As a user, I should not have to know the languages and frameworks of the tools I use. As an admin and developer, it becomes very important, as the interaction between tools can lead to problems.

I use gcalcli, a command-line tool that interfaces with Google Calendar to allow you to add and view events.

It is the first thing that tends to be wallopped when I start trying to do more with Python. One example is this blog post on modifying your GMail sig. I had done that with Perl and Thunderbird, making it say 1689 days using standing desk. (Or would if I ran it while typing this.)

I would have expected that, in most languages, if the wrangle-google library got updated from n.0 to n.1, or even n+1, all projects would still be able to use that library, but no. I found that trying to use this toy “change my personal mail signature” toy broke the “tell me when my next meeting is” tool.

Between then and now, I have upgraded and reinstalled the system, and the apt-provided gcalcli worked again.


I mention Globus a lot, because Globus is a big part of my work life. It’s something that I don’t have to work with, as I have other means of access to all those resources, but on occasion, talking people through creating accounts and transferring research takes up a great part of my day.

The back-end stuff I use right now, uses their CLI API and Net::OpenSSH, and while I know how the permissions work, it disturbs me. So, I decided to try to get their REST API working. The hardest part of REST, I find, is getting your tokens. Everything else is GET and POST and JSON, things that the tech community has spent the last 25 years trying to make easier.

So, to try to ease the hard part of the process, I installed [globus-sdk](, which uses an encryption library, and library conflict killed gcalcli again.

I think I had known the solution.

virtualenv ALL THE THINGS!

mkdir -p ~/local/venv/gcalcli

cd ~/local/venv/

virtualenv gcalcli

cd gcalcli

source bin/activate

pip install gcalcli


Then, of course, fix all my aliases like

alias agenda='/home/jacoby/local/venv/gcalcli/bin/python /home/jacoby/local/venv/gcalcli/bin/gcalcli --nocolor --calendar "Main" agenda'

But it is fixed. I would have to reactivate that environment to install breaking changes like that. It is safe from the system. It is free.

I can and have run cpan -u with impunity on my system. Mostly with my perlbrew install, but certainly on system perl for systems I rely on. How is it that Python can be this brittle?

If you have any questions or comments, I would be glad to hear it. Ask me on Twitter or make an issue on my blog repo.