Search function with auto-complete “suggest”

The search function at the PHP homepage has got a new functionality: suggesting what it is you’re typing.

Like auto-complete. And Google Suggest.

> The source code of this feature is released under the PHP License and is available from the PHP CVS server without any support.

Nice of them. The script is included at the bottom of every page that uses it, and when you view its source, it is a very much optimized version you see; i.e. you can’t read it. Obfuscation.

With some fiddling, this could be used in many places, I guess.

Maybe this is something for Alexandria.dk, Peter?

ECMAUnit: Unit testing for JavaScript

Sarissa is a goodie for those of us who wrangle with XML:

Sarissa is a cross-browser ECMAScript library for client side XML manipulation, including XML loading from URLs or strings, XSLT transformations, XPath queries and more. Supported: Gecko (Mozilla, Firefox etc), IE, KHTML (Konqueror, Safari).

When I started looking at its documentation, I noticed that it looked right fine, and it was developed with unit testing:

Sarissa tests are written using ECMAUnit, a unit testing framework for ECMAScript (a.k.a. JavaScript).

That is way cool. The tarball is 4.39 Kb…

It has all the basic things a unit tester needs: AssertEquals(), AssertRaises(), AssertFalse(), AssertTrue(), and even a setUp() and tearDown() pair of methods, which helps when setting up more complex tests.

Maybe this is something for Jonas?

Techie cultural goodness

My Malmö buddy Isak blogs, too.

In the tracked-back post here, he tells about Martin Fowler‘s idea of post-modern programming.

Mr. Fowler is a computer book author, and he wrote Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code, a nice book.

It made me find a great list of “refactoring smells”, which is Fowler-speak for indications of need for refactoring. When you’ve read the book, the list is a good reminder. Refactoring.com was Fowler’s effort at spreading the gospel, but he did not have too much time to devote to it.

Mr. Fowler liked the sequel to Notes on Postmodern Programming, which was called “Notes on Notes on Postmodern Programming”, or NoNoPoMoPo. Funny, ha-ha. (Yes, now you too can read it, like everyone else with a PDF reader.)

And now that this linkfest continues, I shall add the essay “The New Methodology” (PDF) by Fowler, in his capacity of Chief Scientist at ThoughtWorks.

bbPress!

bbPress is the new forum software from the folks who created WordPress.

It is bound to be great. On the homepage they make five commitments:

1. Open Source, always and forever
2. Less (code) is more
3. Simplicity is a feature
4. Speed and security are the foundation of any good user experience
5. Put the user first

And I do believe in it. When I get some time, I’ll put it to use here, or somewhere.

Open Directory Project: almost altruistic

The Open Directory Project:

The Open Directory Project is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors.

Anyone can be an editor of a subcategory of the catalog, making small edits, refusing bad submissions and so on.

I noted that the Swedish role-playing game scene was very ill-represented. There are thousands of small clubs in Sweden, and less than 40 had a registered website. How can the kids find folks to play with, if the organized people stay out of sight?

I am now the category editor of the very narrow catalog space of Open Directory РWorld: Svenska: Spel: Rollspel: F̦reningar.

My next smart move will be an announcement on the homepage of Sweden’s body of role-playing associations; a call to action for clubs with a web oage to add their site to this free, highly publicized catalog.

Whiteout: Las Vegas

Finnish RPG author and columnist Juhana writes about my game in his log:

I’ve often had the opportunity to lobby for roleplaying games as viable culture and art with culture officials and artists. Sadly, what I’ve tended to lack is anything worth presenting. I’m not going to offer fantasy schlock or WoD juvenilia, because the audience in these cases is not familiar with the genre background and also because these games tend to be devoid of any artistic and cultural merit.

I might also add that there are not that many games I’ve played in that I could describe as “good” without any reservations. A couple of one shots have recently emerged that might fit the bill. The first one is Olle’s Whiteout Las Vegas, a game of four Elvis impersonators, and the second is Juki’s Viking Line game. Of these, Olle’s game is more interesting in technical terms but Juki’s game is closer to my style.

If you are interested in getting WoLV, then go to the Vi Ã…ker Jeep homepage, which now has a rather functional wiki, yet-to-be-styled. The scenario can only be downloaded in Swedish, as of now. (I will try to find the PDF, soon as I can!)

Juhana runs a column called “No Good” in RPG.net, and he plugged my game there.

CIA chief gadget geek?

Since 24 sep this year we have a new CIA chief: Porter J. Goss.

The mini-bio tells us he has “clocked some field time”:

Mr. Goss was a U.S. Army Intelligence officer from 1960 to 1962. He served as a clandestine service officer with the Central Intelligence Agency from 1962 until 1972, when an illness contracted on duty forced him to retire. While in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, he completed assignments in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe.

What was that illness? And what were those assignments about? Story material here. My head spins with James Ellroyish speculation-cocktails of JFK’ish power.

Mr. Goss is already in the media with opinions, which put him as a gadget geek more than some gung-ho agent:

Among the champions of the program, officials said, has been Porter J. Goss, the new director of central intelligence[…]. But critics, including Democrats and Republicans on the Senate intelligence committee, have questioned whether any new satellite system could really evade detection by American adversaries and whether its capabilities would improve on those already in existence or in development.

Price of the system: $9.5 billion.

The idea that the disputed program might be a stealth satellite program was proposed in an interview Thursday by John Pike, a satellite expert who heads Globalsecurity.com, a defense and intelligence database. The existence of the first stealth satellite, launched under a program known as Misty, was first reported by Jeffrey T. Richelson in his 2001 book, “The Wizards of Langley: Inside the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology.” Richelson said the first such satellite was launched from the space shuttle Atlantis in March 1990.

Take a look at that GlobalSecurity (capitalization! feh!) website. It looks remarkably un-professional, and does not at all look like the type of source I’d use for… anything. (Centered text? ASCII art way down on the page? A Google search box, in the biggest size and in a contrasting color?) And there was no database access anywhere I could see. Is Mr. Pike hosting that database somewhere else?

OK. Conundrum solved. The website is called dot org, good people at Indystar.com. And its page on Mr. Pike makes him look just like the guy I thought he’d be.

CIA people about themselves

On the CIA web page, in the careers section, one can find weird discourse, from an organization that wants recruits:

KATHY:

I heard about the Agency during a College Career Fair. Although many other positions sounded intriguing, I was drawn to the idea of living overseas and serving as a collector of intelligence. After receiving extensive training, the Agency put their complete trust in me to travel and recruit foreign agents who provide information, carrying out this entire process in a clandestine manner. Dealing with people, operating with so much independence, and relying on my own street smarts and training to make critical decisions is the ultimate challenge. Every week is different – it can be slow one minute and breakneck speed the next. I’ve done some thrilling operations that mirror what is seen in the movies, and I feel tremendous pride that I, an average all-American female from an average American family, am the one doing it.

What? A reference to “the movies”? “Street smarts”? What is this? Is the CIA trying to sway the negative discourse of “spooks” and introduce a softer concept? Perhaps softer is not the word… An image of Operative Agents less uptight, more in line with the heroics of Hollywood cinema?

But the “patriotism” discourse can be found in the IT person’s part:

CINDY — IT Engineer

[…] The Agency employees are truly the best and brightest. Potential applicants should have high energy, ambition, a positive attitude and a strong desire to serve their country.

But I guess “customer focus” and other marketing drivel seems misplaced in this context.

FIGlet – ASCII heaven

FIGlet is a program for making large letters out of ordinary text”.

If you have ever seen .nfo files distributed with cracked games, you have probably seen the “large letters”. In the past these letters were an art form spawned by the limitations of the terminal, and with the BBS’es it got big, cool and popular. Everyone could do it, but few did it any good. Now these artists find themselves threatened by programs.

There is also a PEAR release for doing FIGlet text: Text_Figlet, if you “need” it in a web application. Haha, like anyone needs that stuff.

But still, it would look cool. I am thinking of Peter’s homepage; wouldn’t it be appropriate there?

7. Where does the name FIGlet come from?

“Frank, Ian and Glen’s letters”