October 2011

(Archive index.)

Brushes on iPad + HTML5/CSS animation + VGA projector + wax paper = cheap kid+daddy-made Halloween decoration.

I’m told a few toddlers were too scared to come up to the house because they thought the ghosts were real.

LiveReload’s Web Developer Wonderland is a Mac OS X tool for web development that watches your files for when they change (when you save them) and automatically reloads the browser. But even better, it supports a bunch of common build tools (CoffeeScript, SASS, LESS, etc.) and runs them automatically to produce the browser-usable output automatically. To do better, it’d need to support arbitrary build logic, and hope that such logic is reasonably fast. But it’s a great idea for the 90%.


Hyperbole and a Half: Adventures in Depression.

(Via Riona MacNamara.)

All of the Google+ feature releases today are cool, but I’m especially excited about the potential of G+ for Google Apps. I’m not sure this is obvious from the title, so don’t miss the post about it on the Google Enterprise blog. It’s G+ for a company’s employees or a school’s students and faculty, just like Gmail and Docs. Share domain-private information safely, and keep your domain identity separate from your personal identity.

Official Google Blog: Google+: Popular posts, eye-catching analytics, photo fun and….

PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet. Go to this website to send a form letter to your congresspeople, or write your own.

Codify, a Lua-based programming environment for the iPad. Some great ideas here. It clearly requires a Bluetooth keyboard, but it otherwise takes advantage of the touch screen in the editor.

Codify – iPad.



From Nick Johnson:

My first blog post in a little while, discussing how to migrate to Python 2.7 and enable threadsafe. Enjoy!

Migrating to Python 2.7, part 1: Threadsafe - Nick's Blog.

Stephen Fry on Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs.

John McCarthy (1927-2011) Computer Scientist Who Coined The Term Artificial Intelligence & Inventor of Lisp Programming Language.

(Via Scott Beale.)

NetHack: The Greatest Game You Will Ever Play.

From Vic Gundotra:

We've announced dates for Google I/O - April 24-25th.

You might want to mark it in your calendars. Registration details will be coming soon.

Save the date for Google I/O 2012 - The official Google Code blog.

From Joseph Baker:



The three major manufacturers of film-based motion picture cameras have all ceased production of them in the last year, in favor of digital. I’ve never held a film movie camera, but I’d like to think I would have enjoyed it.

R.I.P., the movie camera: 1888-2011.

I like how Comedy Central sets their embedded video player to be muted by default. It’s almost going too far to show me respect.

Another cool Kill Math interactive article.

Up and Down the Ladder of Abstraction.

From Xeni Jardin:

Computer scientist Dennis Ritchie is reported to have died at his home this past weekend, after a long battle against an unspecified illness.

Dennis Ritchie, 1941-2011: Computer scientist, Unix co-creator, C programming language co-inventor – Boing Boing.

Happy to blog every Pomplamoose video.

A Sociology of Steve Jobs - Kieran Healy.

From Matt Waddell:

A24 of today's New York Times. Special thanks to the +Dalai Lama and +Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu for a truly historic evening.

From Brett Slatkin:

Python 2.7 ready for experimental use!

Google App Engine Blog: App Engine 1.5.5 SDK Release.

From DeWitt Clinton:

We introduced Dart this morning, a new language for structured web programming. You can learn everything about Dart at, and read the introductory blog post at:

To follow the reactions to the Dart launch right here on Google+, try this search:

Or give it a try now, directly from your browser:

Looking forward to hearing what people think of Dart!

Google+ stream: dart.

Guy Kawasaki’s “What I Learned From Steve Jobs.”

What I learned from Steve Jobs.

Test your knowledge of optimizing compilers!

Will It Optimize?.

Dear makers of browser video playback widgets other than YouTube: You ever notice how when a YouTube player is configured for auto-play, the video doesn’t start playing until the user gives that window focus? Do that.

Andy Ihnatko on the myth of writer’s block.

Andy Ihnatko - Google+ - Pro Tip: there aren't "ten different kinds of writers'….

Purple, an HTML5 animation tool for the Mac.

Purple - HTML5 animation tool.

From Jonathan Terleski:


From Andrew Gerrand:

Go is heading toward version 1. Exciting times.

The Go Programming Language Blog: A preview of Go version 1.

From Dan Gillmor:

Apple's homepage is perfect right now. But this is what we should remember most from Steve Jobs, I think — from his immensely powerful commencement speech at Stanford a few years ago:

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

From Sergey Brin:

From the earliest days of Google, whenever Larry and I sought inspiration for vision and leadership, we needed to look no farther than Cupertino. Steve, your passion for excellence is felt by anyone who has ever touched an Apple product (including the macbook I am writing this on right now). And I have witnessed it in person the few times we have met.

On behalf of all of us at Google and more broadly in technology, you will be missed very much. My condolences to family, friends, and colleagues at Apple.

From Natalie Villalobos:

Steve Jobs Has Passed Away

Apple - Remembering Steve Jobs.

Spent, a terrifying and well written educational game about poverty.


From DeWitt Clinton:

A tour of Go. Awesome work by +Andrew Gerrand and team. Go nuts, folks.

A Tour of Go.

The Life-Changing $20 Rightward-Facing Cow.

+Brett Terpstra loves writing text files, building tools to solve his own problems, and releasing those tools publicly. His latest— and I mean his latest for the next few hours after which something else will be his latest— is QuickQuestion, a process-and-toolset for maintaining a personal knowledge database of text files. A key insight here is that the user writes each knowledge nugget with a title in the form of a question, specifically the question that the user believes she would ask in the future to retrieve this answer. It’s a form of personal tagging (and QQ has search-based faceted tagging as well) that makes a ton of sense for a knowledge base, and I can’t wait to try it, whether or not I use Brett’s tool to organize it.

There’s potential to layer in narrative and shallow hierarchical organization into this system using the “FAQ” document format. FAQs are simply great: easy to write, easy to read, easy to rewrite. The narrative aspect is essential: an answer is allowed to defer detail to later questions, keeping each answer short and at an appropriate level of detail. The reader can navigate levels of detail by following the headings/questions down the page, and stop where they’re likely to find their answer. Not all of my technical writing ends up as a FAQ, but it all starts out like one.

QQ uses Mac’s Spotlight (mdfind) as its search engine, and so it Mac-only. But it’s seriously command-line driven, including a shell tool and LaunchBar and Alfred extensions.

Forget about it. Or not. - Brett Terpstra.

From Dan Gillmor:

Just finished Neal Stephenson's brilliant piece, Innovation Starvation — please read it.

Innovation Starvation | World Policy Institute.

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