Simon Willison’s Weblog

Monday, 3rd September 2007

Imaginary numbers. “We would like to back up our survey with an equation from an expert to work out which celebrity has the sexiest walk, with theory behind it”—Ben Goldacre provides inside information on how PR firms invent science to back up their campaigns. # 6:22 pm

Amazon EC2 Basics For Python Programmers. Detailed introduction and tutorial from James Gardner. # 6:20 pm

How much is that standard in the window, the one with the lovely tale? “The real loser in this could be ISO’s reputation itself.” Simon Wardley summarises the embarrassing shenanigans surrounding ISO’s rubber stamping of Microsoft’s OOXML. # 4:49 pm

CouchDB: Thinking beyond the RDBMS. CouchDB is a fascinating project—an Erlang powered non-relational database with a JSON API that lets you define “views” (really computed tables) based on JavaScript functions that execute using map/reduce. Damien Katz, the main developer currently works for MySQL and used to work on Lotus Notes. # 9:48 am

Freebase developer documentation. The JSON API and particularly the query language are fascinating. # 2:38 am

Freebase. Out of closed beta, although you still need an invite code to contribute. I hope they drop the JavaScript requirement for viewing content on the site. # 2:35 am

If it wasn’t for the Enlightenment, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. You’d be standing in a smock throwing turnips at a witch.

Charlie Brooker # 2:11 am

Obviously, it’s not Obvious. “It was obvious to us that FeedBurner was a very powerful concept around which an ecosystem could flourish. It wasn’t obvious to most other people until they actually saw several examples of people using FeedBurner in powerful ways.” # 2:09 am

calendar.timegm() (via) An “unrelated but handy function” that converts a time.gmtime() in to a corresponding Unix timestamp. I’ve been hand-rolling this one for years; never thought to look in calendar. # 1:54 am

It Is Estimated That NBC Could Not Have Screwed This iTunes Thing Up Any Worse. NBC’s request that Apple “stiffen anti-piracy provisions” is down-right scary. # 1:42 am

Sam Ruby: 2to3. Sam’s report on an attempt to port the Universal Feed Parser to Python 3.0. The 2to3 tool does most of the work, but it seems the unicode changes can be pretty tricky. # 1:38 am