Hairy Sun

Matt's Blog on Some Geeky Topics

Life Is Busy

Here is an update on what I have been up to in the last while.

Python Related

I have been approached to do some corporate Python training. I would love to do it but real life has just gotten in the way. I really enjoy helping others learn (hence my involvement teaching Tutorials at PyCon, being a co-chair of Utah Python, writing books, etc), and would love to incorporate this into a bigger portion of my life, but with a family, a full-time job, and other hobbies it has been hard to do much more.

On that note I’m giving a tutorial on Python/Pandas/Matplotlib at the Strata Conference in NYC this fall. I had so much fun at it and PyData last year (barely squeaking out before the big storm), that I wanted to go back. Strata is a “big data” conference, and there is a focus on Hadoop and it’s ecosystem, but there are also tracks around machine learning, visualization, and “in-core” data. I’m not sure if PyData is happening in NYC the same time, but it should be a good time. Since I’ve been doing Pandas and Matplotlib pretty heavily at work, I think it will be a really good tutorial.

I have also been putting in spare time into finishing up Treading On Python Volume 2 and Guide to: Functional Python & Comprehension Constructs. Volume 2 is composed of my Guides to:

  • Decorators
  • Generators
  • Functional & Comprehensions Constructs

They have done ok so far. During the release it was #1 on Amazon for a while, this screenie was after it was bested by Javascript: The Good Parts. Not too shabby!

I also released an ebook on formatting ebooks. It got a mention from Pydanny’s “Two Scoops of Django” as it proved useful to him during the creation of his ebook.

My Kindle books are available here. I also have a few review copies available for folks who are interested.

In addition, I have been learning the ins and outs of LaTeX. Finally (I had a proof a year ago of Treading that I was not satisfied with) I have held a physical printing of my book that I am satisfied with. I should have dead tree books for all of my python books available soon. If you run a user group and would like a copy to give away at your meetings get in touch with me.

One of the reasons it took a while to get the physical book out is that the available PDF generation tools for rst were not painted the color I wanted them. Sphinx is great for a website, but not for physical books nor ebooks. Docutils does not do ebooks and is lacking features such as indices. So I have written tools to scratch my itch that allow basically single source rst to be transformed into ebooks and physical books. They are available at github/mattharrison. I apologize for the alpha/beta state, they satisfy my needs, but should get cleaned up a bit.

I have also been messing around with my raspberry pi’s. I have been using one with XBMC. Being that I do not watch TV that much it really has not gotten much use. The Python channel is interesting and PBS on demand is cool. The interface is a little slow, but I think that is mostly due to my slow internet and maybe a lack of caching. Lots of 10 second delays here and there. It also does not quite do airplay without the neato realplayer buffering effect that we dreaded 15 years ago…

My other pi is in my garage running my sprinkler system. I ordered an OpenSprinkler add-on and have been pretty satisfied with the results. My wifi dongle appeared to lose it’s connection over time and things have been better with ip over power. Though it still has become unresponsive every now and then. Right now it is on a nice little schedule (open sourced by a kind individual), in my free time I’d like to add the ability to lookup current temp and precipitation and adjust the schedule dynamically.

Other Stuff

In addition to my marathon slog of book writing, I have run my first marathon. To be correct I actually ran the Squaw Peak 50, a 52-miler (got lost along the way and ran two extra miles) with a buddy in June. After pacing my buddy for a portion of the Wasatch 100 last year, he convinced me that I needed to try my hand at endurance sports (not sure why I agreed since my pacing of him was one of my longest runs up to that point).

We finished in 13 hours and had a good time. Both lost a toenail. So I have been training a bit for that. One part of the training was running the Zion Ragnar with the nice folks at Red Brain Labs.

I tried to get in a bit of skiing with the kids in the spring and went backcountry with a buddy. I’m now really excited for it to snow again and am kicking myself for not doing backcountry earlier.

In addition I have been playing a bit of ultimate and trying to ride my mountain bike.


I posted a bit back about the ergodox. I liked it so much that I ordered another. I settled on the Norman layout and am up to around 45 wpm on it.


I’ve also been busy with the family. We have had some good trips to Goblin Valley, two to Wyoming, camping up in the canyons, etc. Just trying to have fun and enjoy the summer.

Life is busy but it is good.