Status Report

Howdy all! I hope everyone is riding out this delta covid surge reasonably well.

This will likely be my last Pywikibot report. My code reviews are stuck and working on Pywikibot is remarkably lonely. Pywikibot is neat, but it’s difficult to stay interested when my contributions dawdle on a shelf. C’est la vie.

Roman Colosseum

In lieu of code I’m binging Death Throes of the Republic. Rome’s collapse began with the senate’s murder of the reformer Tiberius Gracchus. Breaking the norm against political violence just once spiraled out of control into a tit-for-tat revenge cycle that must have horrified its original perpetrators.

Rome offers a troubling warning of what the January 6th lynch mob could have begun. Folks, lets not play with fire.

Type Hints

Prior to my Rome binge I doubled down on Pywikibot’s type hints. Poor Xqt. I kinda buried him in code reviews…

Happy summer everyone! This month my sister and I camped at Fort Townsend, which aside from adorable douglas squirrels features an explosive dismantling tower. Its plaque reads…

“This brick building was a US Navy Explosives Laboratory built during World War II. Enemy submarine torpedoes and sea mines were brought here to be dissembled. A large two million volt x-ray machine was utilized to detect the exact position of the detonation fuse. Ten inches of steel could be penetrated by the high powered machine.”

I love history. According to Dan Carlin’s Supernova in the East Japan had significantly superior torpedoes at the outbreak of war. Maybe this tower helped close that gap?

Torpedo tower

Type Hints

Much of my work from last month is stuck in code review purgatory, so this month I swapped to type hinting which is far quicker to review. Pywikibot has 94 files so like our scripts this will be an ongoing project.

Naturally this is accompanied by small bug fixes as I go…

Hi all! This month I moved on from Tor to begin volunteering with Wikipedia. Covid taught me the importance of face to face contact, and Wikipedia has local Seattle meetups that could scratch an itch Tor didn’t.

Something I desperately look forward to now that I have…


To get my feet wet I invested this month toward standardizing and making minor adjustments to pywikibot

Happy election season, everyone! Isolation drove me to spend a week just reading the Constitution and surrounding case law. My favorite is the 27th amendment, ratified 202 years after it was proposed because a TA gave 19 year old Gregory Watson a bad grade. Civics is delightfully odd.


Has it really been three months since my last post? Pandemic malaise has weighed me down, but also my work hasn’t been terribly sexy…

Honestly since Shari’s departure I haven’t felt excited by anything at Tor. I should poke around some other communities to see what’s around.

Dear diary, pandemic day 7,114. Placed a fancy hat on the fish. Questioned sanity, but voices reassure me I’m still sane. Treasonous cucumber sentenced to food processor, but asparagus now conspires too? Pez dispenser is all I can trust.

Fish with hat


Vegetable coups aside, Illia and I migrated Stem to asyncio! Txtorcon was previously the only asynchronous game in town, but now Stem supports both synchronous and asynchronous usage.

import asyncio

from stem.control import Controller

async def print_version_async():
  async with Controller.from_port() as controller:
    await controller.authenticate()
    print('[with asyncio] tor is version %s' % await controller.get_version())

def print_version_sync():
  with Controller.from_port() as controller:
    print('[without asyncio] tor is version %s' % controller.get_version())

% python 
[without asyncio] tor is version (git-9d922b8eaae54242)
[with asyncio] tor is version (git-9d922b8eaae54242)

Internally Stem is now asynchronous from the bottom up. This provides deeper control over our execution, for example asyncio.wait_for() can apply a timeout to any of our methods.

Usually asyncio doesn’t play well with conventional usage, but Stem transparently applies a compatibility layer so synchronous users likely won’t even notice this change.

Hi all. After vanishing the last few months I’m delighted to announce a major new Stem feature: type hints!

Python 3’s type information provide benefits familiar to statically typed languages like Java:

IDE autocompletion

pycharm demo

Static type checks

mypy demo

Fresh off the press, this has many rough edges. In particular our library’s internal metaprogramming is incompatible with type data. However, as we refactor our APIs for Stem’s 2.0 release this will only improve.

Aloha! COVID-19 reached Seattle so I’m hunkering down, but prior to that I visited my family in Kona, Hawaii.

Lazy turtles and cute geckos aside, I particularly loved Kona Joe’s roastery tour and Pu`uhonua O H┼Źnaunau. If you travel to the big island check ’em out!

Family in Hawaii

Deprecation Removal

This month we dropped Python 2 support, and with it 1,200 lines of compatibility hacks. Stem’s next release will require Python 3.6 or greater.

This month I also culled another 2,900 lines of deprecated code. Like any sophisticated library Stem grew organically over the last eight years. Some features are a hit, others clutter our API. Stem 2.x is our opportunity to streamline so expect more rearchitecture going forward.

Winter is such a snoozy season. Eggnog and Stem’s holiday release fading to memory, January I got back to work.

What Big Dreams You Have

Port BridgeDB to Python 3

Python 2’s discontinuation makes it porting season! Stem and Nyx are ahead of the curve, so this month I migrated BridgeDB for Philipp.

This was a lot of work, but only possible thanks to Isis’ great test coverage. My compliments to our former maintainer!

GitHub Migration

Rather than move to GitLab I joined Ooni and part of the Network Team on GitHub. For tickets and pull requests please visit Stem and Nyx on their new home!

Georg asked to subsume responsibility for DocTor so he can move it according to his platform preference instead.

Happy turkey day everyone! George and I were busy with Stem’s HSv3 descriptor branch so I skipped last month’s report, but now have spiffy things to share.

Oh, and wrote a little guide for a mobile game I enjoy and finished unpacking my homely nest!

living room

HSv3 Descriptor Support

Stem can now create, parse, and decrypt hidden service v3 descriptors. For example…

from stem.descriptor.hidden_service import (

  inner_layer = InnerLayer.create(
    introduction_points = [
      IntroductionPointV3.create('', 9001),
      IntroductionPointV3.create('', 9001),
      IntroductionPointV3.create('', 9001),
% python
hs-descriptor 3
descriptor-lifetime 180
-----BEGIN ED25519 CERT-----
-----END ED25519 CERT-----
revision-counter 1573695064
... etc...
-----END MESSAGE-----
signature VDDXXLvgU6qjRI4zfJR3GbQuVjz98qO0LI5gsI60LtGXK2POZ4E+3YVVWuVaEkvMsZaku5qCutIcu74/WQMxCQ

This branch took quite a lot of work. Many thanks to George and Paul for all the cryptography help!

Other things include…

Behold, my glorious domain! Weep at its splendor!!1!

granny's attic

This month returned to the island I love, and having a blast volunteering locally. Both non-profits are amazing.

Granny’s is a second hand store that fundraises for our community. Volunteering there is a fun mixture of serendipity with the preeminent form of recycling. I really love matching excess stuff with homes that can make good use of it.

As for our food bank, it feeds fully a seventh of our island’s population. That’s ~150 people! Twice a week I’m unloading trucks and re-bagging groceries. After a decade at Amazon I gotta admit – there’s something deliciously cathartic in non-technical work.

Tor is taking a back seat right now, but I have a feature branch for CollecTor that should be ready to announce soon.

Aside from that lots of runs, plays, and other fun stuff. This is kicking off to be a very fun summer!