Best When Used By, Lifehacker, Project X

Best When Used By

So my side project that I’ve been working on is now in something of a public beta, as it got linked from Lifehacker earlier today.

It’s called Best When Used By, and it’s a site for tracking the expiration dates of your perishable foods. You put in a food and its “use by” date, and then the site e-mails you a few days before that date to remind you to use the food. That reminder e-mail will also link to recipes that use the food as an ingredient.

I started the site after realizing that I tend to forget about food in the fridge until it’s too late, and I have to throw it away. Countless jars of spaghetti sauce, partial loaves of bread, and blocks of cheese have met their moldy demise because I just wasn’t keeping track of their lifespan.

I’m maintaining a blog for the site over here, so if you’re interested in the project, you can subscribe to the RSS feed to stay updated on any new developments.

Programming, Project X, Web Applications

Looking for some alpha testers

Is anyone interesting in helping alpha test and/or do some QA on a side project I’m working on? It’s a fairly simple Web application that should be relevant to pretty much everyone, but it will obviously be more useful to some people than to others. (How’s that for specifics?)

If you want to take a look and give some feedback, either leave a comment below or e-mail me at, and I’ll send you the URL.

Django, PHP, Programming, Project X, Python

What’s old is new again

A few weeks ago, I started a little side project, and I decided to write it in Python with the Django framework based on all of the good things I’ve heard about it. I may never go back to PHP.

It’s like this: imagine you’ve been driving the same 1987 Dodge Dynasty for the last 8 years. It gets you around, and you know exactly how to handle it. Most importantly, you’ve learned just what to do when it breaks down to get it going again. Then, one day, someone offers to trade you their brand-new Mustang for your Dynasty, straight-up. (They’re a collector of late ’80’s sedans, you see.) You are unsure, since you’ll have to learn how to handle this new car, but you accept, and your entire perspective on driving changes – the tired chore of going to the post office becomes your favorite pass-time; you’ve volunteering to take friends to the airport even when they have no flights to catch; and you can finally drive on the interstate since you know you won’t break down.

This is what it’s like to switch to Python after a lifetime of writing PHP. Programming is part problem-solving and part code-writing. With PHP, the fun of solving the problems overcomes the chore of writing the code; with Python, writing the code is enjoyable enough that I find myself wanting more problems to solve just so I can code the solutions. It’s a great feeling.