Talk at Google: The Thick Front End

November 23, 2013

Traditionally web applications have been architected so that the back-end houses all the front-end code. This has resulted in heavy projects that are difficult to manage and scale. This talk will explain a new way to write web applications by treating the front-end as if it were a third-party (such as a mobile client). Read more...

10x is a state of being

November 5, 2013

The idea of a 10x developer is nothing new, and has been contested deeply. But the idea is simply: 10x developers are 10x as productive as their peers. This was even mentioned in one of the most famous project management books ever written: In one of their studies, Sackman, Erikson, and Grant were measuring performances of a group of experienced programmers. Read more...

dickeyxxx : The rarely used === in Ruby

November 4, 2013

A protip by dickeyxxx about ruby.

dickeyxxx : Make bundler crazy fast

November 4, 2013

A protip by dickeyxxx about bundler and ruby.

I just dumped all my job titles

November 4, 2013

In software, our hierarchy generally looks something like the following: Software Engineer II Software Engineer III Senior Engineer Staff Engineer Senior Staff Engineer Principal Engineer Have you stopped to think about why? Read more...

After coaching a Rails Girls, I can finally answer the question "Why do I love programming?"

April 14, 2013

rails teaching rails girls

Yesterday I coached a Rails Girls event in Santa Monica. For those that aren't familiar, here is a description of the program in their own words: Read more...

Storytelling on your team

January 30, 2013

storytelling management narratives

Last week I gave a talk at the SFRails meetup. It was by far the largest group I've spoken to and a truly enjoyable experience. I titled the talk "Leveling up Rails developers" and it was geared towards helping engineers build a team which fosters learning and advancement of skills. Read more...

How to attend a hackathon

December 9, 2012

hackathon networking meetups

I think hackathons are really a great thing. They are a relatively new concept, so it is not surprising when I attend one I find myself hacking away with others that are new to the idea. I also think they are a little misunderstood. Even some organizers do not focus on where the real value is with hackathons. Read more...

Does Rails scale?

October 15, 2012

rails ruby scale

First, the short answer: Damn right it does.

Twitter had to quit using it because Ruby is so slow

It is well known that around 2008 Twitter moved their job backend from Rails to Scala. To me it seems they absolutely made the right choice. Twitter had way outgrown the version of Ruby it was on and they needed a different solution. Read more...

Rails Rumble: ARSS

October 14, 2012

rails ruby rails rumble

This weekend I have been participating in the 2012 Rails Rumble. I worked with @amdtech and @childoftv to build ARSS.

Check it out at

Dev Bootcamp is the future of our industry

August 18, 2012

rails careers management

Yesterday, I attended the Dev Bootcamp Hiring Day for the class of Summer 2012. I was incredibly inspired by the people I met there. Read more...

Imported lager is the uncanny valley of beer

July 7, 2012


Recently at Tapjoy I became the official Kegmeister. My reign lasted for maybe 24 hours before a coup.

Upon given the honor, I quickly drafted 3 executive orders: Read more...

MySQL is done. It's the Postgres Age.

May 23, 2012

postgres database

Postgres is a relational(-ish) database that's really starting to become the one-size-fits-all of databases. I think this is very interesting since I wouldn't have predicted this direction a year ago. Read more...

Convergence in web development

May 21, 2012

rails javascript

I want to talk about architecture. Specifically, products backed by a server with a thick front-end. The new hot shit. I'm also very Rails focused. Not that you shouldn't be on something else, but if you are, your life will be less fun attempting this. Read more...

Negativity on Rails

April 25, 2012

rails railsconf

In attending my first Railsconf, one thing I noticed that I did not expect was a theme of negativity around Rails itself. Read more...

Open source tools

April 19, 2012

ruby open-source

The octocat above is a rendition of Github's logo, created by cameronmcefee and relevant not only because they exemplify open source, but also since I went to an awesome Giants game last night! Read more...

The element NoSQL is missing

January 18, 2012

nosql backup

I'm a big fan of NoSQL products. MongoDB, Redis, CouchDB– it's really awesome stuff. However, I almost always just use a relational database. I feel much more comfortable with RDBs actually. Read more...

Send email from your domain? Make sure your SPF headers are set.

December 16, 2011


Here's a quick thing you can do to make sure your email doesn't end up in spam folders. I'll keep this simple for people that don't know much about how email works. Read more...

Python vs Ruby: Maintainability

December 15, 2011

python ruby

One of my favorite subjects is comparing and contrasting tools and frameworks available today. Python and Ruby are probably the big 2 languages right now in web development. Read more...

Pixelmator rocks

December 13, 2011

design pixelmator

I love pixelmator. It's one of the best applications that I own, and I would buy a mac just to use it.

Pixelmator is an image-editing tool VERY similar to Photoshop. It's available only on OSX for $30. Photoshop right now is running for $700. Read more...

Can we fix HTML/CSS/JS syntax?

December 12, 2011

javascript html css

As in my last post on how we need to stop abstracting, I wanted to talk about the syntax itself of the big 3 web languages, HTML/CSS/JS. Read more...

We need to stop abstracting

December 11, 2011

abstraction programming

Abstraction has been essential to make computing what it is today. Without it, we would all be writing assembly code. Abstraction allows us to think at a higher level and be comfortable the lower level is working well. It promotes reuse of code. It's a cornerstone of object-oriented programming. Read more...

Keep your project running locally

December 7, 2011

programming deployment

Every web project starts out with the best intentions, running locally, unit testing, easy deployments, provisioning of servers. As a project moves on, some of these niceties drop by the wayside, specifically: The ability to run locally. Read more...

Cache correctly: stop invalidating

December 4, 2011

rails caching

There are only two hard problems in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things. - Phil Karlton

One of my favorite things about Rails is that when I read the docs, sometimes I find little gems that just jump out and make me cheer with happiness. Read more...

Commenting systems: Disqus vs Livefyre

December 3, 2011

disqus commenting livefyre

Commenting systems are the big thing nowadays. I think pretty much all sites should use something rather than rolling their own. Read more...

CloudFront vs CloudFlare: We have a winner.

December 2, 2011

cloudfront CloudFlare architecture

This a follow-up to my first post on CloudFlare. This will make more sense if you read that one first.

John from CloudFlare was kind enough to invite me (well, technically I kind of invited myself) down to the CloudFlare offices. Conveniently located just a few blocks from where I'm working! Gotta love San Francisco's SOMA district. We talked about my earlier post. Read more...

What would a web engineer certification look like?

December 1, 2011

rails security php

Image credit to Randall Munroe

I did a couple of Google searches for this, but surprisingly came up short. Someone must've came up with something, so if you know of a similar write-up, please leave it in the comments. I would love to see it! Read more...

CloudFlare review: not snake oil, but it feels like it

November 30, 2011

CloudFlare architecture cdn

I had the opportunity to meet with John from CloudFlare in his office after writing this article. Read the follow-up after reading this. Read more...

Why I love making CMS's

November 29, 2011

programming CMS personal

The most common application that I have built has been the good old fashioned content management system. This includes more than blogs though, I would argue that anything where a user can edit content without changing a codebase is a CMS. However, just off the top of my head, Jekyll is absolutely a CMS but still doesn't fit into that already generous bucket. Read more...

memcache on Heroku's cedar stack in Rails 3.1

November 28, 2011

memcache rails heroku

If you're building a Rails site, you almost definitely need to have caching. memcache is the best solution for that problem right now. It's not too hard, but there are only bits on the internet on how to do it. Read more...

node.js introduction

November 26, 2011

programming javascript node-js

node.js is an event-driven web server written in javascript.

node.js is popular with big CS nerds. I had a very difficult time understanding exactly 'what it was' when I first heard about it. This is my attempt to explain it for those of us without a neckbeard. Read more...

CarrierWave on Heroku with CloudFront

November 25, 2011

programming rails carrierwave

This post will enable you to have your Rails app accept file uploads through a gem called CarrierWave. Optionally, you can use CloudFront in order to have a CDN backbone for those files. This is currently the best method for file uploading on Heroku. Read more...

Unix tips du jour

November 24, 2011

programming unix bash

The thing about unix tools is they are incredibly hard to learn. Even if you understand a tool, you need to build it into your workflow, which takes serious time and experience. Here's just a quick intro into 2 simple ones, and one complex one for you to chew on: Read more...

The Great Redis Misapprehension

November 23, 2011

redis databases memcache

Redis is NOT a database.

It's closer to memcache than mysql, for example. However, it's not a cache either. Read more...

The soapbox is open for business

November 22, 2011

blogging personal

Muahaha. I am now a blogger. I suppose technically this isn't my first time blogging, but it's the first time I'm blogging about something that isn't what I had for breakfast. Read more...