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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May 30, 2015 0

Implementing HexGrids in Ruby


One of my favourite board games is Tantrix. I can be played as a puzzle like Solitaire or as a competitive game. We picked it up in New Zealand over 10 years ago (it was invented there) and we played it in the evenings as we travelled around. The rules are pretty simple but the […]

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May 26, 2015 0

Analysing a List of Names for Gender

2015-05-26 at 22.51

WebSummit decided that sending the names of 3000 attendees to people who still hadn’t availed of their wonderful offer would be a great idea. Personally, I found it offensive to receive the email — and my name wasn’t even on the list. I wonder how they felt? In fairness, it’s apparently made clear to attendees […]

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October 23, 2014 0

The Ruby in Rails

2014-10-20 at 17.04

Back in August I did a short talk at Corkdev about the features of Ruby that make Rails so easy to work with. The aim was to show off Rails to a general tech audience but without being all preachy about it. So instead I flew through the actual Rails stuff and then looked at […]

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October 20, 2014 2

Generating a hierarchical graph with Rails & Javascript

2014-10-20 at 21.50

At WorkCompass, we can import a .csv file of employees from a customer but, as anyone who’s done anything with CSV files knows, you need a lot of validation to make sure the data is clean. Among the automated checks are some manual things like “these are the email domains used, are you sure they’re […]

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February 24, 2014 5

Using Guard and Vagrant for Rails development

Background I do all my development in a Vagrant VM and it’s mostly a seamless experience — except when using I was using guard. guard listens to file changes and runs the matching specs — it’s invaluable when doing any test-driven development. But when guard was running inside Vagrant it wouldn’t receive the filesystem events […]

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January 29, 2014 1

Implementing User Settings with Rails 3.2, Postgres and Apartment

ok, so I’ll actually be talking about Company settings, not User settings. You get the idea. I needed to start storing some per-company configuration settings in a client app. I could obviously start adding columns to the Company table but these settings will: a) change over time; b) only apply to a few companies (the […]

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November 7, 2013 0

Links from last night’s RubyCork meetup

Here’s a quick selection of links from last night’s RubyCork meetup: Schema_plus: A very nice gem that let’s you create indices within create_table migration jsRoutes incredibly useful gem which bring your Rails routes into your Javascript. Solves a big pain in modern rails apps. SelfControl for helping you to focus without distracting news sites/blogs etc. […]

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September 20, 2013 0

Sneaky Ruby tricks me again (and and && and or or ||)

You see, I had this little piece of code like: if last_statistic.blank? or last_statistic.different?(options) # do stuff end but I wanted to make it a bit more obvious what that condition represented so I changed it to create_new = last_statistic.blank? or last_statistic.different?(options) if create_new # do stuff end That should be the same, right? Right?! […]

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July 7, 2013 0

Ruby Markers for Sublime Text

Have you ever wondered how Avdi gets those results-as-comments in his Ruby Tapas episodes? I did. And apparently it’s one of the most asked questions he receives. The answer is xmpfilter and it comes with extensions for vi/Emacs. But if you’re a Sublime Text hacker like myself and mildly allergic to vi/Emacs, can you get […]

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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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