Dec 31, 03:54 PM by Eric Allen
I really can’t believe how much you guys have lost your edge. It seems like just last year you were top dog in Rails hosting. Speaking of which, what happened to that awesome Rails hosting site you acquired? Whatever, I’m sure you’ve been working on more important stuff like….oh wait, what? I really want to believe you are busy on things that will improve the experience of your customers, but I haven’t seen anything in the last few years. Heck, I know somebody who just finished migrating from the old FreeBSD system last week! Didn’t that migration start over two years ago?
How can you possibly have let something like Engine Yard happen to you?? Here you are, top dog in Rails hosting, lots of great press, great server farm, good service, and these whipper snappers eat your lunch? Heck, what kind of edge have you got on Slicehost anymore? I know, I know, you’re doing a lot more than Rails…like, uh, hosting people’s Wordpress blogs? Come on, how card can that be? Your shiny Virtualmin is sluggish as all get out, and setting up mongrels still isn’t particularly easy.
I guess I should probably just shut up. I’m one of those pesky freeloaders who committed $500 up front to get in while things were getting going. Yeah, I had definitely planned on getting more features out of Joyent as time went on, but it’s been a few years and the $500 has probably paid itself off. I’m just a cost to you. But even if I’d gone and gotten a shiny Accelerator, I still wouldn’t be any better off. I’m writing not because I need the features (my next Rails app will probably end up on Engine Yard), I’m writing because I care about you guys. I loved having the personal touch in the forums back in the day, and I feel like Joyent has taken good care of me despite the lack of new things. I wish you the best of luck as a company, and I hope to be proven wrong!
Nov 25, 05:01 PM by Eric Allen
Some people are detail-oriented, and some are big-picture types. A healthy mix of the two is crucial for any successful team. However, I’m not sure putting the two types in the same meeting is ever a good idea. I just spent two hours listening to discussions of minute details for a project that we don’t even want to do right now. Before even answering the most basic questions, like “can we afford to do this?” my detail-oriented teammate went crazy on all of the details of the project. It was amazingly boring and unproductive. At least our manager had the sense to realize we’d wasted at least $250 of developer time screwing around!
I’m going to take this as a lesson to avoid putting detail-oriented and big-picture people in the same meetings. Keep the communication between the two types asynchronous and mediated if possible. Putting them together just wastes time.
Nov 9, 01:19 AM by Eric Allen
A couple of weeks ago my research advisor for my open source project encouraged us to enter a programming competition sponsored by several groups at RPI. I figured it would be a interesting way to spend a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, and hey, I might just win an iPod touch!
As it turned out, I won a $100 Amazon gift certificate, an 8GB iPod Touch, and an interview with Bloomberg! Not bad for three hours of effort. Oh, and I got a free T-shirt, too. There were eight problems, and I was one of two people who solved four of them in the three-hour period. I believe I was the only one using Java who placed in the top five, and I would argue that my choice of language is what gave me an edge. We got to choose between C, C++, and Java (I know, terrible choices), and I was by far most comfortable in Java. The big advantage came in the libraries, though. I had set operations baked in, didn’t have to waste much effort parsing input, and had full OO at my disposal. I guess my real-world experience helped, too.
So where do I go from here? I’m sort of thinking about trying out TopCoder now that I’ve shown that I can solve these kinds of problems pretty well. On the other hand, I still like building stuff better. Back to coding on real problems!
Feb 13, 04:08 PM by Eric Allen
Yesterday I quickly hacked TipJoy buttons into the articles on my site, but my solution was not very elegant or flexible. I have now gone back and put that code into a Textpattern plugin that can be downloaded here. All you have to do is install it like any other Textpattern plugin, and then drop a <txp:tj_button /> or <txp:tj_banner /> tag where you want them to show up.