Five short links

Photo by Robert1407

Hadoop Cluster Chef – A very useful project by Joe Kelly Flip Kromer of InfoChimps. It's designed to make building compute clusters across a range of technologies very easy, and it's built by someone in the trenches so it has a lot of street-smarts baked in, things like using spot EC2 instances for rock-bottom server prices

Comparing email address validation regular expressions – This is the mother of all email REs, with a lot of testing behind it. As someone who's wrestled with this problem myself I'm impressed, though I lean towards using a much more accepting version for testing user input

How to check if an email address exists without sending an email – I wasn't aware that you could use SMTP to discover if an email address is valid. It makes the "we can't add an API to look up users by email on our service because spammers will use it to validate emails" line from social networks look even more like a flimsy excuse

Reflections on startup life – week 28 – Tim Bull has been writing weekly entries about the process of building a company around Tribalytic. Writing this stuff in realtime makes it a great antidote to the 'we knew what we were doing all along' PR spin that always obscures the real story of successful startups

Tree of Ténéré – This was the most isolated tree on the planet, over a hundred miles from its nearest neighbor. The last remnant of a grove that grew in another era when the Sahara had water, its roots stretched over 30 meters downwards, and it was a landmark for generations of travelers. Then it was run over by a truck.

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