Simon Willison’s Weblog

Blogmarks in Mar, 2009

Filters: Type: blogmark × Year: 2009 × Month: Mar ×


My Guardian OpenPlatform API’n’Data Hacks’n’Mashups Roundup. Superb collection of Guardian Open Platform mashups from Tony Hirst, all of which use free online tools such as Yahoo! Pipes and Many Eyes. We invited Tony in to give a tech talk at the Guardian last week. # 31st March 2009, 10:04 pm

Special Events in jQuery. How to add a custom “tripleclick” event to jQuery, using the jQuery.event.special extension hook. # 30th March 2009, 10:15 am

Help! My iPod thinks I’m emo—Part 1. Detailed write-up of one of my favourite panels from this year’s SxSW, on music recommendation engines. # 30th March 2009, 10:11 am

ProjectPlan—unladen-swallow. A branch of Python 2.6 aiming to radically improve performance (the target is a 5x improvement), by compiling Python to machine code using LLVM’s JIT engine. I think this is a Google 20% time project (or maybe not, see the comments). An early version without LLVM is already available for download. # 30th March 2009, 10:09 am

Development virtual machines on OS X using VMWare and Ubuntu. Bradley Wright provides detailed instructions for getting the JeOS (VM optimised) flavour of Ubuntu running with VMWare tools so you don’t need to run samba just to share your desktop. # 24th March 2009, 2:31 pm

Future roadmap for mod_wsgi. mod_wsgi 3.0 isn’t too far off, and will include Python 3.0 support, WSGI application preloading and internal web server redirection (similar to nginx X-Accel-Redirect). Version 4.0 plans a major architectural change that will allow multiple versions of Python to be run from the same Apache. # 19th March 2009, 5:27 pm

Building Fast Client-side Searches. Flickr now lazily loads your entire contact list in to memory for auto-completion. Extensive benchmarking found that a control character delimited string was the fastest option for shipping thousands of contacts around as quickly as possible. # 19th March 2009, 3:35 pm

Pwn2Own trifecta: Hacker exploits IE8, Firefox, Safari. You just can’t trust browser security: Current versions of Safari, IE8 and Firefox all fell to zero-day flaws at an exploit competition. None of the vulnerabilities have been disclosed yet. # 19th March 2009, 3:30 pm

Parrot 1.0.0 “Haru Tatsu” Released! Parrot hits 1.0! Anyone know how complete Pynie, the Python implementation on top of Parrot is? # 19th March 2009, 3:17 pm

Streams, affordances, Facebook, and rounding errors. I asked Kellan about scaling activity streams the other day. Here he suggests the best technique is not to promise a perfect stream (like Twitter does)—Facebook used to get away with 80% loss of update messages, but their new redesign has changed the contract with their users. # 19th March 2009, 2:02 pm

Load spikes and excessive memory usage in mod_python. “The final answer? Stop using mod_python, use mod_wsgi and run it with daemon mode instead. You will save yourself a lot of headaches by doing so.” # 16th March 2009, 5:26 pm

slippy faumaxion, take two. Mike Migurski made a slippy map using triangular tiles, based on the same principle as Buckminster Fuller’s famous Dymaxion World Map. # 15th March 2009, 3:40 pm

Parallel merge sort in Erlang. Thoughts on an Erlang-y way of implementing a combined activity stream (e.g. Facebook and Twitter). Activity streams are a Really Hard Problem—as far as I know there’s no best practise for implementing them yet. # 15th March 2009, 1:36 pm

Fixing IE by porting Canvas to Flash. Implementing canvas using Flash is an obvious step, but personally I’m much more interested in an SVG renderer using Flash that finally brings non-animated SVGs to IE. # 15th March 2009, 1:34 pm

redis (via) An in-memory scalable key/value store but with an important difference: this one lets you perform list and set operations against keys, opening up a whole new set of possibilities for application development. It’s very young but already supports persistence to disk and master-slave replication. # 15th March 2009, 1:32 pm

Concurrence. Exciting: a Python framework for “creating massively concurrent network applications” (the tutorial benchmarks a Hello World web server at over 8,000 requests a second). It’s implemented on top of libevent using pyrex, can run on either Stackless Python or Greenlets from the py library and ships with a WSGI server, an HTTP client and a DBAPI 2.0 compliant MySQL driver. # 15th March 2009, 1:28 pm

Ruby on Rails 2.3 Release Notes. I’m impressed with how thoroughly Rails has embraced Rack (Ruby’s standardised web framework API, inspired by Python’s WSGI). # 15th March 2009, 1:22 pm

maps from scratch. An idea whose time has come: using EC2 AMIs for tutorial sessions to give everyone a pre-configured environment. # 15th March 2009, 1:20 pm

Southerly Breezes. Andrew Godwin is slowly assimilating the best ideas from other Django migration systems in to South—the latest additions include ORM Freezing from Migratory and automatic change detection. Exciting stuff. # 15th March 2009, 1:17 pm

Understanding Bidirectional (BIDI) Text in Unicode. It turns out you need to sanitise user input to ensure there are no unicode characters that switch your site’s regular text to RTL. # 15th March 2009, 4:37 am

Practical, maintainable CSS (via) Nat’s posted slides and a video from her latest talk at last week’s Brighton Girl Geeks evening. # 12th March 2009, 12:46 am

Get our full university data. “The Guardian’s university rankings are the most visited part of Education Guardian”—and now they’re available as a spreadsheet. # 11th March 2009, 1:52 pm

Guardian + Lucene = Similar Articles + Categorisation. Alf Eaton loaded 13,000 Guardian articles tagged Science in to Solr and Lucene and is using Solr’s MoreLikeThisHandler to find related articles and automatically apply Guardian tags to Nature News articles. # 11th March 2009, 12:53 pm

django-gae2django. An implementation of the Google App Engine API (datastore, memcache, urlfetch, users and mail) that runs on Django, allowing you to take an existing application written for App Engine and deploy it on your own server on top of Django. # 9th March 2009, 3:37 pm

What happened to Hot Standby? Hot Standby (the ability to have read-only replication slaves) has been dropped from PostgreSQL 8.4 and is now scheduled for 8.5. “Making hard decisions to postpone features which aren’t quite ready is how PostgreSQL makes sure that our DBMS is ”bulletproof“ and that we release close to on-time every year”. # 8th March 2009, 9:28 am

Lovecraftian School Board Member Wants Madness Added To Curriculum. “West says the school inadequately prepares students for the black seas of infinity.” # 7th March 2009, 11:11 am

Imminent Death of the Net Predicted. Well, maybe not, but the way Windows Vista deals with round-robin DNS A records (using a new IPv6 algorithm from RFC3484 backported to IPv4) means that domains that serve up multiple A records to load balance between data centres will find that the IP nearest to the 192.168.* range will get the vast majority of Vista traffic. # 5th March 2009, 9:50 am

It’s time for a change. Jacob Kaplan-Moss is joining Revolution Systems, who will now be offering professional Django support “to companies who need a Django expert on staff, but can’t afford someone full-time.” # 4th March 2009, 10:30 pm

Panda Tuesday; The History of the Panda, New APIs, Explore and You. Flickr’s Rainbow Vomiting Panda of Awesomeness now has a family of associated APIs. # 4th March 2009, 11:49 am

Combine JSONP and jQuery to quickly build powerful mashups. jQuery’s JSONP support is one of my favourite little-known features of the library. # 3rd March 2009, 3:17 pm