Morning Coffee 162

  • Another nice thing about the new job: I’m working in the vicinity of some good friends. I was over in building 42 yesterday and made it a point to stop by Pat Helland’s office yesterday and spend an hour or so chatting about the new gig. Pat is down the hall from David Hill, whom I worked with on Architecture Strategy. Back in my building, we’re down the hall from the VSX folks including my friends Ken Levy and Gareth Jones. I’m sure there are more folks I know around, but hey it’s only my second week!
  • I’m a big fan of Carbonite, which I use to back up all the digital media on my home computer. With two little kids, we have lots of digital photos as you might imagine . However, one thing that bugs me about Carbonite is that it doesn’t back up video files by default, you have to go in on a folder by folder basis and select “‘Back up Video files in this folder” from the context menu. Given how much trouble this “feature” has given me, I imagine less techie folks don’t even realize their video files aren’t getting backed up. However, I will say the latest version of the Carbonite Software at least makes it easy to find files that aren’t backed up. A quick sweep revealed around a dozen folders that had un-backed-up video files in them, which I promptly fixed.
  • The big news yesterday was the new Google App Engine, which looks to give you access to virtualized infrastructure that sounds similar to what GOOG is rumored to use internally. I like Dave Winer’s comment that this enables “shrinkwrap net apps that scale that can be deployed by civillians.” Given Google’s history w/ Python – Python’s BDFL Guido van Rossum works there – it’s no surprise that Google App Engine (GAE?) runs on Python, though apparently they “look forward to supporting more languages in the future”. I’m guessing “more languages” == Ruby, maybe Erlang too.
  • I wonder if/how Google App Engine will affect Ruby on Rails momentum? If there’s a significant lag before App Engine supports Ruby, will that drive developers to Python web stacks like Django? (Django is included in “the box” with App Engine)?@ PyCon, I was surprised at the intra-language animosity I observed. I wonder how many Python developers are secretly hoping Google never ships Ruby support. I highly doubt Google would do that – they want to tap the exploding RoR market like everyone else – but I’d bet it would really take the wind out of Rails’ sails if they did.
  • Today’s Michael Foord Link: Embedding IronPython 2, Examples of the DLR Hosting API. You can read the DLR Hosting spec, but it’s pretty out of date so Michael’s article helps fill in some of the gaps.
  • Looks like PowerShell has gotten the open source community treatment in a project called Pash. While I’m sure others are excited about PS on Linux or Mac, I’m excited to see PS running on Compact Framework. I wonder if it would work with XNA?
  • Speaking of XNA, XNA Console is a new CodePlex project that provides an IPy console to manipulate your XNA based game on the fly. Python is no stranger to game development – Civ IV for example provided mod capabilities via python. Alas, the compact framework can’t run IPy today, so neither can XNA on Xbox. But wouldn’t it be cool to hack your game in IPy running on a 360 using the messenger kit? (via IPy URLs)
  • Bart De Smet gets functional, writing type switch and pattern matching in C# 3.0. I guess it works, but it sure is ugly. Why not just use F# and be done with it?
  • Soma announces that the VC++ Feature Pack has shipped. Somewhere, I assume, there is much (some?) rejoicing.


Hey there. Glad to hear you’re a fan of Carbonite. I work for the company and thought I’d take a sec to explain our reasoning on the video backup. A lot of users contacted us within our first year or two to let us know that we were backing up a lot more video files than they’d prefer. It caused their backup and restore processes to take far longer than necessary, since in a lot of cases these were files they had downloaded that were easily replaced or that were ripped from DVD or podcasts. So to make it easier for folks to manage the size of their backups (and therefore how long it takes to back up and restore their computer files), we decided to let users who wish to back up videos select them on the folder level. All you have to do is right-click a folder that is selected for backup and select “Back up video files in this folder” from the Carbonite menu. This way, you can back up videos if you like, but those who don't care about video won't waste thier time. Anyway, we just launched a corporate blog and we'd love to get comments/thoughts/suggestions from our users. If you want, stop by and share your comments with our CEO at We always try to take our user's feedback into consideration when planning future versions. Thanks, Alison
Why are you saying the DLR spec is pretty out of date? While I'm about ready to post an update at, a quick scan of your copy doesn't look very out of date to me. You may have a build of the code that is not in sync with the latest design. Also, I note that Michael's post that you refer to directly calls on the PythonEngine class, which is not part of the common hosting model for the DLR. One thing we're adding soon is a config/options model for passing those to engines, which would remove the need for Michael to set options on the PythonEngine directly. Bill