Parsing simple commands in Python.

A couple of weeks ago I ran into some of the functional limits of my web search bot, a bot that I wrote for my exocortex which accepts English-like commands ("Send me top 15 hits for HAL 9000 quotes.") and runs web searches in response using the Searx meta-search engine on the back end.  This is to say that I gave my bot a broken command ("Send hits for HAL 9000 quotes.") and the parser got into a state where it couldn't cope, threw an exception, and crashed.  To be fair, my command parser was very brittle and it was …

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Exocortex: Setting up Huginn

In my last post I said that I'd describe in greater detail how to set up the software that I use as the core of my exocortex, called Huginn.

First, you need someplace for the software to live. I'll say up front that you can happily run Huginn on your laptop, desktop workstation, or server so long as it's not running Windows. Huginn is developed under Linux; it might run under one of the BSDs but I've never tried. I don't know if it'll run as expected in MacOSX because I don't have a Mac. If you want to give …

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Leave nothing to chance.

Something that I keep meaning to write about is the topic of practical data backups - how to back your data up in such a way that you won't go bonkers trying to manage it, but if you blow a drive you'll be able to restore something at least. The thing about backups is that they're at once easy to overthink and confuse yourself horribly (which means that you'll never make or use them) and easy to do in such a fashion that they won't be usable when you need them the most. At the enterprise level, there are at least …

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