Thursday 16 May 2019

Monitoring Earthquakes Curses

The USGS publishes a plethora of data on their website. Of interest to me are a bunch of frequently updated GeoJSON feeds which can be parsed with standard JSON libraries. I was keen to dabble in a bit of Curses programming (hey - it's a change from HTML & CSS!). So GeoJSONWatcher was born and is at its early v0.1 stage. The app shows when run the latest update and then a running report of the largest quakes measured.

Of course, there are lots of possibilities with such a rich and frequently updated data source. Whilst working with curses has been good, I miss an event driven GUI so the next iteration is likely to be a Tkinter or PyQT version. Currently it records the features to a SQL Lite database which is begging to be queried for some more insightful reports. I have a particular interest in anything volcano related and Hawaii. Development is a little slow for me as it is fun just to sit back and watch what is going on! If anyone knows of other interesting GeoJSON feeds please leave a comment!

We have a very active planet - hope you enjoy keeping a closer eye on it from your terminal!

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Reflections On IronPython : Still In Production

A recent reddit thread on IronPython brought back some memories so I thought I would record them in a quick blog post.

I really liked Python when I discovered it 10+ years ago and was delighted when I first heard Microsoft had hired talent to bring Python to dotNet. At the time, I was stuck in VB6 (really) and had recently discovered traditional Python. I joined the mailing list, tried out early builds, reported bugs to Codeplex and the team at Microsoft were a great bunch to interactive with. Microsoft are somewhat Open Source today - at the time this was very unusual. I ended up writing a few GUI programs, even an IronPython editor for some time.

Then Microsoft went through changes, IronPython was dropped along with other interesting products like Mesh. The Open Source version is still around but the mailing list is very quiet. I went back to regular Python and messed around with PyGame. I still use IronPython in production (handy for configuration to have .Net scripting with zero-install for installers) and can't help think Microsoft missed a trick here. It is a much more friendly language than Powershell and theres not really a good .Net scripting language even years later. All is not entirely lost though, they still produce Python Tools for Visual Studio and it is very good.

So IronPython for me was interesting, fun and useful. It was great being involved early on in the development, which probably why I got so caught up diving into the relatively new Dart language from Google.

Friday 10 August 2012

Screenshot Viewer For Minecraft - Now Released

The screenshot viewer is now available! Only tested on Windows for now so Linux/Mac users (who make a good proportion of visitors to this site) be warned. I have created a Google code project for all the code on this blog at 

You can get the latest Screenshot viewer here. It is a single .PY file tested on Python 2.6.6 and wxPython 2.8. We have been trying out a CXFreeze version with a Windows Installer and it is looking good. I'd like to look at maintaining aspect ratio for the thumbnails and display.

If you run it on a non-Windows platform I would appreciate a screenshot. Any other thoughts, please leave a comment!

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Minecraft Screenshot Viewer in wxPython - A Preview

There's a lot of Minecraft going on in this house! The boys all love it and come up with some creative designs for houses, statues, machines and roller-coasters. Minecraft has a built in feature for taking screenshots 'F2' and I encourage them to do this if they have made something. Eventually we will make a slideshow video of them.

But there is no easy way to view the screenshots in the game and it is a bit 'hidden' under .minecraft so what a great excuse for a wxPython program. Not quite ready for the prime-time (needs Linux tested at least) but my eldest was impressed by the demo of it and is keen to get it installed on the main family PC.

Here's a screenshot until I get some SVN sorted out:

Ideas for features welcome - leave a comment!

Friday 27 July 2012

Simple Starfield In PyGame

Games are very often highly interactive with even some text adventures operating in real time. I thought it would be fun to go in the opposite direction and create a game with minimal interaction. So I settled on an outer space theme and had a text experiment of a probe travelling through the emptiness of space.

The next step was to create a graphical display and, of course, stars were the first order of business! I looked around at a few star field examples and ended up coding one for myself. Straightforward 2D scrolling is all I want - needs to be calm for the display. The class is nice and simple whilst the demo shows it off fairly well.

Exercise for the reader - can you make a layered demo? I'll share the code on a follow up post. Happy stargazing!

import random
import pygame
import sys
from pygame.locals import *

class starfield(object):
    def __init__(self, pos , size, max, speed):
        self.stars = []
        self.pos = pos
        self.size = size
        self.max = max
        self.speed = speed = True
        self.color = (255,255,255)
        self.bordercolor = Color(255,255,255)
        self.backgroundcolor = Color(0,0,0)
        for loop in range(0, max):
            star = [random.randrange(0, size[0] - 1),
                    random.randrange(0, size[1] - 1)]
    def draw(self, screen):
             pygame.draw.rect(screen, self.backgroundcolor, Rect(self.pos[0], self.pos[1], self.size[0],self.size[1]), 0)
             pygame.draw.rect(screen, self.bordercolor, Rect(self.pos[0], self.pos[1], self.size[0],self.size[1]), 1)
        for loop in range(0, self.max):
            p = (self.pos[0] + self.stars[loop][0], self.pos[1] + self.stars[loop][1] )
            screen.set_at(p, self.color)
    def update(self):
        for loop in range(0, self.max):
            self.stars[loop] = (self.stars[loop][0] + self.speed, self.stars[loop][1])
            if self.stars[loop][0]>self.size[0]:
                self.stars[loop] = (0, self.stars[loop][1])

sf = [starfield( (50,50), (550,410), 80, 1 ),
      starfield( (80,150), (200,200), 33, 2 ),
      starfield( (380,150), (200,200), 33, 3 ),
      starfield( (5,5), (80,80), 12, 4 )

sf[1].color = (255,0,0)
sf[2].color = (0,255,0)
sf[3].color = (0,0,255)

FPS = 50
window = pygame.display.set_mode((640, 480))

background = None
background = pygame.Surface(window.get_size())
background.fill((0, 0, 0))

pygame.time.set_timer(TIMEREVENT, int(1000 / FPS))
pygame.time.set_timer(UPDATEEVENT, 50)

while True:

    for event in pygame.event.get():
        if event.type == TIMEREVENT:
            for s in sf:
            window.blit(background, (0, 0))
        elif event.type == UPDATEEVENT:
            for s in sf:
            # Move starfield
            x = sf[3].pos[0] + 2
            y = sf[3].pos[1] + 2
            if x>640: x=-50
            if y>480: y=-40
            sf[3].pos = (x,y)

        elif event.type == pygame.QUIT:

Thursday 12 July 2012

Particles Of Blue

Something I have not used in a PyGame game yet is particles of any sort. Thinking over a few ideas for a mining game, it seemed like a fun idea to have some sort of soil. This lead to a quick half-hour of coding and here is the result:

It is not terribly efficient or a good colour for soil but has potential.

Here's the code:
import pygame
import sys
import random

from pygame.event import *
from pygame.locals import *

FPS = 50
window = pygame.display.set_mode((640, 480))
background = None
background = pygame.Surface(window.get_size())
background.fill((0, 0, 0))
pygame.time.set_timer(TIMEREVENT, int(1000 / FPS))
colour3 = Color(0, 0, 255)
ground = Color(0, 255, 0)
y = 100

def DrawText(bg, x, y, text, size=24, color=(255, 255, 255)):
    inst1_font = pygame.font.Font(None, size)
    inst1_surf = inst1_font.render(text, 1, color)
    bg.blit(inst1_surf, [x, y])

class grit(object):
    def __init__(self):
        self.x = random.randint(0,639)
        self.y = random.randint(0,125) - 50
        self.width = random.randint(1, 6)
        self.height = random.randint(1, 6)
        self.color = Color(0, 0, random.randint(119,255)) = True

def init():
    gritsL = 1000
    agrits = []
    while len(agrits)<gritsL:
    return agrits

grits = init()

while True:

    for event in pygame.event.get():
        if event.type == TIMEREVENT:
            DrawText(background, 25, 120, "Daftspaniel",126)
            pygame.draw.rect(background, ground, Rect(0, 450, 640,280), 0)
            pygame.draw.rect(background, ground, Rect(300, 250, 340,180), 0)

            for g in grits:
                pygame.draw.rect(background, g.color, Rect(g.x, g.y, g.width, g.height), 0)
                    if g.y>-1 and g.y<(480-g.height):
                        c = background.get_at((g.x, g.y+g.height));
                        if c.r==0 and c.g==0:
                            g.y = g.y + 5
                   = False
                    if g.y<0:
                        g.y = g.y + 5
            window.blit(background, (0, 0))
        elif event.type == pygame.KEYDOWN:
            keystate = pygame.key.get_pressed()
            if not keystate[K_w]==1:
                grits = init()
        elif event.type == pygame.QUIT:

Any suggested improvements? I would like to use this for a treaure hunt game. Two players digging for gold. Soil lumps might have to be bigger for a game.

Sunday 8 July 2012

Python Tools For Visual Studio

Day to day I use Visual Studio for and CSharp. It is okay-ish. I used to like Visual Studio then around version 6/7 it went rather multipurpose/multilanguage and lessened the experience. Nowadays it needs a lot of horsepower and big expensive plugins like Resharper to keep up. 

I have kept the monster of Visual Studio off my ageing Vista era laptop for some time. Sharp Develop is an FOSS IDE that fills that gap nicely. Microsoft do offer Express versions which are good but they are rather frustrating if you have used the full versions!

Anyway Microsoft also produce Python Tools for Visual Studio which can be run on top of the free Visual Studio Shell. PTVS is also free and open source. It supports various versions of Python - not just IronPython (I am currently using it for PyGame with CPython 2.6.6). The code completion is pretty good and, surprisingly, it is not too resource demanding on my ol' Dell Inspiron 1501! It has a long list of features including refactoring, debugging, Django, REPL. Also comes with some extras for Excel and the Xbox Kinect.

I jump around editors quite a lot but I think will hang around PTVS for a good while.