Jamie's Weblog

Lessons of a startup CTO — and other things

Here I am!

Jamie Lawrence

Jamie Lawrence

I help non-technical founders start their business, build their product, get their first customers, and grow their technical team. I'm a generalist software engineer and I've worked with many different languages over the past 15 years but my current tool of choice is Ruby on Rails. I'm also an enthusiastic photographer and a novice archer

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July 2, 2013 0

The Beauty of Hopelessness

Since 1995, I went by the username hopeless as my online identity. In explaining it, I would tell the story of how when I went to university I was replaced by a puppy called Hope (from the Hope Valley near Sheffield — my mum barely waited an hour to find my replacement). But, in truth, […]

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June 14, 2013 0

Routine backups for your Rails Server

Problem: protecting your user’s data I recently wrote about using tarsnap to backup a linux server and that’s especially important with the recent revelations about PRISM. Tarsnap is “backups for the truly paranoid” but it’s only part of the story and perhaps isn’t the best route for all servers. With a Rails server, you can […]

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June 13, 2013 2

Just keep it simple!

Simple is boring. Simple is easy. Simple doesn’t get you noticed. But simple works! Here’s a frustrating experience I had today with a overly-complicated web form:

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June 11, 2013 0

Don’t fear the PRISM

I read this article at the weekend which argues that we should view the PRISM-debacle as an opportunity to start EU-specific internet services. I disagree in a few ways. The best are popular because they’re the best First, many of these services are popular not because they are unique but because they are the best. […]

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June 7, 2013 0

This is how I’d build PRISM

The big news in the tech world today is PRISM. This is supposedly a system installed at the major Internet providers like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo that lets the NSA access any user’s data. They’ve probably read the drafts of this post before you have The NSA document says that the “Collection directly from the […]

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June 5, 2013 0

LiveReload and HTTPS

Web developers, particularly Rails developers, are on a constant lookout for anything which makes their lives easier and their development process easier. Enter LiveReload. This little app watches for changes in a directory and reloads your web browser whenever a file is updated: Edit your CSS, save and bam! the web browser has already refreshed. […]

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May 31, 2013 0

The curious case of the lost Fitbit — and how to prevent it

Update below A few days after my last post about measuring things, and enthusing about my Fitbit Zip, I lost it I synced the Fitbit on Monday night, and wasn’t using the computer again until midday Tuesday so it must have been in the morning that I lost it. I’ve retraced my steps, checked around […]

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May 23, 2013 0

You can only change what you measure

This is a pretty familiar concept to (good) software developers but perhaps not to everyone. A bad software developer will look at a piece of code, think it is inefficient in someway, and procede to “fix” it. But without actually measuring the performance you have no idea whether the performance really was unacceptable and by […]

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April 17, 2013 1

Geeking out about Water (Containers)


I’m a freak: a computer programmer that doesn’t drink coffee. I don’t drink tea either. Or hot chocolate (unless I’ve just been swimming with dolphins in the seas off New Zealand and hypothermia is a possible concern). I like ice cold drinks: Fruit juice, orange squash, Coke or 7UP, and mostly just water. One of […]

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March 28, 2013 0

It’s the money, stupid!

I just read this daft “postmortem” about FormSpring (a social ask-me-anything Q&A site which is shutting down after $14m of funding but it had “been challenging to sustain the resources needed to keep the lights on.“). Ok, I lie. I gave up reading and just did a Ctrl-F for the phrases “profit”, “revenue”, “business model”, […]

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