Weekly Digest, First Edition

This is the first of what I hope will become a regular feature around here; a weekly digest of interesting links. Since this is the first edition, I’ve gone back into the archives a bit and pulled out some of my favorites from the last month or so.

As a bonus, I thought I’d share the simple little Ruby script I’m using to pull this thing together with the quickness. It’s using the fantastic httparty from John Nunemaker. If you save that as delicious.rb and run it (perhaps via command-R in TextMate), you’ll get ready-made output for your blog.

# http://github.com/jnunemaker/httparty/
require 'rubygems'
require 'httparty'

config = YAML::load(File.read(File.join(ENV['HOME'], '.delicious')))
# For this to work, simply put a .delicious file in your home directory that looks like this:
# username: example
# password: whatever

class Delicious
  include HTTParty
  base_uri 'https://api.del.icio.us/v1'
  def initialize(u, p)
    @auth = {:username => u, :password => p}

  def recent(options={})
    options.merge!({:basic_auth => @auth})
    self.class.get('/posts/recent', options)

delicious = Delicious.new(config['username'], config['password'])
links = delicious.recent(:query => {:count => '100'})['posts']['post']

links.each do |l|
  puts "#{l['description']}"
  puts "#{l['extended']}"

If you’re interested in getting a steady stream of links, you can subscribe to my delicious feed.

A trick that I’ve recently picked up is adding people to my network and then subscribing to my network’s feed. This way, I have a nice collection of links all bundled together from people I’m interested in. The delicious network is a highly underrated tool, in my opinion. Perhaps its value just isn’t obvious enough. It’s not really promoted well, but if you think about it, the delicious network is basically a twitter for links. I feel like you could rebrand it, get some VC money, and TechCrunch would eat it up 🙂

Anyway, here’s the first (extra large) installment of links for your enjoyment:

Does “Getting Real” work in this economy?

…notice I’m calling people users now. That’s what people become when they don’t pay for your product—they are users, not customers. That changes the entire dynamic.

Advice for indies

It’s easy to talk big about your big app. But you have to actually build it. You have to work every day. You have to sit in the chair and stay seated. And sleep and come back to the chair.

Interview with Tobias Lutke: CEO of jadedPixel

Awesome interview: “…build something you need yourself. Above all things this is what made Shopify a success.” Note: I just noticed that this isn’t a direct link, and I can’t figure out how to get one. So, you’ll have to click the blog link on the right, and then find the article in question. Sorry about that!

Passenger and Shopify

I cannot see any reason to choose a different deployment strategy at this point. Its simple, complete, fast and well documented.

The Rails Myths

I thought it would be about time to set the record straight on a number of unfounded fears, uncertainties, and doubts. I’ll be going through these myths one at the time and showing you exactly why they’re just not true.


A simple plugin which stores all changes you make to a text field in a git repository. This is ideal for something like a git-backed wiki.

On the Mongrel caused 400 restarts/day problem

That was the point of telling people Rails crashed that much back then. It is of course better now, but only because of the hard work of people like mentalguy and myself. Everyone else just denied there was a problem, including DHH.

50 Strange Buildings of the World

Awesome collection.

Is RSS dead to you too?

Jason at 37signals says: I haven’t used an RSS reader for a year and I haven’t looked back.

Gmail Video

Gmail voice and video chat will be rolled out globally over the next day or so for Macs and PCs.

Three Under-Used Apple Keyboard Shortcuts

Invert Your Screen: Control – Option – Command – 8. Zoom In: Control and scroll with your mouse wheel. Cropped Screen Grab to Clipboard: Shift – Control – Command – 4.

Memory management with free

Slicehost Articles: Basic monitoring should be done on a regular basis. This keeps you informed as to the general condition of your server and may warn of impending problems.

Morph AppSpace

El Dorado is one of the featured open-source apps available with a one-click install.

paperclip’s automatic database creation tasks

ActiveRecord::Base.connection.create_table :dummies, :force => true

Rubyconf Slides from Heroku

Lightweight Webservices with Sinatra and RestClient

Clearing up inaccuracies about the Google OpenID IDP launch

As has become increasingly clear to everybody doing usability research on OpenID (see here and here), we absolutely need to provide mechanisms for mapping human-friendly identifiers like email addresses to identities.

Merb 1.0

It’s been a little over two years since merb was a twinkle in my eye, and a pastie. Since then it has undergone many drastic transformations, working its way towards a very solid, fast foundation for people to build their homesteads on.

A critical look at the current state of Ruby testing

All this energy on creating new DSLs for testing is energy wasted. Use the standard and focus on your real problems. We’re all spinning our wheels with these new testing syntaxes.


This plugin will fix the missing PNG-Transparency in Windows Internet Explorer 5.5 & 6.

How Hard Could It Be?: The Unproven Path

I abandoned seven long-held principles about business and software engineering, and nothing terrible happened. Have I been too cautious in the past? Perhaps I was willing to be a little reckless because this was just a side project for me and not my main business.

Build Anything

Where I sit, with the cranky engineers —the insane optimists — I hope we all share this optimism because, given enough time, we can build anything.

one central, overriding guideline for iPhone UI design

Figure out the absolute least you need to do to implement the idea, do just that, and then polish the hell out of the experience.

OpenID usability is not an oxymoron

Overwhelmingly criticism of OpenID has been leveraged by developers and web users alike against OpenID’s ease of use.

The 5 Commandments of Mobile Web Design

The Mobile Web is Not the Little Sister of the Traditional Web. Give People What They Want, When They Want It. Build Unique Mobile Content, or Don’t Bother Building Anything at All. Make It Useable. Don’t Forget About Design.

Awesome bundling in Merb

The solution is to rely entirely on bundled gems, and remove system gems from bundled binaries. The side-effect is that you will need to bundle gems like mongrel, rake, etc.

The Sorry State of Blogging Software

And yet, the word on the street in the Ruby community is that writing your own blog from scratch is the way to go.

Pony, The Express Way To Send Email From Ruby

Want to fire off a quick email from your Ruby script? Finding ActionMailer to be overkill, but Net::SMTP to be…um, underkill? Envious of PHP’s mail(), which sends an email with a single function call?

Making money twice

A good portion of this industry is still trying to figure out how to make money for the first time (hint: charge people). But for those who’ve mastered that, I want to talk about the next step: making money twice (or three or four times).

Giving Up

Give up early, give up often. That’s one of the secrets to being an effective hacker, an effective entrepreneur, or an effective anything. High-level languages make it quick to bang out early implementations of new ideas. The trick is to put a time constraint on whatever you’re doing.

The New Queue at GitHub

After trying a few different solutions in the early days, we settled on Ara Howard’s Bj. Yesterday we moved to a new queue, Shopify’s delayed_job (or dj).

Published by

Trevor Turk

A chess-playing machine of the late 18th century, promoted as an automaton but later proved a hoax.

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