Simon Willison’s Weblog

8 items tagged “hacks”


The Commodordion (via) The Commodordion is “an 8-bit accordion primarily made of C64s, floppy disks, and gaffer tape” by Linus Åkesson. It’s absolutely beautiful. # 21st October 2022, 11:36 pm


gls: Goroutine local storage (via) Go doesn’t provide a mechanism for having “goroutine local” variables (like threadlocals in Python but for goroutines), and the structure of the language makes it really hard to get something working. JT Olio figured out a truly legendary hack: Go’s introspection lets you see the current stack, so he figured out a way to encode a base-16 identifer tag into the call order of 16 special nested functions. I particularly like the “What are people saying?” section of the README: “Wow, that’s horrifying.”—“This is the most terrible thing I have seen in a very long time.”—“Where is it getting a context from? Is this serializing all the requests? What the heck is the client being bound to? What are these tags? Why does he need callers? Oh god no. No no no.” # 28th May 2019, 11:13 pm


10K Apart Contest: Cheating by Compressing Your JavaScript and CSS to PNG Images. Fascinating hack: transform your JS and CSS in to coloured pixels, save the result as a PNG to benefit from PNG’s built in compression algorithms, then read the data back out of the PNG and convert it back to text using JavaScript and canvas—all to reduce the on-disk filesize when entering the 10K app competition. Alex’s GithubFinder entry is worth checking out too. # 23rd August 2010, 9:45 am

When all of human endeavor falls under the rubric of the “hack” the word ceases to mean anything. Hack your commute, take public transit! Hack your next dinner party with parlour games. Delightfully clever key hack keeps all your keys on the same ring. Hack Mexican food with a “burrito” sized tortilla! Hack your brain with REM sleep. Hack the sun with a straw hat. Hack hygiene with silver oxide “deodorant”. Hack girls with compliments. Hack your windowsill with a pot of wheatgrass, and hack the sky with the goddamn moon.

qwzybug on Hacker News # 10th August 2010, 11:54 am


Video for Everybody! Reminiscent of the early days of Web Standards, Kroc Camen has created a fiendishly clever chunk of HTML which can play a video on any browser, starting with HTML5 video then falling back on Flash and eventually just an HTML message telling the user where they can download the file. No JavaScript to be seen, but conditional comments abound. Requires you to encode as both Ogg and H.264, but Kroc includes details instructions for doing that using Handbrake. # 2nd July 2009, 7:33 pm


Notes from Hack Day at The Guardian. Our first hack day was a ridiculous amount of fun. Matt’s write-up includes a 15 minute highlight video, which includes my 90 second presentation of my crowdsourcing SVG-powered parliamentary constituencies hack. # 18th November 2008, 11:42 pm

Bill Gates has pulled off one of the greatest hacks in technology and business history, by turning Microsoft’s success into a force for social responsibility. Imagine imposing a tax on every corporation in the developed world, collecting $100 per white-collar worker per year, and then directing one third of the proceeds to curing AIDS and malaria.

Anil Dash # 26th June 2008, 5:17 pm


Bit Twiddling Hacks. I’ve never been much of a bit twiddler, but I’ve always felt I should learn. # 2nd November 2007, 6:49 am