Found & Read: Awesome!

The new found and read blog is an amazing resource for startup folk. The recent series on vesting hacks has been incredibly useful.
The site uses an innovative approach where members can suggest topics or stories, and the community votes on whether they would like to read that article. The best ideas are then turned into articles. It gives the site a real feeling of community, and makes sure that the articles are laser-focussed on the needs of that community.
Found & Read is powered by public square, Christina Wodtke’s cool new CMS, which makes this kind of open-source editorial process super-easy.

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!

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.

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