Tag Archives: code

Fun Linkage

Weekly Linkage: All Over the Place

There’s no particular theme to this week’s surfing, but there are some pretty pictures and good reads here.

  • The problem with waste – Note that the list of not-recommended screenings include things like screening for prostate cancer in men older than 75 or colon cancer in folks above 85. I glanced through the USPSTF's procedure manual, and it looks like they're taking into account a variety of factors (age, gender, race, etc.), but their information is only as good as the studies they're pulling from. How worried should we be about researchers' biases (ageism being the first that comes to mind)?

    "So we’re confronted with a set of screening recommendations with excellent evidence that aren’t paid for, and a list of screening tests that are recommended against that are paid for. That’s how you wind up with a system that (1) costs too much and (2) has sub-optimal quality. You pay for stuff that doesn’t clearly work and don’t pay for stuff that does."

  • The Tiny Life , Archive » E.D.G.E. – This is one of the prettier tiny houses I've seen, and the layout is simple but complete. I'm not sure how I'd finagle office space in there without taking over the living/dining/social area. Continue reading Weekly Linkage: All Over the Place

Weekly linkage

This week’s internet cruising:

  • How to keep someone with you forever – "You create a sick system." I wanted to cry when I read this.
  • Looking Back — Discord&Rhyme – "To be successful at bootstrapping, you have to cut every feature except those you think are absolutely necessary. Then you cut some that you thought that you absolutely had to have. You compromise your design because you need to get the product to market. You ignore automated testing and documentation because your code is too unstable to be held back by rigorous processes."
  • Launching beta, or “How to decide when and where to cut corners”
  • 200+ Seamless Patterns Perfect for Website Backgrounds – Pretty! They're a bit busy, but I think they could be used tastefully.
  • Statement by Apple on App Store Review Guidelines – Courtesy of Greg. Apple seems to be getting off their high horse with regards to development tools. I'm not sure yet if this means I'll be springing for Plants vs. Zombies on the iPhone.
  • These Dance Moves Are Irresistible – ScienceNOW – Courtesy of Michael. "The most important factor to the women was how much the man moved his head, neck, and torso, the researchers will report online tomorrow in Biology Letters." This is a really cool-sounding study. Thinking about the types of dancing I like to watch and see done well–hip-hop, even bellydance–I like fancy foot-work, but tight (pop and lock) torso and head movements do draw my eye more. Flailing arms are just hilarious.
  • Action Not Words: The Difference Between Talkers and Doers – Wonderfully (and miserably) timely for me. The last few weeks for me have been very slothful (as evidenced by the lack of posts here), with correspondence and projects piling up while I squander my time. I've taken to returning to my 3 Most Important Things per day. If I get nothing else done in a day, I will get whatever those three things are done. I know from experience that having the 3 MITs builds momentum so that I'll rarely only ever get those three things done.
  • We’re Not Paid To Write Code – This is a really well-written article on how we're paid to deliver a product, not sling code. This is a hard-won lesson for every comp sci major worth their weight I've ever met in their first 2 years out of college, myself included. I'm still not great at balancing quality vs. out-the-doorness on personal projects, but I've learned a lot more about what's acceptable business-wise.

Search-building: custom or Google

Until earlier this week, I had a lousy site search in place. It was one of Google’s Custom Search Engines, barely configured and only on its own page, due to it’s hefty (and blocking!) JavaScript. I’d long since disabled WordPress’s search since my stories aren’t being run in WordPress, and I didn’t feel like trying to chew on the internal search mechanisms to include the stories.

Last week, I started playing around with a project to create my own (Python) site search, including a crawler and Whoosh-based search. I’d seen the implementation of a Lucene search in Zend go fairly easy-peasy, and liked the idea of a self-hosted search.

Problem is–well, one of the problems is–the crawl time for a site with 1200 posts (most of which are low-priority) is a deal-breaker on a shared hosting provider. It takes far longer than 5 minutes just to collect the links, even with multiple threads. Add the parse time to get indexable content for 1200 pages, and I was stuck contemplating how to crawl and index the site in parts.

This sounds like a great, fun, project. …Except that it’s already been done and I have other things I’d rather be doing. Google did it; their index for my site updates surprisingly quickly and doesn’t make me afraid that Dreamhost will smite me. (I’ve been with Dreamhost for several years now, and while I’ve learned how to properly deploy a site since moving here from… Brinkster, was it?, I don’t relish the idea of learning a new environment for all the stuff I run here.)

So instead of the 4-5 hours I’d spent screwing with the Ikea-esque assembly of a site crawler and search, I spent two this week really making Google’s Custom Search Engine (CSE) work for me. Yes, there are ads. Yes, it’s not a solution that I own. (Then again, neither is my email, in that sense.)
Continue reading Search-building: custom or Google