Simon Willison’s Weblog

Entries in Jan

Filters: Type: entry × Month: Jan ×


Weeknotes: datasette-auth-existing-cookies and datasette-sentry

Work on Datasette Cloud continues—I’m tantalizingly close to having a MVP I can start to invite people to try out.

[... 701 words]

Weeknotes: Datasette Cloud and zero downtime deployments

Yesterday’s piece on Deploying a data API using GitHub Actions and Cloud Run was originally intended to be my weeknotes, but ended up getting a bit too involved.

[... 1428 words]

Deploying a data API using GitHub Actions and Cloud Run

I’m using the combination of GitHub Actions and Google Cloud Run to retrieve data from the U.S. Department of Justice FARA website and deploy it as a queryable API using Datasette.

[... 1598 words]

Weeknotes: Improv at Stanford, planning Datasette Cloud

Last week was the first week of the quarter at Stanford—which is called “shopping week” here because students are expected to try different classes to see which ones they are going to stick with.

[... 806 words]

Building a sitemap.xml with a one-off Datasette plugin

One of the fun things about launching a new website is re-learning what it takes to promote a website from scratch on the modern web. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying using Niche Museums as an excuse to explore 2020-era SEO.

[... 1078 words]

Exploring search relevance algorithms with SQLite

SQLite isn’t just a fast, high quality embedded database: it also incorporates a powerful full-text search engine in the form of the FTS4 and FTS5 extensions. You’ve probably used these a bunch of times already: many iOS, Android and desktop applications use SQLite under-the-hood and use it to implement their built-in search.

[... 1398 words]

Datasette Demo (video) from the SF Python Meetup

I gave a short talk about Datasette last month at the SF Python Meetup Holiday Party. They’ve just posted the video, so here it is:

[... 63 words]

Analyzing my Twitter followers with Datasette

I decided to do some ad-hoc analsis of my social network on Twitter this afternoon… and since everything is more fun if you bundle it up into a SQLite database and publish it to the internet I performed the analysis using Datasette.

[... 1314 words]

Datasette Publish: a web app for publishing CSV files as an online database

I’ve just released Datasette Publish, a web tool for turning one or more CSV files into an online database with a JSON API.

[... 863 words]

Podcasts to love and fall asleep to

Not technically podcasts but the BBC’s radio output is still free to listen to from anywhere in the world (no ads!) and helps me get to sleep most nights. I just hit play in the browser on my phone.

[... 93 words]

Where to find well-balanced rationals behind Trump policies?

Reddit’s NeutralPolitics is a reasonably well moderated community that may be relevant for this.

[... 30 words]

San Francisco Recommendations: comics, fashion, food, and more

I’m not a huge comics person, but that said I strongly recommend a trip to Isotope Comics in Hayes Valley on a weekday. Go on a weekday when the owner is running the store. He is incredibly charismatic and positively vibrates with enthusiasm about comics. He also has an incredible collection of toilet seats lining the upper wall of the store, each one illustrated by a famous comic book artist. Make sure to ask him about them.

[... 122 words]

A guide to the guides to Paris

You can’t go wrong with Atlas Obscura. I haven’t used it in Paris (I’ve used it successfully in many other places though, including Mexico City) but from glancing over their listings it looks like there are some real gems there: http://www.atlasobscura.com/things-to-do/paris-france. I’ve been to the Catacombs and they are astonishing.

[... 78 words]

Help us plan a trip to the English countryside

The Mechanical Music Museum in Northleach in the Cotswolds is a hidden gem—definitely worth dropping in for their tour.

[... 37 words]

Simple, delicious eating during long weekend in the mountains

My wife has had great success with this vegan 5 ingredient sweet potato black bean chili recipe—its pretty straight forward to make, scales up extremely well (we’ve fed 15 people using two pots before) and tastes even better if you reheat it on subsequent days.

[... 64 words]

Wireless access points or mesh networking?

I recently acquired the Netgear Orbi based on this recommendation in the wirecutter and it provides excellent fast wifi across our whole apartment where our previous non-mesh router failed to do so (tested using fast.com)

[... 68 words]

What are Good Conferences for SaaS Marketers?

Business of Software has a very good reputation.

[... 22 words]

Do accelerators (which do not take up equity) accept not-for-profit ventures into their programs? If yes, which are some of the best ones?

Y Combinator recently started funding non-profits: http://ycombinator.com/np.html

[... 37 words]

What are some good designs for a personal business card for professional networking?

Two things I think are absolutely worth including:

[... 112 words]

What is the best way one can expand his or her professional network?

Go to events—local meetups, conferences, tradeshows... there’s no better way of expanding your professional network than to attend events and build in-person relationships with people.

[... 46 words]

What are the best free tutorials on HTML5?

Dive Into HTML5 and HTML5 Rocks are both outstanding.

[... 25 words]

What’s the best way to keep track of changes to a project you’re not directly contributing to on github?

This is what GitHub’s “watch” feature is for: https://help.github.com/articles...

[... 35 words]

In simple terms, what is node.js?

It’s server-side programming, like PHP. The language you write the server-side code in is JavaScript (specifically the JavaScript version supported by Google’s V8 JavaScript engine, which was originally written for the Chrome web browser).

[... 46 words]

How much equity does YCombinator get on average?

They almost always take 7%—they get diluted down in further rounds.

[... 27 words]

Is YCombinator’s $20k seed capital enough to keep a team of 3 founders alive in Silicon Valley during the program?

Yes—especially if the three founders live together. A three bedroom apartment near Mountain View can be had for around $3-4,000/month (just check Craigslist), which will be the bulk of your expenses. The rest can cover food, car rental and some business-related expenses (we spent some money on office chairs and a desk).

[... 81 words]

Where can I find a list of web and tech business conferences happening across the world this year?

Our site http://lanyrd.com/ should be able to help you with this. We have a large crowd sourced directory of conferences and professional events—we should have most international events in the web/tech verticals, and you can add any that we are missing yourself!

[... 69 words]

Presentations: What tools does Patrick Van Stee use to make his slides?

That looks very much like Apple Keynote (used extremely effectively) to me.

[... 30 words]

Why was LinkedIn Events shut down? Why isn’t there now a social network for business events?

Our site Lanyrd offers LinkedIn signin and works as a social network for business and professional events. You can read more about our LinkedIn integration here: Use Lanyrd and LinkedIn to get more out of professional events and conferences

[... 62 words]

First: I am a first time speaker at a convention (to happen in 2 days time) and I have no experience at all but I believe I can do so can anyone give me tips on how to look confident, engage the audience, inspire them and NOT SUCK...?

Practice your talk, out loud, at the speed you will be delivering it (which should be slower than you normally speak) as many times as possible. After the first few runthroughs, think about ways in which you can improve the talk—things you could communicate more clearly, slides that could be better presented, changes to the order that might help. Then make sure you practice the final version, out loud, at least three times in the exact form you intend to deliver it.

[... 138 words]

Calendars: When posting a facebook event page for an event that is repeated on two dates, should you use one page or two? (The events are games that are identical and should not have overlapping players)

I would use separate pages. The most valuable part of a Facebook event page is being able to see who is going to that event (and hence which of your friends will be there). If there are two events on two separate days you want to be able to maintain two separate lists of attendees.

[... 97 words]