My latest pointless programming project is just about finished. There's just one little bit left to figure out and then it's done.

I'm building this using the new Google AppEngine system (mostly because I needed an excuse to learn python) but there seems to be a bit of a problem with the User object. They haven't finished the User nickname bit yet so when you sign into an AppEngine application or site using a standard Google Account, it uses the bit of your e-mail address that comes before the '@' and, although Google accounts can use any e-mail address, the majority of them will be or This means that if you want to make any kind of public forum, you have to do one of the following:

  • Implement your own nickname system (not really in the spirit of a unified User object)

  • Obfuscate the nickname before displaying

  • Display the nickname and open users up to spam or other unwanted e-mail

None of these are particularly great. If it were even possible to access the user's first name, that'd solve the problem but, until the nickname functionality is finished, it's not as useful as it could be.

As an aside, doing a project in python means that I've written code in pretty much every mainstream (i.e. not esoteric) programming language except COBOL.