I'm Ross. This is my blog.

What's New With WhisperGifts

Posted 1:10 p.m., Sunday 24 August, 2014. Tagged django and whispergifts

It's been a busy few months for WhisperGifts, my bridal gift registry service built with Django. This post rounds up a few recent additions and changes, including technical details for those who want to do something similar. Highlights include weather forecasting, REST APIs, and JavaScript bookmarklets.

Clothes For Tall Men

Posted 9:06 p.m., Thursday 21 August, 2014. Tagged tall, retail and clothes

I'm a tall guy. I don't have great fashion sense, but I'm aware that most mens clothes in most stores do not fit me at all. Over the years I have struggled to find clothes that fit me well, so I thought I'd chronicle some recent discoveries in the hope that other tall gents find clothes that better fit them, too. Read on for my suggestions for tall Aussie men's business shirts, jeans, and trousers so that you can dress as better-than-mediocre as me!

Payments for Australian Startups: Update regarding Pin Payments requirements

Posted 7:27 p.m., Monday 13 January, 2014. Tagged startups and payments

In October last year I put together a summary of payment processing options for Australian startups, as it was at that point in time. I liked the sound of Pin Payments, however they had two requirements that made it a non-starter for me. Being the nice guys and gals they are, they recently reached out to me with an update - which I've included below and in the original post. In short, for some businesses the automatically emailed receipt, and collection of a billing address, are no longer required. Yay!

Djangosites Open Sourced

Posted 10:43 p.m., Wednesday 4 December, 2013. Tagged djangosites, programming, code, django and opensource

I've been promising it for years, but never gotten around to it. Finally, I've pushed the source code for djangosites.org up to Github.

Payment processing options for Australian startups - 2013 Edition

Posted 8:17 p.m., Wednesday 30 October, 2013. Tagged startups and payments

Not that long ago, startups and hobby businesses here in Australia had very few options for accepting online payments. As services such as Stripe launched in the US, us Aussies felt a bit left out. Our tightly regulated banking industry didn't seem welcoming to new players, or so it seemed - 2013 has been the year of online payments in Australia, so I've tried the three big guns out and written up my notes on how I read the landscape.

Eulogy for my father

Posted 10:38 a.m., Monday 9 September, 2013. Tagged family, dad and personal

Three weeks ago, on September 4th, my father passed away at age 58 after a brief battle with cancer of the gall bladder. The toughest thing I've ever done was read part of his eulogy, which I've included in this blog post along with some other tributes and, for friends and family, a video of the funeral service.

Tracking CPC Results in Django

Posted 8:52 a.m., Thursday 1 August, 2013. Tagged advertising, code, django and programming

Like many startups, I use CPC ads to attract attention to WhisperGifts. I bid a set fee per click for particular search words on Google, and for ads shown to my target demographic on Facebook. I wanted to track an individual signup to their source CPC campaign, so put together a really quick bit of Django middleware to help me out.

Moving to FastMail

Posted 8:53 a.m., Wednesday 24 July, 2013. Tagged technology, gmail, email and fastmail

I've been a long-time FastMail user, and they make me happy. For various reasons I never liked using Gmail, although I never tried Google Apps for Domains. Max Masnick recently wrote a post on his move from Gmail to FastMail and his experience is close to what mine was - and his migration tips are useful for anybody migrating from existing IMAP services, not just Gmail users.

New Podcast: Django Roundup

Posted 9:17 p.m., Friday 19 July, 2013. Tagged programming, django-readonly-site, code, flattery, django and podcasts

The team over at Lincoln Loop have just started a new Django podcast - and their very first item in podcast #1 was a nice little review of django-readonly-site!

Day & Night Phones (Or: Why I Carry Two Mobile Phones)

Posted 9:57 p.m., Monday 15 July, 2013. Tagged technology, communications and phones

I carry two mobile phones, for most of the week. I have a personal phone, and a work phone. Often, somebody will see two phones on my desk and ask the obvious question: "isn't one enough?" The recent talk about Silicon Valley executives carrying two phones got me thinking about this a little more.

Tools I Can't Live Without (2013 Edition)

Posted 2 p.m., Saturday 13 July, 2013. Tagged software and useful tools

I often get asked for recommendations for software such as backups, password managers, and ways to move files between computers. Rather than individual responses, here's my list of tools that I use many times a day - and I highly recommend them to make your life easier.


Posted 6:29 p.m., Tuesday 2 July, 2013. Tagged django-readonly-site, code, django and programming

Ever wanted to keep your site online, but shut some parts of it (such as the checkout, or the signup page) down for database maintenance or other such reasons? I've just pushed a little helper app to GitHub, which I've previously extracted from WhisperGifts. It's called django-readonly-site and is available in PyPi now.

Pure CSS Image Accordian

Posted 8:17 p.m., Wednesday 19 June, 2013. Tagged html, code and css

One of the fun things that I added when I redesigned rossp.org recently is a series of eight images that show who I am and what I enjoy doing. The images are shown in a simple accordion - only the middle slice of an image is shown, then when you mouseover an image the other images are compressed to show the hovered image in it's entirety. Read on for sample HTML & CSS to replicate this on your own site.

Getting Paid in Django with Pin Payments

Posted 5:59 p.m., Tuesday 18 June, 2013. Tagged code, django and programming

For a long time, it's been tough to accept payments online in Australia. Of course we had PayPal, but we never got any great tools like Stripe, like our peers in the US. Recently, Pin Payments started as an "Australian version of Stripe". They're still getting started, but they're open for business - so I wrote a small Django library called django-pinpayments to make it easier to use Pin within your Django app.

I've Screwed My Kid's Identity

Posted 7:31 p.m., Tuesday 9 April, 2013. Tagged online security, parenthood and identity

I'm very cognisant of the fact that I'm putting much of my year-old son's private information online. He'll be part of the first generation of internet users not only to not know of a pre-internet society, but whose history has already been shared without their knowledge.

Without his knowledge (and certainly without his permission), his mother, uncles, aunts, and I regularly and voluntarily publish information about his life in public arenas: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and even this blog contain voluminous details of my son's life from the moment he was born through to today. While most children & teenagers online are (hopefully) wise enough not to tell everybody their exact date of birth and their parents maiden names, we've already done that for our kids.

So how do we fix this mess? So-called "security questions" have got to go, and two-factor auth has to become the norm.

The Definitive Answer, Explained

Posted 7:01 a.m., Friday 11 January, 2013. Tagged technical decisions, business and django

Yesterday I posted that Django was almost certainly suitable to use for your project. Here's my explanation of my one-word answer, with my views on how your non-technical business should make technical decisions. (Hint: You shouldn't)

The Definitive Answer To "Can I Use Django For This Project?"

Posted 9:11 p.m., Thursday 10 January, 2013. Tagged technical decisions, django and programming

Short: Yes.

Longer: Almost certainly. If you don't know any technical reason why Django isn't a good fit, then Django is probably a good fit.

WhisperGifts: The Tech That Let Me Launch

Posted 8:42 a.m., Thursday 5 July, 2012. Tagged django, whispergifts and tech

The WhisperGifts re-launch recently went very well! I promised a more technical follow-up with some details about what's new and what's changed, so if you want to know more about what makes WhisperGifts tick then you'll want to read on. Hint: It's a dash of Django, a pinch of Python, and a slathering of open-source software all around.

WhisperGifts Re-Launch

Posted 8 p.m., Saturday 23 June, 2012. Tagged whispergifts

Way back in 2007, my wife Lauren and I got married and went looking for a good bridal gift registry service. We didn't find one, so we built our own - WhisperGifts was born. It's now 5 years later, and today we are re-launching with a completely new look & feel and a 100% new code base under the hood.

Why you shouldn't buy cheap watches, and investigate odd sleeping patterns in kids.

Posted 4:24 p.m., Monday 18 June, 2012. Tagged fatherhood, cheap watches, hiking and personal

Sometimes, events happen with a regularity that seems uncanny. You manage to explain it away, though, and never get to the root of it. Then, your son gets sick and you realise you've missed one of the silliest little annoyances the poor guy could have been exposed to! There isn't a real moral to the story you'll read when you click through to the article, but it made my wife and I chuckle this weekend so I thought I'd share it.


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