Simon Willison’s Weblog

Items tagged recovered in Aug

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There is plenty of evidence in the ecosystem to support the hypothesis that, if given the tools to do so easily, object-oriented programmers are ready to embrace functional techniques (such as immutability) and work them into an object-oriented view of the world, and will write better, less error-prone code as a result. Simply put, we believe the best thing we can do for Java developers is to give them a gentle push towards a more functional style of programming.

Brian Goetz # 19th August 2011, 12:20 pm

RasterWeb: Lanyrd. Pete Prodoehl calls me out on Lanyrd’s integration with the Twitter auth API at the expense of OpenID. I’ve posted a comment with my justification—essentially, tying to Twitter’s ecosystem means I can actually implement the features I’ve been talking about building on top of OpenID for years, with far less engineering effort. # 31st August 2010, 8:49 pm

Lanyrd—the social conference directory. Nat and my new project, launched today and doing pretty well despite some early server hiccups. Sign in with Twitter to see conferences that your friends are speaking at, attending or tracking, then add your own events. We’re particularly keen on helping people build up a detailed profile of their previous talks, so adding older conferences is encouraged. # 31st August 2010, 7:41 pm

LWPx::ParanoidAgent. Every programming language needs an equivalent of this library—a robust, secure way to make HTTP requests against URLs from untrusted sources without risk of tarpits, internal network access, socket starvation, weird server errors, or other nastiness. # 31st August 2010, 2:30 am

If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.

blue_beetle on MetaFilter # 27th August 2010, 12:58 pm

What is the history of Django? I’ve been playing with Quora—it’s a really neat twist on the question-and-answer format, which makes great use of friends, followers and topics and has some very neat live update stuff going on (using Comet on top of Tornado). I just posted quite a long answer to a question about the history of Django. # 24th August 2010, 5:31 pm

Readme Driven Development (via) Tom Preston-Werner advocates for writing the readme before any other code. “Until you’ve written about your software, you have no idea what you’ll be coding.” # 23rd August 2010, 8:20 pm

Using Freebase Gridworks to Create Linked Data. A very handy tutorial from’s Jeni Tennison. # 23rd August 2010, 8:11 pm

PNGStore—Embedding compressed CSS & JavaScript in PNGs. Cal did some further analysis on the CSS/JS to PNG compression trick (including producing some interesting images of jQuery compressed using different image packing techniques) and found it to be slightly less effective than regular GZipping. # 23rd August 2010, 9:47 am

10K Apart Contest: Cheating by Compressing Your JavaScript and CSS to PNG Images. Fascinating hack: transform your JS and CSS in to coloured pixels, save the result as a PNG to benefit from PNG’s built in compression algorithms, then read the data back out of the PNG and convert it back to text using JavaScript and canvas—all to reduce the on-disk filesize when entering the 10K app competition. Alex’s GithubFinder entry is worth checking out too. # 23rd August 2010, 9:45 am

A little deeper investigation showed that nothing I had posted on Buzz had gone public since August 6. Nothing. [...] No one noticed. Not even me. It makes me feel like everything I’ve posted over the past four years on Twitter, Jaiku, Friendfeed, Plurk, Pownce, and, yes, Google Buzz, has been an immense waste of time. I was shouting into a vast echo chamber where no one could hear me because they were too busy shouting themselves.

Leo Laporte # 22nd August 2010, 6:43 pm

Undelete! How to undelete a file accidentally removed using rm on Linux, by grepping through the raw bytes on the hard drive searching for a unique string that was contained in the file. “grep -a -B 25 -A 100 ’some string in the file’ /dev/sda1 > results.txt” # 21st August 2010, 10:56 am

Polymaps. Absurdly classy: “a JavaScript library for image- and vector-tiled maps using SVG”. It can pull in image tiles from sources such as OpenStreetMap, then overlay SVG paths specified using GeoJSON. The demos make use of GeoJSON tiles for US states and counties hosted on AppEngine. The library is developed by Stamen and SimpleGeo, and released under a BSD license. SVG support in the browser is required. # 20th August 2010, 6:46 pm

A More Royal Royal Opera House. Beautiful piece of work updating the branding for the Royal Opera House, including a strikingly modern take on the original crest. # 20th August 2010, 12:08 pm

Surfin’ Safari: Announcing... MathML! MathML is now supported by the WebKit nightlies. Worth checking out for the typographical discussion that’s broken out in the comments. # 18th August 2010, 1:49 pm

Pictos. Here’s something new: a for-sale font containing a set of beautiful royalty-free icons (like Wingdings, but good) designed to be embedded in web applications using @font-face. Small file sizes, scalable vectors without SVG. Not sure about the accessibility implications though. # 17th August 2010, 8:54 pm

Yahoo! Developer Network: Important API Updates and Changes. Some important (and potentially worrying) news about Yahoo! APIs. The BOSS (Build your Own Search Service) API will no longer be free—not an enormous surprise, and hopefully the pricing will be sensible. Most of the other search APIs (including web, news and image search) are being turned off with no replacement, while term extraction and spelling suggestions will be YQL-only. Most worrying, changes to Geo, Maps and Local APIs will be announced in September, with some set to close. I really hope this doesn’t affect the GeoPlanet APIs. # 17th August 2010, 6:14 pm

Human pylons carry electricity across Iceland. An entry in the “Icelandic High-Voltage Electrical Pylon International Design Competition” proposes giant human-shaped electricity pylons. “The figures can be placed into different poses, with the suggestion that the landscapes could inform the position that the sculpture is placed into. For example, as a power line ascends a hill, the pylons could look as if they’re climbing. The figures could also stretch up to gain increased height over longer spans.” # 17th August 2010, 1:38 pm

Writing Bulletproof Apps with API Errorpoints. This is a very good idea: Web APIs should offer special API endpoints for simulating each of the possible errors that might be returned by the production API. # 16th August 2010, 7:12 pm

Journalism Warning Labels. These are absolutely fantastic. “I’ve been putting them on copies of the free papers that I find on the London Underground. You might want to as well.” # 14th August 2010, 11:16 am

The Pac-Man Dossier. Exuberantly detailed. Everything from how collision detection works to the exact pathfinding and target selection algorithms used by the four different ghosts. There’s even a tutorial for playing the legendary 256th level, where an overflow bug corrupts one half of the screen. # 11th August 2010, 11:20 am

When all of human endeavor falls under the rubric of the “hack” the word ceases to mean anything. Hack your commute, take public transit! Hack your next dinner party with parlour games. Delightfully clever key hack keeps all your keys on the same ring. Hack Mexican food with a “burrito” sized tortilla! Hack your brain with REM sleep. Hack the sun with a straw hat. Hack hygiene with silver oxide “deodorant”. Hack girls with compliments. Hack your windowsill with a pot of wheatgrass, and hack the sky with the goddamn moon.

qwzybug on Hacker News # 10th August 2010, 11:54 am

Closure Compiler Service (via) A hosted version of the Google Closure Compiler (JavaScript minifier) running on App Engine. It has both a user interface and a REST API, which means you can use it as part of an automated build process without needing to set up a local copy of the software. # 9th August 2010, 1:17 pm

Writing your own traceroute in Python. How to implement traceroute in Python, using the low-level socket module. # 9th August 2010, 12:58 pm

Airships: a second age. Telegraph profile of Hybrid Air Vehicles, a company that is building a new generation of ultra-lightweight airships at Cardington in Bedford, initially aimed at lengthy surveillance missions over Afghanistan. # 9th August 2010, 12:34 pm

My ability to decide how I feel about Wikileaks’ activities is totally annihilated by my ongoing realization that it cannot possibly be real. It’s a plot device in a near-future thriller novel. I mean, seriously, semi-stateless man with an unusual appearance uses an army of anonymous allies to expose governments’ secrets, and posts an insurance file in public with some kind of deadman switch in case he’s taken out by his enemies? That shit does not happen in real life. Julian Assange is a Neal Stephenson character who’s escaped in to the real world.

Tomorrowful on MetaFilter # 1st August 2010, 12:30 am