Bill Bumgarner


Python, disutils & automatic packaging for Mac OS X

Bob Ippolito (whose blog is currently down) refactored the PyObjC disutils recipe (the script) such that it uses his py2app to automatically package the build product of PyObjC into multiple Mac OS X packages contained in a single mpkg. End result; you can easily install PyObjC and you can select a subset of the packages to install, as well.

py2app also performs dependency analysis such that the resulting product (not just a package) includes all of the dependencies required by the project.

And it does this automatically for any python project that uses disutils for packaging (which any modern python package should).

I dropped a current build of PyObjC and a new build of the Python Readline support for Mac OS X onto my .mac file download page.

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Digital Fortress

I just finished Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. Same guy who wrote Da Vinci Code.

The book is a techno-thriller set in the NSA and centered around cryptography.

It sucks. Awful. Barely good enough to light a charcoal grill.

What kills it isn't the writing or, even, the story line, but the technical details surrounding the NSA, cryptography, computer security, and related technology.

I like techno-thrillers (along with many other genres) and can overlook the occasional bit of techno-stupidity in an otherwise well told tale.

Digital Fortress is just too technically moronic. In particular, the stupidity is at the center of the plot.

How stupid? Passwords in the NSA are only 5 letters... and never have spaces in them but are still super-secure. The NSA uses FTP as a secure means of transferring files. The NSA uses wireless keyboards and allows employees to come and go with equipment at will. Random computer viruses will infect custom system architectures and OSes that exist nowhere else in the world. All of this while portraying the NSA as the most advanced computing center in the world. It was so poorly done that even my Mom saw through it (she is not technically inclined).

Sadly, one of the key characters within plot is an expert in romance languages and that particular angle is played well within the book. But not well enough to overcome the rest of it.

Don't waste your time on this book.

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