Simon Willison’s Weblog

Items in 2010

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What interesting meetings will be held in March and/or April in Silicon Valley on topics relating to technology startups?

Try browsing through the list on—or use our search feature.

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Is there any quantified proof that .NET or others Microsoft technologies are not good for web startups?

How can you “prove” such a thing? You can disprove the statement that “.NET is no good for web startups” by pointing to examples such as Stack Overflow.

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Did Apple always plan the (native) App Store, or was it released in response to developer demand?

Personally I’ve always assumed that native apps / the App Store was planned from the start, and the “build apps with HTML” thing Steve Jobs originally promoted was intended as a stop-gap measure (and also to mislead the competition). It’s hard for me to believe that a multi-billion dollar marketplace was accidentally created because developers demanded the ability to create native apps. Also, the quality of the APIs discovered by people who jail broke the iPhone suggests to me that a public API was planned from the start.

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URL Design. Thoughtful tips on modern URL design, from GitHub designer Kyle Neath. GitHub has the best designed URLs of any application I can think of. # 31st December 2010, 10:03 am

Where can I find a calendar of upcoming tech events in the San Francisco / Bay area?

Take a look at

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Where is a good list of social media events in the San Francisco Bay Area for 2011?

Take a look at

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Why did Google Wave fail to get significant user adoption?

When Wave first launched, individual Waves didn’t have a URL. This made it impossible to link to them from outside of Wave—people were having to say “log in to Wave, then search for X”. If you can’t link to something on the internet, it may as well not exist.

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What are some other conferences that showcase cool ideas, like TED or the Renaissance Weekend? is quite TED-like—especially good for science topics.

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All I can say, looking back, is that when history takes a look at the lives of Jerry Yang and David Filo, this is what it will probably say: “Two graduate students, intrigued by a growing wealth of material on the Internet, built a huge fucking lobster trap, absorbed as much of human history and creativity as they could, and destroyed all of it.”

Jason Scott # 26th December 2010, 3:57 pm

I am, frankly, a mixture of disappointed and sad that after Yahoo! shut down Geocities, Briefcase, Content Match, Mash, RSS Advertising, Yahoo! Live, Yahoo! 360, Yahoo! Pets, Yahoo Publisher, Yahoo! Podcasts, Yahoo! Music Store, Yahoo Photos, Yahoo! Design, Yahoo Auctions, Farechase, Yahoo Kickstart, MyWeb, WebJay, Yahoo! Directory France, Yahoo! Directory Spain, Yahoo! Directory Germany, Yahoo! Directory Italy, the enterprise business division, Inktomi, SpotM, Maven Networks, Direct Media Exchange, The All Seeing Eye, Yahoo! Tech, Paid Inclusion, Brickhouse, PayDirect, SearchMonkey, and Yahoo! Go!… there are still people out there going “Well, Yahoo certainly will never shut down Flickr, because _______________” where ______ is the sound of donkeys.

Jason Scott # 26th December 2010, 3:54 pm

Audio Sprites (and fixes for iOS). Remy Sharp on the limitations of HTML5 audio support in iOS. # 23rd December 2010, 8:04 pm

What are the main things a non-technical co-founder of a tech company should focus on while the site is still being developed?

Building the right product.

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Is it a good idea to allocate URLs such as to users?

There’s an interesting discussion about this issue on this question: How do sites prevent vanity URLs from colliding with future features ?

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OpenCorporates (via) “The Open Database Of The Corporate World”—a URL for every UK company. # 22nd December 2010, 11:52 am

HotQueue. A super-simple Python work queue using Redis. The API is neat, and makes clever use of generators for blocking consumption of queue items. # 22nd December 2010, 11:51 am

What are good games to get someone who likes Settlers of Catan? is THE place to go for information on good board games. I’d suggest taking a look at Ticket to Ride.

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What is the largest production deployment of Redis?

I’d guess Twitter or Craigslist.

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What are some popular movies that are no longer plausible due to the ubiquity of cell phones & the internet?

“No Signal”

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What is the best license for a web framework (ex: Cake, Rails, Django): GPL, BSD, MIT, other? Why?

Not the GPL. The share-alike viral clause will prevent anyone from creating closed source proprietary projects on top of the framework.

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What are the best alternatives to JavaScript when writing web applications?

CoffeeScript is rather nice—it compiles to non-obfuscated JavaScript.

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JustinTV+> Fenerbahçe Antalyaspor Maçını Canlı izle

I believe they use a lot of Twisted Python

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If I’m bootstrapping a company and expect to get funding within months, what structure of company do VC’s look for?  C Corp, S Corp, LLC?

Apparently a Delaware C Corp makes everything a whole lot easier once VCs are involved.

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Simon Willison: Would you consider Django for a crowd ’funding; website?

I don’t understand the question.

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How long would it take an average programmer to do a Ruby on Rails Reddit clone prototype?

Just FYI, Reddit is an open source Python project:

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Instapaper requiring email and passwords for new accounts. Instapaper are changing from their novel “enter a username or email address, only enter a password if you really want one” registration scheme to a more traditional email and password required model. Messing with registration forms is a risky business—in this case, the non-obvious support issues that resulted were a net negative. # 15th December 2010, 8:35 pm

What are some of the best quotations on programming/programming languages?

“There are only two hard problems in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things”—Phil Karlton

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What are some tips for moderating a panel?

It’s a very hard thing to do well.

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How should you set up a staging server?

Start by reading this:

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What are the best NoSQL databases for a web application?

It depends entirely on what you are building. You may well be better off with SQL.

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24 ways: Extreme Design. Hannah Donovan on the design process that has evolved from multiple /dev/fort expeditions. # 10th December 2010, 10:08 am