A friend was asking the other day about getting a little site up and running for his small business. Seems like the scope is going to be quite small (famous last words) and there are a few things I’ve been meaning to checkout lately, so I think I’m going to give it a stab.
Night one went something like this:
I got an invite (did they do invites?) to checkout Heroku really early on. At the time, I remember devoting a night to it – working with an online editor (or maybe I was ssh’d in with vi or something?) and basically just getting a little “Hello World” up and running. Ever since bumping into Jim Fiorato’s app/case study the other day, I’ve been meaning to revisit a bit.
It’s entirely likely that the friend’s site will actually not need anything but static HTML, but hey: I can always tune the caching and free hosting can’t be argued with, right?
So, I opened an account out at herku.com and grabbed the heroku gem; installed git (officially taking me off the short list of people that still hadn’t given it a chance) and set to work on getting my app out there.
I hadn’t written anything, so I was just wanting to throw the “welcome to Rails” app out there to make sure everything was setup correctly. The first bump was some fun with SSH keys. I’m actually still not sure exactly what the issue was but there seemed to be some commands that were respecting the path to the key that I had setup but some others that seemed to be looking in the default location (~/.ssh). I am actually thinking now that I probably could have got around it with a little more effort put into the config but I ended up just using the default key location — no probs after that.
At that point + some very simple/standard Rails app config, it was incredibly early to push the app out there, setup a few tables (via migrations) and get to work.
A little effort into a pretty basic layout and we’re underway. It’s nothing spectacular to checkout at the moment – generic copy, placeholder colors/blocks and text… but someday it’ll be a star.
I didn’t think much about using Readability… until I came upon this guy today (click for full size at own risk):
Much much better.
Ah, what can be prettier than a screen full of baseball stat projections! The print is a bit small but that’s by choice: make sure to play with the settings when you grab this thing.
I’ve been a happy gmail user for 4+ years now. The story of why I like it is incredibly simple: It allowed me to throw away my email filing cabinet and replace it with “just search”. It really doesn’t sound like a huge deal but it’s basically given me a personal secretary for my correspondence. I don’t care what filing cabinet you stored the memo in: just find it! … and you have 1.25 seconds.
But while that’s the real story, the reason I’m writing is I finally dedicated 15 seconds to actually clicking on the “lab” icon to check out what kind of features they had to offer. And there it was. Queue the bright light and the “heavenly sound”….
Send & Archive
Every once in a while you find a feature in a product that makes you say “hey, I bet these guys actually use this product themselves”.
You can’t give someone a digital picture frame for Christmas without filling it up with a starter set of pictures. I mean, you can… but you’ve given them the present of having to do some up-front work. So, I set out early this month to grab pics of the family, some scenic overlooks we’ve bumped into, and maybe a few other miscelaneous shots to get Mom’s Christmas present ready.
It takes a couple hour to get a good set of 100-150. I need to sort through my collection, head out to my brother’s Flickr account, try some friends accounts, and just generally “gather”.
After having DropBox recommended by a few friends, I think we may be on to something that not only makes the process simpler – the resulting collection is much higher quality as well.
The premise is pretty simple: you get a magic folder that looks to be almost the same as any other folder on your machine, but DropBox is keeping it in sync with it’s remote storage location: Amazon S3. So, it’s obviously handy for just backing things up, but it doesn’t end there. It makes it simple to share. I share a directory with my parents, and my sister-in-law and immediately we all can put in our good/new pics and immediately have them broadcast to everyone else.
The strongest point of DropBox though is the Python-based client. It’s incredibly intuitive – just drop things in and it’ll take care of business. Looks just like a “real folder” to anyone who is used to any flavor of Windows. No worries about telling it when to synch, easy visual indicators on whether it’s actively working on anything. It’s just really real nice.
Dead simple and a great solution to a common problem. It’s free for the first 2GB, so take the tour here.
A couple friends of mine, Matt Everson of Astuteo and Todd Lekan, have gone in together to create a Web Development Project Estimator.
It’s really intuitive, well designed, and implemented in a very clean way. Great work guys!
Looking for new music? Something that normally may not normally be on your radar?
newtunes.com has launched and is open for business. The beta label is still on so there may be some bumps and bruises to be had but it should definitely be checked out.
And while you’re new-tunesing, add Music Streaker to your RSS reader. The blog provides much more than NewTunes updates (although you’ll get that too) and is run by my friend Jon Friesch.