August 31, 2005

More Javascript/DHTML/Ajax Goodness and tools to help

I think that Jim first showed me phpMyAdmin. Well, looks like someone took that idea and improved upon it by adding AJAX.

Check out TurboAjax…they have a demo of turboDbAdmin. Played around with it but haven’t installed it and tested its limits. Pretty interesting stuff.

If you view the source of the demo, you’ll see they are using the DojoToolkit:

Dojo allows you to easily build dynamic capabilities into web pages and any other environment that supports JavaScript sanely. You can use the components that Dojo provides to make your web sites more useable, responsive, and functional. With Dojo you can build degradeable user interfaces more easily, prototype interactive widgets quickly, animate transitions, build AJAX-based requests simply, and more. Dojo does all of these things by layering capabilities onto a very small core which provides the package system and little else.

The DojoToolkit kinda reminds me of JackBe.

…and another thing to check out would be Trimpath’s TrimSpreadsheet…a spreadsheet written in javascript that handles some functions by rich app spreadsheets such as sum(), etc. Check out their demos.

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Best of….Yahoo!

Looks like Yahoo has launched Yahoo BestOf

Citysearch had popularized the concept of “best of” and even named their product “best of” … even using the URL “http://bestof.citysearch.com” before moving it to “http://best.citysearch.com” … I wonder when MSN’s planned launch will happen?

Yahoo’s implementation is almost exactly the same as Citysearch’s, including the geographies/categories, a few UI implementations (i.e. vote button on search grid), etc…but, overall, I think Yahoo’s implementation is defintely an improvement. For example, I like their vote page better, the fact that they could have a larger set of users submitting to improve trustworthiness, etc.

How long until we see those “Best of Yahoo” window stickers? :-)

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Searching for realestate on maps

I cam across this article about Google Maps Mashups (these are where people use Google Maps and lay information/data over them or use them in other ways by combining them with other data/technology).

I was just glancing over it when I came across the end which mentioned Homepages.com. It caught my eye because, at one point, I worked at Homepage.com (now gone but URL was sold off).

A software company that wishes to keep its identity secret plans an October roll-out of a comprehensive Web site that will display houses for sale over aerial photographs or street maps.

Visitors to HomePages.com will also be able to pull up information about schools, crime and nearby businesses, along with photographs and descriptions of houses on the market.

Hmmm…sounds like a cross between a couple of sites I developed. :-)

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Vertical Search Engine for Coders

Pablo pointed me in the direction of Codefetch.

I find it to be complementary to Koders since they both seem to have their strengths and weaknesses.

For example, Codefetch will show you results that include sample code from other places and Koders allows you to search by license type…and usually, the results from one is much better than the other (depends what I’m searching for).

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mod_throttle SIGSEGV problems

You may have noticed my server down a bit yesterday.

I was trying to install mod_throttle on my server. It installed quickly/easily on another server but not mine. When installed and enabled (regardless of whether it was installed as a static module or as a DSO), apache would start up but any request would cause a segmentation fault.

I started apache up in single process mode (httpd -X) and did a gdb httpd <pid> to try and track down the problem.

I tracked it down to this call within my mod_perl code:

my $cookies = Apache::Cookie->fetch;

GDB was telling me it was happening here:

ApacheCookie_new

I confirmed this by doing this quick and dirty hack:

my $cookies = $r->header_in(’Cookie’);
my %cookielist = map { m@^\s*([^\=]+)=(.*)\s*@ } split(/\;/,$cookies);

It worked…but then I realized I was fetching cookies from many other modules…I realized that this error was only happening in the module that was being used as a PerlAccessHandler. Strange!

Anyway, I changed back my hack and wrote my simple throttling that did exactly what I wanted. Oh well.

And, BTW, I noticed on Google, while searching for gdb. that they had some extra links relevant to certain sites. Check out the links below the GDB result…they include mailing list info, download links, etc:

google search for gdb

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August 30, 2005

Free Opera Registration Codes

Sean writes:

FYI–Opera celebrates 10 years and gives away free registration codes http://my.opera.com/community/party/

Thanks, Sean!

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August 24, 2005

BS Deflector

Do people feed you a lot of manure? What about politicians? Well, now you can use the BS Deflector, complete with DIY cutouts and everything.

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Google the new Microsoft?

The NYTimes has an article (registration required) about howGoogle has become like Microsoft.

“Google is doing more damage to innovation in the Valley right now than Microsoft ever did,” said Reid Hoffman, the founder of two Internet ventures, including LinkedIn, a business networking Web site popular among Silicon Valley’s digerati. “It’s largely that they’re hiring up so many talented people, and the fact they’re working on so many different things. It’s harder for start-ups to do interesting stuff right now.”

Google, Mr. Hoffman said, has caused “across the board a 25 to 50 percent salary inflation for engineers in Silicon Valley” - or at least those in a position to weigh competing offers. A sought-after computer programmer can now expect to make more than $150,000 a year.

That seems like a high number but they definitely helped create a vacuum of talent (along with the other big ones such as Yahoo and MSN).

“When I meet with venture capitalists, or if I’m engaged in a conversation about going into partnership with someone, inevitably the question is, ‘Why couldn’t Google do what you’re doing?’ ” said Craig Donato, the founder and chief executive of Oodle, a site for searching online classified listings more quickly.

“The answer is, ‘They could, and they’re probably thinking about it, but they can’t do everything and do it well,’ ” Mr. Donato said. “Or at least I’m hoping they can’t.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that ones…and not just for startups!

Mr. Lent, who worked closely with Google’s founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, when all three were Ph.D. students at Stanford University, helped introduce Mr. Brin and Mr. Page to one of the company’s earliest investors.

“I like and respect the Google guys,” Mr. Lent said, “but let’s just say that their ultimate aim seems to me to be, ‘One Google under Google, for which it stands.’ ”

heh. :-)

There are also references in the article about being arrogant….but, in my opinion, there are 2 sides to this. Many technical persons that are good, know it, and tend to be arrogant about it. :-) Additionally, breeding a sense of superiority/elitism amongst technical staff tends to keep them there…talent breeds talent and technical people want to work where the talent is and where they will learn and improve their own talents. Unfortunately, arrogance can be a side effect of this. However, there is a different sort of arrogance others point to (not necessarily in the article) and that is basically throwing their weight around in negotiations to get the deals they want. However, I don’t know any business that doesn’t try these types of things to maximize the benfits for their own companies, small or large.

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View Popular Sites & Code PHP in Perl

A couple of interesting links I came across on O’Relliy Radar:

1. stamen: vox deliciivia shows you the most popular sites on del.icio.us by day in a nice flash app.

2. Bricolage has added a PHP interpreter wihtin perl so you can add PHP code in perl scripts/programs.

…Bricolage now supports PHP 5 templating in addition to the existing Perl-based templating architectures (Mason, Template Toolkit, and HTML::Template). So how did we add PHP 5 templating to a mod_perl application? Easy: we hired George Schlossnagle of Omni TI to write PHP::Interpreger, an embedded PHP 5 interpreter. Now anyone can natively execute PHP 5 code from a Perl application. Not only that, but the PHP 5 code can reach back into the Perl interpreter to use Perl modules and objects! Here’s an example that I like to show off to the PHP crowd:

I met George at a meeting at Ticketmaster regarding the Omniti products…pretty cool work, George!

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Geocoding Patent for Google

SEW has an article on a patent awarded to Google:

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of the invention is directed to a method for generating geographic coordinate information that includes receiving at least one term that specifies an address and accessing a table defining coordinate information for ranges of addresses to find an intersection of sets of rows in the table that correspond to the at least one term. The method further includes reading geographic coordinate information from the table at the intersection of the sets of rows in the table.

This sounds like taking user input and trying to identify the proper location they are searching for. If I type in “pasadena,” I am referring to “Pasadena, CA” or “Pasadena, TX?”

A second aspect of the invention is directed to a system for geocoding postal addresses. The system includes a table including rows that each correspond to a range of one or more addresses. Each of the rows include fields that define the row. A geocoding component generates geographic coordinate information for a received address specified by one or more terms that correspond to the fields by locating at least one row in the table that corresponds to an intersection of a number of sets of rows defined by the terms in the received address.

This second point seems to refer to geocoding addresses for the locations in their location index.

Yet another aspect of the invention is directed to a method for extracting addresses from a document. The method includes identifying possible address terms based on predetermined rules, verifying that the identified possible address terms are address terms by comparing the address terms to a table containing known addresses, and examining a relative position of the verified possible address terms in the document to determine whether the verified possible address terms form a valid address.

This is how they extract addresses from crawled pages in order to get it into the index.

The actual idea of handling things this way is not a new/unique one. Most every decent local product already does it this way…however, it seems like Google might be describing a unique way of technically doing it. However, it seems I may never know due to the strange behavior of the USPTO site. It is embedding tiff images in the HTML pages which aren’t rendering properly for me. :-(

Anyway, it appears the filing was in Sep 2003. If you’ll remember, in 2002, there was a google programming contest which required entries to be submitted by April 2002. I believe they announced the winner (in May 2002) was Dan Egnor’s Google Geocoder.

On the Google Geocoder site:

It includes a geocoder (which uses TIGER/Line data to turn street addresses into latitude/longitude coordinates), a simple indexer that looks for addresses and keywords in documents, and a query engine to search for documents matching certain keywords that also contain addresses within a certain distance of a target location.

This may have been the beginning of Google Local…I remember watching from the front seat as the winner was announced and I was working at citysearch.

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