Category Archives: web

Installing Padrino on Ubuntu / Debian

I’ve been tinkering with Padrino this week. Padrino is a ruby web framework built on top of the delightful sinatra microframework. I found it attractive because

  • it appears to have a simple design, as you’d expect of something built on top of sinatra,
  • it rolls in the various elements that you’d expect for a fully fledged web framework (i.e. orm, database, mailer) but makes no commitments to the particular modules used for each *
  • it had a default Admin interface (which is a huge win for Django IMO).

There’s quite a bit of supporting material on the web, but my impression after a few hours is that it’s still pretty beta and has a strong leaning towards RHEL linux. So this post details the steps I had to take to be able to work through the basic project guide with Ubuntu Lucid Lynx. Continue reading Installing Padrino on Ubuntu / Debian


I’ve been using the online favourites repository service, delicious for a few years now and it’s something I really like. I add a link several times a week these days, much more so than I update my blog – so I’ve added an “Interesting…” widget on the right.

When I save a link to delicious I have two rules that I’m not always able to keep:

  1. Always write a description and
  2. Never use the word “interesting”.

I recently discovered and I’m loving it. It’s another social link aggregator like digg or reddit, but I find the quality of the links excellent. I have space in my schedule for about two good, longish articles a day, and this site is producing more than I can handle. An embarrassment of riches. Examples from a day earlier this week include:

  • Big dog video – impressive, very expensive looking robotic quadruped from DARPA
  • Blowing up – a 2002 article from New York Times focussing on Nassim Nicholas Taleb – a hedge fund investor looking for black swans.
  • Shell shock – a write up of a researcher at MIT interested in biologically inspired self-assembling materials.

Wiki mind mapping

Sweeney Todd mind map

On Friday the excellent information aesthetics feed pointed me to, an Adobe Flash visualisation of a wikipedia topic as a mind map. The image above shows the wikimindmap visualization for Sweeney Todd – the main character in the musical/opera of the same name by Steven Sondheim (chosen for it’s compact size, and because I’ve just been to see it performed at the Royal Festival Hall). This is very nice. It combines the “at a glance” loveliness of mind mapping with the collective wisdom of wikipedia. It may provide a way for humans (as opposed to machines – that is another story) to scan topics more quickly than scan-reading them.

WordPress theme

I fell in love with this styleshout web template and decided to hack it into a WordPress theme. Someone else had done it before, but their license was a little too restrictive for my liking. It took a few hours but was well worth it. It’s not widget friendly yet, but it will do for now.

This was almost my first encounter with PHP and definately my first encounter with the WordPress codebase but the task turned out to be fairly straightforward. The files in the WordPress themes were intuitively named and the code was easy to read. The only problem I had was tracing the location of some of the core functions that are used in the theme, but this is quite normal for this sort of application I feel.