Simon Willison’s Weblog

Blogmarks in Jul, 2009

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

How to avoid ads in gmail. “After extensive testing I’ve discovered you need 1 catastrophic event or tragedy for every 167 words in the rest of the email.” # 31st July 2009, 1:40 am

Making Image Overlays Easy with GGroundOverlay and GGeoXML (via) Surprisingly, there doesn’t appear to be a good online tool for helping align an overlay image with a Google Map and exporting the result as a KML file. This is the best I could find—Yahoo! used to have a tool called MapMixer but it doesn’t seem to exist any more. # 30th July 2009, 10:58 pm

Collection: Search Patterns. Peter Morville’s enormous collection of screenshots of search engine interfaces. # 30th July 2009, 12:35 pm

Today’s News and Yahoo!’s Developer Program. “For SearchMonkey and BOSS, we currently do not have anything concrete to tell you” ... “We wanted to let you know that today’s news does not affect these products [YUI, YQL, Pipes]”. # 30th July 2009, 12:20 pm

Building Rome in a Day (via) “The first system capable of city-scale reconstruction from unstructured photo collections”—computer vision techniques used to construct 3D models of cities using 10s of thousands of photos from Flickr. Reminiscent of Microsoft PhotoSynth. # 29th July 2009, 3:41 pm

Django: Security updates released. A fix for a directory traversal attack in the Django development server (the one with the big “never run this in production” warnings in the documentation). Also reminds that the release of 1.1 means that 0.96, released over two years ago, has reached end of life and will not receive any further bug fixes after the just-released 0.96.4. # 29th July 2009, 1:45 pm

Toy Chest: Online or Downloadable Tools for Building Projects (via) “Toy Chest collects online or downloadable software tools/thinking toys that humanities students and others without programming skills (but with basic computer and Internet literacy) can use to create interesting projects”—a fantastic list compiled by the English Department at UCSB. # 29th July 2009, 12:12 pm

Django 1.1 release notes (via) Django 1.1 is out! Congratulations everyone who worked on this, it’s a fantastic release. New features include aggregate support in the ORM, proxy models, deferred fields and some really nice admin improvements. Oh, and the testing framework is now up to 10 times thanks to smart use of transactions. # 29th July 2009, 9:34 am

JSONP Memory Leak. Neil Fraser advocates iterating over and deleting every property on a JSONP script DOM node after you removeChild it from the DOM, to protect against memory leaks of “in excess of 15 MB per hour”. # 28th July 2009, 12:46 pm

My Sys-Con Nightmare. This is just ridiculous. Don’t speak at or attend Sys-Con conferences (which include AJAXWorld, the Cloud Computing Expo and Ajax in the Cloud), don’t write for or buy their journals (including AJAXWorld Magazine, JDJ and .NET Developer’s Journal), and don’t visit or advertise on any of their sites. # 28th July 2009, 12:39 pm

NASA NEBULA Services (via) NASA’s new NEBULA cloud computing platform appears to be built entirely on open source infrastructure, including Python, Django, Fabric, Eucalyptus, RabbitMQ, Trac and Solr. # 28th July 2009, 12:10 pm

Fabric, Django, Git, Apache, mod_wsgi, virtualenv and pip deployment. I’m slowly working my way through this stack at the moment—next stop, fabric. # 28th July 2009, 11:56 am

Learning to compile things from source (on Unix/Linux/OSX). I asked on for tips on learning how to solve configure/make/install problems on my own, and got some extremely useful replies. # 27th July 2009, 4:21 pm

Why we migrated from MySQL to MongoDB. Includes some useful information on MongoDB’s limitations—for example, running many different collections can waste disk space and repairing large datasets or bulk deleting many rows can block and lock the database for the duration of the operation. # 27th July 2009, 10:49 am

AdSense for Feeds: What’s all the hubbub about PubSubHubbub? “Today we’re happy to announce initial support in FeedBurner for the PubSubHubbub protocol.” # 24th July 2009, 6:45 pm

The Pushbutton Web: Realtime Becomes Real. Anil Dash is excited by the potential for PubSubHubBub and Webhooks to make near-real-time scalable event publishing accessible to regular web developers. So am I. # 24th July 2009, 6:30 pm

Install Django, GeoDjango, PostgreSQL and PostGIS on OSX Leopard. This tutorial worked perfectly for me. # 24th July 2009, 11:47 am

MoD sticks with insecure browser. Tom Watson MP used parliamentary written answers to find out that the majority of government departments still require their staff to use IE6, and not all of them have upgrade plans to 7 or 8. Not a single department considered an alternative browser. “Many civil servants use web browsers as a tool of their trade. They’re as important as pens and paper. So to force them to use the most decrepit browser in the world is a rare form of workplace cruelty that should be stopped.” # 24th July 2009, 10:18 am

EtherPad. Outstanding implementation of an online real-time collaborative text editor—basically SubEthaEdit in your browser. I can see myself using this a lot. # 24th July 2009, 12:35 am

xmlwitch. An XML building library for Python that doesn’t suck (I love ElementTree for parsing XML, but I’ve never really liked it for generation). Makes smart use of the with statement. # 24th July 2009, 12:33 am

Webhooks behind the firewall with Reverse HTTP. Hookout is a Ruby / rack adapter that lets you serve a web application from behind a firewall, by binding to a Reverse HTTP proxy running on the internet (such as the free one provided by Useful for far more than just webhooks, this means you can easily expose any Ruby web service to the outside world. An implementation of this as a general purpose proxy server would make it useful for applications written in any language. # 22nd July 2009, 1:46 pm

Django 1.1 release candidate available. If all goes well, the final release will be out next week. # 22nd July 2009, 12:19 pm

Fancy Fast Food (via) “These photographs show extreme makeovers of actual fast food items purchased at popular fast food restaurants.” # 22nd July 2009, 11:51 am

moddims (via) Apache 2 module which exposes ImageMagick as a URL-driven service, allowing you to request an image from a whitelisted host server and resize, thumbnail or alter the quality of it. # 21st July 2009, 6:18 pm

Reverse HTTP Demo (via) This is a bit of a brain teaser—a web server running in JavaScript in your browser which uses long polling comet to respond to incoming HTTP requests channelled through a “Reverse HTTP” proxy. # 21st July 2009, 3:54 pm

Early Day Motion to support Bletchley Park Museum. Time to fire up and drop your MP a friendly note of encouragement. # 21st July 2009, 1:56 pm

The Anatomy Of The Twitter Attack. Long-winded explanation of the recent Twitter break-in, but you can scroll to the bottom for a numbered list summary. The attacker first broke in to a Twitter employee’s personal Gmail account by “recovering” it against an expired Hotmail account (which the attacker could hence register themselves). They gained access to more passwords by searching for e-mails from badly implemented sites that send you your password in the clear. # 20th July 2009, 12:55 am

Memcached 1.4.0 released. The big new feature is the (optional) binary protocol, which enables other features such as CAS-everywhere and efficient client-side replication. Maintainer Dustin Sallings has also released some useful sounding EC2 instances which automatically assign nearly all of their RAM to memcached on launch and shouldn’t need any further configuration. # 17th July 2009, 10:26 pm

Farewell to Mashup Editor. It’s not just Microsoft Popfly that’s shutting down—Google Mashup Editor will be gone in four weeks time (this was announced in January). You get to keep your code, but I don’t know enough about Mashup Editor to know if the code is usable once the system has shut down. # 17th July 2009, 1:05 pm

Where was the ’editorial viewpoint’ at the News Innovation unconference? Martin Belam points out that a problem with unconferences when applied to audiences outside the technology world is that techies who know how the system operates will inadvertently take over the event, skewing the conversation towards technical topics. Not an insurmountable problem, but one that organisers should probably take in to account. # 17th July 2009, 10:52 am