BiteofanApple Archive About Code Twitter
by Brian Schrader

Microblogger status updates and more

Posted on Sat, 13 Dec 2014

Over the last few weeks I've been working on the first implementation of Microblogger (new name desired): a self hosted microblog implementing the Open Microblog standard. Work has been slower than I'd like, but steady nonetheless. The microblogcrawler I announced a couple weeks back, was just one of many pieces of the project, and one that could easily be spin off into its own little sub-project.

Yessir, all was going well: basic crawling is almost in place, and almost everything regarding the user's data and profile is good to go. I was working on adding another crawler to the mix (for on demand requests) and flushing out the caching engine last time I touched the project, trouble is that was over a week ago. Since then all progress has stopped.

Due to a colony of microbes wreaking havoc on my immune system, I've been out of commission all week. With a busy weekend ahead of me, I'm holding out hope that I'll be able to get something done, but it probably won't be much. Either way, next week, I'm diving back in.

I won't promise anything, but my tentative release date is the end of the month. That said, there's still a lot to do. As of now my remaining tasks for version 1.0 are:

  • Fix bugs in the posting system.
  • Create another (more dynamic) crawler that can be spun up on demand to fulfill user requests.
  • Make the website actually good.
  • Implement messaging (public only for version 1.0)
  • Complete and test the caching engine.
  • Finish making tests for everything.

These come in no particular order, and as you can see, some of them are pretty big. I've also documented most of these items in the Issues section of the project's GitHub page for further reference.

All this being said, I'm looking for great people to help keep the project on schedule and later improve the design. In particular, I'm looking for someone interested in building the front-end. If that sounds interesting to you, let me know! I'm open to using whatever technology you'd like (Angular/Ember, Bootstrap, etc).

Have a good weekend everyone! I'll be back to work on the project ASAP. See you then!

What if sending money was as easy as AirDrop

Posted on Thu, 04 Dec 2014

Dan Moren:

It's long seemed ridiculous to me that it's not easier to transfer funds between people electronically. After all, your bank account and my bank account are little more than entries in a ledger somewhere, represented by 1s and 0s. Why should it be any harder for me to send you some bits that turn into money than it is for me to send you an email?

In theory, Apple could even offer the ability to send funds to people via the Internet. Apple Pay already works for some online transactions, and once again Square Cash has proved that you can transfer funds online without too much hassle.

Please, please Apple, Square, Chase, Google, please make this real. The day sharing a check with friends or paying someone back for lunch becomes as easy as it is with cash is the day I abandon cash forever. And I'd never look back.

Wish List: Apple Pay your friends →

Hypervelocity Stars

Posted on Wed, 03 Dec 2014

Universe Today:

Back in 1988, astronomer Jack Hills predicted a type of "rogue" star might exist that is not bound to any particular galaxy. These stars, he reasoned, were periodically ejected from their host galaxy by some sort of mechanism to begin traveling through interstellar space.

And now, in a series of papers that published in arXiv Astrophysics, two Harvard researchers have argued that some of these stars may be traveling close to the speed of light. Known as semi-relativistic hypervelocity stars (SHS), these fast-movers are apparently caused by galactic mergers, where the gravitational effect is so strong that it fling stars out of a galaxy entirely. These stars, the researchers say, may have the potential to spread life throughout the Universe.

Really cool. I find myself thinking about what life would be like on a planet orbiting a star that's zooming around the universe, at 3% the speed of light(!), while constantly under the effects of relativity. I can't help but think it would make a great setting for a novel (or a Doctor Who episode).

Planets Could Travel Along with Rogue 'Hypervelocity' Stars, Spreading Life Throughout the Universe →

Dave Winer on Donating to Wikipedia

Posted on Wed, 03 Dec 2014

Dave Winer:

Without Wikipedia the web would be fully dominated by business models. There would be no way to get the simple single fact you need. If there weren't such a thing as Wikipedia, with all its flaws, we'd wish there was. Or in the future you would tell the younguns about this thing that was so wonderful that had just the facts you wanted and nothing more, and they'd roll their eyes.

Try to picture the internet without Wikipedia. When that terrible idea starts to give you chills, please consider donating to Wikipedia; I did.

I gave $100 to Wikipedia →

Microblog Crawler v1.0 Released

Posted on Sat, 29 Nov 2014

Today, I'm proud to announce that version 1.0 of my Microblog/RSS feed crawler is released. It's up on GitHub for all to see and installation is as easy as:

pip install microblogcrawler

From the README:

[The MicroblogCrawler is a] basic feed crawler/parser for traversing microblog and RSS feeds.

Some quick notes about the project:

  • It's written in Python.
  • It's my first project to be officially released on PyPi
  • This crawler is actually an offshoot project from my Microblogger project.
  • The crawler's API is modeled after the Tweepy StreamListener API.
  • The crawler is 241 lines long, and a significant portion of those line are documentation (~35%).

If this project interests you, please check it out. I'd love feedback on the design and ideas for improvements!

MicroblogCrawler: GitHub →

Star Wars VII Teaser (and thoughts on the new lightsabers)

Posted on Fri, 28 Nov 2014

It looks good. As a few people on Twitter have said, this trailer feels more like Star Wars than the prequels did, and I'd have to agree. There's X-Wings, the Millennium Falcon, Rebel pilots, and more. Truth be told though, my brain still doesn't know how to process the trailer. Its harder than I would have thought to accept that there's going to be a new Star Wars. Regardless, the teaser looks very promising. Let's hope the movie is as good.

Star Wars VII Teaser Trailer →

...

Ok well I thought I could get through this without talking about the new lightsaber. I can't, so here goes.

I like the new lightsaber a lot. For something that was on screen for literally two seconds, I have more thoughts on it than the entire rest of the trailer.

To start, it looks like reinventing the lightsaber is something that only the Sith can do, and it's nice to see them continuing to change the design. Putting aside the impracticality of it, (since come on, it's Star Wars) I really like the new look of the blade. By making it more than just a solid beam of light, it gives the weapon a dangerous look. The blade looks like it's just barely contained; it could fail at any moment. It gives the weapon a feeling it's never had before. The lightsaber is no longer a dignified weapon of noble knights, but savage weapon, a shadow of its former self, a relic of a bygone age.

Star Wars has always been a "used-future" universe, and the lightsabers have always looked too new, too nice for the world they're in. The Sith are stretched thin, as far as we know, and the Jedi are in the process of recovering from utter destruction. The Empire is trying to recover from the loss of its leader, and the Rebellion is trying to make the most of it's victory over the Empire. A barely functional lightsaber in a barely functional world is a nice bit of symbolism.

Lightsabers are the weapons of the Jedi Knights, elegant weapons, for a more civilized age... a bygone age. This Star Wars takes place in a new world, a brutal world, a broken world. It's only fitting that the new lightsabers reflect that.

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