tecznotes

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

Aug 21, 2010 2:42pm

release often

A few code-like things I've been working on lately.

Polymaps

Polymaps is a result of our summerlong collaboration with SimpleGeo. We've been working on it for some time, but yesterday we announced it for realsies and saw an amazing response from all over the internet. This one's been doubly rewarding for us, since it's also the result of a summerlong collaboration with Mike Bostock of Protovis fame. Mike's been on our radar since he showed off Protovis when Tom and I visited Stanford a while back. It was a week-old at the time and already full of promise. This Javascript thing, I think it will go far.

Census Tools

Census Tools is a small thing I put together last week, to extract data from the 2000 U.S. Census by subject and geography. I've just added the ludicrously detailed Summary File 3 with loads of information on housing, commutes, and other topics. Also, Shawn added a second script, text2geojson.py, which converts the textual output of census2text.py into neatly-formed GeoJSON. This makes it trivially compatible with PolyMaps!

Walking Papers

Walking Papers gained two new translations recently. Maxim Dubinin provided a complete version of the site in Russian, while Frank Eriksson has been working on it in Swedish. This will bring our total number of languages to ten, and it's a fascinating case study in the power of using Git (and Github) for open source projects. Generally speaking, most of the translators haven't had to ask for permission or even informed me of their work until they were basically done. A staging site and a few git pulls later and we've got a new translation!

Maxim who did the Russian version was the first person to translate the title of the project in addition to the text content. He said they had a pretty good pun going as well:

Well, as I recall, "walking papers" are docs you're getting when you're fired, right? Turns out "Обходной лист" is exactly the same thing in russian - a piece of paper ("лист"), that you're getting when you're fired and use to "walk around people" ("обходить") in your org collecting signatures that you returned what you had too etc, so it is means almost exactly the same. Funny that that you can literally translate some idioms and they will still make sense. In the context of OSM I guess it translates as well you walk around, now geographically, not people wise and it is a piece of paper :)

So good.

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