oEmbed specification

oEmbed has been around for a while and there are some really nice implementations of it.  For example, in WordPress, where pasting a URL to YouTube video, Flickr photo, Twitter tweet, and a number of other services, will result in a nicely formatted embedded snippet from an external site.  WordPress does not only consume the oEmbed, but also provides embeddable content.

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about ways to utilize it.  There are quite a few applications of oEmbed that make sense for our projects at work.  For now, I’ll just leave you here with the link to the oEmbed specification.

ioquake3 – Free Software FPS Game Engine Based on Quake 3 for Windows, Linux, and macOS

ioquake3 is the modern, cross-platform distribution of the Quake 3 engine with a few extra bits and pieces.  As per the GitHub repository:

The intent of this project is to provide a baseline Quake 3 which may be used for further development and baseq3 fun. Some of the major features currently implemented are:

  • SDL backend
  • OpenAL sound API support (multiple speaker support and better sound quality)
  • Full x86_64 support on Linux
  • VoIP support, both in-game and external support through Mumble.
  • MinGW compilation support on Windows and cross compilation support on Linux
  • AVI video capture of demos
  • Much improved console autocompletion
  • Persistent console history
  • Colorized terminal output
  • Optional Ogg Vorbis support
  • Much improved QVM tools
  • Support for various esoteric operating systems
  • cl_guid support
  • HTTP/FTP download redirection (using cURL)
  • Multiuser support on Windows systems (user specific game data is stored in “%APPDATA%\Quake3”)
  • PNG support
  • Many, many bug fixes

 

Database Popularity Index

Have a look at Red9’s Database Popularity Index, which is updated now on a monthly basis.  Last year I blogged about a similar study.

One thing that is still mind-boggling to me is the total number of different database engines – over 300!  I know there is a constant need for better and more powerful databases, but 300?  Sounds like too much to choose from.

One other thing that I find slightly surprising is the popularity of the Microsoft Access.  Really?  With so much to choose from, people still stay with Access?  What am I not getting here?

Happy 20th birthday, Slashdot!

Slashdot is celebrating its 20th birthday.

Today we’re marking Slashdot’s 20th birthday. 20 years is a long time on the internet. Many websites have come and gone over that time, and many that stuck around haven’t had any interest in preserving their older content. Fortunately, as Slashdot approaches its 163,000th story, we’ve managed to keep track of almost all our old postings – all but the first 2^10, or so. In addition to that, we’ve held onto user comments, the lifeblood of the site, from 1999 onward.

20 years is indeed a long time, and especially so on the Internet.  It’s pretty much impossible to imagine the Web without social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Without YouTube.  With no Wikipedia.  Without Gmail.  Heck, without even so much as Google search.  Well, it was around, but not many people knew about it yet.  Blogs weren’t invented yet.  Web 2.0 was years away.  There were no RSS feeds yet.  Heck, many people who can’t imagine their lives without the Internet today weren’t even born yet!

I was introduced to Slashdot back in 1997 or 1998 by my good friend and mentor – Vladimir Ivaschenko (aka hazard).  I think it was on the same day as he told me about Freshmeat.net, later re-branded as Freecode.com, the best resource at the time to find and learn about Linux applications (to which I haven’t been in years), and Linux Weekly News, which I am still a frequent reader of.

I’ve been reading Slashdot since then myself, and I have recommended it to every IT professional and technology enthusiast without exception.  IT industry in general, the Web, and the Open Source movement wouldn’t have been the same without Slashdot.  And neither would I.

I have learned a lot about a lot from Slashdot – new companies, new technologies, new ideas, different perspectives, influential people, and more.  I’ve linked to Slashdot posts and comments from this blog more times than I can remember.  (Google Search estimates 1,060 pages linking from this blog to Slashdot since I started posting here 17 years ago).

If I had to pick a single my most memorable moment about Slashdot, that would be without the doubt September 11, 2001.  I wasn’t anywhere near the United States that day, but it wasn’t about the USA.  The whole world has changed that day.  Nobody knew what was going on.  Everything just stopped, or slowed down to a crawl.  Everybody was trying to understand, or at least find more information about what happened.  All the news sites – from the major ones, like CNN, to the small local newspapers – were dead under the traffic spike.   Slashdot was pretty much the only one that could cope.  It was slow, but it was there.  Countless people in the comments were sharing bits and pieces of information.  People were sharing photos and videos and redistributing them across a number of FTP sites.

At the time I was working at PrimeTel.  There were quite a few people and everyone was desperate to know more.  I remember downloading the pictures at turtle crawling speeds, and sending them off to a huge TV I had next to my desk (I was working on project involving video walls and a network of window displays).  A crowd of people from the office were just standing nearby, staring at the TV with planes exploding into the towers, towers collapsing one by one, and all the havoc and rescue efforts afterwords.  This was something… A decade and a half later, I still get shivers remembering that day.

This was the most powerful moment.  But there were many more.  There were numerous times when I started researching something just because of a story or a comment posted on the site.  There were a few times when I changed my opinion after an insightful comment.  And there were plenty of moments when I burst into uncontrollable laughter.  Oh you guys in the comments, you are something!

I’d like to thank everybody who contributed to Slashdot in these last 20 years and who made it possible, and who kept it alive and kicking.  You rock!  Here’s to the next 20 years and more stories and insightful, interesting, and funny comments – Cheers!

 

Google Developer Documentation Style Guide

Google Developer Documentation Style Guide” is a guide for Google developers on how to write the developer documentation.  As someone who have been involved in technical documentation for years now, I find a general lack of such guides from other companies interesting and slightly disturbing.

Kudos to Google for the effort and for sharing with all of us who are trying to improve the technical writing.

The Birth And Death Of Privacy: 3,000 Years of History Told Through 46 Images

The Birth And Death Of Privacy: 3,000 Years of History Told Through 46 Images” is a rather extensive look at the history of privacy.

Privacy, as we understand it, is only about 150 years old.  Humans do have an instinctual desire for privacy. However, for 3,000 years, cultures have nearly always prioritized convenience and wealth over privacy.

I said “there is no such thing as privacy, and there never was” way too many times.  But I never had to go deep into the subject to defend it.  This article, on the other hand, does a much better job defending the argument than I ever cared to.

UI Museum: Turbo Pascal 7.1

Ilya Birman continues his (now) series of the historical user interfaces with the post “UI Museum: Turbo Pascal 7.1“. (I’ve linked previously to his post about Norton Commander).

Turbo Pascal wasn’t my first programming language (some variation of BASIC was), but I’ve spent countless hours coding in Turbo Pascal, both for my studies and outside.

It’s interesting to see how different and, at the same time, similar those interfaces of the past are to those of today.  Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) have gone a long way, but their basic principles, as well as some shortcuts and UI elements, are very similar to the 30-old tools.

One thing that I find in common with Ilya’s comments is that the teachers didn’t know or cover all the options.  The information was scarce and Google wasn’t around.  For many, there was also a language barrier, rendering even the available documentation useless.

Oh, good old times!

Optimizing web servers for high throughput and low latency

Dropbox Tech Blog has this in-depth article on “Optimizing web servers for high throughput and low latency“.  It goes over everything from hardware and low level operating system stuff all the way up to the application level.

Great job, guys!

I asked Tinder for my data. It sent me 800 pages of my deepest, darkest secrets

I asked Tinder for my data. It sent me 800 pages of my deepest, darkest secrets” is a must read for any of you who believe in online privacy.  Here’s a quote to get you started:

At 9.24pm (and one second) on the night of Wednesday 18 December 2013, from the second arrondissement of Paris, I wrote “Hello!” to my first ever Tinder match. Since that day I’ve fired up the app 920 times and matched with 870 different people. I recall a few of them very well: the ones who either became lovers, friends or terrible first dates. I’ve forgotten all the others. But Tinder has not.

The dating app has 800 pages of information on me, and probably on you too if you are also one of its 50 million users. In March I asked Tinder to grant me access to my personal data. Every European citizen is allowed to do so under EU data protection law, yet very few actually do, according to Tinder.

With the help of privacy activist Paul-Olivier Dehaye from personaldata.io and human rights lawyer Ravi Naik, I emailed Tinder requesting my personal data and got back way more than I bargained for.

Some 800 pages came back containing information such as my Facebook “likes”, my photos from Instagram (even after I deleted the associated account), my education, the age-rank of men I was interested in, how many times I connected, when and where every online conversation with every single one of my matches happened … the list goes on.

W3C Standartizes DRM, EFF Resigns

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has recently voted in favor the DRM standard.  Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been fighting against it, now lost, and resigned from the W3C.  Read more:

It is a tragedy that we will be doing that without our friends at the W3C, and with the world believing that the pioneers and creators of the web no longer care about these matters.

Effective today, EFF is resigning from the W3C.

Thank you,

Cory Doctorow
Advisory Committee Representative to the W3C for the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Wow!  This is big.  And bad.  Like breaking bad.

DRM will die one day.  But it looks like it will take a few more years, court cases, and such to help it go into the ground.  We could haven spent all this effort on something much more useful and productive.