November 2011

(Archive index.)

From Gina Trapani:

All the epigraphs or opening quotes from all 5 seasons of The Wire, aka +Kevin Purdy bait.

This makes me want to go out and buy a bunch of bright green cardboard.

(Via Robert Schuppenies.)

From Felicia Day:

Last Dragon Age video. It had to be done. I play with myself as Tallis. :)

From Nan Coffey:

New commissioned painting for the Google App Engine :)

Google Maps in a gingerbread display, Sheraton hotel, Seattle, Washington.

From Google Developers:

You heard it here first. We recently received an unexpected opportunity to extend Google I/O 2012 to three days, so update your calendars. The conference will now take place from June 27-29, 2012 at Moscone Center West in San Francisco. Visit at 9am for additional details and let us know what you’d like to see on Day 3 of #io12 at

From Gina Trapani:

Dates for Google I/O announced.

Google I/O 2012 extended to three days from June 27-29, 2012 - The official Google Code blog.

From Raymond Johnson:

If you think launching a spacecraft to Mars is amazing (and you should), you ought to see how Curiosity is expected to reach the surface. Incredible.

Dammit CenturyLink, I thought we shamed ISPs out of breaking the Internet. If I “disable” spammy search results for DNS lookup failures, will I get real DNS responses for all requests at my IP, or will I just get served an HTTP 404 by CenturyLink for web requests?

Thank you +Waldemar Kornewald and +Thomas Wanschik for all of your work on django-nonrel and djangoappengine. Your contributions have made it easy and fun to use Django on App Engine, and we’re proud to use djangoappengine on I’m looking forward to writing about djangoappengine in the 2nd edition of my book!

Goodbye - Web development and Django-nonrel blog | All Buttons Pressed. Customer Reviews: Defense Technology 56895 MK-9 Stream, 1.3% Red Band/1.3% Blue Band Pepper Spray.

From Alon Levi:

This the craziest Google Doodle I've ever seen


November 19, 2011.

(Via Robert Schuppenies.)

New 4-minute trailer for the documentary Minecraft: The Story of Mojang.

Minecraft: The Story of Mojang documentary trailer — Notch at work

Critique your web design with Spur. Spur provides 7 different views of your page to emphasize aspects of its visual design for analysis. It’s a web app, and it’s free.

Spur - A fun and easy way to critique your visual design..

Well so much for that.

Mark Knichel on Google+ page speed techniques.

Mark Knichel - Google+ - Hi everyone! I’m an engineer on the Google+ infrastructure….

Ask Agnes!

Agnes, the App Engine Agony Aunt.

Remember that tiny grainy time-lapse video of Earth from the space station from a while back? Watch this one directly from Vimeo’s site, full screen, with the lights out.

Despite being an obvious mimic of many of Apple’s retail strategies, I really like the idea of Microsoft stores. The field of consumer PC hardware is large, diverse, and full of garbage. I need a high-end retail experience just to introduce me to the good stuff.

I visited my first MS store today. Nice logo, good lighting, and the XBox and Kinect stuff up front are inviting. The borrowed layout ideas are well-executed, and there are a few unique qualities. Then I sat down to try a machine.

Attempt #1: some kind of Asus tablet with a wireless keyboard and mouse, running Windows (7?) and a full-screen desktop app open. Tablet was in an ugly case that held it up in a laptop-like position. The device appeared to be completely locked up, and was not responding to touch or wireless mouse or keyboard events.

Attempt #2: a Dell laptop in the XPS line. Good keyboard feel (similar to what I’m used to from Apple keyboards, for better or for worse), otherwise just a plastic laptop (not what I’m used to). I opened Microsoft Office to try out the keyboard in a word processor; Office was unlicensed and prompted me to purchase it.

I did see a few ultra-thin aluminum laptops and some Sony Vaios, but I didn’t get a chance to play with them. I was surprised they weren’t right up front. I realize MS wants a foothold in the tablet market, but I’m not sure the Asus/Windows tablet experience is mature enough yet to be front-of-store experiences. The angle seems to be “just add a stand, a keyboard, and a mouse and it’s just like a Windows PC,” which honestly isn’t a bad angle, but it fails to demonstrate why I’d want the “tablet” part of that experience. None of the tablets I saw were set up like tablets, they all had stands and keyboards and mice.

I feel no schadenfreude toward MS, PC and Windows tablet makers, or MS stores. I hope they succeed, and I hope I’ll always have an open mind toward their products. But there are still qualities of the software, hardware, and the industry as a whole that are holding back their potential. MS stores could be powerful retail forces, with the products to back them up.

Study Hacks » Blog Archive » If You’re Busy, You’re Doing Something Wrong: The Surprisingly Relaxed Lives of Elite Achievers.

This Is Not a George Plimpton Interview - The Morning News.

TechCrunch | In Defense Of The Stylus.

From Mona Nomura:

#ThingsThatBlowOurMinds Unicode Character Recognition.

(Via こんにちはザンナ.)

Congratulations to the Go team on your 2nd anniversary!

This anniversary post includes a mention that the Go runtime for App Engine will leave “experimental” status in early 2012. It already has support for nearly every feature, including backends as of 1.6.0.

The Go Programming Language Blog: The Go Programming Language turns two.


A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design.

Lego Universe to close January 31, 2011. A noble attempt at an MMORPG for kids, but it just couldn’t get enough people interested, even with free-to-play plans. Try it out now while you still can.

LEGO Universe : Game Help - LEGO Universe.

Bohemian Rhapsichord.

Google App Engine Blog: App Engine 1.6.0 Out of Preview Release.

Treehouse is a new collection of video tutorials for learning about web design, web development, and iOS technologies. The site is slick and the tutorials are high quality. A great start! I routinely fantasize about making sites like this…

Learn Web Design, Web Development, and iOS Development - Treehouse.

Muppet hangout today at 4:30pm PST!

From The Muppets:

We’re here! Now that you can Circle us, we bet you want to spend more time with us…maybe in a Google+ Hangout at 4:30pm PST today? Miss Piggy has been primping for hours to see you and you don’t want to upset her…trust us.


The Google Developers G+ page is here! If you work with Google developer products (App Engine, GWT, Maps, a ton of others), add it to your circles!

Also, G+ pages!

Google Developers.

From DeWitt Clinton:

"This post revisits my earlier evaluation of Google App Engine's post-preview pricing changes and how it affected my project, SMSMyBus. As I noted, the app was projected to cost between $6 and $7 dollars per day under the new platform pricing.

"Since that post, I’ve been rolling out small, incremental changes to optimize the code and combat all of the known issues. I’m thrilled to report that I have the price down to $0/day. And I’m once again impressed by the snappy and reliable App Engine platform." +Greg Tracy

Worth reading if you're an Google App Engine developer interested in better tuning your application under the updated pricing models. I imagine there are many apps that made inefficient choices back when there wasn't a direct cost (to the developer) associated with resource consumption, and how a little cost pressure can lead to significant optimizations that benefit both the app and the hosting environment.

Almost makes you wonder if there's a metaphor for the global energy crisis somewhere in here…

Revisiting Google App Engine's pricing changes - Greg Tracy.

YouTube’s Life in a Day turned out really well. Directed by Kevin Macdonald, executive produced by Ridley Scott, made from 4,500 hours of footage all filmed on July 24th, 2010, submitted by people around the world for the project in response to a public solicitation. Visit the film’s YouTube channel to buy the DVD or the (excellent) soundtrack.


From DeWitt Clinton:

It might have taken 25 years, but this may well be the equal of
Sledgehammer - Peter Gabriel (HQ Audio) in terms of sheer devotion to the form. Catchy song, too.

See for the story.


App Engine out of preview on November 7th!

From Max Ross:

I've just made version 2.0.0-RC1 of the DataNucleus App Engine plugin available for download. Major features include:
JPA 2 support
JDO 3 support
Unowned relationships

We've also got zads (yes, zads) of bugfixes:

A few words of (extreme) caution:
This is not a drop-in replacement for the version of the plugin that ships with the App Engine SDK. You'll need to update your JPA/JDO config files and you may notice that non-transactional writes now execute right away. A detailed list of the meaningful changes can be found at We'll get these notes polished and published as we get closer to an official release.

If you're feeling brave please try it out, provide feedback on the GAE Java group, and file bugs in the dedicated issue tracker.

GAE Java group:
Dedicated issue tracker (please include a reproducible testcase!):



Jay Greene’s “The Inside Story of How Microsoft Killed its Courier Tablet” makes me want a Courier tablet. Well, the one they had planned, anyway.

The inside story of how Microsoft killed its Courier tablet.

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