Review: Scaling MongoDB by Kristina Chodorow

30 Jun

I am new to MongoDB but this book has been helpful in evaluating and learning about how to scale with it. At work we’ve been thinking about using it for some projects but it was important to investigate and review it in more detail before we jumped into it and added it to our stack. Overall, it’s a great book on Mongo scaling, succinct and complete. It doesn’t elaborate on every possible scaling topic, but it’s enough detail to make important architectural decisions. Mongo is a great new technology, and this book is a good companion. For more info on using mongo in general, check out “MongoDB: The Definitive Guide.”


Do you want to smell like a man?

11 Apr

Ok, I think I have seen everything now. There is a new cologne called Bacon, which of course smells like fried pork flesh.

I was at Sephora the other day with my girlfriend and I didn’t find any on their shelves. They could be missing out on a goldmine :-)

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Posted in Bacon


Programming Python by Mark Lutz

16 Feb

Python is a great language for writing scripts that can be easily ran on servers or for writing web and desktop apps.  This book helps guide you through the syntax and coding style that make up a python app.  It’s definitely one of the more flexible and easy to use modern languages.

There are lots of useful code examples and snippets to help you pick up the concepts and write your own apps.  If you need to learn python, this book is a good place to start.

I haven’t used python on any production servers yet, but I’m anxious to put some of the ideas in this book into action.  It would be cool to learn more about Django and how it leverages the language, but with my current schedule it might be a while before that happens.


Review: The Art of Community By Jono Bacon

24 Dec

One more day left in the O’Reilly blogger review program.  This time I have been looking at The Art of COmmunity by Jono Bacon.

Overall it’s a great book for a foundation in community building and growing social websites.  It’s filled with lots of good advice and common sense.  My main complaint is I wish there were more stories.  You can’t always expect the author to be authoritative on every topic, as a reader you want more anecdotes and support for why you should take the authors advice.  It may not be a good fit for seasoned community managers, but it’s a great volume for programmers, project managers and young community managers.  It’s well worth a read.

BTW what a great name, Jono?  and Bacon!  I have to do more research on this guy.  Also, for full disclosure I haven’t finished the book yet, but so far I’m enjoying it.  I’ll add a follow up post when I’m done.


Make Magazine: DIY Music

23 Dec

I’ve been reviewing O’Reilly publications all week. I got ahold of Make Magazine: DIY Music (Technology on Your Time Volume #15) this time. It was fun reading about the various music hacks, brought me back to my hardware hacking days of undergrad and more recently Dartmouth Digital Musics.

There is a particular project that seems very worthwhile to build. It’s a solenoid powered drummer. Basically it’s a midi decoder coupled with a big stick powered by the solenoid. The midi decoder recieves a signal which triggers the solenoid which strikes the drum. Nice and simple, with some easy to follow instructions. To make this project really cool you implement an algorithm on your pc to drive the midi controller that uses some autoacompanimnet algorithm. Just snag one from Rodger Dannenberg (CMU) or Gil Weinberg (Georgia Tech)

BTW You can find this issue of Make on Amazon or the O’Reilly store.  Here’s some robot drummer inspiration below


Review of Native Video in HTML5

21 Dec

I just recently took this video for a spin and posted my review on the O’Reilly site, Native Video in HTML5

Overall I gave it 4 stars.  Check out the review:
HTML5 is becoming more of a standard and reality, but what does it mean to a web designer or programmer?  This set of videos goes through the video tag of html5 and answers these questions.  How do you embe

d videos?  How do you control the videos?  How do you leverage the videos on hardware like the google tv?

The Controlling videos with javascript portion was great to see how much you can do with a little javascript on a video site.  The follow up video goes into some concerns when porting this new site to google tv.

I almost dropped it down to 3 stars because of the excessive banter early on but it’s still a good video and great way to get a crash course in web video in an hour.  I got these videos for free, but they’re worth paying for if you are a web designer or interactive programmer.


Issuu and uu

01 Jul

I was looking at various ways to create a lookbook or flip book online and ran across some different solutions including,, and freshcatalog.comIssuu.

I actually started this post just to have somewhere to embed the issuu code, but ended up like it so much I created a “real” blog post. Check it out below! All I did was upload an insurance pdf I had in my documents folder and it magically turned into an embeddable flip book.

If you want to see it on a page by itself, check out this link.

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Posted in SaS, Technology


I wouldn’t want to be the guy who lost this

20 Apr

A few days ago an apple employee gets drunk and forgets his phone at the bar. It’s not just any phone though, it’s the next generation iPhone not to be out for months.  Given how secretive Apple is, I’m sure this person is in a world of hurt right now.  I was kind of surprised when I saw the story on Gizmodo a few days ago, but was even more surprised when I saw it in the NY Times this morning.  Someone is going to be getting a serious spanking from Steve Jobs.

BTW there’s no evidence that the apple insider was drunk, but for his/her sake I hope they were or had some better excuse for leaving a very secret prototype in a public place.


Google is taking charge of language translation

09 Mar

As google seeks to dominate all things digital, it gets one step closer.  This time with language translation.  It’s actually quite impressive to see the results.  I read this article from the NY Times and was pleasantly surprised.

Check out the translation tests that the NY Times performed,

Human Translation of a passage from the Le Petit Prince

On the first night, I fell asleep on the sand, a thousand miles from any human habitation. I was far more isolated than a shipwrecked sailor on a raft in the middle of the ocean. So you can imagine my surprise at sunrise when an odd little voice woke me up. It said: “Please … draw me a sheep.”
- Wordsworth Children’s Classics, 1995

Google’s translation of the same passage

The first night I went to sleep on the sand a thousand miles from any human habitation. I was more isolated than a shipwrecked sailor on a raft in the middle of the ocean. So imagine my surprise at daybreak, when a funny little voice woke me. She said: “If it pleases you … draw me a sheep!”

It’s amazingly similar!  Sure the original book may have actually been part of the training data, but you look at the other examples and Google out performs the competition most of the time.


Do you miss the smell of bacon in your car?

28 Feb

I ran across this bacon air freshener today.  Get your fix of fatty goodness when you are on your commute to work.  Forget about the trees, try out some bacon!

Funky Fresh Bacon Air Freshener

Funky Fresh Bacon Air Freshener


Posted in Bacon