Archive for May, 2007

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GoogleMashups

31 May 2007

Is this what Yahoo! Pipes was supposed to be? If so, it’s already better.

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And you wonder…

25 May 2007

…why it’s difficult to get women to attend IT conferences — much less speak at them? Check out RailsConf2007 (not really SFW…and you don’t have to watch the whole thing — the first 45 seconds is plenty for you to get the idea).

I actually know a gentleman who was at the conference, and he said there was at least one woman in attendance (how many more? Check this Flickr set of pictures from RailsConf 2007), and there was even a woman presenter.

I don’t know about you, but for me, that video is only slightly less mature than last1 year’s2 Rails conferences3.

I truly hope that the good, valuable tech conferences won’t start turning into beer parties.

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Illustration

4 May 2007

I am not going to even think about attempting to discuss what is art and what isn’t. But I do know what illustration is, and I know what GOOD illustration is. And I’ve recently found a bunch of really good illustration on the web.

Len over at Jawbone Radio just wrapped up the second installment of Monster By Mail — for $20, you get a custom, hand-drawn one-of-a-kind illustration based on a monster movie title of your choosing. Ten bucks additional gets you a video of the illustration being created. (Sadly, Len’s already closed ordering for the monster movie series, but expect another series soon.)

Then there’s Adam Koford’s monkey project — for ten bucks, you can make up a monkey name, and you’ll get a postcard with that monkey on it.

And also, Ben’s custom robot portraits are a bargain at only $10 (plus $1.15 or so postage), and they’re really good!

I love this idea. Original illustrations based on your own art or ideas. One-of-a-kinds.

I wish there were something I was good enough at that I could do that. It’s way cooler than having someone write on a banana, or a piece of toast.

Know of any other entrepreneurial artists who are doing excellent inexpensive custom work in high volume with a fast turnaround?

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“Oh sure, RoR will scale…”

4 May 2007

From an interview on Radical Behavior:

“By various metrics Twitter is the biggest Rails site on the net right
now. Running on Rails has forced us to deal with scaling issues –
issues that any growing site eventually contends with – far sooner
than I think we would on another framework.

The common wisdom in the Rails community at this time is that scaling
Rails is a matter of cost: just throw more CPUs at it. The problem
is that more instances of Rails (running as part of a Mongrel
cluster, in our case) means more requests to your database. At this
point in time there’s no facility in Rails to talk to more than one
database at a time. The solutions to this are caching the hell out
of everything and setting up multiple read-only slave databases,
neither of which are quick fixes to implement. So it’s not just
cost, it’s time, and time is that much more precious when people can[’t]
reach your site.

None of these scaling approaches are as fun and easy as developing
for Rails. All the convenience methods and syntactical sugar that
makes Rails such a pleasure for coders ends up being absolutely
punishing, performance-wise. Once you hit a certain threshold of
traffic, either you need to strip out all the costly neat stuff that
Rails does for you (RJS, ActiveRecord, ActiveSupport, etc.) or move
the slow parts of your application out of Rails, or both.

It’s also worth mentioning that there shouldn’t be doubt in anybody’s
mind at this point that Ruby itself is slow. It’s great that people
are hard at work on faster implementations of the language, but right
now, it’s tough. If you’re looking to deploy a big web application
and you’re language-agnostic, realize that the same operation in Ruby
will take less time in Python. All of us working on Twitter are big
Ruby fans, but I think it’s worth being frank that this isn’t one of
those relativistic language issues. Ruby is slow.”