Filtering ExtJs Grid

ExtJs Grid provides a nice, quick way to build a UI that can handle a lot of tabular data and support the operations you’d typically like to perform on that data (sorting, filtering). It can be hard to style, but is great for whipping up admin CRUD functionality.

One thing that seems hard to do with it out of the box, however, is trigger filtering directly from your javascript, rather than via the UI.

Ext.grid.Panel does in fact expose the requisite properties and methods to accomplish this, but they’re a bit hard to track down, and not part of the official public API. This gist, GridFilteringExtensions.js, adds some methods to Ext.grid.Panel that make this easier. It probably won’t accomplish everything you want to do, and hasn’t been tested in a wide variety of situations, but it was exactly what I needed, and may be a good base from which to build.

Note that before manually setting a filter for the first time, you’ll need to call `createFilters`.

Schwarzenegger uses Facebook

Arnold’s fan base on Facebook unleashes a torrent of <sarcasm>insightful and witty commentary</sarcasm>

It appears that Arnold Schwarzenegger (of whom I am a “fan” on Facebook, and in real life—at least, of his movies and his environmentalism) has finally started taking advantage of the Facebook fan base he has. Or, at least, someone operating in his name has begun doing so. Unlike @mayormiller, I don’t imagine Ahnold does his own web updating.

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No video in email for 2009

So sayeth Campaign Monitor

Campaign Monitor has a nice writeup of some research into the current state of including video in email. Basically, the verdict is not good, which should come as a surprise to no one involved in email communications. Confirming a recent post from MailChimp, the CM people state that, for now, animated gifs are probably the only (more or less) reliable way to go.

The financial crisis cloud has no silver lining

The New York Times has a decent (though it strangely focuses a bit too muich on her appearance and clothing) article on Naomi Klein. One of the things that caught my attention was her interpretation of the genesis of the New Deal:

The New Deal is usually told as a history of F.D.R., she said, but we don’t talk enough about the pressure from below. Neighborhoods organized, and when their evicted neighbors’ furniture was put on the streets they moved it back into their homes. It was that kind of direct action that won victories like rent control, public housing, and the creation of Fannie Mae. The other thing that’s important to remember, she said, is that the organizers were a threat—of socialist revolution—and it was that which allowed F.D.R. to say to Wall Street, “We have to compromise, or else we’ve got a revolution on our hands.” Now, these market shocks are opportunities for the same reason that the crash was in the thirties, because we are seeing the failures of laissez-faire before our eyes. “It’s time to say, ‘Your model failed,’ ” she said. “This is a progressive moment: it’s ours to lose.”

As Slavoj Zizek says, events do not impose their own interpretation. It is up to the left to ensure that the financial crisis is seen for what it is: a significant blow to laissez-faire ideology. Unfortunately, the situation is, as far as I can tell, entirely lacking the sort of roiling, potentially revolutionary zeal that is, both A) an appropriate response to the grossly criminal acts of speculation, fraud and exploitation that have been perpetrated (largely) upon the American population at the hands of the right-wing elite; and B), if Klein is on to something, a prerequisite for the causes of this crisis to be taken seriously.

The Government Accounting Office report that came out in late 2008 has already found, sadly but unsurprisingly, that the bailout is being handled with insufficient oversight.

beard caught in pencil sharpener
this is going to get worse before it gets better

Consequences of bot-mediated reality

I have a lot of catch-up listening to do with regards to The Long Now Foundation‘s excellent Seminars About Long-term Thinking (SALT) lecture and podcast series. I’m a charter member of the Foundation, which gets you a sweet membership card and access to video of their lectures, among other less tangible things like knowing you’re helping inject some much-needed awareness of long-term thinking and planning into public discourse.

One of the lectures I’m particularly looking forward to downloading is the recent Daemon: Bot-Mediated Reality by Daniel Suarez, which I think has particular relevance given the recent and rather large f-up in which Google’s news crawler inadvertently “evaporated $1.14B USD”.

Unfortunately, I think that in the near future, as more and more processes are automated, we will see more such screw-ups of this scale. I can’t help but think that this might have been avoidable, though, if the indexing engine had been able to take advantage of semantic data rather than relying on scraping and evaluating natural language.

Google chrome: speed at the price of bloat?

Yes, Virginia, Google Chrome is fast. I installed it on my Windows XP work machine to give it a whirl, and it certainly rivals if not outperforms Firefox 3 in the speed department (though I haven’t found it to be as fast as some).

Hardware manufacturers everywhere must be thanking Google for this development. As this Slashdot article points out, both Internet Explorer 8 and Google Chrome aim to overcome the limitations that a single-process approach imposes on traditional browsers (i.e. more prone to irrecoverable crashes, less robust when running multiple web apps). What this means is that both IE8 and Chrome will be more resource intensive. Sure, you can have flickr, google maps, and photosynth running all at the same time in different tabs, but it will cost you in extra RAM and CPU overhead (not that this is surprising).

So, even if all our applications do eventually get moved off our desktops into “the cloud”, as some people predict/hope will happen, we will still need faster and larger computers to be able to run these increasingly complicated, JavaScript-laden and Ajax-y web apps. The days of the dumb terminal are over and aren’t coming back.

In any case, I’m sticking with Firefox 3 at least until Chrome is available for Mac and gets a comparable set of plugins.

Classic case of slippery slope

The UK’s extensive network of security cams (about 1 per every 10 people), which research has repeatedly shown to be ineffective at both preventing and solving crime, is apparently being used to catch litterers, pooping dogs, and other such petty offences, rather than for more heinous things, like terrorism, the fear of which lead to their installment with little outcry from the British public.