The Day I Met Duncan

Concourse - King & QueenImage by Toni Travels via Flickr

Andy Sweet and I headed over to the King building in Dunwoody because his brother Rob works there. We were walking in through the wrong door when we crossed the path of Duncan.

Duncan is an 81 year old, former US Marine. He saw Andy's Georgia Tech polo shirt and his face lit up! He pulled us aside and told us that the thing that came to mind when he thought about Georgia Tech was... wait for it...

Close Air Support

My mind was racing. What the hell was he talking about? He repeated it over and over again and was talking about "if you want bombs to come in and blow the hell out of that guy over there you damn sure don't want them landing in your hip pocket" and other interesting phrases.

His whole point, I think, was that way way back in the days of WWII or so that the first commander of the Air Force was a GT graduate. Furthermore, he asserted that this GT graduate (he didn't name him...) had pushed for advanced air weapons like helicopters, vertical take-off airplanes, precision munitions etc...

When he shook my hand he pulled me in towards him with surprising force. I thought we would never escape. We weren't really sure what we had gotten ourselves into.

Oh, and he thought very poorly of Harvard for some reason. Something to do with Ted Kennedy. He said Standford was the best college in the US (and admitted Harvard was the oldest - it's not) but GT was the one he liked the best. Because of Close Air Support.

On our way out he found us again and told us that the best place to get a degree in hospitality management was Penn State.

We've all met a Duncan at some point. Tell me about yours!
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Uses for PubSub Hubbub?

I should be a asleep but allow me to brain dump here:

I'm excited about Pub Sub Hubbub. I wish it was just PubSubHub but it doesn't matter. It's a cool technology!

So here's what I'm thinking for possible uses so far:

  1. decouple systems that are using synchronous messages like web services and don't need to
  2. app to app push notifications without sockets left open constantly
  3. it's RSS without the POLLING! how cool is that?
Think of the entrepreneurial possibilities! a FeedScrub / TwitterFeed / FeedBurner replacement / augmentation that scales faster because of reduced polling? You could do for event notifications what CloudFront does for CSS files! You could do for RSS updates what Akamai does for ads...

Think of the enterprise uses! decoupled systems pushing notifications to each other without thousands of web services calls and the necessary authentication / decoding / envelope generating etc...

Google Apps Newbie Problem

So I'm working on a simple app to get my feet wet with Google App Engine and it seems fairly powerful and straightforward... but I keep running into odd problems.

Part of the problem is I have very little Python experience. It could be that the errors I'm seeing would make sense to me if I had more Python Chops.

Anyway, here's a synopsis of the issue:

So I have this webapp Handler defined:

class CarHandler(Handler):
def get(self):
car_state = CarStatus(owner = '',license_plate = '12345')

and I have this Model object:

class CarStatus(db.Model):
license_plate = db.StringProperty()
timestamp = db.DateTimeProperty(auto_now_add=True)
owner = db.StringProperty()

But all references to 'self' result in errors. Any reference to car_state after the CarStatus() constructor also fail. Other handlers in the app (like the ones that handle OpenID login for example) are written the exact same way and work fine. All the examples on the Google App Engine site work that way too.

Any Ideas? Please Help Me! I want to make this work!

*** UPDATE ***
Adam Dill was quick to point out that I needed to be using Soft Tabs in TextMate and once I did that the other problems magically fixed themselves!

It still makes me wonder about the platform that something like that could break an application in such non-obvious ways but I'm glad to get past that point so I can work on breaking it in another, more interesting way :)

Thanks Adam!