Yearly Archives: 2005

Translate as You Type

From Jeff Barr’s blog, I found the “AJAX Translator“, a proof of concept using Ajax techniques to provide live translation from one text box to another. This translation-as-you-type looks like a neat alternative to the form-based translators like Babel Fish. I think this type of translation would be handy for instant messaging; the translations aren’t perfect, but it might be a nice aide for users who don’t speak the same first language.

Yahoo! Messenger Adds PSTN Support

Tonight we launched Yahoo! Messenger 7.5 Beta, delivering phone-in and phone-out support to PSTN (public switched telephone network, or “regular phones”). For rates that are quite low (inside the US, 1¢ per minute), you can call from Yahoo! Messenger to any phone in the world (“phone out”). You can also buy a live phone number (from anywhere in the world) that will ring on your Messenger client (“phone in”). There is also free voice mail.

In an unusual twist, we are actually only launching the international clients today. For now, users inside the United States will not be able to get this client. Elsewhere in the world, users can sign up from any of our international sites that we launched this evening: Germany Spain France Italy Hong Kong Singapore.

Yahoo! Messenger

Update 2006-03-21: An updated Beta was just launched, including service for the US market (English & Spanish)!

Movable Type on Yahoo! Web Hosting

Today Yahoo! and SixApart announced that Yahoo! small business web hosting customers can now run Movable Type:

Now you can get the power of Movable Type for blogging from a web host you trust: Yahoo! Small Business web hosting. All the features you need, with no installation required.

It looks like you can get web hosting for as little as $9/month, so this might be a good solution for those who don’t want to fiddle with the details of installing Movable Type. Users in that group should probably also check out TypePad which at the cheapest level is about $5/month. Check the specs carefully because Yahoo hosting offers much higher disk space and bandwidth by comparison.

Movable Type on Yahoo! Web Hosting

Deciphering International Forms

At work I’ve gotten quite adept at creating different user accounts for testing and reproducing bugs, especially for international. Not being able to read any language other than English, I usually use navigation tricks such as:

  • Copy and paste chunks of text into Babelfish
  • Follow along with the US/English flow in a separate browser

For cases where those tricks aren’t sufficient (for example, English vs Intl flows are different or have different fields), I’ve found a third option:

The web developer extension is considered a “must have” for anyone doing web development. In this case, I use the Forms | Display Form Details option to highlight all form field names. Each form field will be shown with its id and name. As long as either the id or name are meaningful (and in English), you can deduce what the field means. Worst-case, you could still translate text chunks in Babelfish if needed for anything tricky.

The screen shot below comes from the Yahoo! Hong Kong registration page (Traditional Chinese). With the fields highlighted in this manner, registration was easily finished.

Example showing form details on a Chinese web page

Stanford Stadium Construction

The Saturdays before and after Thanksgiving, we saw the last two football games at the “old” Stanford Stadium. Sadly, Stanford lost to both Cal and Notre Dame, but at least we had some excellent tailgating beforehand.

The ND game was the last before the big stadium renovation. At the game’s end, there was a brief ceremonial groundbreaking, then they let fans on the field for one last time. I didn’t come home with a clump of the field or anything, but today I was excited to see an online photo gallery capturing the construction progress, including live webcams.

The renovation is pretty ambitious, rebuilding everything without missing a single home game. The next home game is September, 2006, which gives them 9 full months to complete it. The demolition phase looks pretty easy so far. From the pictures you can really tell how the stadium is just an earthen structure. I’m glad to see those old bleacher seats finally gone!