Simon Willison’s Weblog

Sunday, 22nd October 2017

System Requirements For SQLite. Document describing the high level goals and objectives of SQLite. Like everything to do with SQLite this exhibits some incredibly well thought out software engineering. I particularly like “S80000: SQLite shall exhibit ductile failure characteristics“ where ductile is described in opposition to brittle: a ductile system begins showing signs of trouble well in advance of failure. # 9:53 pm

Parse shell one-liners with pyparsing. Neat introduction to the pyparsing library, both for parsing tokens into labeled sections and constructing an AST from them. # 1:35 pm

SurviveJS—Webpack (via) Free online book about Webpack. I’ve read the first couple of chapters and it looks like a concise, well constructed guide to a key component of the modern JavaScript stack. # 1:22 pm

It’s Not a Feature Problem—Avoiding Startup Tarpits (via) “When we turned on paid advertising for the first time the increase we had a sizable increase in signups. We always feared that a new user would just churn because of what we perceived as deficiencies in the product. While there were users who churned for that reason, it was never the nightmare scenario that we imagined.” # 12:53 pm

I am currently documenting a language called Seenku, spoken by fewer than 15,000 people in the rolling hills of southwestern Burkina Faso in West Africa. Like Chinese, it is a tonal language, meaning the pitch on which a word is pronounced can radically alter its meaning. For instance, tsu can mean “thatch” when pronounced with an extra low pitch, but “hippopotamus” when pronounced with falling pitch. In fact, pitch plays such a huge role in Seenku that it can be “spoken” through music alone, most notably on the traditional xylophone.

Laura McPherson # 12:49 pm

Getting the Most out of Sqlite3 with Python. A couple of neat tricks I didn’t know: you can skip cursors entirely by calling .execute and .executemany directly on the connection object, and you can use the connection object as a context manager to execute transactions using a “with” block. # 12:35 pm

Crossdressing, Compression, and Colliders: ’The First Photo on the Web’. TIL the first photo shared on the web was of Les Horribles Cernettes, an all-female comedy musical group at CERN who performed songs about particle physics. And Sir Tim Berners-Lee first met them when he played the dame in the CERN panto. # 2:05 am