Using Jekyll For Blazing Fast Websites

When I first started my blog, I used Tumblr. I didn’t choose it for the social integration or community, but rather to offload the management of servers to a third party.

My decision was justified when one of my posts, Captchas Are Becoming Ridiculous, hit the top spot of Hacker News. Over the course of two days, over 22,000 visitors visited my post. It’s common to see the servers of front page Hacker News posts struggle or even go down entirely due to the surge of traffic, but thanks to Tumblr, my website stayed online the entire time.

But while Tumblr was resilient to sudden surges in traffic, the service has had its struggles and periodically went offline. There’s several huge, day long gaps in my Analytics– a sign I need to move to another platform.

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Now is the Future

I’ve had an iPhone for about a year and a half now, after previously owning a Windows Phone and Palm Pre. Each time I switch platforms, there’s something I miss from my previous experiences, and something I long for in a platform I haven’t tried yet. For me, Google Now for Android was this feature that I so desperately wanted to try.

A couple of weeks ago, Google released an update for the Google Search app on the iPhone, with Google Now as the headline feature. A while back, it was rumored that Google would be releasing this update with Now baked in, though this rumor was shot down by Apple, and Google later admitted that Eric Schmidt’s comments were not necessarily accurate (or, rather, not interpreted correctly).

Recently, Google Now was also featured at Google’s I/O conference. In addition to new cards, such as location aware reminders and public transit information, Google revealed several new services designed with a similar goal to Now– to make your life easier, and to delve deeper into your personal information.

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Facebook Home – What Can Go Horribly Wrong

Today, Facebook launched their new “Home” experience and the HTC First. Conceptually, the Android home screen replacement seems like a fantastic idea– it places bright, large photos on your lock screen that can be swiped through when you have a free moment, and focuses on your friends.

But, there’s a fundamental issue with placing user generated content on your home screen.

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Review: Mailbox for iPhone – Email, But A Little Better

Email is something most working people deal with every day, and have been dealing with for a long time. It’s never fun to open your email inbox at the beginning of a work day and see a mix of help requests, advertisements, and the truly important stuff all mixed into a big list of words and colors.

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ThreeBar Launched

If you’ve recently noticed a little bar appearing at the top of your screen on this website asking you to follow me on Twitter, then you’ve already experienced ThreeBar, a new service I’ve been working on.

In summary, ThreeBar is a welcome bar service that allows you to promote content to your visitors. Whether you’re looking to draw visitors to your book’s home page, get people to follow you on Twitter, or simply say hello, ThreeBar is designed for you.

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In 2010, Pixi Dust made a splash in the WebOS App Market, garnering over 100,000 downloads on the Palm Pre alone. I’m happy to announce that Pixi Dust is now available for Windows 8 tablets and desktops, from the Microsoft Surface RT to the most powerful multi-core x86 gaming desktops.

Your Medical Records Aren’t Always Safe: The Important of Security in Medicine

Recently, I attended and presented at the 2012 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) conference in Chicago, Illinois. RSNA is a massive gathering– one of the largest in the world–and is a venue for manufacturers and medical software companies to show off the latest Radiology equipment and software. Being a software developer, I sought out several presentations by Radiology residents and graduate students that pertained to technology and medical software. During one of the hands on courses, in which the audience participated in the setup of web based Radiology software (including launching XAMPP and navigating PHPMyAdmin to view the MySQL table structure), I noticed something extremely peculiar.

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Wall of Text Experiment with Node.js

Update: The experiment has been taken down due to Nodejitsu shutting down their free plans. I’ll look into reuploading it at some point.

I’ve been working pretty hard on one of my projects and decided to take a small break and do a little experiment. A while ago (years?), I saw a website that allowed anyone to type anywhere on the screen. I decided to take a couple of hours tonight and recreate it using Node.JS.

My version of the Wall of Text app is available here.

It’s built with Node.JS, Socket.IO, and Express (which really was unnecessary, but I was lazy and didn’t want to work with the vanilla Node.JS HTTP server). Nodejitsu is providing the hosting.

I’m looking into making it into an infinite canvas, but for now, it extends as far as your screen goes. I suppose if you had a really big screen it would go infinitely… Those with 1080p+ monitors will be able to see beyond those with smaller resolutions. It’s sort of an exclusive club if you can see the text on the outskirts of the wall 😉

The wall resets every six hours and shows the number of users connected in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

tl;dr

See it here.

Build Something Useless

Around eight years ago, I sat down at the computer for the first time as a programmer. Little did I know, the simple, tacky website I built was the first step towards the person I am today.

I still remember the two paned, frame based website I built. It was terrible, with solid yellow backgrounds, and existed solely to show off photos of my new dog. This was back in the day when Microsoft FrontPage still ruled. During the winter, I made snowflakes drift down the page slowly using Javascript snippets from various websites, and during a power outage one year I built a Flash version of the site that mirrored my dark house with only virtual candle to light up the content. Really, everything I made or did was seen by a handful of people that landed on my site from a Google query. And I still have no clue exactly what they searched to get there.

Recently, on a website called Forrst, someone posted a question: “how did you all get in the position that you all are in?”

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