Weekend Links

My web browser has been groaning under the weight of all the tabs that have mounted as I’ve not gotten round to one of these purges for a few weeks. So it’s time to share, ease the pressure and free up some RAM along the way.

This whole NoSQL thing continues to draw a lot of attention across the tech blog world. Thoughtbot have a piece about their use of Redis which serves as a nice step through basic uses of that store. Vineet Gupta has attempted a more detailed and wide ranging review of the current options – it’s an interesting read, but I do increasingly wonder why so many of the arguments for non-relational data stores seem to be focussed on performance when there’s an equally strong “right tools for the right job” line that comes of realising not everything necessarily maps to MySQL.

There are a range of tools around to ease the process of testing multiple Rails apps on OS X. The latest to cross my radar is Passenger Preference Frame (via Tom Armitage). I generally use hostess and script/server but this could be handy in a few settings.

Engine Yard have had a great serious of articles on the Rails/Merb merger and the piece of ORM agnosticism was yet another indication of the goodness coming with Rails 3. Also on a Rails 3 tip, the new approach to scopes in ActiveRecord looks like it’ll help me clean up a lot of code – there’s a good introduction on EdgeRails.info.

It looks like a number of handy features are coming in wordpress 3 – I like the sound of the new menu system, though given how short the RC phase for the 2.9 release was (and unsurprisingly how quickly defects were found in the final release) I’m going to be cautious about upgrading.

There’s been a round of thoughtful posts about interface metaphors inspired by the imminent arrival of the iPad. It all started with Marco Arment’s “Overdoing the Interface Metaphor” and noteworthy responses came from Chris Clark and Neven Mrgan. (Thanks to Matt Jones for the initial pointer). Along related lines, Craig Mod has a well considered piece on Books In The Age Of The iPad.

With so many of us using flash blockers to save our computers from being eaten whenever we open web pages with the inevitable flash widgets a problem does arise when some judicious use of flash is called for. Mark Pilgrim’s responded with flashblockdetector, a javascript utility that can be used to present an argument for why your use of javascript actually deserves unblocking (via Simon Willison).

Top link of late for simplicity and beauty has to be flickrflow:

We began with a collection of photographs of the Boston Common taken from Flickr. Using an algorithm developed for the WIRED Anniversary visualization, our software calculated the relative proportions of different colors seen in photos taken in each month of the year, and plotted them on a wheel.

And because I should mention other work going on in our office building, it sounds like the BBC are enjoying having tinker work with them on ‘next generation remotes‘. They also attributed Tom Taylor’s powers to ‘a group of software coding friends’ in a piece on Newspaper Club. Meanwhile James made a book I wish I’d had when I went to SxSW last year.


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