Update of Another Kind

October 24, 2006

Well, it seems that I have at least one reader interested in the progress of pyNetcast. Unfortunately, I don’t have any progress to report. I haven’t found any time to work on it yet. However, I do have something that I feel I should write about. Many of you may already know, but for those that don’t:
On last Wednesday, I found out that my dad had brain tumor and was to have surgery on Monday (yesterday). He has been hospitalized since the tumor was found on the MRI. I left for home around 11pm Friday and got home around 4:15am (had to wait for Tanya to get done with work).

Yesterday, he went into surgery around 3:15pm and was finally out of surgery around 8:30pm. The doctor spoke with my family and I shortly after my dad was in recovery. My dad was able to say his name, my mom’s name and the name of his church. This was a relief since his speech was one area the docs were worried about. The tumor was quite a bit larger than was anticipated. Instead of being around the size of a golf ball, it ended up being about the size of a raquet ball, large plum or a small orange. Take your pick. All in all, he is doing well.

I spoke to him this morning for a minute and he sounded tired, but good. This evening, my mom told me it looks like all of the tumor was removed, so that is a good sign. It seems like his recovery is going well so far. He was even able to get out of bed and sit in a chair for 15-20 minutes.

I want to thank all of the people who kept my dad and my family in your thoughts and prayers recently. You are all greatly appreciated. I will do my best to keep current information here on my site.

Oh, and Manda, I hope to find some time to work on the project this week. But don’t be mad if I can’t.

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Project Update

October 16, 2006

Well, in my last post, I wrote about my plans to write up a simple pod(net)cast client that ran in the terminal and could download whatever feed I wanted to subscribe to. Well, I have made a few steps forward an actual useable product.

Thanks to a few fellas in #python, I am making use of the feedparser module, which definitely is making this a lot easier for me. Instead of me trying to get the text of a unicode object into a list, the feedparser module parses whatever feed I throw at it into a dictionary. This makes retrieving various pieces of data really easy, for example, the enclosure href.

Right now, my program (temporarily named pyNetcast since pyPod is actually taken it seems and also because I don’t feel like risking a lawsuit from Apple) parses the SimplyTech feed, gives me the href for the first enclosure, and saves that href to an mp3 file.

On the to do list:

  • Figure out how to know when the feed has been updated and when an episode has already been downloaded
  • Download more than the first episode
  • I would like to see some sort of progress displayed when downloading the file. Right now, all the program displays is the blinking line
  • Subscribe to more than one feed, though this is easily accomplished
  • Be able to update and download silently
  • And some other stuff that I can’t remember

Hopefully I will find some time to keep plugging away at this program in the coming days. In the two nights I have worked on this I have made decent progress. I have to remember to make better use of Google.
  


Coding

October 14, 2006

Last spring I thought about coding a podcast downloader in Python. I figured I would find time during the summer. Well, that didn’t happen. I probably had the time, but I was too busy playing WoW. I am going to try my hand at this project again. Hopefully I get somewhere this time though.

I am planning to write a basic podcast client, which will probably be command line based. Basically what I want it to do is allow me to subscribe to some podcast feeds, check for updates in the background via a cron job, and then download new enclosures when the feed is updated. Pretty basic, but still the most involved project I have tried.

I was in class yesterday and started doing a little planning in my head, but I am still pretty unsure on quite a few of the details. I know what I want the program to do, but pretty unsure how io implement my idea. Dive into Python has some examples of HTML and XML processing in Python, so hopefully that will be a useful resource.

So, why the renewed interest in this project? Well, for one, my programming class this spring is using Python so I have been trying to get ahead of the game. For another, I decided to look into using SVN locally so I need a project to work on.

If you are familiar with Python and have any knowledge to pass onto me or tutorials to share, please do. I haven’t done much coding in Python so I might be a little behind the curve.


Podcasts now netcasts?

October 5, 2006

I had read that Apple might be trying to trademark “podcast” which would mean that my podcast, SimplyTech, could receive a letter from Apple if they decide to go after lowly podcasters.

Leo Laporte has weighed in on this controversy and has suggested changing from podcasts to netcasts. This is something I might consider doing, since as Leo pointed out, podcast is really a terrible name for the “industry”. Many people assume you need an iPod to listen to podcasts, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Also, I hate trademarks and trademark hungry companies.


Unearth Concert Review

October 5, 2006

I should have posted a review of the Unearth concert awhile ago, but never got around to it. Anyways, it was pretty amazing. The pit was very brutal and aggressive. Actually, I think I can sum the concert up in one wording: brutal.

Hansen and I came back from that concert tired, beaten and bruised. And we didn’t even do any time in the pit. It was great. Can’t wait to see Unearth, Terror and Bleeding Through again. You guys were awesome. Sorry to the 2 bands before them, we didn’t get a chance to see you play. Also, I can’t wait to go to Station 4 again, which might be fairly soon. I am semi-planning to go to the Trivium show there. Then I am seeing Blind Guardian in November.

If any of my 2 readers know of any upcoming metal shows, feel me to let me know in the comments. Thanks!


SimplyTech video podcasts?

September 6, 2006

For those of you that read my blog and listened to the SimplyTech podcasts, what do you thoughts on SimplyTech video podcasts? Since a lot of what Zach and I discussed were mainly how-to’s, we tossed around the idea of switching the format from a podcast to a video podcast (vidcast). I have the image of the DLtv podcast in my brain. While we won’t exactly that professional, etc, it would be cool to produce something along those lines. Thoughts?


New School, New Classes, New Ways to Procrastinate

September 4, 2006

Last Monday I started school again, this time around at a new school. I was somewhat sad to leave, as I am leaving many good friends. But at least I am still in the same city. And my girlfriend, Tanya, still attends that college, so she helps me stay close to some of them.

With this new college comes the chance to finally start taking some cool classes. Sadly, I will need to re-take 2 semesters worth of Computer Science classes, as well be slightly bored in the intro CS class I am in now. General Physics and Linear Algebra will be a challenge for me and Technical Communication should be fairly easy since I have a lot of practice in that area.

I must say that I am already hating homework, since I would rather be learning about Python, playing some Xbox 360, or working in Flock’s support forums. This might be the first year where my job is an enjoyable distraction from school work. Hopefully I don’t decide to not do homework to work instead.

On the music front, I believe Iron Maiden comes out with a new album on Tuesday. Hopefully, I will be going to the Unearth concert next Sunday. I really enjoyed their performance at Ozzfest. I am hoping they do just as well, if not better.

On the tech front, I am really enjoying using Ubuntu on my laptop. Me and my roommate finally got our apartment wired, with a few ethernet cables running through the walls. Tonight, I finally got around to securing my wireless connection, which I should have done right away.

Now, I must leave. I am being called to watch a late night movie. Happy Labor Day, cheers!

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