Jamie's Blog

Ruby developer. CTO. Swimmer. Always trying to write more

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...


We killed them and didn’t even notice

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We’ve killed 50% of the wildlife on this planet in the past 40 years. Does that disturb you? Probably not, I suspect.

Most people will walk past a rustle in the bushes not realising that a Blackbird is foraging in there. They’ll drive past the flock...


Is the Apple Watch ‘good’?

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So Apple finally announced their watch and everyone can claim they predicted it. As a piece of design, it is pretty nice, much cheaper than I’d have expected and will be sure to gather a fervent following of fans. To be honest, I think the design is...


Business is about happiness

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There’s an attitude that business is about money. It’s not. Or, at least, it shouldn’t be. The thing that business does is to exchange goods and services for money; but at the core, it’s not about money, and it’s not driven by money.

If it was about...


How to Build a Raspberry Pi Camera Trap

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I started with a low-tech footprint tunnel to get proof of our local hedgehogs but that was never going to be enough. I had a Raspberry Pi sitting in a drawer that wasn’t getting much love so, after a little googling a Raspberry Pi Camera Trap, aka...


Every company has two markets

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“Make something people want” includes making a company that people want to work for — Sahil Lavingia @gumroad

I saw that quote in an article on the Inside Intercom blog and it really struck me as something that many founders fail to see until it...


The designers (should) come in two by two

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If you’ve looked at any startup marketing website (like these templates) over the past year, you’ll have seen the influence of “The Designer”: Full-screen images; Filtered background videos; Slippy-slidey ‘smooth’ scrolling; Apple-like page scrolling...


Don’t put me in one of those

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When I die

Don’t keep me in a box Don’t put me in the ground Or mark my resting place with a giant granite headstone Don’t cover me with gravel hemmed in by a little granite wall

And whatever the fuck you do, Don’t arrange cheap tat on my grave I...


How your business model affects your hosting choice

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I’ve mentioned this a few times in conversation recently so it probably deserves a blog post. Heroku is the go-to host for Rails applications but there are often complaints about how expensive it is. What these startups don’t realise, is that their...


The tools we use, are the tools we use

2014 08 25 at 12.30

because writing and formatting Markdown is smooth and natural — shit HackerNews says

Well, they’re partially right: Markdown is a pretty natural format for programmers to use. After all, our primary tool is the text editor, and we are familiar with...


Fixing the Fixed Mindset?

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I’m reading Carol Dweck’s ‘Mindset’ and it’s been like a punch in the gut to me.

I don’t have a fixed mindset, do I?

Do I believe that intelligence and ability is fixed at birth?

“No, of course not, the notion is ridiculous”

…my conscious-self...


Discovering Hedgie - Building a Hedgehog Footprint Tunnel

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Last Friday I was out taking a photo of the sunset when I heard some shuffling around in the nettles separating our garden from the field. Sure enough, snuffling around in the undergrowth was the brown shape of a hedgehog. I couldn’t get a clear photo...


Ansible syntax highlighting for Sublime

2014 08 05 at 17.34

If you’ve done any work in Ansible you’ll know that it uses YAML files for the bulk on the configuration. Whilst you can just make do with a standard YAML syntax highlighting, Ansible uses variables inside lines and Jinja template tags that it would...


Every business is a lifestyle business

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I don’t like the term ‘lifestyle business’ as it’s commonly used in a dismissive and derogatory sense. What does a ‘lifestyle business’ commonly mean when used this way?

  • not “too big” (in every way)
  • not “ambitious”
  • probably bootstrapped not funded

The Best Smoothie

I defy you not to like this smoothie. It’s like drinking a dessert.

I was just a little bit excited about it last night and it didn’t disappoint after my morning swim:


Surviving as a developer in your 30’s

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What a ridiculous title, right? I mean, yes, I’ll be 37 in August but I’m hardly over the hill. Am I? Am I?!

I heard people on Twitter saying what an amazing achievement it would be for Roger Federer, at the age of 32, to still be able to win a Wimbledon...


Get Shit Done, Survivorship Bias and Being Wealthy

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I’m reading Niall Harbison’s book ‘Get Sh*t Done’ and while I can’t give a full review (I’m only on Chapter 2), I needed to call out this argument which I’ve seen made too often:

Twitter founder Evan Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Ralph Lauren...


My Principles

I vehemently disagreed with the above tweet but it made me realise that...


A Beautiful Anarchy = An Intentional Life

David duChemin is one of my favourite photographic authors — his many books have taught me how to think, and see, and plan, and visualise the photos I take. In fact, David’s books have had such a personality and presence that they’ve taught me as much...


The perfect in-app help system doesn't exist. Yet.

I’ve been looking for a solution that would allow our support team to screen-share with customers when providing support. When you have non-technical users, there’s no point in asking for a screenshot, or technical specs, or asking them to walk you...


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