Links for 1-13-11

Let’s celebrate the new year with the first round of links from my new account on Pinboard. I’ve decided to move away from Delicious due to fear, uncertainty, and doubt that the service may be shutting down. See Yahoo!locaust for more information on that subject.

I’ve been very happy with Pinboard so far, and would highly recommend it as an alternative to Delicious. They even have a handy Delicious->Pinboard importing feature to help get you started. It’s much faster, more pleasing to the eye, and seems to be actively maintained by smart people. It’s a win all around.

This also means that I have a new way of getting at my links for publishing here. I whipped together a quick Rake task based on some code I found while Googling around. It’s nothing special, but it seems to get the job done:

…it works, you know?

So, this set of links includes a bunch of stuff I cleared out from my GitHub watch list, which had gotten a bit overwhelming. I subscribe to my private GitHub RSS feed in Google Reader to help me keep up with the projects I’m interested in, and checking that on a weekly basis works well for me. Still, it was time to do a little spring cleaning… in the dead of winter… I suppose… 🙂

So, without further ado:

Campaign for Real Ale

CAMRA campaigns for real ale, real pubs and consumer rights. We are an independent, voluntary organisation with over 100,000 members and have been described as the most successful consumer group in Europe. CAMRA promotes good-quality real ale and pubs, as well as acting as the consumer’s champion in relation to the UK and European beer and drinks industry.

brianmario/streamly – GitHub

A streaming REST client for Ruby, using libcurl

hckr news – an unofficial, alternative Hacker News interface

Hacker News is a great resource. However, I seemed to constantly run into two issues. 1. If I didn’t visit at least once a day, top items would scroll off the top pages and I would never see them. 2. If I was procrastinating and visiting the page often, I would find it difficult to determine what was new on the page. That frustration led to hckr news, a chronologic list of items that have made it onto the Hacker News homepage.

5 Better Ways to Read “Hacker News”

Hacker News is one of our favorite places to find interesting stories, learn about apps and side projects from the dev community and stay connected to the early stage startup scene.

10 Simple Truths Smart People Forget

Some of the smartest people I know continuously struggle to get ahead because they forget to address a few simple truths that collectively govern our potential to make progress.

The Untitled Blog: Google Chrome “Feeling Lucky Search”

If you want to do a “Feeling Lucky” search from Google Chrome post haste, I’ve got a great trick for you.

How To Ensure Your Email Gets Delivered | Engine Yard Ruby on Rails Blog

It goes without saying that email is the de facto method by which online businesses communicate with users and clients; without a doubt, it’s a necessary and core function of business today. That being the case, how does a business know that its  email is actually getting delivered?

nathancolgate/s3-swf-upload-plugin – GitHub

A rails 3 gem which allow user upload files to S3 through an embedded flash directly. All UI has been moved out of flex and can be controlled by CSS and JavaScript callbacks.

ernie/meta_where – GitHub

ActiveRecord 3 query syntax on steroids.

jamesgolick/friendly – GitHub

NoSQL with MySQL in Ruby

pivotal/refraction – GitHub

Rack middleware replacement for mod_rewrite

anveo/swfupload_demo – GitHub

How to use SWFUpload with custom Rack Middleware

jtrupiano/rack-rewrite – GitHub

A web server agnostic rack middleware for defining and applying rewrite rules. In many cases you can get away with Rack::Rewrite instead of writing Apache mod_rewrite rules.

clint-tseng/Awesomecomplete – GitHub

A lightweight Autocomplete plugin for jQuery. Autocomplete that doesn’t suck — I think.

wp_ar.rb at master from jystewart/wp_ar – GitHub

ActiveRecord models to work with WordPress databases

sunlightlabs/rack-honeypot – GitHub

Middleware that functions as a spambot trap. Cast spambots off into the abyss.

tobi/imagery – GitHub

Image server / proxy that can resize images on demand based on common file prefixes ( such as _small, _medium ) and apply other rmagick effects. Supposed to be used between a Squid/Varnish and S3

ifunk/swfupload-jquery-plugin – GitHub

A jQuery plugin that makes working with SWFUpload even easier.

lardawge/swfupload-rails-authentication – GitHub

Demo Rails 3 app showing SWFUpload working in tandem with restful-authentication, CSRF protection and paperclip.

kabuki/heresy – GitHub

Heresy is a schema free wrapper around your database, heavily inspired by both CouchDB and FriendFeed.

enriquez/ezpz-hint – GitHub

A simple jQuery plugin for showing a text field’s label inside the textbox itself. The hint disappears when it is given focus, and appears again if the inputted text is empty. Typically used for search and login forms.

patientslikeme/campaign_monitor – GitHub

Ruby gem for accessing the Campaign Monitor API with support for new API keys, hex IDs, and custom subscriber fields

pillowfactory/csv-mapper – GitHub

A small library intended to simplify the common steps involved with importing CSV files to a usable form in Ruby

Startups and The Problem Of Premature Scalaculation

Don’t fall into the trap of spending your limited resources on planning and preparing for success. Instead, spend them on things that will actually increase your chances of success.

The Web Is a Customer Service Medium (

“Why wasn’t I consulted,” which I abbreviate as WWIC, is the fundamental question of the web. It is the rule from which other rules are derived. Humans have a fundamental need to be consulted, engaged, to exercise their knowledge (and thus power), and no other medium that came before has been able to tap into that as effectively.


There are a number of variables that allow a DBA to tune a PostgreSQL database server for specific loads, disk types and hardware. These are fondly called the GUCS (Global Unified Configuration Settings) and you can take a look via the pg_settings view. There are also a few of things that you can do in your application to get the most out of Postgres – Google’s decreasingly useful, spam-filled web search

Much of this will be (or currently is) solved the old-fashioned way: personal recommendations and trusted authorities. But these can’t cover the breadth of available information that web searchers need. I don’t know what will, or when, but it’s desperately needed.

paperplanes. The Virtues of Monitoring

On today’s menu: monitoring. People have all kinds of different meanings for monitoring, and they’re all right, because there is no one way to monitor your applications and infrastructure. I just did a recount, and there are no less than six levels of detail you can and probably should get. Note that these are my definitions, they don’t necessarily have to be officially named, they’re solely based on my experiences. Let’s start from the top, the outside view of your application.

How and why did Amazon get into the cloud computing business? – Quora

Rumor has it that they wanted to “lease” out their excess capacity outside of the holiday season (Nov-Jan). Is that true?

ddollar/shoebox – GitHub

Shoebox helps you manage styles and scripts as first-class citizens in Rails.

fusedevice/nginx-control – GitHub

Nginx control script

jnunemaker/crack – GitHub

Really simple JSON and XML parsing, ripped from Merb and Rails.

pauldix/feedzirra – GitHub

A feed fetching and parsing library that treats the internet like Godzilla treats Japan: it dominates and eats all.

mamuso/acts_as_unvlogable – GitHub

An easy way to include external video services in a rails app.

gabriel/shrub – GitHub

S3 Proxy for Google App Engine

vigetlabs/simple_importer – GitHub

Simple API for importing from csv.

svenfuchs/adva_cms – GitHub

cutting edge cms, blog, wiki, forum

cpjolicoeur/bb-ruby – GitHub

BBCode implementation for Ruby

joshfrench/rakismet – GitHub

Easy Akismet and TypePad AntiSpam integration for Rails

couchrest/couchrest – GitHub

A RESTful CouchDB client based on Heroku’s RestClient and Couch.js

ntalbott/query_trace – GitHub

Adds query origin tracing to your logs.

seangeo/ratom – GitHub

A fast, libxml based, Ruby Atom library supporting the Syndication Format and the Publishing Protocol.

sr/ape – GitHub

The Atom Protocol Exerciser

jnicklas/liability – GitHub

Asset packaging Rack middleware

lifo/cramp – GitHub

Asynchronous ruby framework for realtime web applications

plataformatec/mail_form – GitHub

Send e-mail straight from forms in Rails with I18n, validations, attachments and request information.

akdubya/rack-thumb – GitHub

Drop-in image thumbnailing for your Rack stack

zilkey/active_hash – GitHub

A readonly ActiveRecord-esque base class that lets you use a hash, a Yaml file or a custom file as the datasource

maccman/remail – GitHub

Forget configuring SMTP servers and queues, just use Remail. Remail uses Google App Engine to send and receive emails RESTfully.

tenderlove/texticle – GitHub

Texticle exposes full text search capabilities from PostgreSQL, and allows you to declare full text indexes. Texticle will extend ActiveRecord with named_scope methods making searching easy and fun!

ddollar/rack-debug – GitHub

Rack::Debug is middleware that provides a simple interface to ruby-debug. Helps debug apps running in Passenger.

radar/rboard – GitHub

A fully featured forum system compatible with Rails 2.3

rtomayko/rack-cache – GitHub

Real HTTP Caching for Ruby Web Apps

technoweenie/faraday – GitHub

Experiments in a rest api lib.

dejan/auto_html – GitHub

Rails plugin for transforming URLs to appropriate resource (image, link, YouTube, Vimeo video,…)

mockko/livereload – GitHub

LiveReload applies CSS/JS changes to Safari or Chrome w/o reloading the page (and autoreloads the page when HTML changes)

raggi/async_sinatra – GitHub

A plugin for Sinatra to provide a DSL extension for using Thin for asynchronous responses.

Rails 3 Cheat Sheets

Some of these sheets may be a review if you’ve already been working with Rails 3 for a few months now, but they’re great if you’re just now getting the hang of it or you want a good reference guide.

Hacker News | Ask HN: What are the best technologies you’ve worked with this year?

So HN, what are some cool, shiny new technologies that you worked with this past year? Care to tell us what those technologies are and why they are so cool?

Build apps not businesses

It’s fun. It’s fast. It’s the ultimate resume.

URL Design

If there’s one thing I hope you remember after reading this article it’s to take time to design your URL structure. Don’t leave it up to your framework. Don’t leave it up to chance. Think about it and craft an experience.


Two graduate students, intrigued by a growing wealth of material on the Internet, built a huge fucking lobster trap, absorbed as much of human history and creativity as they could, and destroyed all of it. a strftime format reference and sandbox for ruby, python, php

Ruby, Python, C, and PHP programmers: format dates and times with strftime

Ron Burk: Cash Cow Disease: The Cognitive Decline of Microsoft and Google

Cash cow disease arises when a public company has a small number of products that generate the lion’s share of profits, but lacks the discipline to return those profits to the shareholders.


RailsAdmin is a Rails 3 engine that provides an easy-to-use interface for managing your data

Facebook | Visualizing Friendships

After a few minutes of rendering, the new plot appeared, and I was a bit taken aback by what I saw. The blob had turned into a surprisingly detailed map of the world.

Scopes Are Obsolete

Stop replicating functionality that already exists, stop using scope. It is obsolete.

A Cure for Hacker News Overload

One strategy for consuming Hacker News is to periodically check the top stories on the home page since that’s where most of the high-scoring articles reside. This works okay if you’re always in front of the computer, but if you’re away, you miss out. It’s also terribly inefficient to repeatedly check HN, because you have to rescan stories you’ve already seen.

What’s wrong with OpenID? – Quora

The short answer is that OpenID is the worst possible “solution” I have ever seen in my entire life to a problem that most people don’t really have.  That’s what’s “wrong” with it.

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Trevor Turk

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