Archive for May 2011

fwix beats for ease of use

Looking for local? (ie, an API to get local data specific to a subject). Tried, the API looked promising and their site had good data, but after a week of 403 errors using their example code snippets and no response from the forums or support, was about to give up for awhile. Then I noticed the Weather Underground folks using fwix. They have an extremely simple API, decent quality data (at least if you filter for News or Places), and although its not as complete as I’d like, it does have more than just twitter posts. For ease of use they get 5 stars. Will see how they do on updating, relevency and completeness…

Disable spell-check in chrome

Spell checking and typeahead are two of my top gripes with modern software. URL or bookmark completion is ok, that is when I’m in the ‘trying to remember’ mode. But when I’m in the flow of writing, having the computer guess what I’m trying to say is incredibly distracting and annoying.

Originally, I thought gmail was running auto-spellcheck for me, but it was the browser, in this case Google Chrome.

In Chrome, you turn off spellcheck under chrome://settings/language ; uncheck the ‘Enable spell checking’ box underneath the list of languages.

(You can also get to this screen advanced settings screen by clicking on the wrench in the upper-right, select ‘Preferences’ and ‘Under the Hood’, then click ‘Languages and Spell-checker Settings’ )

Fix for CreateQualificationType returning 400 error using rturk

Update 7/14/11 – I believe this is fixed in rturk 2.4 – thanks Mark!
rturk, the Ruby gem for making calls to the Amazon Mechanical Turk API, uses a REST transport layer. That’s fine, but all calls are currently performed by a GET, which has a length limitation. When making calls that include long strings of data – such as the XML for a QuestionForm structure in a qualification tests – errors may occur with the non-explanatory message ‘400 Request Error’.

Was able to patch it by making a change to lib/rturk/requester.rb :

< RTurk.logger.debug "Sending request:\n\t #{}?#{querystring}"
< RestClient.get("#{}?#{querystring}")
> # RTurk.logger.debug “Sending request:\n\t #{}?#{querystring}”
> # RestClient.get(”#{}?#{querystring}”)
> RTurk.logger.debug “Posting request to #{}:\n\t #{params.inspect}”
>, post_params)

A more robust fix might be to use POST only for longer requests, or make it an explicit option on the RTurk object