Simon Willison’s Weblog

Quotations in 2008

Filters: Type: quotation × Year: 2008 ×


I seem to have lost the battle to define Web 2.0 as “the use of the network as platform to build systems that get better the more people use them.”

Tim O'Reilly # 29th December 2008, 7:29 pm

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

Someone asked for onbeforeunload, so I started fixing it. Then I found that there was some rot in the drywall. So I took down the drywall. Then I found a rat infestation. So I killed all the rats. Then I found that the reason for the rot was a slow leak in the plumbing. So I tried fixing the plumbing, but it turned out the whole building used lead pipes. So I had to redo all the plumbing. But then I found that the town’s water system wasn’t quite compatible with modern plumbing techniques, and I had to dig up the entire town. And that’s basically it.

Ian Hickson # 19th December 2008, 1:58 pm

Yahoo! yesterday launched their new development platform for My Yahoo! and Yahoo! Mail, which uses Caja to protect users from malicious gadgets. This means Caja suddenly got 275,000,000 users. Wow! I guess this makes Caja the most widely used capability language ever.

Ben Laurie # 16th December 2008, 4:33 pm

There. Is. No. Long-Term. Data. Storage. Solution. There is only a series of short-term solutions punctuated by data migration from one medium to the next.

Mark Pilgrim # 13th December 2008, 11:36 pm

How could the major players have left a gap in the market so wide that a complete novice in mobile telephony could so instantly shame them?

Stephen Fry # 10th December 2008, 6:21 pm

Responders will tell you that broadcasters are condescending talking heads who think they’re too good for the community. Broadcasters wish responders would take their nonsensical patter to a chat room, where they could natter on in privacy. Everyone agrees that members of the other group are total jackasses who don’t know how to use Twitter.

Margaret Mason # 9th December 2008, 6:06 pm

[In Mali...] The outcome of this rampant illegal software copying is that Windows is seen as “the first world standard” and any attempt to push a cheaper alternative is strongly resisted. They consider it trying to cheat local people out of getting the same quality of software that is used in the developed world, even though it’s a legal way of getting quality software for free.

Jeremy Allison # 9th December 2008, 8:03 am

I don’t think that Python 3.0 is a bad thing. But that it’s displayed so prominently on the Python web site, without any kind of warning that it’s not going to work with 99% of the Python code out there, scares the hell out of me. People are going to download and install 3.0 by default, and nothing’s going to work. They’re going to complain, and many are going to simply walk away.

Christopher Lenz # 6th December 2008, 10 am

Heck, I practically invented the formula of “tell a funny story and then get all serious and show how this is amusing anecdote just goes to show that (one thing|the other) is a universal truth.” And everybody is like, oh yes! how true! and they link to it with approval, and it zooms to the top of Slashdot. And six years later, a new king arises who did not know Joel, and he writes up another amusing anecdote, really, it’s the same anecdote, and he uses it to prove the exact opposite, and everyone is like, oh yes! how true! and it zooms to the top of Reddit.

Joel Spolsky # 19th November 2008, 8:41 am

It’s funny, when I sit down to write something for Phoenix I feel like I have to get into my “Phoenix character.” [...] I try to be the eternal optimist because people are getting so upset about the mission coming to an end, and I’m trying to lessen that grief.

Veronica McGregor # 11th November 2008, 12:21 pm

I’ll put forth one central, overriding guideline for iPhone UI design: Figure out the absolute least you need to do to implement the idea, do just that, and then polish the hell out of the experience.

John Gruber # 4th November 2008, 12:02 am

When visiting any Web page, the site owner is easily able to ascertain what websites you’ve visited (CSS color hacks) or places you’re logged-in (JavaScript errors / IMG loading behavior). They can also automatically exploit your online bank, social network, and webmail accounts (XSS). Additionally, the browser could be instructed to hack devices on the intranet, including DSL routers and printers. And, if that’s not enough, they could turn you into a felon by forcing requests to illegal content or hack other sites (CSRF).

Jeremiah Grossman # 3rd November 2008, 12:43 pm

.. yet another ridiculous data breach: this time, people’s passwords to the Government Gateway on a memory stick dropped in the road. Perhaps it is uncouth to point this out, but... if the system had been designed by people with any security clue whatsoever there would have been no passwords to put on a memory stick in the first place.

Ben Laurie # 2nd November 2008, 1:04 pm

In the final Production release we will be adding the ability to sign in to the Live ID OpenID Provider using any of the credential types that can be used with regular Live ID sign-in’s -- including CardSpace, SmartCard, eID, etc.

Jorgen Thelin # 30th October 2008, 5:09 pm

I’m really typecasting myself here. If there were an international “Person most likely to write a Spectrum emulator in Javascript” award, I’d have taken it for the last five years running.

Matt Westcott # 29th October 2008, 5:24 pm

The key thing to remember is that REST is about building software that scales to usage on the World Wide Web by being a good participant of the Web ecosystem. Ideally a RESTful API should be designed to be implementable by thousands of websites and consumed by hundreds of applications running on dozens of platforms with zero coupling between the client applications and the Web services.

Dare Obasanjo # 24th October 2008, 1:39 pm

Government in the UK once lead the world in it’s own information systems, breaking Enigma, documenting an empire’s worth of trade. And then it fired everyone who could do those things, or employed them only via horribly expensive consultancies. It is time to start bringing them back into the corridors of power.

Tom Steinberg # 21st October 2008, 10:29 pm

Are we so deranged here in the twenty-first century that we’re going to re-enact, wide-eyed, the twin tragedies of the great desktop-suite lock-in and the great proprietary-SQL lock-in? You know, the ones where you give a platform vendor control over your IT budget? Gimme a break.

Tim Bray # 15th October 2008, 5:09 pm

The only down side is everyone I’ve talked to at Freebase seems pretty solid on this being their proprietary secret sauce, because a good, fast scalable open source tuple store might actually jump start a real semantic (small-S) web after all these years.

Kellan Elliott-McCrea # 29th September 2008, 3:29 pm

We’ve found CSRF vulnerabilities in sites that have a huge incentive to do security correctly. If you’re in charge of a website and haven’t specifically protected against CSRF, chances are you’re vulnerable.

Bill Zeller # 29th September 2008, 1:11 pm

Yahoo could also have followed Gmail’s lead, and disabled the security-question mechanism unless no logged-in user had accessed the account for five days. This clever trick prevents password “recovery” when there is evidence that somebody who knows the password is actively using the account.

Ed Felten # 22nd September 2008, 4:21 pm

The Palin hack didn’t require any real skill. Instead, the hacker simply reset Palin’s password using her birthdate, ZIP code and information about where she met her spouse—the security question on her Yahoo account, which was answered (Wasilla High) by a simple Google search.

Kim Zetter, Wired # 18th September 2008, 10:23 pm

The greatest coup Microsoft pulled with Internet Explorer was putting the word “Internet” in its name. It sits there, on the desktop of every new Windows computer, and it says “Internet”. So you click it. [...] What better way to beat a browser with the word “Internet” in its name—a browser that seemingly can’t be beat no matter how hard we try—than the Internet Company itself making a browser?

Tom Armitage # 3rd September 2008, 10:19 am

New authentication schemes such as OpenID, or Microsoft’s CardSpace, may help as adoption increases. These systems make it possible to register for one site using credentials verified by another. Instead of having many sites with poor verification procedures, the internet could have a few sites with strong verification procedures, that are then used by others. The advantage for the user is that they no longer have to jump through multiple hoops for each new site they encounter.

Tim Anderson (in the Guardian) # 29th August 2008, 10:01 am

As duplicitous and sad as “fake following” sounds—and let’s be honest: the whole idea’s pathetic on a number of levels—for a certain kind of user, I can see why there’s a desire for this functionality. Especially on a site like FriendFeed, which has quickly become the platform of choice for the web’s least interesting narcissists—and the slow-witted woodland creatures who enjoy grooming their fur—this is a major breakthrough in the makebelieve friendship space. Yes, primate culture may be primitive, but it is not without its evolving needs.

Merlin Mann # 26th August 2008, 10:28 pm

The Long Now Foundation was established in 01996*... (The Long Now Foundation uses five digit dates, the extra zero is to solve the deca-millennium bug which will come into effect in about 8,000 years.)

The Long Now Foundation # 25th August 2008, 7:42 pm

A convention once saw, for example, that I had worked at NASA, and put me on a panel about the future of space exploration.  I felt a little out-of-place, given that my main NASA achievement was that I once lassoed a robot with cat-6 cable and had it pull me around the hallways charioteer-style.

Randall Munroe # 22nd August 2008, 8:28 am

Making queries faster isn’t in the critical path for improving the real-world performance of any Dojo apps I know of, and I bet the same is true for JQuery users. Reducing the size of the libraries, on the other hand, is still important. Now that we’re all fast enough, it’s time that we stopped beating on this particular drum lest we lose the plot and the JavaScript community continue to subject itself to endless rounds of benchmarketing.

Alex Russell # 22nd August 2008, 8:12 am

Unfortunately, we’re not cool enough to run on your OS yet. We really wish we had a version of Photosynth that worked cross platform, but for now it only runs on Windows.

Install Photosynth page # 21st August 2008, 10:07 am