Simon Willison’s Weblog


Friday, 22nd May 2009

Introducing Yardbird. I absolutely love it—an IRC bot built on top of Twisted that passes incoming messages off to Django code running in a separate thread. Requests and Response objects are used to represent incoming and outgoing messages, and Django’s regex-based URL routing is used to dispatch messages to different handling functions based on their content.

# 11:13 pm / django, irc, regular-expressions, threading, twisted, yardbird

Muck Rack: Links posted by Guardian Journalists on Twitter. I’m rather impressed by the Sawhorse Media collection of Twitter aggregation sites (Muck Rack aggregates journalists)—a simple idea very well executed. Here’s a nice example—this page shows links posted to Twitter by known Guardian journalists, but goes a step further and scrapes in the favicon, the real title of the page and resolves the domain from any shortened links.

# 10:02 pm / aggregation, favicon, guardian, journalists, mashups, muckrack, sawhorsemedia, twitter

Flickr Shapefiles Public Dataset 1.0. Another awesome Geo dataset from the Yahoo! stable—this time it’s Flickr releasing shapefiles (geometrical shapes) for hundreds of thousands of places around the world, under the CC0 license which makes them essentially public domain. The shapes themselves have been crowdsourced from geocoded photos uploaded to Flickr, where users can “correct” the textual location assigned to each photo. Combine this with the GeoPlanet WOE data and you get a huge, free dataset describing the human geography of the world.

# 6:12 pm / creativecommons, crowdsourcing, flickr, geo, geoplanet, geospatial, maps, shapefiles, yahoo

Fake Reviews. Now now kids, play nice... Not at all surprised to hear this—nefarious iPhone app developers (in this case the team behind “London Tube”, an inferior version of Malcolm Barclay’s marvellous “Tube Deluxe”) have been caught leaving fake negative reviews on rival applications in the App Store. This is an excellent argument for adding friends/followers or importing an existing social graph—I’d much rather see reviews from people in my social network than strangers who may turn out to be sock puppets.

# 12:49 am / apple, appstore, iphone, londontube, malcolmbarclay, socialgraph, socialnetworks, sockpuppets, tubedeluxe

Dinky pocketbooks with WebKit transforms. Nat used 90 degree CSS transform rotations in print stylesheets for WebKit and Safari to create printable cut-out-and-fold pocketbooks from A4 pages. Very neat.

# 12:33 am / css, csstransforms, natalie-downe, pocketbooks, printstyles, rotation, safari, webkit

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