The web globalization report card 2007: “Among the many trends we noticed: The average number of languages supported by the 200 sites has increased to 18, up from 15 last year.
And the average number of languages supported by the top 20 Web sites
was 45. It used to be you could support 10 languages and pretty much
stand apart from the pack. Not any more.

Rails flash in php

A friend told me about Rail’s flash concept which makes it very easy to provide “success” messages and such after submitting a form.

This is some quick code that does something like that (assuming you have a session running) in PHP: (really just a test of posting code)

* This class lets you set variables that are kept for 1 session pageload, then destroyed (hence the "Flash"), which on the next pageload get reflected in a template (for example).
* For use with submitting forms and returning an error message, for example.
class sessionFlashBucket
* write a new variable to FlashBucket with a value
function write($var, $val)
// put this var in the users _SESSION
$_SESSION[$var] = $val;
return TRUE;
* read and empty variable from FlashBucket ('message' by default)
function read($var = "message")
// get variable from session
$result = $_SESSION[$var];

// delete variable from FlashBucket
return $result;

Kiva lets you loan money (200, 500$) to a specific entrepreneur in a developing country with a specific plan. 100% of the loan goes to the entrepreneur.

As for, “will I get my money back?”:

“Your loan is a low-risk loan.  Microfinance loans
worldwide are generating repayment rates of 97%.
To date,’s repayment rate is 100%.”

I just realized, the web/internet is becoming varied enough for it to become diverse. In the beginning, we all went to the same websites (Yahoo) and used the same services (email). Now, certain groups may use blogs and feedreaders, others may use Myspace and IM, and they never have to meet. And the functionality on the next will probably become more and more varied, so that there will be more space for different groups of people using different types of services.

I was trying to find good, free (and legal) music on jamendo but no such luck. Any other tips on where to look? The free music movement should be far enough along by now that I can go somewhere and find some good stuff without having to be a 16 year old geek?

Here’s an idea: if conferences are all about the people, shouldn’t conference sites be more like social network sites?

Another nice feature of the list of comments on a place is filtered by your contacts. Nacho explained it to me: “we don’t believe in karma systems or recommendations, “2132 persons says that you should go here” makes no sense, we want “peter says
you must go” it’s more important.”


Fuzzy categories

11870 is a social yellow pages (kinda). Their friend screen (in Spanish) lets you indicate what kind of friend this is. In English, these usually say “Friend” or “Family” or something. This one says “es de confianza” (ie. “a trusted person”) or “no lo conozco tanto” (“I don’t know him that well”), which is an interesting fuzzy categorization.

NYT article: good article about the ‘cumulative advantage’.

“The reason is that when people tend to like what other people like,
differences in popularity are subject to what is called “cumulative
advantage,â€? or the “rich get richerâ€? effect. This means that if one
object happens to be slightly more popular than another at just the
right point, it will tend to become more popular still. As a result,
even tiny, random fluctuations can blow up, generating potentially
enormous long-run differences among even indistinguishable competitors
— a phenomenon that is similar in some ways to the famous “butterfly
effectâ€? from chaos theory.”

“Vista itself works fine. But not much else seems to work with Vista. It’s like Rosanne Barr that way.”

Tim Bray: “In the big picture, Twitter did
exactly the right thing. They had a good idea and they buckled down and
focused on delivering something as cool as possible as fast as possible, and
it’s really hard, in early 2007, to beat Rails for that.”

Sounds about right.

To get i18n working properly in php and mysql, you have to:

– make sure your mysql database AND tables AND fields are in collation utf8_unicode_ci
– have your html pages in utf-8 character set: <meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=utf-8″>
– force the server to send utf-8 encoding: before every page output, do this: header(“Content-Type: text/html;charset=UTF-8”);
– It’s not enough to just have the mysql server in utf-8, you have to force the mysql client to use utf-8 encoding too, which means on every database connection, first do this: $res = mysql_query(“SET NAMES ‘utf-8′”);

And that seems to work pretty well. Of course, you can have all this set in your various config files too of your http server, your mysql server, your php.ini and such, but these things above you can just do them all in the code.

Twitter is growing much faster than I would have thought. According to my urls, 26,757,341 messages have been sent so far. And everyone I know is on there.

26,757,341 messages – that means they must be working hard scaling those database hits.

Google’s acquisition chief: “The crazy ones mean they ignore the usual restraints of
investment levels required or design parameters or `Gee I need
more servers than anyone ever thought was possible’,” Ullah
said. “When you free yourselves from these constraints, you
create crazy, cool things.”

Google wants companies that can build revenue streams from
their users, instead of buying firms with a lot of users that
don’t bring in much in sales, Ullah said.

“We don’t do traffic for traffic’s sake,” he said. “It
has to be highly monetizable.”

Scaling Rails: “By various metrics Twitter is the biggest Rails site on the net right now. Running on Rails has forced us to deal with scaling issues – issues that any growing site eventually contends with – far sooner than I think we would on another framework.”

Turns out Rails *does* have some scaling issues. Nothing you can’t work around I’m sure, but still. And that wouldn’t stop me from using it, either.