February 2009

Avoiding ranking games on community sites

Julie Starr's notes from the Webstock session on web communities has a good sum-up of the basic issues you need to think about with running online communities, but for me the gem was a great point about “top 10 x” tables on sites – this creates a game where people want to get to the top and so compete in ways that don't necessarily make the results actually good.

Posted Thu 26 February 2009 17:39 (+1300)

Security FAIL

People really do fail at C. From Joy Marie Forsythe via ACM RISKS:

NIST is currently holding a competition to choose a design for the SHA-3 algorithm. The reference implementations of a few of the contestants have bugs in them that could cause crashes, performance problems, or security problems if they are used in their current state. Based on our bug reports, some of those bugs have already been fixed.

Posted Mon 23 February 2009 12:19 (+1300)

Black Power!

Ari at Powershop has set up a cool promotion for new signups – signup from this Black Power promo and they'll give $20 to the important Creative Freedom Internet Blackout NZ campaign against the unjudicial ‘guilt on accusation’ law that's been passed on copyright infringements.

Posted Sat 21 February 2009 00:46 (+1300)

Lessons of cup noodle

An O'Reilly Radar post highlights this good Ignite talk (Ignite being like pecha kucha) from Jason Grigsby which talks about the management, innovation, and research of… cup noodles:

Posted Sat 21 February 2009 00:35 (+1300)

Introducing Powershop

I'm pleased to announce that the big project I've been working on for the last year is now launching. Powershop is a new New Zealand energy retailer that's not just another same-old power company; with Powershop, you get to choose whose power you want, and when you buy it. And it's all online, of course :). Oh and… it's currently a lot cheaper :).

Posted Tue 17 February 2009 01:26 (+1300)

When can I use...?

I heart the When can I use page, which is basically a filterable inverted index for all the current-gen and next-gen browser features we web devs are waiting for are available in all the big browsers, so you can find out at what point you can use them on their own, and how much sooner you could get there with shims and workarounds. Very handy.

Posted Tue 17 February 2009 00:04 (+1300)

Rails columns on demand plugin

I've extracted out the code I was using to lazily load large BLOB/TEXT columns in one of my projects, tidied it up to take advantage of a refactoring in Rails 2.2.2 (cheers Koz) and improve its semantics, and released it as the columns_on_demand plugin.

Posted Thu 12 February 2009 17:35 (+1300)

Rails Range conditions patch

I've submitted a patch to add support for Ruby's end-exclusive Range objects (created using … instead of ..) in ActiveRecord find :conditions hashes. This is really useful if you want to break apart a series of objects on something like a date-time field, which doesn't quantize exactly to integer values (on all databases) and so can't be handled using non-exclusive ranges without overlaps from values exactly on the boundary.

Posted Fri 06 February 2009 00:37 (+1300)

Cooking of Catan

Not content with giant Catan, there had to come… annual cooking contests (thanks Sarah), recently completing its second year. The gingerbread of catan looks most playable but the cupcakes of catan look great. Tapas of Catan looks pretty swish too. Commence don't play with your food jokes…

Posted Fri 06 February 2009 00:18 (+1300)

About me

I'm a Wellington, New Zealand-based software consultant.

Need to get in touch? Try me at my public email address.