Simon Willison’s Weblog

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The science of the hashtag. Interesting analysis of how the #lessambitiousmovies hash tag took off thanks to retweets from a couple of key users with very creative followers. # 14th January 2011, 4:02 am

Display your events on your own website with Lanyrd Badges. We’ve launched badges for Lanyrd—JavaScript that lets you embed a top bar or a content “splat” showing events you plan to attend, talks you’ve given in the past and other various combinations. I’m quite pleased with the implementation—the badges are configured using classes on a link to your Lanyrd profile, and the badges themselves are served through a combination of Amazon CloudFront for the initial script and a Varnish cache for the badge data itself to keep things nice and snappy. # 13th January 2011, 8:38 pm

The Virtues of Monitoring. Fantastic guide to the various levels of monitoring required for a modern web application. # 13th January 2011, 4:26 am

The First Few Weeks—ep.io. Another take on managed Python Django/WSGI hosting, from Andrew Godwin and Ben Firshman. # 13th January 2011, 4:25 am

Hello from Gondor. “Effortless production Django hosting” from the Eldarion team. # 13th January 2011, 4:24 am

Introducing the FluidDB Explorer. Every good API deserves a dedicated API browser. # 13th January 2011, 4:19 am

US iPhone Data for International Visitors: A Guide. AT&T will swear blind that their pay-as-you-go data plan doesn’t work with iPhones or other smart phones. Here’s how to prove them wrong. # 13th January 2011, 3:51 am

Desk Depot. We picked up some chairs from here the other day—it’s a fascinating place, essentially an entire history of Silicon Valley told through second-hand furniture. # 13th January 2011, 3:50 am

Getting Started—Google URL Shortener API. The API for the goo.gl URL shortener is really nice—no API key required, easy to create a short URL and you can retrieve detailed stats breakdowns (similar to bit.ly) as JSON for any URL. # 13th January 2011, 3:49 am

The excess capacity story is a myth. It was never a matter of selling excess capacity, actually within 2 months after launch AWS would have already burned through the excess Amazon.com capacity.  Amazon Web Services was always considered a business by itself, with the expectation that it could even grow as big as the Amazon.com retail operation.

Werner Vogels # 5th January 2011, 3:13 pm

URL Design. Thoughtful tips on modern URL design, from GitHub designer Kyle Neath. GitHub has the best designed URLs of any application I can think of. # 31st December 2010, 10:03 am

All I can say, looking back, is that when history takes a look at the lives of Jerry Yang and David Filo, this is what it will probably say: “Two graduate students, intrigued by a growing wealth of material on the Internet, built a huge fucking lobster trap, absorbed as much of human history and creativity as they could, and destroyed all of it.”

Jason Scott # 26th December 2010, 3:57 pm

I am, frankly, a mixture of disappointed and sad that after Yahoo! shut down Geocities, Briefcase, Content Match, Mash, RSS Advertising, Yahoo! Live, Yahoo! 360, Yahoo! Pets, Yahoo Publisher, Yahoo! Podcasts, Yahoo! Music Store, Yahoo Photos, Yahoo! Design, Yahoo Auctions, Farechase, Yahoo Kickstart, MyWeb, WebJay, Yahoo! Directory France, Yahoo! Directory Spain, Yahoo! Directory Germany, Yahoo! Directory Italy, the enterprise business division, Inktomi, SpotM, Maven Networks, Direct Media Exchange, The All Seeing Eye, Yahoo! Tech, Paid Inclusion, Brickhouse, PayDirect, SearchMonkey, and Yahoo! Go!… there are still people out there going “Well, Yahoo certainly will never shut down Flickr, because _______________” where ______ is the sound of donkeys.

Jason Scott # 26th December 2010, 3:54 pm

Audio Sprites (and fixes for iOS). Remy Sharp on the limitations of HTML5 audio support in iOS. # 23rd December 2010, 8:04 pm

OpenCorporates (via) “The Open Database Of The Corporate World”—a URL for every UK company. # 22nd December 2010, 11:52 am

HotQueue. A super-simple Python work queue using Redis. The API is neat, and makes clever use of generators for blocking consumption of queue items. # 22nd December 2010, 11:51 am

Instapaper requiring email and passwords for new accounts. Instapaper are changing from their novel “enter a username or email address, only enter a password if you really want one” registration scheme to a more traditional email and password required model. Messing with registration forms is a risky business—in this case, the non-obvious support issues that resulted were a net negative. # 15th December 2010, 8:35 pm

24 ways: Extreme Design. Hannah Donovan on the design process that has evolved from multiple /dev/fort expeditions. # 10th December 2010, 10:08 am

Spacelog: space exploration stories from the original transcripts. The product of the most recent /dev/fort outing—a beautiful, web-native interface for browsing the NASA transcripts from the Apollo 13 and Mercury 6 missions (more to come). Every key moment has a URL. # 10th December 2010, 10:07 am

Tracking Every Release. How Etsy use Graphite to monitor their continuous deployment releases. # 10th December 2010, 10:04 am

Indexing JSON in Solr 3.1. The next release of Solr will support indexing documents provided as JSON—Solr currently requires incoming documents to be formatted as XML. # 10th December 2010, 9:46 am

Google and Microsoft Cheat on Slow-Start. Should You? Fascinating optimisation tricks by some of the big websites, which violate the RFC governing the TCP slow-start algorithm in order to perform better in the common case. # 3rd December 2010, 7:03 pm

Google Maps and Label Readability. Obsessively detailed analysis of exactly what makes Google Maps so readable when compared to Yahoo! and Bing. # 3rd December 2010, 5:08 pm

I think the Web community has spoken, and it’s clear that what it wants is HTML5, JavaScript and JSON. XML isn’t going away but I see it being less and less a Web technology; it won’t be something that you send over the wire on the public Web, but just one of many technologies that are used on the server to manage and generate what you do send over the wire.

James Clark # 2nd December 2010, 6:48 pm

Find conferences to speak at with Lanyrd. We just launched calls for participation on Lanyrd. You can list calls for any conference, browse them by topic, and subscribe to an Atom feed of calls for your area of interest. # 24th November 2010, 2:38 am

gzip support for Amazon Web Services CloudFront. This would have saved me a bunch of work a few weeks ago. CloudFront can now be pointed at your own web server rather than S3, and you can ask it to forward on the Accept-Encoding header and cache multiple content versions based on the result. # 12th November 2010, 5:33 am

Porting Flickr to YUI 3: Lessons in Performance (at YUIConf 2010). Some very interesting tips here. The new Flickr photo pages suffered from what I’ve been calling “Flash of Un-Behavioured Content”, where slow loading JavaScript results in poor behaviour from some UI controls. They started using “Action Queueing”, where a small JS stub ensures a loading indicator is shown for clicks on features that have not yet fully loaded. Also, it turns out some corporate firewalls (Sonicwall in particular) dislike URLs over 1600 characters, and filter out any URL with xxx in it. # 10th November 2010, 6:33 pm

Building a GeoIP server with ZeroMQ. ZeroMQ makes it trivially easy to write a network service in raw C that makes functionality from a C library (in this case the MaxMind GeoIP library) available to clients written in many different client languages. # 9th November 2010, 9:36 am

A predictable web of data—the why of YQL. Christian Heilmann is moving from Yahoo! to Mozilla to head up their evangelism team, and has marked the occasion by releasing the first chapter of a proposed book on YQL. # 30th October 2010, 7:44 am

WebKit is Dropping HTML5 “popstate” Events (via) Really nasty bug with WebKit’s pushState support, discovered by Ben Cherry from Twitter. popState events get dropped if the user navigates while an outbound network request is in progress. # 30th October 2010, 7:41 am