked the script executable, gave a whirl, and installed the schedule by opening the terminal executing:

$ chmod u+x ~/Pictures/ScreenSaver/
$ ~/Pictures/ScreenSaver/
$ crontab ~/Pictures/ScreenSaver/sscron

Finally, I opened the system prefereces, went to the ScreenSaver preferences and clicked 'Choose Folder'. After selecting my Pictures/ScreenSaver folder, I now a screen saver of the latest 20 photos posted to the MetroPulse website, refreshed daily and displayed with that gratuitous Ken Burns effect.

Am I full of shit? Tell me why. [ 263 remarks ]

A note from the author is using a fluid layout based upon work by Dave Reeder. I'm trying to take CSS a little more seriously; but I'm having a hard time because of all of the bad syntax, browser compatibility hacks, and non-fluid layouts. If any of the other technology I used were like CSS, I'd have to set myself on fire and jump off of a cliff.

Lab Sites

* denotes django powered sites.

SEO Rapper

posted: 2008-03-28 13:38:50

Leave a Comment [ 32 remarks ]

Local Sites

* denotes sites I'm associated with.

I'm off to Chicago

posted: 2008-03-12 11:06:22

I'm off to Chicago for PyCon 2008. I've set up a quick mashup of twitter, flickr, timeline and crowdvine at You can see the the con is ramping up.

A few quick lessons learned:

Twitter isn't that reliable or even predictable.
IE is still ...

Leave a Comment [ 336 remarks ]

Django Envy

posted: 2008-03-06 03:28:03

Seriously, can the django and rails camps quit looking over each others' shoulders?

The Liquid Templates project brings django's template language to rails. At least it will make transistioning from rails to django easier once that inevitably becomes fashionable.

Leave a Comment [ 2278 remarks ]

Special Ops for Django

posted: 2008-02-29 00:47:20

I do a lot of hacking on django both at work and in my spare time. One of the things I like most about django is the built in admin. It's cheap, fast and reliable. But it doesn't always have the functionality you might want to add, and ...

Read More [ 298 remarks ]

BDB and Memcached and Sedna. Oh my!

posted: 2008-02-23 05:45:09

Last week was all about NER, and OpenCalais. This week, if I'm up all night, it's because I'm mucking with the bleeding edge versions of libEvent, memcachedb, Berkeley DB and Sedna ( it feels weird to be dowloading software from a russian site on purpose ). 1024 threads seems to ...

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Google knows me

posted: 2008-02-15 03:32:24

I've been fighting insomnia since early december. It has come and gone for most of my adult life, but recently I noticed that google was in a position to make such diagnosis.

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OpenCalais beats me to the punch

posted: 2008-02-11 04:57:23

I've been playing with various entity and information extraction frameworks for the past couple weeks with the goal of creating an web service for extracting the major topics from news articles. SP far, my work, such that it is, has shown promise, but is not as robust or reliable as ...

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OPA Summit 2008

posted: 2008-01-23 18:43:46

I had a great time during my limited participation at the annual OPA Summit for 2008. This year was it was in Naples, Fl which is nice enough in itself, but the conference was held at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, which was really nice and because of a booking screw-up, ...

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