Simon Willison’s Weblog

Blogmarks in 2009

Filters: Type: blogmark × Year: 2009 ×


Web Sockets in Tornado. Bret Taylor has a simple class making it trivial to experiment with the Web Sockets protocol (now shipping in Chrome) using the scalable Tornado application server. He also raises the million dollar question: what will existing load balancers and proxies make of the new protocol? # 31st December 2009, 11:54 am

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical. Went to see this last night with some friends—they really do improvise an entire musical (a surprisingly good one, with catchy new songs and three part harmonies) based entirely on user suggestions. They have shows coming up in Brighton and Bath, thoroughly recommended. # 31st December 2009, 9:36 am

Newzald: From Moleskine to Market. A typeface designer describes the process involved in designing a new font and taking it to market. # 31st December 2009, 9:24 am

qTip. Advanced tooltip plugin for jQuery, including borders and pointers created using CSS. Very flexible (we used this for the latest MP expenses application) but a little on the heavy side, weighing in at 38KB when minified. # 30th December 2009, 6:23 pm

tipsy. Simple Facebook-style tooltip plugin for jQuery. # 30th December 2009, 6:21 pm

jsondns. A JSONP API for making DNS queries, with a nice URL structure. # 30th December 2009, 5:37 pm

Intercepting Predator Video. Bruce Schneier’s take on the unencrypted Predator UAV story. A fascinating discussion of key management and the non-technical side of cryptography. # 24th December 2009, 9:26 pm

Orderly JSON. Essentially the JSON equivalent of RelaxNG’s compact syntax—a pleasant mini-language for describing JSON objects which compiles to the more verbose JSONSchema format. # 23rd December 2009, 2:44 pm

The Dangers of Clickjacking with Facebook. theharmonyguy compiled a list of actions that can be triggered on Facebook by a single click, and hence are vulnerable to clickjacking attacks. The list includes authorising malicious applications, posting links to profiles, sending friend requests and sending messages to other users. Why don’t Facebook include frame busting JavaScript on every page? # 23rd December 2009, 10:20 am

PostgreSQL 8.5alpha3 now available. “Hot Standby, allowing read-only connections during recovery, provides a built-in master-slave replication solution.” Woohoo! # 23rd December 2009, 9:57 am

Socket Benchmark of Asynchronous Servers in Python. A comparison of eight different asynchronous networking frameworks in Python. Tornado comes out on top in most of the benchmarks, but the post is most interesting for the direct comparison of simple code examples for each of the frameworks. # 22nd December 2009, 10:34 pm

The Worst Ideas of the Decade: Vaccine scares. “The movement blaming vaccines for causing autism emerged in the early 2000s, and it was one of the most catastrophically horrible ideas of the decade.” # 22nd December 2009, 9:17 pm

New Redis ZINCRBY command (via) Just added to Redis, a command which increments the “score” for an item in a sorted set and reorders the set to reflect the new scores. Looks ideally suited to real time stats, and I’m sure there are plenty of other exciting uses for it. # 22nd December 2009, 8:38 pm

New Facebook clickjacking attack in the wild. I’m not sure why Facebook don’t use frame-busting JavaScript to avoid this kind of thing. The attack is pretty crafty—a Facebook page is positioned with everything obscured bar part of the blue “share this” button, and a fake “Human Test” asks the user to find and click the blue button to continue. # 22nd December 2009, 6:52 pm

Django | Multiple Databases. Russell just checked in the final patch developed from Alex Gaynor’s Summer of Code project to add multiple database support to Django. I’d link to the 21,000 line changeset but it crashed our Trac, so here’s the documentation instead. # 22nd December 2009, 5:22 pm

Learn to Let Go: How Success Killed Duke Nukem. The fascinating 12 year story of Duke Nukem Forever. # 22nd December 2009, 10:45 am

Another leak, the worst so far (via) “Arweena, a spokes-elf for Santa Claus, admitted a few hours ago that the database posted at WikiLeaks yesterday is indeed the comprehensive 2009 list of which kids have been naughty, and which were nice.” The first comment is great too. # 22nd December 2009, 10:42 am

Round-robin Django setup with nginx. An nginx trick I didn’t know: a low proxy_connect_timeout value (e.g. 2 seconds) combined with the proxy_next_upstream setting means that if one of your backends breaks a user won’t even see an error, they’ll just have a short delay before getting a response from a working server. # 21st December 2009, 3:43 pm

Notes on designing the Guardian iPhone app. By John-Henry Barac, the principal designer of he iPhone application who also previously worked on the Guardian’s print transition to the Berliner format. # 20th December 2009, 12:55 pm

jQuery.require() implementation. John Resig has added a new jQuery.require() function to a jQuery development branch, for release as part of jQuery 1.4. The commit on GitHub has an extensive discussion attached to it (scroll to the bottom). # 17th December 2009, 11:24 am

getElementsByTagName(). Dean Edwards rolls a hand-rolled getElementsByTagName function for use with DOM fragments (which don’t provide the method). His code is a nice example of a tightly written tree walker using the low level DOM API. # 17th December 2009, 7:46 am

Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones. The video feed rather than the control protocol, but still.... “Fixing the security gap would have caused delays, according to current and former military officials. It would have added to the Predator’s price. Some officials worried that adding encryption would make it harder to quickly share time-sensitive data within the U.S. military, and with allies.” # 17th December 2009, 7:36 am

Django-Jython 1.1.0 released. Django on Jython matches its minor version numbers to Django, so this new release is compatible with Django 1.1. # 16th December 2009, 10:42 pm

Notes from the No Lone Zone. A computer scientist with a background in cryptography visits a Titan II ICBM launch complex. # 16th December 2009, 10:02 am

StartupBoeing—Starting an Airline (via) Boeing’s guide to starting your own airline. # 15th December 2009, 10:38 pm

Unicode code converter (via) Fantastically useful tool to convert strings of characters in to every unicode and/or escaping syntax you can possibly imagine. # 15th December 2009, 10:10 pm

Semantic Versioning. Tom Preston-Werner provides a name, specification and URL describing the relatively widely used Major.Minor.Patch versioning system. This is really useful—by giving something a name and a spec, people can say “this project uses semantic versioning” and skip having to explain their backwards compatibility policy in full. # 15th December 2009, 9:53 pm

HTTP + Politics = ? Mark Nottingham ponders the technical implications of Australia’s decision to apply a filter to all internet traffic. Australia is large enough (and far enough away from the northern hemisphere) that the speed of light is a performance issue, but filtering technologies play extremely poorly with optimisation technologies such as HTTP pipelining and Google’s SPDY proposal. # 15th December 2009, 3:36 pm

Guardian iPhone app. Released today, ad-free, £2.39 for the application, has an excellent offline mode. I helped build the backend web service, which is a Django app running on EC2. # 14th December 2009, 1:29 pm

Going Nuts with CSS Transitions. Nat’s article for this year’s 24ways—adding special effects to images using CSS rotation, box shadows and the magical -webkit-transition property. # 14th December 2009, 1:16 pm

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