Author Archives: sarah

Lauren Ipsum: CS Fiction for Kids

We just backed the Lauren Ipsum project on KickStarter. This children’s story is an adventure through computer science concepts. The main character, Lauren Ipsum, meets a Wandering Salesman in the first chapter who is finding his way home using the algorithm of that name. It’ll be interesting to read the rest of the book and [...]

Mobile Lean UX

Agile development is an ideal way to create production software, but how do we apply agile methodologies to the design of the user experience? User experience design benefits from a holistic approach and if we aren’t careful, doing iterative development can result in a disjointed and confusing user experience or expensive re-designs. I gave a [...]

Rack for Easy HTTP redirect

We recently moved our class sign-up to EventBrite.  It used to be hosted on heroku with the subdomain  However, when we changed our DNS to direct to eventbrite, it didn’t end up targetting our eventbrite subdomain: — hitting the EventBrite homepage instead.  Rack to the rescue! We set up another Heroku app with [...]

remarkable validations for rails 3

I’ve been working on upgrading an app from Rails 2.3.11 to Rails 3.1.  It was using the old rspec-on-rails-matchers plugin to get validators like: it ‘verifies that login is between 3 and 40 characters’ do validate_length_of(:login, :within => 3..40) end I like that validation syntax, but lately when I see a plugins, I worry [...]

Brad Smith, Intuit: entrepreneurship in a large company

A conversation with Intuit CEO Brad Smith and Eric Ries: The Relevance of Entrepreneurship at Intuit. Brad had a number of really awesome lines, which unfortunately came off as a bit too rehearsed, so much so, that it made me wonder if there are many Intuit engineer that have a real opportunity to innovate as [...]

Eric Ries: Stop Wasting People’s Time

At SLLConf this year, we decided to try an experiment of live blogging via The event is being simulcast to a global audience, just like last year. This is the first of a series. Eric Ries kicked it off with an update on the Lean Startup “movement.” Eric Ries says he’s just a figurehead, [...]

Hosted Continuous Integration with CloudBees

We’ve keeping an eye out for hosted continuous integration for some time. Recently, I heard about CloudBees from John Dunham at Sauce Labs (another great cloud-hosted service which will run your Selenium tests). It seems some ofthe Hudson folk have escaped from Oracle, renamed/forked the open source project as “Jenkins” and are setting up shop [...]

Ruby on Rails class webinar

We’ve decided to offer our popular Ruby on Rails class to remote participants. I’ll be giving a repeat of the first class today (Sunday, Jan 30th) at 4pm PST and classes will be recorded. The class lasts for 2 hours. The regular class time will be Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm PST and there will be 8 class [...]

32- or 64-bit Ruby?

For the most part Ruby abstracts the architecture of the machine, but sometimes you need to know quickly and easily when you are installing components.  So… how do you tell in Ruby if you are on a 64-bit architecture? I like this concise answer best: >>  (-1).size If this evaluates to 8 you are on [...]

Rails 3: ActiveRecord

Rails 3 cheat sheet Part 2: ActiveRecord Everything you know from Rails 2 still works and will for some time, but there is new cool stuff AND some of the Rails 2 syntax is deprecated and will eventually go away, so you should be aware. 1) Use first, last, all (not find(:first), find(:last) and find(:all) [...]