Google Summer of Code

So it’s finally live! I’m talking about the Google Summer of Code, a program whereby Google spends $$’s via open source foundations (such as our own Python Software Foundation) to students in exchange for code. I’m happy to see this project actually happen, and I hope it’s successful for all involved. I heard about it a while back when Chris DiBona was trying to figure out whether foundations would be willing partipants.

The real Python Challenge, over the next few weeks, will be to come up with:

  • a compelling list of projects (I’ve started a draft on the Python wiki)
  • to rouse interested and interesting students (unfortunately, many of the best probably already have incompatible plans for the summer),
  • to rope in recruit mentors who’ll be able to help the students along if they get stuck.

Still, it’s a great opportunity to broaden the pool of actors in the open source world to include on a full-time basis those who need to pay the rent. I’m confident that the open source communities around each of these foundations step up to the plate, and we’ll end up in the fall with some code, sure, but more importantly some fresh blood with energy and a few scars to go with the experience gained.



Originally uploaded by David Ascher.

Continuing on a food theme, today’s breakfast is yet another instance of my quest for the perfect “french crepe with american flour” recipe.

Today’s recipe, taken out of last week’s NYT magazine, is pretty good, with a thin batter, pretty coloring, good resiliency. It’s missing a flavor component I can’t identify, however.

Have to keep trying…

New treat: maamoul date cakes

A treat I’ve recently uncovered at the corner store (Nadi’s, who, IIRC, hails from Lebanon) are maamoul, little cakes filled with dates. The store has stocked different brands, all from Saudi Arabia, with the latest definitely being the best: it has a surprisingly fresh pastry (especially if one acknowledges that it’s shipped from Jeddah). Unlike the related, also excellent treats I get at Nabu (a great lebanese hole-in-the-wall downtown), the store variety are individually packaged in air-tight bags, so it’s reasonable to buy the the box of a dozen and slowly eat them over weeks.

The kids are at this moment arguing whether they prefer those or nutella+banana sandwiches, which are themselves a creation of a globalized economy (hazelnuts and bananas don’t usually colocate). As much as one can and should criticize globalization’s impact on local cultures, I’m very grateful that we can have tastier snacks than what any local ecosystem could otherwise provide. Salmon jerky is ok, but it would get boring after a while.

Wouldn’t it’d be nice if global snack sharing could build cultural bridges? Unfortunately, while I get the impression that my fondness for exotic sweets helped convince Nadi to smile at me, Google suggests that at least a half-dozen middle-eastern cultures probably bicker over who “owns” maamoul, and I wouldn’t be surprised if numerous fistfights have erupted over arguments on whether a particular brew was greek or turkish coffee.

Two “new” kinds of blog spam: apologetic and plagiaristic

My blog spam problem has decreased since adding a captcha (i.e. “type this fuzzy text”). These two, however, showed up, which probably means they were entered by hand.

The first advises the reader to buy some drugs cheap, and then apologizes!.

The second is a clone of a previously approved comment on my blog, but using URLs to refer to another doubtful site.

Sign that once again, both brainpower and ethics are being wasted on a routine basis.