First in an occasional series where I show how old I am by reminiscing about the ’90s World Wide Web. Do you remember the Altavista search engine? I don’t mean the thing that Yahoo bought and buried. I mean the original 1990s version. Altavista was an exciting game-changer when it arrived at the end of 1995. Web search had a lot of room for improvement. Altavista’s two standout attributes that crushed the competition (e.
I just filed a ticket with the Google AppEngine project requesting the source to GoogleAppEngineLauncher, with the idea that this would make a very cool Django developer’s aid on OS X – much like Locomotive for Rails. Anybody else interested in this should go star it: http://code.google.com/p/googleappengine/issues/detail?id=386 Update: Cool. In less than 24 hours, 38 people have starred the issue, making it the 31st most-requested item and rising – ahead of hot numbers like “Please add Tcl support”.
People sure are excited about the Google App Engine. Especially people who have some other favorite language besides Python. A significant number of the issue tracker items are of the form “Please add support for $MY_LANGUAGE”, where $MY_LANGUAGE might be VB.NET, C#, PHP, Java, Groovy, Ruby, Perl, etc. ad nauseam. I’m not going to comment on the language-wars aspect. But if you want your language supported (this goes for any issue in the tracker in fact), the thing to do is not to go to one of those issue pages and add a comment that consists of “+1”.
Jason Kottke has a great list of unusual, funny and/or potentially embarrassing things that can be uncovered using the new Google Code search. This reminds me of my old list of technically incriminating Google searches, which has proven to be surprisingly evergreen.
This actually happened two months ago. I learned of my achievement via a mail administrator wondering why thousands of pieces of mail (spam, it so happened) getting forwarded to my GMail account were bouncing back. The bounce messages didn’t say “mailbox full” or “user exceeded quota” or anything like that, so even I didn’t know what was going on at first. When I signed up for GMail, I bought into their “never delete anything” philosophy, just to see where it would end up.
So, it’s out. The real, authorized version of Google Earth for OS X. Very cool. I’d never seen the Windows version, so it’s all new to me (except the imagery, of course, which is the same used by Google Maps). A couple features I had no idea existed: tilt-the-earth (with optional topographic modeling, i.e. making hills hill-shaped), and 3D modeled buildings (check out the Manhattan skyline). It also has massive amounts of overlay data – roads, borders, place names, schools, stores, ATMs, churches, crime statistics…
Guido van Rossum, creator of Python, is now working at Google. Very cool, especially given Google’s longstanding love of Python.