Scaled-up web software is hard!

The New York Times ran an article last Friday about the struggles people have had using all those vaccination-appointment web sites. The biggest complaint? The sites “crash” because they have too much traffic. I’ve worked at a company that runs scaled-up web technology. We have a customer with a vast seasonal rush, with millions of … Read more

Firefox has limited ability to handle H.264

The Firefox browser’s WebRTC and MediaRecorder functionality can handle H.264 (Advanced Video Codec) coding and decoding, but only with H.264’s constrained baseline profile. Other, higher, profiles just don’t work. And in Firefox’s WebRTC implementation (v87) attempts to use higher profiles fail more-or-less silently. Firefox works around all the patent issues with H.264 by using an … Read more

Web Beacon API

There’s a sweet little function in web browsers called the Web Beacon API.  It’s a simplified version of the XHR or Fetch API that does a fire-and-forget POST operation to a server. It’s nice for a few reasons.  First, browser Javascript (front-end Javascript) can use it without any need to process results coming back. Just … Read more

Database programming

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Exploring data with SQL

In the last section, we populated our us_counties table and used it for some queries. Now it’s time to create some views of the data. With views we’ll be able to do more interesting things without retyping huge queries. We can use views as a foundation for more analysis. The first view we need is … Read more

Find peak cases

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Exploring data with SQL

Back in the Database Programming section of this series, we created the view named us_counties_new, showing the daily new case load. Recall that we first computed the seven-day running average of the total case loads in the us_counties_avg7 view, then used those numbers for the daily case loads. Having the daily case loads available lets … Read more

Getting started with the data

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Exploring data with SQL

The Times’s data is here. https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nytimes/covid-19-data/master/us-counties.csv If you’re using a browser, open the context menu (right-click) on that link and use the Save Link As … operation to put it into a file on your system. We’ll use it later to load the database. Use your database interface program to log in to your database … Read more