Quick, someone build me a LazyWebApp

For future reference: all the countries of the world as a MySQL table export file. Now I need to find a similar list of US States, as well as convert scripts from MySQL to Microsoft SQL Server.

Adding location data to an (admittedly US-centric) application isn’t as hard as I thought. The standard set of data about countries of the world and their timezones have nice and neat ISO variants. Three tables, one of US States, one of countries of the world, and lastly a table of all the timezones are enough to add a good chunk of location information to your existing data. The weird part is that it wasn’t easy to find this data online. You’d figure standard installs of any flavor of database would eventually require them. It’s a shame there isn’t an instant and easy way to update standard tables of common data for databases. It’d be great if there was something like the perl PPM system that allowed for network updates of common packages.

(thanks to some googling for MS SQL tips, here’s my country list in MS SQL format, and thanks to Anil Dash for providing a MySQL state list, here’s a converted to MS SQL format of all US States)

Winter in Yosemite

I’ve been to Yosemite National Park at least half a dozen times since I was a kid, but I’ve never gone there in the dead of winter. In a couple weeks, I’ll be there for a week, enjoying stuff like this and this. If I have internet access, I’ll post daily photos, if not, a boatload will be uploaded when I get back. I can’t wait.

PacBell sucks: Part 2,343

Reason 4,234,451 to dislike PacBell/SBC: Since they co-branded their internet services with Yahoo, every link on the SBC site pointing to anything remotely internet or DSL related leads to an order page. I’m just trying to find their current list of dialup numbers (for use on the road) and it appears to be gone from their site. Since they use some sort of awful content management system with variable URLs, outside search engines can’t find the pages either. It’d be nice if their site supported current customers, instead of funneling every request into advertising for new ones.

10 frustrating minutes with their search engine finally turned it up.

Time to upgrade to PGP-powered tin foil hats

This is by far, the worst idea I’ve heard in the wake of the September 11th attacks: a central database to monitor every network packet possible.

I’ve heard a lot of “chicken littles” screaming about falling skies and “1984” and “police states” over the past 15 months, but I never saw anything tangible worth getting worked up about. A constant and total wiretap on any and all online communication is the first tangible awful idea I’ve seen come down the pipe. Never mind that terrorists could get a free copy of PGP or GPG and operate just fine as encrypted packets even in a state of total surveillance. Never mind that every investigation into the US’ lack of preparedness points to the US not having the organizational skills to properly handle the small sets of data they were getting previously. This will somehow keep us “safe.” I also can’t help but see the incredible hypocrisy coming from the President’s party of “smaller government.” If a gun doesn’t need to be registered, and a computer doesn’t need to be registered either, I would hope that I should be free to use a computer without surveillance just as I should be able to use a gun at a range or hunting without someone in washington having to know my constant position and what I’m doing with it.

So far this year, I’ve given the EFF about $200. I’m going to give them another $100 right now.

I’d actually call him Lessig the Black, since that’s all he ever wears…

I gotta say, now that I’ve seen the movie, Gollum does kind of look like Steve Buscemi.

The Two Towers was an amazing movie experience that pulled me in like few other movies ever have. I’m starting to understand how lifetime fans of the book series feel, how they relate everything in the world to the story. I have this unstoppable urge to refer to others I work with as Lessig the White and Aaron the halfling. I’m sure I’ll get over it eventually.

For now though, I must…resist…urge to buy figures.

Not too early to go pure xhtml/css

The Creative Commons site is the biggest site (in terms of traffic and exposure) I’ve ever done in fully valid XHTML 1.0 and uses quite a few bits of CSS for layout.

I get all the webmaster email, and apart from a few bugs, typos, and general questions, I haven’t received a single complaint about the layouts in Netscape 4 browsers (I hide all CSS from NN4 users). I thought we might be thinking too far ahead going with a full XHTML/CSS site, but so far it looks like the general public can handle standard markup.

also: a handful of photos from the launch

20 things auction

Judith launched her 20 Things auction today, and there’s a lot of great stuff being auctioned off for charity. I really like some of the pieces, and the bidding wars have already begun. I’m planning on going for the last minute swoop-and-bid to win.