Monthly Archive for April, 2008

News writing at its finest

I couldn’t help but wonder how got past an editor:

“We have fully explored through the United Nations our entitlements to actually extend our continental shelf.”

Mr Ferguson said Australia had explored its entitlements to extend the continental shelf.

Need we even wonder if traditional media is dead?

A Chat - Episode 22

Google App Engine and more.

Show notes are here: http://bgcooper.com/2008/04/20/a-chat-episode-22-show-notes/

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A Chat - Episode 22 show notes

Google App Engine and more.
  • experiences
    • Early problems with django app, used too much time, no clue as to why
    • Got it working by using later examples
    • Seems fairly quick ab says about 450ms (ping is 300ms)

    • Benefits overview
    • Lovely menus
    • Excellent examples
    • Can serve the CSS direct from Yahoo’s server
  • Home brew electronics
    • Morse ident keyer with Atmel ATTiny85
    • Programmable with gcc
    • 8 pin device
    • My code uses 1k or 8k available
    • 6 pins available for input or output
  • Amazon Web services action
    • They seem to have become very active since google launched
      • “Elastic” IPs
      • Data centre location
      • SLAs
    • New dashboard for showing service status
      • They say that users tell them there are problems some times…
    • Higher level, higher cost support options
      • If you bet your business on these services you need someone to call
  • Amazon MP3
    • Got an invite offering free tracks
    • No DRM is attractive
    • They have a downloader that automatically ads to iTunes
    • I tried but it wanted a US credit card address.
  • SafariAdBlock
    • blocks most ads in Safari
    • free from 
    • Sites that make me scroll down past ads have pushed me to this
    • Have tried other approaches such as squid with perl script to replace banners in the past
  • Trying Twitter
    • micro blogging
    • useful? hmm
    • client is an Adobe Air application
      • scary thing is that an application is installed by flash running in a browser
  • iPhone Australia gossip
    • Someone is working on getting iPhones approved on Australian carriers
    • This is said to take “months”
    • But there’s lots already on the network so presumably it could be sped up
    • Or not, if they are new models
  • Open Source Corporations
    • We talked Sun buying MySQL in Episode 13
    • How will this change MySQL?
    • What’s happened to other open source projects?
    • Peter’s blog post

Attack of the Network Solutions!

I was looking to download the and typed http://twhirl.com/ in my address bar, with the following results:

Mark for Network Solutions.

A big win for Django

I know it’s probably been covered before, but check out the license for the :

App Engine Django license

This is fantastic news for the team!

A Chat - Episode 21

The MacBook Air is lethal!
In this episode we chat about
  • Apologies for lack of show notes in last episode (Ben)
    • Tried publishing from Google docs and didn’t quite like the formatting
    • Tried changing using Wordpress’ visual editor and got strange results
    • Upgraded to Wordpress 2.5 this week which includes a much improved editor
      • Supposedly doesn’t interfere with crafted HTML in the code editor
    • Attempted the same for these show notes without success. Here is the error from Google docs

      (perhaps those broke something for Google?)

    • Pasting Google docs generated HTML looks OK
  • Cut myself on the MacBook Air (Pete)
    • Really!
    • My USB ethernet adapter has failed
    • Overall, very happy with the laptop
    • Sometimes would like it to be faster
  • Websites: Everyone’s doing APIs (Ben)
    • FaceBook - with some controversy about the data it shares
    • LinkedIn are supporting Google’s 
      • as are Friendster, MySpace (late to the party), Ning, Plaxo, Salesforce, Six Apart

      YouTube - offers access to the YouTube video repository and community features via a GoogleData (”GData”) API.

    • Google apps for your domain
      • Provisioning API is quite compelling
      • Only for paying users:

      • Get a strange exception when trying to use the provisioning API on a free service, that contains no information.
        • (’status’, ‘body’, ‘reason’)
      • Signed up for 30 day trial to test out
        • You need to enable it before it works

        • What the don’t tell you is that you need to make an explicit client login before you can do anything (otherwise you get the strange exception above). Kind of bizarre since you need to put authentication information in the AppsService object. e.g. to create a user:
        #!/bin/python
        import gdata.apps.service
        service = gdata.apps.service.AppsService(email='ben', domain='bgcooper.com', password='password')
        user_name = "me"
        family_name = "Cooper"
        given_name = "Benjamin"
        password = "secret"
        try:
            service.ClientLogin('ben@bgcooper.com', 'password')
            user = service.CreateUser(user_name, family_name, given_name, password)
            print user
        except gdata.apps.service.AppsForYourDomainException , e:
            print e
        • The result is:


    • Twitter - Restful api 
    • Perhaps the symantic web is really happening?
  • Searchme Visual Search (Ben)
    • Got an invite to the private beta
    • Fairly novel interface to searching:

    • Suggests categories in searching as you type:

    • It’s novel for sure, but all I see with this is one of the big players licensing the technology, not actually competing in this field.
  • Apple WWDC sessions  (Pete)
    • Huge iPhone track this year
      • 40 Mac sessions
      • 27 iPhone sessions
      • 10 IT sessions
    • I try to go about every other year, not this year
    • Apple Australia no longer puts on sessions?
  • Scalr, open source AWS management tool (Ben)
    • Write-up
    • At google code
    • TechCrunch has a good
    • Interesting that the creator is a ruby shop and it’s a .
    • are that Google might release  to compete with Amazon’s SimpleDB
  • Sydney Horological Centre (Pete)
    • Pete’s blog post
    • Clock repair supplies
    • Good collection of Cuckoo clocks
    • Amazing that these places still exist
  • New linker for GCC  (Ben)
    • It’s a total re-write of the linker
    • 5 times faster at linking large c++ projects (but will it improve Gentoo’s 3 day install?)
    • Developer Ian Lance Taylor works for Google and has just  the project
    • It’s being widely tested within Google
    • Shows the excellent computer science being done at Google (if only to solve their own problems)
    • Called “gold” which could be confusing
    • The speedup effects of this will ripple through everything that uses gcc
    • Currently beta quality, if you link the Linux kernel it won’t boot, presumably this bug will be found pretty quickly
  • Visualising WSDL with GraphViz (Pete)
    • Pete’s blog post
    • Hard to read xml for humans
    • Wanted a way to visualise the wsdl api
    • Wrote a little python  that reads wsdl and outputs dot format
    • Doesn’t scale up well, needs some sort of “pagination” to divide the api into parts
    • (as a side note, I’ve never seen google ad words respond so quickly to a post)

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