Scaling Twitter: Blain Cook’s awesome presentation

Blain’s presentation on how they are scaling Twitter (with ruby) to cope with the massive levels of traffic they are experiencing was awesome!

Blain was the developer at the center of last week’s big tempest in a teapot. He made some remarks in an interview that DHH took as an attack on the ability of ruby on rails to scale. The whole thing blew out of proportion but led to some good code, so all’s well that ends well I guess.
For the second day in a row, a slideshow from the silicon valley ruby conference is the most popular slideshow on slideshare. Do we have a geeky audience or what? I love it!

Rabble’s ActiveRecord talk at SVRC Rocked!

Rabble’s presentation on ActiveRecord at the Silicon Valley Ruby Conference was the clearest and most coherent explanation of ActiveRecord I’ve seen to date.
Check it out!

Rabble was previously lead developer at odeo, and is now part of the Yahoo skunkworks team (err.. “semi-autonomous business unit”) called Yahoo BrickHouse.
[Update: more cool ruby presentations have been archived by rubyinside. Sweet!]

WordPress.com now supports slideshare!

We’re super-happy to announce that WordPress.com now supports slideshare embeds. This has been a feature that our uses have been requesting since we launched.
Since wordpress.com strips out embedded code by default, the way is works is you grab a special “wordpress short code” from slideshare. You paste that into your blog article, and the slideshow will appear.
They also added us to their “slideshows” link (which also has short codes for slide.com, rockyou, and splashcast).
wordpress_tab.jpg
Thanks wordpress.com!

Web 2.0 Expo: cool stuff list

Here’s some cool stuff I’ve seen so far at the Web 2.0 Expo.
iCalico: open-source conference social web app. From the tag-team duo Kellan and Rabble. Awesome stuff! You can rate talks, tag stuff, maintain your own schedule, everything you would expect from such an app. Super-cool.
(Update: conferenceer seems a somewhat similar app (found it off Chris Messina’s Twitter feed). Cool!
Spock is a search engine for searching for people. For example, if you type “arrested drunk driving” into it, it returns a list of people (#1 is Dick Cheney, #4 is Bush! Didn’t see any Kennedies on the list). VERY awesome, can’t wait for this to be out in the open (it’s in private beta now).
I also saw an amazing social app that I didn’t get the name of. It’s like youtube for beats. Simple recordings of beats get uploaded to the site, and tagged. People use the site to find beats to use while rapping. The folks doing it at the expo were amazing: it was the kind of thing you see in movies like “8 Mile”. I want to find out what this application was called today, if I do I’ll post it here.
UPDATE: The site is called dabeetz, from MedioStream. I tracked it down on mashable.

RobotReplay looks pretty neat!

Andre Charland’s startup
just launched RobotReplay, which is a really cool!
It’s a javascript nugget that you drop on your website. The javascript records user actions. So far pretty standard web instrumentation. But the cool thing is that it lets you watch your users actions as a movie. This is AWESOME, because it lets you gather insights about your users in a very unorganized fashion. Just drop the code into your site, and then watch movies whenever you have a spare minute.
I’m not clear on whether it ACTUALLY grabs mouse position in real time, or if it just does interpolation (you need to grab mouse position in order to be useful. Clarification from someone who knows?). And I’m not sure about what the performance implications are of this code: I’m always very careful about adding 3rd-party javascript to my site, because I’ve seen problems in the past (with stuff like google analytics, for example). But for a site that’s in early alpha / beta / pre-techcrunch mode, this is a great way to keep an eye on what the heck people are doing when they visit your site. You can do user research, without really doing user research!
I’ve got it installed on my blog, and I’ve been enjoying watching the movies. No real insights yet (I’m at the Web 2.0 Expo, and the internet connection is dog-slow, so haven’t been able to watch many users yet). But pretty neat stuff!

Scaling Rails : twittering about scale

The internets are all atwitter about comments made by Twitter developer Alex Paynt, which seemed to partially blame Ruby / Rails for scaling problems twitter has been having.
The common wisdom in the Rails community at this time is that scaling
Rails is a matter of cost: just throw more CPUs at it. The problem
is that more instances of Rails (running as part of a Mongrel
cluster, in our case) means more requests to your database. At this
point in time there’s no facility in Rails to talk to more than one
database at a time.

Continue reading

YUI customer success stories: google???

Looks like google has been using CSS from the YUI javascript library for the google personalized homepage. As Pat Cavit writes, “YUI is so awesome even google uses it“.
Now some would be tempted to make a fuss over the fact that google has technically violated the BSD license that YUI ships with by removing the copyright notice from the source code (which was really silly, since it’s just in the source code: it doesn’t appear on the page at all).
But I think Yahoo should instead take this as a compliment to the awesome work that the YUI team has done over the past year. If the google devs are happy with how the code has worked, maybe they can write a customer testimonial for the YUI marketing folks to put on the YUI web site. Or maybe next year the google team can demo at the YUI party?