Software

AJAX Special Hazard Precautions

Anyone who tries to tell you that AJAX is a "new approach to web applications" is just rebranding old technology and hyping buzzwords, not engineering software in the real world. Because of browser and DHTML incompatibilities and limitiations, AJAX is like cocaine: it seems glamorous until you actually start using it, then the unintended consequences totally fuck you up.

Special Hazard Precautions for AJAX:

INGESTION: NAUSEA, VOMITING, AND DIARRHEA. EYES: EYE IRRITANT UPON DIRECT CONTACT. SKIN: MAY CAUSE SKIN IRRITATION UPON PROLONGED CONTACT. INHALATION: NONE UNDER NORMAL USE. PROLONGED INHALATION BY UNORTHODOX USE (NON-WETTED) OR ABUSE (SNIFFING) COULD PRODUCE LUNG DISEASE (SILICOSIS). N/K

Emergency/First Aid Proc: INGEST: IF EATEN/DRUNK--YOU MAY THROW UP. DRINK SIPS OF WATER/MILK. IF VOMIT CONTINUES, CALL POISON CTR/DR. EYES: IRRIT. FLUSH W/WATER 15 MIN. IF IRRIT PERSISTS, CALL POISON CTR/DR. SKIN: IRRIT. REMOVE WET CLOTHES. FLUSH W/WARM WATER 15 MIN. IF IRRIT PERSISTS, CALL DR/POISON CTR. INHAL: IF INHALED, MAY COUGH. TAKE SLOW DEEP BREATHS OF FRESH AIR, SIP WATER. IF COUGH PERSISTS, CALL DR/POISON CTR.

Here's the entire Ajax information sheet, with more warnings and hazard precautions.

Python Stuff

This is stuff about Python.

Should the Government Treat Video Games like Alchohol and Tobacco?

USAToady wrote an article about the "Battle over violent video games heating up".

First of all, to address the lame-assed attempt at a pun in the article title: I wish USAToady would just stop trying to be mildly but non-offensively funny, or else hire some real stand-up, knock-down, drag-out comedians like Al Franken to write their headlines.

The battle over violence. Ha ha ha not. The only thing they've been able to demonstrate so far, is that video games cause foolish violence and heated battles between fully grown politicians, who should know better. So stop selling video games to politicians.

"Those who favor laws restricting the sale or rental of violent videos to minors say government should treat the games like alcohol or tobacco."

Now there's a great idea: the Government should treat Violent Video Games like they do Big Tobacco.

Price support and production controls for violent video games: The computer game industry could really use the shot in the arm that would bring!

Should the government pay video game developes NOT to produce violent video games? They could keep their employees busy writing harmless cruise missile guidance systems and tactical nuclear warfare simulations for the war on terror, instead of developing violent games for kids.

Would Jesse Helms have mounted a filibuster, to prevent a video game tax hike, and protect the video game industry in his state? Will Texas Senator John Cornyn sell lawsuit protection to the Texas Violent Video Game Industry, just like he protected the Big Tobacco Industry from being sued for killing their customers?

BlogBlox Free Laszlo Applications for Personal Blogs

Blogboxes provide exciting, instantly deployed functionality for your blog or Web site. They are free for non-commercial use. Enjoy them and spread the good word!

Photoblox: Show personal image slideshows on your Web page, customized to suit with dramatic presentation effects, annotations and PayPal integration.

Linkblox: Compactly present your favorite URL links within expandable tabs. Customize the Linkblox with your own external OPML XML file.

Weatherblox: Always have an answer to "How's the weather?". Enhance your blog or homepage with WeatherBlox.

Soundblox: Let your visitors play MP3 format audio directly out of your Web page. Customize the appearance and content of your SoundBlox with your own XML playlist and media.

Pandora Music Discovery Laszlo Application

Pandora has developed a wonderful Laszlo application for the discovery of music, based on the Music Genome Project.

They have a free trial, so you can check it out and see how it works for yourself!

Pandora's CTO Tom Conrad had this to say about using Laszlo to develop Pandora:

Our just-now-launched music discovery service, Pandora, is an OpenLaszlo application. It wouldn't be fair to finish up our launch without a tip of the hat to the amazing Laszlo team and open source community.

Eight months ago when we sat down to figure out how were were going to deliver a compelling zero-install discovery and listening experience across Windows, Mac, and Linux in record time we considered everything you can imagine: plain old HTML, AJAX, Flex, OpenLaszlo to name just a few. In the end, Laszlo was the clear winner on all fronts. Mature, reliable, and the perfect tool for the job. This outcome was only remarkable in that the decision was made by some of the most capable AJAX developers on the planet. I'll have more to say about Laszlo in another post, but for now I just want to publicly say thanks to the great team at Lazslo. Pandora wouldn't be Pandora without you.

NutritionQuest Personalized Surveys in Laszlo

I'm working for NutritionQuest, developing a Laszlo based personalized nutrition survey.

Laszlo OPML Viewer/Editor

I've been discussing the design of an OPML viewer/editor with Marc Canter and Dave Winer.

It will serve nicely as a stand-alone component like a simple blog roll or nested link browser, or as a more advanced customizable blog applet like BlogBlox, and it will also be customizable for use in Laszlo applications, like the database interface, for editing XML structures stored in SQL databases.

Update: Here's a first cut of server side support for Drupal, and the client side for Laszlo: OPML Site Map Based on Drupal Taxonomy. Laszlo OPML Drupal Taxonomy Site Map Browser.

Laszlo Koosh Ball Generator

For fun, and to test out Laszlo's rendering speed with lots of lines, I rewrote the classic NeWS "Koosh Tool" koosh ball generator in OpenLaszlo.

It's amazing how many colored lines Flash can animate on the screen at once!

Laszlo Koosh Balls Demo

Laszlo Koosh Balls Source Code in Laszlo


John von Neumann's 29 state Cellular Automata Implemented in OpenLaszlo

For fun, and to learn OpenLaszlo, I implemented the classic 29 state self reproducing cellular automata, invented by John von Neumann.

The JavaScript and XML code is written with no thought to efficiency, just conceptual clarity and convenience of implementation. It can't run a lot of cells at once, but at least it's slow enough to watch it compute. Don't worry: there's not space for it to reproduce!

I've configured it with several interesting initial conditions, including several different approaches to signal crossing, and an exclusive-or gate.

It uses pie menus for editing the grid of cells.

Laszlo von Neumann Cellular Automata Demo

Laszlo von Neumann Cellular Automata Source Code in Laszlo


Laszlo Pie Menus

I've ported my JavaScript pie menu code to OpenLaszlo, and rewritten it to take advantage of Laszlo features like Flash graphics and animation, constraints, events, prototype customization, and XML data binding.

I'm using the Laszlo pie menus in the Sims Content Catalog, and the von Neumann 29 State Cellular Automata, and other projects.

Laszlo Pie Menu Demo

Laszlo Pie Menu Demo Source Code in Laszlo

Laszlo Pie Menu Component Source Code in Laszlo


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