Upcoming articles and other news

Here’s some boring site news for you. I won’t be offended if you don’t read it.

Back end updates

I was recently forced to overhaul some of the back end of this site. One item that needed fixing was something that had been languishing since before I moved this site to nanoc and octopress. I generate custom index pages for the /docs directories. I don’t like nginx’s plain pages, and I also like being able to leave a little info in certain directories, à la Apache’s README feature. So, back in the day when this site was generated by my own homebrew blogging software, I added a custom index page generation function. Yesterday, I finally got around to extracting just that feature from the rest of the unmaintained code and packaged it up neatly for myself.

Secondly, a program I routinely use was recently discontinued: Bento. Bento is a simple database program. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked very well for certain needs. One of the tasks I used it for was recording data about film I shot. I could enter a new roll in the database on my phone when out and about (date started, exposure index, what lenses used, etc.), and when I got home, sync it back to my computer. I could always export any of the data as a csv file to process it if I wanted to do more.

Another task I used it for was keeping track of all the pdf files located on the Tech Docs page of this site. I processed the exported csv files to generate the tables of information to be included on the website—a lot easier than entering it by hand. However, without Bento, I needed to come up with a new solution for that information. I ended up settling on recutils after toying with the idea of returning to a spreadsheet.1 recutils is… odd. But it works nicely. My data imported quite easily, and the site script that generates the html tables worked with zero updating. One nice thing about using recutils is that site updates are even more automated. Since the database is accessed through a command line program, I don’t even have to export the data to csv by hand; it’s all taken care of through a shell script.2

All of this makes it a bit easier to update the site, which I’m hoping to do a bit more of now.

Upcoming articles

I recently posted a review of the Leica M Monochrom. As I was finishing it up, I realized that of the four reviews I had posted, two were for items I had borrowed or rented, and the other two were for items that I once owned and have since sold. Seems a bit silly to me.

So… I just pushed out a short writeup on the Ricoh GR1v that has been sitting on my hard drive for close to two years in half-finished form. It’s not much but it’s finally up. That’s a precursor to a short writeup on my new Ricoh GR, my first real digital camera since I started out in 2004. I’m also hoping to put up some words on the following lenses:

I have a few other lenses that I don’t use that much that maybe will get mentioned at some point.

  1. I originally had this data in a Numbers document, and then moved it to Google Docs. ↩︎

  2. I entertained the idea of using sqlite for the database. I’ve used it for other projects and quite like it. However, interfacing programmatically with it is a bit more cumbersome than just whipping up a simple shell script. Also, the free form structure and text file nature of recutils appealed to me for my uses. It makes it real easy to edit and review your data in a text editor, and the available looseness in structure allows me to define what needs to be defined for each record and nothing else. I’m also using it for my aforementioned film log, where these two aspects really shine. ↩︎