Simon Willison’s Weblog

Entries in Feb, 2011

Filters: Type: entry × Year: 2011 × Month: Feb ×

Which Bay Area startups are going to SXSW 2011? will be there—both myself and Nat.

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Where can I find a text corpus of English language personal email on the web?

The Enron email corpus is pretty useful, though I don’t know how “normal” you would consider it.

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Is Lanyrd meant to be tech-industry specific, or is that just a byproduct of the early adopter demographic?

We want to cover all sorts of conferences (and user groups, and meetups, and conventions... any event where people get together to share their knowledge). We have a good start on technology because that’s where our early adopters are, but we’re starting to pick up in a few other categories as well. Here are some of my favourite examples:

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What is the “best” programming language to learn if you want to mockup your own ideas but don’t have a technical background?

I knew a very talented UX designer at Yahoo! who did all of his interactive mockups in PowerPoint—including widgets that you click to transition to another “page” in the interface. I’ve heard of people doing the same thing in Keynote, and OmniGraffle Pro also has tools for creating interactive mockups.

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Is a relational database with many-to-many relationships difficult to develop into a web app?

Many to Many tables can be a bit of a pain to deal with using regular SQL, but a good ORM can abstract away any potential complexity almost entirely. I find using the Django ORM means I’m much less likely to shy away from a design that involves a many-to-many relationship because I know it won’t increase the complexity of the application. I imagine the Rails ORM has the same effect.

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Is South the best tool to use when doing database migrations in Django?

Yes. And I say that as an author of another Django migrations tool (dmigrations) which offered a small subset of South’s current functionality.

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What are some good user interface/user experience workshops/conferences coming up this March(p.s. distance isn’t a factor, I’m willingly to travel)?

We have a list on—the best option in March looks to be Adaptive Path’s MX conference: /

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What is it like going through the Y Combinator program?

This essay is pretty comprehensive—it’s what convinced us to apply to YC, and our experience so far has been true to what it describes:

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Where can I find a good list of conferences that take will place Boston in early April 2011? lists a few events coming up in early April.

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What are the top five food blogger conferences to attend?

I can’t give you a top five, but you might find this list of 10 upcoming food blogger conferences useful:

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Why do websites contain multiple webpages when they could use AJAX?

Because it shouldn’t require a full-blown JavaScript interpreter just to access content on the Web.

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