Back to Top

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mixed links

2896165854_7dbae886fa_b From Slashdot: Facebook Scrambles To Contain ToS Fallout. I especially liked the line “a new Facebook group called 'People Against the new Terms of Service' that has added more than 10,000 members today” (emphasis added). So yeah, start a group on the same site we are disagreeing with to show our protest. That should show them :-)

From the OldNewThing blog: Another Seattle bus tool: One Bus Away – a site to provide real-time updates for the busses in the area. It also reminded me how low-tech solutions can be very effective (in this case relaying the distance rather than full-blown GPS coordinates). I also recall hearing that in Romania there is a very effective low-bandwidth communication channel between train-stations using the tracks (which has the advantage of not needing extra conductors to be laid down).

Raymond Chen tells us that there is no API to get the sizes (or count) of files in a directory. I’m sure that he is talking about documented API’s :-). If you want to go the undocumented way, here are some pointers to get you started.

From mnot’s Web log: Stop it with the X- Already! Very interesting, I didn’t know that there was a convention to prefix with “X-“ the names of things considered experimental (then again, what is experimental, since we have a lot of such elements in our protocols).

From the Simple DBA blog: HotSos, Concurrency, Papers and Related Thoughts. It discusses concurrency issues with databases (see the full paper here: Seven Sins of Concurrency). The reasons this is very interesting is because, in many ways, databases abstract away concurrency issues (in fact ACID is specifically defined in the context of multiple users accessing the database simultaneously).

A little library to compute all kind of distances between two stream of bytes: distance. It is also a good overview of the distance metrics out there (although I’m not 100% sure that they all are metrics in the strictest sense of the word).

From Nati Shalom's Blog: Have we learned the lesson from the recent economic meltdown?

6a00d835457b7453ef011278dba19428a4 Children of Men – looks like a Sci-Fi film worth watching.

From the blog: Submarine cable repair: “Ever wonder how broken undersea cables get repaired?”. Interesting stuff. The most surprising thing was to me how they pick up the cable from the sea floor. Again, simplicity prevails over complex precision operations.

A Python feature I can get excited about: Universal Newline Support. You can use it to read files line-by-line without worrying the about the newline conventions it uses (Unix, Windows, Mac).

From the Technorama blog: Star Trek as the A-Team - very, very funny, especially given that both of those serials were determining parts of my youth.

From the programming stuff blog comes this book review: Book Review - The Adventures of Dr Debugalov. While the book itself sounds not worth buying, it pointed me to these series of cartoons, which are mildly funny.

I was inspired by a post on the Windows Incident Response blog to find a reference to programmatically disable the Windows System File Protection. So here it is: Hacking Windows File Protection.

From the Educated Guesswork blog: Trapcall – a method to spoof caller ID. No surprise there, but it still might be news to people just how easy it is to spoof caller ID.

Anton Chuvakin reviews a book about conflicts in the next 100 years. I really, really hope that there will be no such things, since we already have the technology to bomb ourselves back in the stoneage (if not to extinction) and it is really frightening how easy such a conflict can be provoked.

A stackoverflow question pointed me to this article: Patterns for things that change with time. One thing I would like to add is that you need to analyze the frequency of accessing different versions of the the data (ie. the latest version, versions from the last month, and so on) and plan your storage method accordingly. Using a single table (I’m talking in the RDBMS context here) with a separate column to store version / timestamp or something equivalent can lead to less than optimal performance.

From the Demotivator Blog (warning, some of them are offensive):

Image taken from stuart.mundy's photostream with permission.


  1. Anonymous7:38 PM

    OMG, love the image!

  2. Thanks for the mention and link love.

    --Chuck Tomasi - co-host of Technorama