Simon Willison’s Weblog

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Elaborate Halloween Costume Tips from a 19th-Century Guide to Fancy Dress (via) The gilded age had some ridiculous parties. Here are highlights of the most popular costume guide of the era, now available on the Internet Archive. # 26th October 2017, 2:01 pm

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

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

Plugging the CSS History Leak (via) Firefox is fixing the nefarious CSS visited link colour history leak flaw, which currently affects all browsers and allows a malicious site to determine if you have visited a specific site by checking getComputedStyle against a link to that page. It’s an obtrusive but necessary fix—visited link styles will be restricted to colour and border styles (no background images and hence no more checkbox effects since the image request could leak information) and those colours will not be reported via getComputedStyle. I hope other browser vendors follow suit. # 31st March 2010, 8:01 pm

Vintage Ad Browser. Fantastic. 100,000+ vintage advertisements scanned and organised by date and topic, going all the way back to the 1840s and covering every decade in between. An absolute gold mine. # 6th January 2010, 9:04 am

Notes from the No Lone Zone. A computer scientist with a background in cryptography visits a Titan II ICBM launch complex. # 16th December 2009, 10:02 am

“I made the first animated under construction icon”. twoleftfeet on MetaFilter describes how he created the first ever Under Construction animation in 1995, after discovering his server-push animations could be replaced by the exciting new animated GIF. # 15th October 2009, 2:11 pm

Micro Men. “Affectionately comic drama about the British home computer boom of the early 1980s.”—aired last night, and on BBC iPlayer for the next week. I thought it was absolutely charming, as well as being a thought provoking history of the rise and fall of the British computer industry in the early 80s. # 9th October 2009, 12:47 am

History of Django’s popularity. “What sequence of events made Django the most popular Python web framework?”—insightful answers from Alex Martelli and James Bennett. # 4th October 2009, 10:29 am

Slouching towards Bethlehem. Photos of the various installations that contributed to the construction of the first atom bomb. # 15th July 2009, 10:19 am

Making the HTML5 time element safe for historians. PPK presents a detailed history of dates and calendars and points out that the HTML5 time element is ill prepared to faithfully represent the kind of dates historians are interested in. # 6th April 2009, 2:01 pm

Almost Perfect (via) W. E. Peterson’s book on the rise and fall of WordPerfect Corporation, originally published in 1994 and now available for free online. # 5th April 2009, 7:30 pm

The History of Python (via) “A series of articles on the history of the Python programming language and its community”, being compiled by Guido plus guest authors. # 14th January 2009, 9:42 am

Sam Vilain converted Perl’s history from Perforce to Git. [..] He spent more than a year building custom tools to transform 21 years of Perl history into the first ever unified repository of every single change to Perl. In addition to changes from Perforce, Sam patched together a comprehensive view of Perl’s history incorporating publicly available snapshot releases, changes from historical mailing list archives and patch sets recovered from the hard drives of previous Perl release engineers.

The Perl Foundation # 22nd December 2008, 6:06 pm

jQuery history plugin. I used this plugin to add back button support to a small Ajax app today, with great results. I tried it a while ago and it didn’t work in Safari, but someone has updated it since and now it works perfectly. # 7th November 2008, 5:32 pm

Explaining REST to Damien Katz. I didn’t know that it was Mark Baker back in 2002 who first pointed out that SOAP was flawed because it ignored the architecture of the Web as defined by Roy Fielding’s Ph.D thesis. # 17th August 2008, 11:19 pm

The Sea Forts (via) History and stunning photos of British World War II sea forts (kind of steel castles on stilts) seven and a half miles off the coast of Kent. # 27th April 2008, 10:51 pm

Happy Run Some Old Web Browsers Day! jwz has recreated home.mcom.com, the original home of the Mosaic Communications Corporation, using a snapshot from 21st October 1994 and a domain borrowed from current owner AOL. Also includes instructions on running 1994 Mosaic Netscape binaries under a modern Linux distro. # 31st March 2008, 5:54 pm

Opera 9.5 alpha, Kestrel, released. “With history search, Opera creates a full-text index of each and every page you visit, and when you go to the address bar, you can simply start entering words you know have been on pages you’ve visited before, and items matching your search show up.” I just tried this; it’s magic. I’m switching back to Opera from Camino. # 16th September 2007, 8:34 pm

Paul Otlet described the “radiated library” in 1934. Beating Vannevar Bush in predicting something not unlike the Web by more than a decade. # 12th September 2007, 5:28 pm

AuditTrail. Add change tracking and history to a Django model with a single line of code. Doesn’t handle relationships though, which is definitely the toughest part of this problem. # 15th August 2007, 1 pm

A brief unofficial history about register_globals in PHP. It’s been more than five years since register_globals was disabled by default in PHP 4.2.0. # 30th April 2007, 8:20 am