For many, many years, Gary Keith maintained a set of files (“the files”) as part of the Browser Capabilities Project. These files contained thousands of entries mapping regular expressions to browser families, versions, platforms and capabilities, and these files were used by parsers written in a dozen languages to turn website visitors’ user-agent strings into structured data about their system. I’m truly thankful for the hard work Gary put in maintaining those files single-handedly for so many years.
At the end of 2012, after many months of warnings about his health and declining ability to run the project, it was closed with no new maintainer. Nobody’s stepped up to provide the same level of support he provided, and it’s no longer a reliable source of information about browsers and their capabilities.
If, like me, you need the ability to parse user agents for browser and platform information, I recommend the ua-parser project. It’s up-to-date, with a team of contributors, takes pull requests on github and provides libraries in 10 languages. It’s also much simpler to maintain, with only 1000 lines of YAML rather than 28,000 lines of INI files.
I’ll be using ua-parser as the basis of W3Counter’s browser and platform reports going forward.
Sunroom, wall-to-wall sliding windows, fold-up table. The Surface Pro comes with me when I go out for server emergencies..
A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.
— George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons
This week, there is a good possibility the Senate will pass the Marketplace Fairness Act, often called the “internet sales tax bill”. Here’s what this bill will do:
There’s little else contained in this relatively straightforward bill. Should it pass, online sellers will eventually be collecting sales tax for most of their US customers.
Since integrating 50 different software packages into every online store, filing 50 different sales tax returns, cutting 50 checks, and getting audited by 50 states is not an appealing idea to most small businesses, they’re almost guaranteed to pay a certified software provider to handle it.
J.J. Abrams and Valve are in talks for a Half-Life or Portal film. I’d watch either one; I definitely wanted to see more after this live-action teaser based on Portal —
I’m still waiting for the World of Warcraft live-action film that was promised back in 2006. Legendary Pictures only chose a director for it this week, 7 years later, and announced a 2015 release date. The game it’s based on will be 11 years old at that point — no doubt still popular, though, given the franchise is already 19 years old and still 10 million subscribers strong.
Every couple of months I re-evaluate my hosting choices to ensure they still makes sense in terms of cost, stability and service. Curious as to what choices other technology companies are making, I decided to conduct an independent survey of who hosts the Y Combinator-funded startups. Armed with only this spreadsheet listing the over 300 websites, my terminal and nslookup, I compiled this graph:
I’m terrible at naming products. Meaningful one- and two-word .com domains that aren’t already owned by someone are virtually nonexistant. Combine these things and I spent almost 3 entire days trying to find a name for my latest app without coming up with a single viable domain.
They exist solely to solve this exact problem — brand packages for startups with brandable names, matching .com domains and logos. Within minutes I found Improvely among their available names and knew it would be better than anything I’d come up with myself, and snapped it up for only $250. Compared to spending another few days searching names on my own, and likely coming up with some unbrandable combination of words, Stylate was a bargain.