Simon Willison’s Weblog


Tuesday, 26th June 2012

What is a more equal-opportunity way to distribute access to a free event that is expected to sell out quickly?

A much better method than releasing all of the tickets at once is to release them in batches—say 50 tickets at a time over three different releases. This greatly reduces the “only people online at the time get a chance” factor by giving people three separate chances to grab their ticket. You can vary the time of day for each batch to make it fairer for people who might be at work / in meetings / having dinner with family at certain times of day (or to take timezones in to account if you expect attendees from far away).

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Are there any website thumbnail services that generate images in real-time? generates images on demand—you pass the URL directly to the service and it replies with a PNG image. The first load can take a few seconds (depending on how long it takes the originating site to serve up the assets etc) but they cache the generated images so future requests for the same URL will be served instantly.

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2012 » June