Google Analytics Blog: Raising your profile

We’ll continue to add benefits like this for existing users – and there are more and more of you every day.

How about you people over at Google Analytics stop adding new features and start fixing the multi-hour long periods in which your product appears to simply lose data?

Here’s a screenshot of traffic on La Tartine Gourmande, Bea’s blog. Flip your stats into an hourly view and you’ll see the same drop off.

google-data-dropped.jpg

So, Google, how about fixing this? It’s not the first time it’s happened.

Microsoft’s Open Specification Promise

Via John Palfrey:

Microsoft has just unveiled a new commitment not to assert certain rights against people who develop code based on specifications that Microsoft has developed. It’s called the Open Specification Promise.

Interesting to observe that Microsoft did not include their RSS extensions (called SSE) in this list of specifications covered by their promise, a problem that I highlighted almost a year ago.

There is a difference between (a) putting a certain type of liberal copyright on a specification of a protocol or file format and (b) allowing unencumbered implementations of such specification. Microsoft has acknowledged as much with their new Open Specification Promise.

An analogy might be if I publish a recipe for baking a cake under a Creative Commons license, you might still not be able to actually bake the cake because I have some kind of an patent, pending or otherwise, on implementations of the cake.

Send to Apple… and get nothing back

When applications crash on OS X, you get a little dialog box asking you if you would like to send the crash details to Apple. Presumably, they actually use this data to continuously improve their products by providing ~realtime bug reports to their dev teams.

send-to-apple-2.jpg

What would be really useful, though, is if Apple would respond

to me via email telling me if there’s something that I can do to prevent these crashes from occurring, such as applying an update, changing some setting somewhere, etc.

As you can imagine, this would be pretty useful. But since this interaction resembles something like to an actual conversation , I am not optimistic that it will happen soon.

StyleFeeder in the Boston Globe

StyleFeeder is featured on the front page of the Boston Globe’s business section today. If you’re not a lover of dead trees, maybe you prefer the online version? My favorite part is in the little sidebar section entitled “Room to grow” where it shows the funding amounts of some other companies doing similar-ish things to StyleFeeder:

StyleFeeder
Launched in June
Funding: $40 from founder Philip Jacob

Is that a real number? Actually, yes. I spent $10 on the domain name via my OpenSRS account, a few bucks for the graphic of the woman shopper in the header and some other stock photos that I didn’t use, and perhaps another thing or two that I don’t even remember. StyleFeeder initially was hosted on one of my own servers which cost me $0 more than I normally pay. Obviously, the real cost was my time, but the cash expenses were tiny.

More UTF-8 head-thumping with Hibernate 3

I’ve just finished upgrading an application component so that it uses Hibernate 3 instead of Hibernate 2. The last time I tried to do this, I spend half a day on it, realised that all of my UTF-8 encoded data wasn’t working and simply abandoned the effort. But I was feeling brave, so I tried again.

First off, since I’m running on OS X, the first thing that I had to learn is that Firefox on OS X doesn’t handle a lot of Indic text properly (notice that this bug is just over three years old!). That makes it really hard to test when you are looking at question marks instead of Tamil! Solution: use Safari. It works fine. A good test page is the OpenOffice Tamil intro.

But it still wasn’t working for me. I resorted back to the techniques that I used in an earlier blog post, specifically md5 checksums of the text in question. And, yes, there was definitely a problem.

The solution: you need extra parameters for your connection string when using Hibernate 3:

jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/mydb?autoReconnect=true&useUnicode=true&characterEncoding=UTF-8

… and now things work again (well, in Safari, anyway).

A microbenchmark for Whirlycache

I was browsing around tonight and noticed a reference that Greg Luck (started the EHCache project) made on his blog to a cache benchmarking tool. Of course, my first thought was, “Gee, I wonder how Whirlycache does using their benchmark.”

A few minutes later… yes, it wins on all counts:

---------------------------------------------------------------
java.version=1.5.0_04
java.vm.name=Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM
java.vm.version=1.5.0_04-b05
java.vm.info=mixed mode, sharing
java.vm.vendor=Sun Microsystems Inc.
os.name=Windows XP
os.version=5.1
os.arch=x86
---------------------------------------------------------------
This test can take about 5-10 minutes. Please wait ...
---------------------------------------------------------------
|GetPutRemoveT  |GetPutRemove   |Get            |
---------------------------------------------------------------
cache4j 0.4       |7441           |5108           |3414           |
oscache 2.2       |14000          |16784          |4526           |
whirlycache 1.0.1 |4206           |1643           |891            |


ehcache 1.1       |7261           |2603           |1092           |
jcs 1.2.7.0       |5238           |3535           |1251           |
---------------------------------------------------------------

Disclaimer: Like all benchmarks, take these numbers with a grain of salt.

By the way, Whirlycache was mentioned on TheServerSide today.

Whirlycache 1.0 Released

Whirlycache 1.0 is released.  This release fixes a harmless exception that can sometimes occur during cache shutdown.  And it also removes the JDOM dependency so there’s one less jar file required to deploy. The 1.0 release is a dropin replacement for earlier versions.



We’re now starting work on the 2.x branch, which will explicitly require JRE 1.5 or higher.

The 1.0 branch will be supported in the future for those users who need to continue using JRE 1.4.

Thanks again to Peter Royal and Seth Fitzsimmons for working on this with me over the years.

Skewering Bloglines (again)

David Berlind at ZDNet apparently noticed the games that Sam Ruby has been playing with Bloglines. Bloglines is hopelessly silly in so many areas and Sam likes to point this out by putting little HTML tags in his posts that break Bloglines. I laugh every time he does this.

In addition to Bloglines’ inability to make a sane feed reader, there are also very serious unresolved privacy problems, security problems and specification compliance problems.

You must wonder why we continue to use Bloglines in spite of all this. It’s because all of the other web-based feed reader applications are so hopelessly, unbelieveably bad that we all keep coming back to this junkheap of a web service and wait for it to get better.

Maybe one of Paul Graham‘s startup school fundees can rewrite the damn thing in a weekend… (in Lisp, just to make us all smile).