Simon Willison’s Weblog

Tuesday, 2nd March 2010

Geospatial Indexing in MongoDB (via) New in version 1.3.3. Handles “order by distance from” queries using a geohash approach under the hood, automatically searching nearby grid squares until the correct number of results have been gathered. Bounding box search is planned for a future release. # 8:12 pm

Is johnny-cache for you? “Using Johnny is really adopting a particular caching strategy. This strategy isn’t always a win; it can impact performance negatively”—but for a high percentage of Django sites there’s a very good chance it will be a net bonus. # 11:44 am

Some People Can’t Read URLs. Commentary on the recent “facebook login” incident from Jono at Mozilla Labs. I’d guess that most people can’t read URLs, and it worries me more than any other aspect of today’s web. If you want to stay safe from phishing and other forms of online fraud you need at least a basic understanding of a bewildering array of technologies—URLs, paths, domains, subdomains, ports, DNS, SSL as well as fundamental concepts like browsers, web sites and web servers. Misunderstand any of those concepts and you’ll be an easy target for even the most basic phishing attempts. It almost makes me uncomfortable encouraging regular people to use the web because I know they’ll be at massive risk to online fraud. # 10:16 am

Running Processes. I’ve been searching for a good solution to this problem (“run this program, and restart it if it falls over”) for years. I’m currently using god which works pretty well, but according to this article I should be learning upstart instead. It never ceases to amaze me how difficult this is, and how obtuse the tools are. # 9:55 am

I’m not worried about guys like us. There will always be machines for us (powerful, complex, etc.). Why? Because if for some magical reason there wasn’t all of a sudden, we’re the type that would just make one.

Jason L. Baptiste # 9:36 am

Internet Explorer: Global Variables, and Stack Overflows. An extremely subtle IE bug—if your recursive JavaScript function is attached directly to the window (global) object, IE won’t let you call it recursively more than 12 times. # 9:21 am

GeoPlanet Explorer. Chris Heilmann’s YQL powered explorer for the invaluable Yahoo! GeoPlanet / WhereOnEarth dataset. Every API deserves an explorer of some sort. # 8:14 am