Author Archives: Ross

Using gems to package polyglot CLI tools

Just in time for Halloween! A true horror, but with a sort of tortured beauty. How (and why, WHYYYY?!) you can annex one of the ruby community’s most pervasive technologies to distribute your filthy, heathen, non-ruby code. I’m not going to lie to you – this is not for the faint of heart. There’s not […]

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CNAMEs – how do they work?

CNAMEs are a neat trick of the domain name system, but are often unused or misunderstood. Here’s a quick(ish) explanation of what CNAMEs are, how they work, and why you should use them. CNAMEs are basically an alias of an existing domain. It’s easy to imagine that CNAMEs behave like internal redirects, but they’re much […]

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The Noflake Manifesto

The Snowflake Server is a system which is difficult to reproduce due to the unique and undocumented methods by which it came to its current state. Developers and systems administrators grow to fear altering these servers in case they cause damage. The Noflake Manifesto proposes that we have reached a point where there is no […]

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Cloud vs Metal Infrastructure

A Changing Industry It’s important to understand that, while aspects of the cloud industry are reaching a certain level of maturity, it is still an industry moving at a breakneck pace of innovation. There is a lot of competition in the space, and every big player is looking to stake their claim, as evidenced by […]

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Starting with Arduino (Musical Floppy Drives!)

First, a confession. I have forgotten almost everything that I used to know about electronics, and I didn’t know that much to begin with either. I’ve spent the last week or so getting a tentative reintroduction to the fundamentals. Frankly, a current running across a wire is still a novel and exciting thing for me. […]

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Receive.js – simple mocking of remote HTTP requests

This is a quick and really basic node.js snippet for mocking up remote HTTP requests, like API calls. During initial development of an API client, sometimes you just want to see what the server is receiving in real time, so you can hack things together quickly. This script sets up a HTTP server which spits […]

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Reading list for scaling Solr

Brain dump time. I kinda need this as a memory aid for myself, and I figure it’ll be useful to anyone else who is building a Solr cluster. There’s probably a lot of crossover here for tuning any JVM-based application servicing a large number of requests, but this is my first, so it’s all together. […]

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I’m joining EngineYard to work on Orchestra

Today, I finish up three and a half great years with, and next week I join Eamon, David, Helgi and Gwoo with Noah, Elizabeth, Davey (and a couple of others) to help kick Orchestra into orbit by joining EngineYard. At EngineYard, I hope to build upon my experience bringing scale to web applications within Distilled Media, and […]

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Bots are crawling new domain registrations and namesquatting Twitter handles

Something to be wary of when you’re domain shopping for that perfect .com: bots are watching. I’m not sure what combination triggers it, but when I was done brainstorming for an app name, I checked Twitter to see if the handle was taken, then registered the domain name. It was quite late and I didn’t […]

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“Levelling the playing field” in education

Came across a post via HN which suggests levelling the playing field in CS by teaching with obscure functional programming languages. The reasoning is that there are “privileged” students who begin a computer science degree already knowing how to code, and that this is unfair. Beyond the impracticality of doing this (you’re going to have […]

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