Moving Away from Google

In light of Google’s recent announcement that they will be shuttering Reader (among other things) I’ve decided that it’s time to move away from Gmail and reduce my reliance on any services provided by Google.

We're Creating a Culture of Distraction

Joe Kraus:

I want to ask people a simple question: are you happy with your relationship with your phone. Do you think it’s a healthy one?

I don’t think I have a healthy relationship with mine. I feel a constant need to pull it out – to check email, to text, to see if there is something interesting happening RIGHT NOW. It’s constantly pulling on my attention.

Great article. I’ve begun to notice this with myself and my wife. Might have to implement the “no phone” Sunday.


GIMP is Now a Self-Contained Native App for Mac OS X


GIMP, the image editing program that’s a popular open-source alternative to Photoshop, is now easier than ever for Mac users to start using. Though it was completely free, installing it has long required that X11 also be installed — a major pain in the butt. That changes with the latest version of GIMP: the app is now a self-contained native app that’s a breeze to install. It’s as simple as dragging and dropping.


Slugtastic v1.0.0

I’ve just released my first proper Ruby gem. It’s a simple permalink style slug generator for ActiveModel. Check it out at Github and use it in your Rails project by adding gem "slugtastic" to your Gemfile.

Usage is very simple. Just add the following to your model:

has_slug :slug, :from => :title

This will generate a slug string from the title attribute and store it in the slug attribute unless the slug already contains a string. The slug is generated pre-validation so you can still use validates_presence_of :slug.

The Retina MacBook Pro is cheaper than the regular MacBook Pro

Retina MacBook Pro

  • 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
  • 8GB 1600MHz memory
  • 256GB flash storage
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory
  • 2880x1800 15-inch Glossy Widescreen Display
  • Price - $2,199.00

Regular MacBook Pro

  • 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
  • 8GB 1600MHz memory
  • 256GB Solid State Drive
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 512MB of GDDR5 memory
  • 1440x900 15-inch Glossy Widescreen Display
  • Price - $2,399.00

That’s a $200 dollar difference, in favour of the Retina MacBook Pro! “But Apple charge a premium for their RAM and SSD!” you say. So let’s find alternatives…

  • Base 15” MacBook Pro - $1,799.00
  • 8GB 1600MHz memory from Crucial - $55.99
  • 256GB 256GB Crucial m4 2.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s - $213.43
  • Total - $2068.42

So that is a bit cheaper, but it’s only $130 less than a similarly specced Retina MacBook Pro. That $130 gets you four times as many pixels, twice as much video memory and a machine that’s over a pound lighter. I think that’s a pretty good deal.

A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages

James Iry:

1995 - Yukihiro “Mad Matz” Matsumoto creates Ruby to avert some vaguely unspecified apocalypse that will leave Australia a desert run by mohawked warriors and Tina Turner. The language is later renamed Ruby on Rails by its real inventor, David Heinemeier Hansson. [The bit about Matsumoto inventing a language called Ruby never happened and better be removed in the next revision of this article - DHH].


A New Year, A New Start

As it’s a new year, I decided to start a fresh new blog that will hopefully get me inspired to start writing stuff again.

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

I never met Steve Jobs, but it still feels like someone I knew has died. An inspiration.

Thanks Steve.

Using Git for Deployment

I’ve been using Git for deployment now for some time, and I thought it might be helpful to others if I document how I did it. Partly this is because I can’t find the original guide that I used, so if you recognise the method I use here and you did it first, let me know and I’ll attribute you!

Update: This is the original article: Thanks to Tim for the link in his comment!

For the purposes of this guide I’m going to assume that you have your website live already, and that it is not already in a Git repository. If your situation is different you will have to adapt the steps accordingly.

Apple In-Ear Headphones

One of my favourite albums is Marillion’s “Misplaced Childhood”. I wore out the cassette tape (remember them?) listening to it and I knew the album inside out. When I first listened to it on CD I noticed things I hadn’t heard before, particularly the singers wail as the guitar solo started, so I had to go back and listen to the tape again to see if it was there which, of course, it was.