There are a whole ton of links in the backlog today.
- xhtmlrenderer: The Flying Saucer Project. A tool to render HTML in PDF format (supports CSS).
- Antonio Cangiano: Ruby’s Biggest Challenge for 2009. A plea for Ruby developers to move to Ruby 1.9.1. Getting all of the libraries and Rails plugins updated is going to be a big job.
- TV Guide: Battlestar Galactica’s Ron Moore Answers Our Burning Questionsm. I totally get the unhappiness with all of the deus ex machina aspects of the series finale, but I enjoyed it anyway.
- Thoughtbot: Testing Rake’s Integration. How to write integration tests for Rake tasks.
- Doug Bowman: Goodbye Google. Remarks on leaving Google. Nice reading for all of us who were never offered a job by Google.
- The Big Picture: Scenes from 30,000 meters above. High altitude photographs taken by a weather balloon launched by Spanish students.
- The Best Pictures from the BOREALIS Archives. Another student weather balloon project.
- Karl Martino: Here’s to dreaming big and doing it. More links relating to the weather balloon project.
- What they make: The highest paid chief executives in digital media. I’m surprised the CEO of Tivo makes more than the CEO of Netflix.
- WoW Insider: Authenticator app coming to iPhones, iPods, and other mobile devices. Blizzard is expanding the authentication options that prevent World of Warcraft account theft.
- FiveThirtyEight: Why AIG Paid the “Bonuses”. Most interesting remarks I’ve read on this topic.
- istartedsomething: Expression Web SuperPreview makes cross-browser testing like moist delicious cake. Seems like a major advance in cross-browser testing.
- Laughing Meme: Streams, affordances, Facebook, and rounding errors. Insightful remarks on the Facebook redesign.
- New York Times: Hadoop, Analytical Software, Finds Uses Beyond Search. I still don’t understand MapReduce as well as I should.
- Antonio Cangiano: Introducing Redis: a fast key-value database. Still looking for the right project to use this technology for.
- The Annotated Watchmen. For after I finish the graphic novel.
The day WowMatrix died
Of all of the good decisions Blizzard made when they created World of Warcraft, one of the best was providing a robust API for third party developers to write addons for the game. Installing addons is easy, you just download the addon, unzip it, and put it in the Interface/Addons directory.
The problem is keeping track of addons. The last time I looked, I had over 70 addons installed, and that’s not atypical. A number of addon distribution sites sprung up to give developers a place to list their software and a place for players to keep track of updates to their favorites. Curse.com is one popular example, and WoWInterface is another.
Some other approaches became popular as well. A number of addon collections were created — someone would package a number of useful addons, make sure they all work together, and then distribute them together. Users were then freed from the burden of updating each addon individually, they just had to download updates to the collection when they were released.
The next phase was addon updaters, desktop software packages that keep track of the addons you’ve installed and update the ones that are out of date. The most popular of these is WowMatrix. It’s an ugly piece of adware, but it has a comprehensive directory of addons and makes managing those addons really easy.
Unfortunately, WowMatrix, for all its benefit to players, was leeching from the addon distribution web sites. And yesterday, on the day when World of Warcraft released its huge 3.1 patch, those sites started blocking WowMatrix. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next.