Simon Willison’s Weblog

Entries in 2009

Filters: Type: entry × Year: 2009 ×


Crowdsourced document analysis and MP expenses

As you may have heard, the UK government released a fresh batch of MP expenses documents a week ago on Thursday. I spent that week working with a small team at Guardian HQ to prepare for the release. Here’s what we built:

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Node.js is genuinely exciting

I gave a talk on Friday at Full Frontal, a new one day JavaScript conference in my home town of Brighton. I ended up throwing away my intended topic (JSONP, APIs and cross-domain security) three days before the event in favour of a technology which first crossed my radar less than two weeks ago.

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Why I like Redis

I’ve been getting a lot of useful work done with Redis recently.

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This shouldn’t be the image of Hack Day

I love hack days. I was working in the vicinity of Chad Dickerson when he organised the first internal Yahoo! Hack Day back in 2005, and I’ve since participated in hack day events at Yahoo!, Global Radio and the Guardian. I’ve also been to every one of Yahoo!’s Open Hack Day events in London. They’re fantastic, and the team that organises them should be applauded.

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Django ponies: Proposals for Django 1.2

I’ve decided to step up my involvement in Django development in the run-up to Django 1.2, so I’m currently going through several years worth of accumulated pony requests figuring out which ones are worth advocating for. I’m also ensuring I have the code to back them up—my innocent AutoEscaping proposal a few years ago resulted in an enormous amount of work by Malcolm and I don’t think he’d appreciate a repeat performance.

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Hack Day tools for non-developers

We’re about to run our second internal hack day at the Guardian. The first was an enormous amount of fun and the second one looks set to be even more productive.

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Teaching users to be secure is a shared responsibility

Ryan Janssen: Why an OAuth iframe is a Great Idea.

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Facebook Usernames and OpenID

Today’s launch of Facebook Usernames provides an obvious and exciting opportunity for Facebook to become an OpenID provider. Facebook have clearly demonstrated their interest in becoming the key online identity for their users, and the new usernames feature is their acknowledgement that URL-based identities are an important component of that, no doubt driven in part by Twitter making usernames trendy again.

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djng—a Django powered microframework

djng is nearly two weeks old now, so it’s about time I wrote a bit about the project.

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rev=canonical bookmarklet and designing shorter URLs

I’ve watched the proliferation of URL shortening services over the past year with a certain amount of dismay. I care about the health of the web and try to ensure that URLs I am responsible will last for as long as possible, and I think it’s very unlikely that all of these new services will still be around in twenty years time. Last month I suggested that the Internet Archive start mirroring redirect databases, and last week I was pleased to hear that Archiveteam, a different organisation, had already started crawling.

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List of SxSW 2009 panels with “social” in the title

  • A Hard Sell? Social Media & Your Boss
  • Can Social Media End Racism?
  • Digital Urbanites: How To Become Part of the New Social Capital
  • The Future Of Social Networks
  • How Social Networks Are Killing the Revolution
  • Making Whuffie: Raising Social Capital in Online Communities
  • The Mix at Six Hosted by Social Media Group
  • Mobile Social SXSW BBQ
  • My Boss Doesn’t Get It: Championing Social Media to the Man
  • PBS’ Interactive Social Media & Online Video Studio
  • The Search for a More Social Web
  • Security for the Social Set
  • Social Engineering: Scam Your Way Into Anything or From Anybody
  • Social Gamers: Away From the Keyboard
  • Social Media For Social Good
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day
  • Social Media Nonprofit ROI Poetry Slam
  • Social Media: If You Liked it, Then You Should Have Put a Digg on it...
  • Social Networking in Health: e-Patients, Data & Privacy
  • Social Patterns and Antipatterns For the Win
  • Suxorz ’09: The Ten Worst Social Media Campaigns
  • Twitter for Marketers: Is It Still Social Media?
  • Using GPS & Location to Enhance Social Networking
  • Using the New Digital Social Media to Accelerate Sustainability

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A few notes on the Guardian Open Platform

This morning we launched the Guardian Open Platform at a well attended event in our new offices in Kings Place. This is one of the main projects I’ve been helping out with since joining the Guardian last year, and it’s fantastic to finally have it out in the open.

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Pragmatism, purity and JSON content types

I started a conversation about this on Twitter the other day, but Twitter is a horrible place to have an archived discussion so I’m going to try again here.

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Rate limiting with memcached

On Monday, several high profile “celebrity” Twitter accounts started spouting nonsense, the victims of stolen passwords. Wired has the full story—someone ran a dictionary attack against a Twitter staff member, discovered their password and used Twitter’s admin tools to reset the passwords on the accounts they wanted to steal.

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