Cloud

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cloud

Google Spreadsheets API and Column Names

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Google Spreadsheets API and Column Names

I had a play with the Google Spreadsheets API recently to feed in some data from a C# application. The getting started guide is great and I was authenticated and adding dummy data in no time. But as soon as I started to work with real data I got:

"The remote server returned an error: (400) Bad Request."

And digging deeper into the response:

"We're sorry, a server error occurred. Please wait a bit and try reloading your spreadsheet."

The original sample code still worked so it didn't seem like any sort of temporary glitch as the message suggests. After much hair torn it turns out I was getting this error because I had used the literal column names from my spreadsheet. The API expects them to be lower case with spaces removed. If not columns match you get the unhelpful error above, if at least one column matches you get a successful insert with some missing data.

Error messages are one of the hardest parts of an API to get right. If you're not very detailed then what seems obvious to you can leave your developers stumped.

Hope this helps someone else...

Autumnal Equinox 2013

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Autumnal Equinox 2013

It's the start of autumn in the northern hemisphere, spring if you live south of the equator. Rendered in Catfood Earth.

Fix search on enter problem in BlogEngine.NET

Updated on Thursday, December 26, 2019

Search on enter has been broken for a while in BlogEngine.NET (I'm running the latest 2.8.0.1 version). Finally got a chance to look at this today and there is a simple patch to the JavaScript to fix it. See the issue I just filed on CodePlex for details.

Air Gap

Updated on Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The latest revelations about how thoroughly the NSA, GCHQ and friends have corrupted Internet security have got Bruce Schneier recommending an air gap.

Back in the late 90's I played a small role in the fight against the UK government's trusted third party / mandatory key escrow scheme on behalf of Ç-Dilla, at around the same time as the Clinton administration was pushing the Clipper Chip. It seemed that the fight was won, but apparently after being told no the spy agencies went and found a way to do it anyway.

The starting point is terrorists, because there is nothing that can't be justified by the war on terror. But all that data just wants to be used so it gets shared with the DEA, and then the IRSAnd then LOVEINT. The implications for civil liberties and the economy aren't great but they're probably not the worst fallout.

The ending point is probably terrorists as well. Because by opening up back doors and sneaking weaknesses into the algorithms that we depend on for security we've opened up holes for the bad guys to exploit. Bad enough that your local nuclear power station is hooked up to the Internet but now we know the VPN and the Firewall that should be keeping it safe have been fatally compromised.

If we really wanted to save the most possible lives then the billions being sunk into the NSA would be better spent developing self-driving cars.

Response to updated GGNRA Draft Dog Management Plan

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Response to updated GGNRA Draft Dog Management Plan

The National Park Service just released a new version of their Draft Dog Management Plan for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA).

After the response to the previous version the NPS said that they'd consider allowing dog access in additional areas and more importantly that they would reevaluate the 'poison pill' provision that enabled changing the rules in the future without further consultation. Additional access was considered and rejected. 'Compliance-Based Management Strategy' has been rebranded as 'Monitoring-Based Management Strategy' and while they've technically dropped the poison pill the language is still pretty dire up to and including year plus closures:

"When the level of compliance is deemed unacceptable based on violations and/or impacts to resources, primary management actions such as focused enforcement of regulations, education, and establishment of buffer zones, time and use restrictions, and SUP restrictions would be implemented. If noncompliance continues, secondary management actions including short-term closures (typically one year or less) would be implemented through the compendium."

That 'typically one year or less' is just such a throw away line, like it's a minor punishment and not 7 dog years or more. 

Here are my full comments on the new plan (comment ID 875407-55416/35):

Dear National Park Service,

I commented on the previous Draft Dog Management Plan/ Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (comment ID: 457979-38106/85) and as requested will focus on the changes made between then and the current draft.

My chief concern with the previous draft was the provision that allowed the NPS to degrade off-leash ‘ROLA’ areas to on-leash or banning dogs entirely without further public consultation. The latest draft has removed this language, but the new ‘Monitoring-Based Management Strategy’ doesn’t strike me as a material improvement.

The compliance section of this strategy begins with focused enforcement of regulations and education. It should stop there. Instead it goes on to mention buffer zones, time and use restrictions, and SUP restrictions and then goes on to short-term closures that are typically one-year or less.

While the previous draft was worse, the prospect of losing access to the limited off-leash areas that will remain after the implementation of this plan for a year or possubly more isn’t a material improvement.

I live in San Francisco and frequently visit the GGNRA with my family, which includes a toddler and well behaved dog. I completely support a reasonable allocation of the available space between visitors who want to bring their dog and visitors who would prefer a dog-free experience.

Given the tone of the plan and the history of the NPS seeking to ban off-leash dog access altogether I cannot help but fear that any provision in the plan to curtail dog access will end up being used.

Please remove the language around further regulating, restricting, permitting and closing the ROLA areas. Focus on enforcement and use your limited resources to handle the minority of irresponsible dog owners rather than closing down access for everyone.

Sincerely,

Robert Ellison

P.S. The sand ladder at fort funston is an unstable and dangerous trail. Introducing leashes would increase the risk of injury to people and dogs alike.

--

(previously, previously)

Dolphins at Fort Funston

Updated on Sunday, May 3, 2020

Dolphins at Fort Funston

Book reviews for August 2013

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017
iD (The Machine Dynasty, #2) by Madeline Ashby

iD (The Machine Dynasty, #2) by Madeline Ashby

3/5

Very much a middle book in a series. vN was outstanding, iD picks up where it left off and it's good if you read vN but probably doesn't stand alone. I'm looking forward to a third installment.

 

Flaggermusmannen (Harry Hole, #1) by Jo Nesbø

Flaggermusmannen (Harry Hole, #1) by Jo Nesbø

4/5

The Bat - recently translated into English. This is the first in the Harry Hole series and it's a very good one. Most of the rest were translated some time ago and it's a little odd that it's taken so long for the initial installment. I was expecting it to some sort of rubbish embarrassment but Nesbo is on top form here. My guess is that the problem was that it's set in Sydney which is probably a hard sell for fans of Scandinavian crime.

 

I don't always find droids...

Updated on Sunday, May 3, 2020

I don't always find droids...

BBC On Patents

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Patently Absurd

"The patent system in the USA is so distorted it's now more lucrative for companies known as 'patent trolls' to sue manufacturers rather than actually make anything. The problem's so serious that President Obama has got involved -- and British companies are targeted if they do business in the US. Rory Cellan-Jones investigates and finds one of the world's biggest trolls in his lair in Dallas."

Patently Absurd is available to stream for the next six days (the BBC never took me up on the offer for a new hard drive).

(previouslypreviouslypreviouslypreviouslypreviouslypreviouslypreviouslypreviously)