Jamie Luck

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Lessons from Pycon 2017

This post describes some of the talks and things I learned at pycon this year. I got to see a limited subset of talks and I definitely missed a bunch of interesting ones- these are my favorites!

Requests Under the Hood

Link to Recording

This talk was more focused on software maintenance patterns than the requests library itself, which was used as an example throughout. It presented a few scenarios from the library where critical code for an infrequently-used feature was slowly added to throughout time.

Main takeaways:

  • The most complex, hard to modify code in a software project are the features that are used the least
  • The quick hacky fix is never temporary
  • Never hide from mistakes in your codebase, even if users don’t complain about them

Rants & Ruminations from 100 Job Interviews in Silicon Valley

Link to Recording

This was a great culture talk which dealt with a lack of...

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Quick Script: Tape Inventory

Skills with programming can be useful in all kinds of daily life situations! I just encountered one where I was making an inventory of some cassette tapes I’m getting rid of.

I jotted down the list of tapes in a quick, rough format of “artist - album”, unless it was a compilation or collection, in which case I just wrote the name on the tape.

I want to give this list to my relatives who will undoubtably be using spreadsheet software, so I want to munge this rough list into a nicely formatted spreadsheet for them. Let’s write a quick script!!


Here’s a sample of my notes file:

frank sinatra - academy award winners
the pachelbel canon and other baroque favorites
prince and the revolution - around the world in a day
talking heads - little creatures
crosby, stills, & nash - self-titled

I want to make sure that the following things are fixed:

  • Artists and albums are separated...

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Apartment Hunting with Python & jq

The worst thing about finding a new apartment is the anticipation that happens during the long periods of inevitable waiting. I got pretty anxious, and decided to try to automate my stress out the window!

I’m looking for apartments on Craigslist, to both save money and hopefully meet people that won’t cut me up and put me in little buckets. I decided I’d write a Craigslist scraper in python using the wonderful beautifulsoup HTML parsing library.

This is essentially a data munging exercise. All the data I want (prices, location, washer and dryer combinations) are inside of this website, and whatever I write should just grab it in an organized fashion and put it into something usable. I decided that my output format would be JSON so I can query the information in a more structured way than a CSV. (Plus, a lot of the post titles contained commas, and I’m lazy!)

The Data

The starting...

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Compiling herbstluftwm on Debian mipsel

This’ll be a short post about how I’ve gotten my favorite window manager, herbstluftwm to work properly on a 32-bit little-endian mips board under Debian GNU/Linux. The specific board I’m targeting is a Creator CI20, which I’m trying to use as a workstation at the moment.

There’s a package for herbstluftwm available in the official repositories, but it’s version 0.3, which lags behind the development version by quite a bit. I use a bleeding-edge git version on my laptop, and I’m a fan of the features they’ve introduced recently, like a reorganized theming configuration syntax. So, I’m going to be downloading/compiling/installing from git so I can get these features.

First, git clone git://git.cs.fau.de/hlwm. You’ll need GCC and G++ version 4.7 to install, as they support the ‘-std=c++11’ compiler option, which herbstluftwm requires. The Creator CI20’s Debian distribution does not come...

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Installing “Real” Linux on an ARM Chromebook

I’m the proud owner of a Samsung Chromebook, first model, the lightest and longest-lasting laptop I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning. It’s got a dual-core ARMv7 processor at 1.7GHz, a quad-core GPU, and 2GB RAM. I’ve had it for a bit over a year now, during which I used the included Chrome OS to death.

I figured when I was purchasing it that the Linux base of Chrome OS meant I’d be able to hack it to my heart’s content. That’s… less than accurate. Chrome OS has many nice features, most notably a (post developer-mode switch) root shell to the underlying operating system. This allowed me to bootstrap dnschneid/crouton and run a variety of Linux chroots. I briefly had some fun with a Kali chroot, and installed Arch in a chroot to fulfill all my Linux needs. However, the chroot opens a new X display to display any X windows, and this is a pretty severe hit on performance. After getting...

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WILT Early September

“What I’ve been Listening To”, WILT, is a series I’m doing detailing some of my favorite musicians or songs I’ve listened to in the past few days.

This week, I’m listening to a lot of really relaxing ambient music. First up, the legendary Burial. I’ve loved Burial for a long time, but only listened to his second album, “Untrue” until earlier this year. Recently his track “Moth”, produced in collaboration with Four Tet, has been the perfect vibe for me. The track could be almost classified as trance in the way it repeats a simple pattern to the point where deviations from the pattern become a highlight of the song. I’d like Burial & Four Tet to do more collaborations beyond their two (?) EPs so far.

Burial & Four Tet - Moth

Next, one of my all-time favorite bands, Pink Floyd. To the chagrin of my father, I really hated Floyd throughout my entire childhood. Since listening through Dark...

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Beer Review: Mikkeller “Mission Chinese Food”

I really love beer. You’ll probably see me do some of these posts around this blog.

Today I’m drinking a Mikkeller beer brewed with Sichuan Peppercorn. It’s a surprisingly hoppy pilsner with a strong flavor of peppercorn. At first, the drinker is hit with all of the hop flavor, soon accompanied by the spiciness of the peppercorn. As the hops become more mild, the pepper persists, creating a really delicious aftertaste. The pepper flavor lingers for some time after drinking it, which I find really pleasant. The back label advertises 4.5% alcohol, and the front of the label is really well designed:


I ate it with kale tacos, it’s definitely great with veggies & Sriracha.

  • Name: Mission Chinese Food
  • Brewery: Mikkeller
  • Origin: Belgium
  • Style: Pilsner
  • ABV: 4.5%

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WILT August 15th-18th

(What I’m Listening To)

I’ve decided to stop spamming my social media feed with youtube links to the songs I really dig, and move them into a series of posts on here! I’ll try to keep them to < 5 songs per post.

First up this week, Moderat. I’ve been looking for more good downtempo artists, and Moderat seemed pretty highly recommended in that vein, so I checked them out for the first time Sunday evening. The first song that really struck me was “Bad Kingdom”, which immediately drew me in with the beginning synth lead. The vocals are enticing and fit in well with the heavy feeling of the synthesizers.

Moderat - Bad Kingdom

Further into their album “II”, “Therapy” stood out to me. It builds up from a simple beat to include some awesome distorted vocals and synth work. Would highly recommend.

Moderat - Therapy

Next, Cujo. Cujo is the first production alias of Amon Tobin, who is...

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Impressions of Washington DC

I really love traveling. Due to my temporary residence in Baltimore this summer, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to travel, both back home and to other places. For the past day, I’ve been in Washington DC visiting some dear friends.

The first thing that struck me about the city after getting into Union Station was the street layout. There are numbered streets downtown, with single-letter cross-streets, each respectively parallel. This seems like a fantastic way to organize a city, as you can tell immediately how far across downtown you are based on the letter/number of the street you’re on.

My history lessons (not yet forgotten) remind me that Washington was a planned city, built with the decided purpose to be our nation’s capitol. The whole place is infused with a strong sense of purpose, as if each building and street was carefully thought out before being put into place. This is...

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Blog Intro

As an amateur web developer, I’ve started to grow tired of my amateur solutions to blogging. I started out with a simple static site (the CSS seems to be messed up on archive.org), publishing my thoughts there as html files I linked to from my homepage, written by hand. As I started having more thoughts, I made a php-based blogging system that read in markdown files, and generated a blog based on their most recent modification date from my filesystem. That system got rapidly unwieldy after I started to add other features, like indexing and archiving old posts.

So, I’ve decided to move onto a third-party blogging platform, svbtle. I like it so far: it has a very clean and distraction-free interface, and the draft system seems like a neat way to organize things. Now that I don’t have to worry about overhead for managing the blog, I’m going to have more fun with writing these posts. Let’s...

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