Scrappy Hosting for OS X

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Posted by Lawrence Sinclair on 17 Apr 2010 at 11:15

I rather like the idea of co-location for mac minis. It seems like a really cost-effective choice for a lot of applications. Essentially, if you want a lot of memory, and disk and cpu, and don't need vast bandwidth, then Mac Mini co-location could be a really low cost option.

Good applications for this sort of hosting would be departmental applications, websites like eastagile.com, or even advanced analytic and data applications that are stable in terms of size. We do not use Mac Mini hosting, but the idea is intriguing for such applications.

This is not for everyone. If you need massive bandwidth and a highly flexible infrastructure, with lesser needs for cpu and disk then Joyent, Engine Yard or Amazon EC2 are better options. And Joyent and Engine Yard have impressive expertise...

Having a hard time finding talent?

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Posted by Lawrence Sinclair on 16 Apr 2010 at 18:16

You're not alone if you are having a hard time finding a talented Ruby on Rails developer or two for your new venture, or data expertise to help you make sense of your rapidly growing pool of customer behavior data. Apparently, a hiring boom is emerging in the US technology industry, and talent is once again scarce. The discrete turnaround is particularly apparent in data from Dice.com, a site that traditionally has a focus on independent contractor IT job postings.

New York, Silicon Valley and San Francisco have actually been growing in demand for some time. But now the trend is starting to appear across the country and the coasts are just seeing their markets get hotter.

Using DNS for low cost Failover

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Posted by Lawrence Sinclair on 16 Apr 2010 at 16:31

It could make exceptional sense to make use of yourdns host for load balancing and failure toleranceby usinground robin and DNS Failover. This could save the substantial expense of dedicated load balancing hardware or machines to run load balancing software or scripts. And of course, the load balancer itself is an extra point of failure that could be avoided by having this logic handled by your DNS provider.
For one domain, just list a set of IP addresses in the DNS records, each for different redundant machines. Traffic is spread across this list of servers using a round robin approach. Combine this with DNS Failover which checks to see if the machines at each IP are working and redirects if necessary. Essentially, if a machine goes down, it can just get dropped from the round...

A Mobile Phone App Specification

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Posted by Lawrence Sinclair on 30 Mar 2010 at 10:06

The following cards define the specification for a simple taxi cab trip tracking application for a mobile phone platform. This is the sort of thing we could implement easily across multiple platforms (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, and Palm WebOS) using custom code and tools like Rhomobile's Rhodes framework.

Look at these cards from two perspectives. First, what do you think of the idea? If a lot of people like it, we might make it. Second, consider that this is typical of the detail we need before we start working with a client to begin an engagement. We would take diagrams like these, break them into small, prioritized user stories and features, then start development that same afternoon.

This is the main screen for the application.

There was a step before this next...

Micro website for micro browser

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Posted by Anonymous on 25 Mar 2010 at 02:00

Fishphone.com: Personalized web content for your Polycom Phone

  • Tweet from your Phone?
  • Weather and news reports on your phone?
  • Pictures and personalized directories on your phone?

1. Introduction
Together with emerging VoIP technology to reduce costs and increase sound quality, the features of VoIP phones are also enhanced: some new models also have a micro web browser such as the Polycom SoundPoint phones. Unfortunately, most Polycom SoundPoint users can not take advantage of the micro browser on their phones. 

Microbrowsers support only a very limited set of HTML and most websites can not be viewed properly on them. Recognizing the potential need for web content that can be viewed on a Polycom micro browser, East Agile has developed a web application that helps...

Screen Recording is the new Screen Shot

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Posted by Lawrence Sinclair on 05 Mar 2010 at 12:41

For agile software developers, Apple's new Quicktime 10 is a great new tool. Now with a few clicks, you can demonstrate a feature or a bug by recording your desktop as easily as you might use Ctl-Shift-4 to capture part of your screen.  This is somewhat limited by an inability to record sound, especially the developer or user explaining the feature or issue at hand.  I think this new functionality is a real benefit despite the fact that a lot of video editing people have been trashing the new Quicktime 10 video utility that comes with OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard).





A more advanced option remains the use of professional tools like Telestream's Screenflow ($99), which allows voice recording, text callouts, and potentially smaller file sizes. But other than that,...

Frequently Asked Questions 11

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Posted by Lawrence Sinclair on 23 Feb 2010 at 03:25

AJAX

What is your experience with AJAX? What are your preferred frameworks? Can you provide any URLs for examples of your work?


We have a lot of experience using AJAX with a variety of frameworks and libraries ranging from Prototype, Yahoo UI to jQuery. A recent example of our work with AJAX can be found at:http://knowmyfood.com.

Analytics Conferences in 2010

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Posted by Lawrence Sinclair on 23 Feb 2010 at 02:41

To be honest, we have always been too busy to attend analytics conferences. For example, in my case, I have been developing in SAS for more than twenty years, but I have never been to a SAS conference. But this year, I am at least going to compile a list of some of the ones that look relevant to us. I will update this blog entry over time.

April 11-14, Seattle. SAS Global Forum. $995 onsite.

Superior Voice Quality

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Posted by Lawrence Sinclair on 31 Jan 2010 at 17:38

If you would like your calls to have absolutely the best sound possible, you should use a SIP provider like onsip.com (we use them) then use HD voice phones from Polycom (the HDTV of phones such as the Polycom 335, $115or Polycom 550). HD Voice is starting to come out from other manufacturers and is supported by many SIP gateways. The difference between a conversation between two HD Voice phones versus two regular phones is similar to the difference between talking in person versus talking on the phone. Onsip.com provides the following comparison:

To give you an idea of what the difference is, this is what an HD call with a Polycom 650 sounds like, and this is what the standard phone call sounds like.

If you...

Uniquely East Agile

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Posted by Lawrence Sinclair on 11 Jan 2010 at 04:58

One thing that seems to be very unique about us is that we really do paired programming. This practice is not for everyone by far. A lot of people don't get it and won't get it. But for those that get it, we are one of the few deep practitioners. Pivotal Labs, of course, is another one. Just from talking to people from other leading development shops it seems like 90% or more of Ruby on Rails agile companies do not practice it to the extent that we do. Paired = higher quality & lower risk of project interruption.

Learn more about Paired Programming on Wikipedia, including information about research on its effectiveness.