Michal Migurski's notebook, listening post, and soapbox. Subscribe to this blog. Check out the rest of my site as well.

Feb 6, 2006 6:30pm

global warming

Shocking, new evidence for global warming:

  • ... "tens of thousands" of game players connecting at McDonalds restaurants. ... indicating that competition in the mobile platform space is heating up. ...
  • "Competition in the online lending space is heating up, with a number of regional players working hard to make their web sites as good as the traditional ...
  • ... companies vying to acquire the major players in the mobile games business. ... The mobile search investment space is heating up for sure: US publishing ...
  • The mobile search investment space is heating up for sure: US publishing house ... Expect more such deals with other players to happen this year: Motorola ...
  • As far as rumors go, the one about Google's move into the browser space is heating up. ... two key players in the development of the Firefox browser, ...
  • I think it's great that the Internet consumer space is heating up again. ... Now we have talented, capable players on the margin who might as well be feral. ...
  • ... to the medical device market with new players grabbing major market share, ... The remote monitoring space is heating up, what with companies like ADT, ...
  • The behavioral targeting space is heating up, with competition between leading ... The players are jockeying for position in the still-nascent arena. ...
  • Competition in the RNAi space is heating up as companies work toward developing ... Global Health Issues: New Money, New Players, New Opportunities ...
  • The Web mail space is heating up and players such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google are trying to differentiate their respective services, an analyst says. ...
  • Competition between vendors in the B2B space has been heating up, with SAP, Oracle and other ERP players taking on established exchange software and service ...
  • In the second of a series of occasional interviews with key players in the entertainment industry, ... The darknet business space is heating up. ...
  • The event space is heating up, with Upcoming.org and Whizspark with their ... On hiring and cycling: Looking to add new players to the team at all times. ...
  • To say M&A activity in the storage space is heating up is a gross understatement, especially when the conversation involves EMC; ...
  • It looks like the video space is heating up. Ars Techna noted a recent Variety ... to turn iPods into video players are now online at the above address. ...
  • The Web mail space is heating up and players such as Microsoft, Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. are trying to differentiate their respective services, ...

Feb 6, 2006 7:14am

awards show

I’ve been doing a lot of grousing lately. And posting very short entries.

This post is an attempt to fix the damage.

I am the technical director at Stamen, which means that when I’m not crouched under the desks routing ethernet cables, I’m often goofing off online, looking for weird new technologies to play with and develop into experimental projects or client work. Over the past year, I’ve come across a range of new tools that really made my socks roll up and down, and I’d like to describe each one and why I think it’s so cool. Think of this short list as my own personal technical Oscars.

Five things that helped make my year:

  1. Python

    It was necessary to overcome my strong aversion to syntactical whitespace, but Python turned out to be totally worthwhile. Mark Pilgrim’s book Dive Into Python was my entry point, and it explained the language in a way tuned for experienced programmers. List comprehensions are a dream. “Batteries Included” means I don’t have to look far for useful code. Python was my immediate replacement for Perl and command-line PHP, and I tend to use it wherever I need utility scripts or screen scrapers these days.

    I had this same reaction when I first started reading Paul Graham on Lisp, but that language turned out to be almost completely devoid of a useful community and software libraries. I remembered a lot of Scheme from 61A, but it was a dead-end.

    Python still has not replaced PHP for my web applications programming, but it’s replacing just about everything else. I’ve looked at a few of the currently-hot web frameworks such as Django and Turbogears, but each feels as helpful to me as Rails, which is to say: not very.

  2. Blosxom (“The Zen of Blogging”)

    I moved my own site from NanoBlogger to Blosxom just about a year ago. Blosxom dispenses with an editing interface, a database of posts, and a lot of other features of more typical blogging software. Posts are edited with a plain text editor such as vim, and consist of text files batched together into a list of stories, with a head at the top and a foot at the bottom:

    (head) (story 1) (story 2) ... (story n) (foot)

    Configuration is minimal, and almost all fat has been trimmed. The script itself is short, yet affords flexible URL’s (e.g. all posts in July or all posts in directory /foo) and various output formats triggered by request file extension, called flavours. These are demonstrated in a neat hack by Don Marti called “Blog To Congress.”

    The joy of Blosxom comes in its sparseness: extra features such comments, calendars, or new input formats can be triggered by loading optional plug-ins, and there is a clean separation of core functionality and bonus functionality. Over time, I’ve added and removed a number of plug-ins, and I feel that I’m at an optimal balance of simplicity and power.

  3. Atom

    Atom was looking to be an nerd’s over-engineered answer to RSS when I first heard about it. I resolved to ignore the whole thing until hit 1.0 or fell into the abyss. It didn’t go away, and I love the end result.

    I appreciate two things about this spec:

    1. Respects XML.
      SOAP is bloated, and XML-RPC seems determined to re-implement XML in XML. Who needs that? Atom defines a small vocabulary and sticks to it.

    2. Respects HTTP.
      Atom actually uses methods like PUT and DELETE, apparently in the way they were intended. It also requires that every entry has an associated URL, and uses this address when communicating changes.

    I’m aware of some disagreements, but to be honest I don’t understand them.

  4. Drupal

    The appeal of Drupal for me is similar to that of Blosxom. This is a super light-weight content management system for PHP & MySQL that seems have been worn down to a perfectly-shaped nub through careful development & use.

    I was first turned on to Drupal through Mike Frumin’s choice to write a Reblog module that would let us outsource user account creation and management for a hosted, multi-user Reblog.

    It’s a tremendously flexible piece of software that can do a lot of work without sacrificing elegance. The core does one job well: content management by multiple users with overlapping responsibilities. It ships with a bunch of modules that implement useful add-ons like blogging, menus, URL aliases, file uploads, and so on. Writing new modules seems to be a piece of cake. If I were to switch to a more advanced piece of blogging software, this would be the one. In the meanime, I’m using it for sites that need blog-like features plus a little bit more than what Blosxom is made to do.

  5. Twisted

    I was turned on to Twisted three weeks ago when Rael Dornfest (coincidentally also responsible for Blosxom) showed me a bit of Peerkat. It’s as cool as Max/MSP & Jitter were when I first fell into that world five years ago, for many of the same reasons. Twisted is glue software: it implements a simple event-based network programming infrastructure, and includes a gob of protocol implementations for HTTP, IRC, IMAP, and many others. I’m excited because it opens the door to a world of net-mashing possibilities, the same way that Max and Jitter put me in a position to manipulate live media.

    In my first week of messing with Twisted, I was able to put together a completely serviceable HTTP Attention Proxy. In my second week of messing with Twisted, I’m snarfing IRC data and emitting live visual interpretations (more on this later).

    Twisted is an enabler.

Honorable mentions: Debian, XMLHttpRequest, ****, JSON.

Feb 6, 2006 2:08am

victory through apathy

Sam Hughes:

As an ordinary human being, you may feel that there is nothing you can do in the fight against terrorism. You couldn't be more wrong. You see, terrorism directly targets ordinary people. You, an ordinary person, can deny terrorists their victory simply by refusing to be a victim. Believe it or not, you have a choice in the matter. This is because the victims of terrorism are not simply those who get blown up during the initial attack. It's the people who are scared to fly in airplanes or visit big cities afterwards. It's the people who get dragged into a war against an abstract concept. It's the people who get attacked in the street because they look like they might come from a hot country.

In retrospect, this form of victory through apathy was the obvious moral lesson of Iain M. Banks's The Algebraist.

October 2021
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