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On Close.io we originally implemented Filepicker.io to allow for file uploads while sending emails. While it was a quick way to get started with file uploading initially, after several minutes of downtime of their API and then an unannounced change in their JSON response format, I was reminded once again that you shouldn’t to rely on small startups for critical parts of your tech infrastructure.
There’s nothing wrong with filepicker.io if you want to use a lot of their features, but in our case we just needed to allow simple uploading of files to our own AWS S3 bucket. Here’s how:
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I had my first guest post on TechCrunch last week! Here’s an excerpt:
There is often confusion about the various roles of a web engineering team. I have had to explain, even to technical recruiters, the differences between these roles and that the lines that separate them are often fuzzy. I thought I’d share the framework I like to use to evaluate whether someone is a good fit for a startup’s technical team.
The size of the company or startup will determine how many different hats each engineer must wear. Many startups get off the ground with a single founder who does a little bit of everything until he or she can grow the team. It’s also possible to outsource some roles completely. Just as cloud-hosting providers such as Amazon Web Services have drastically reduced the need for hardware/network engineers in web startups, platforms like Heroku take it further and (for a price) can reduce sysadmin and DevOps work almost entirely in the beginning.
In pretty much every case, when a startup grows, people will inevitably start specializing. Even those rare gems, who in the early days can spend the first half of the day in Photoshop and the second half scaling a database, will eventually specialize at least somewhat. If you’re hiring well, you’ll always find someone who can outperform you in at least one area.
You can read the rest over there.
I just launched a website for Close.io, the product we’ve been working on at Elastic for the past few months.
Go check it out: http://close.io/
We’ve built this as “sales communication software”, which we believe didn’t really exist before. CRMs (salesforce.com, I’m looking at you!) are inadequate because they are more like databases of contacts than software that really helps you do the selling. We’ve trying to change that by making your sales phone calling and sales emailing experience tightly coupled with your lead data (CRM).
Would love to hear any feedback you have about the product!
I just got a sweet new MacBook Pro Retina – way faster than my old MBP. I wanted to do a clean install rather than restoring from a TimeMachine backup, which meant reinstalling software and manually transferring stuff over that I really needed. I kept a list…
I got to go to Y Combinator’s Startup School this year and had a great time. Between the reception dinner the night before and the day of event I got to meet a lot of great people and reconnect with some I’d met in the past or only talked to online. Most of the speakers were really good.
I took some very brief notes during some of the talks of the 1 or 2 things that stuck out to me as either surprising, motivational, or instructional.
I did Stripe’s Capture the Flag 2.0 this year, “a security contest where you can try your hand at discovering and exploiting vulnerabilities in mock web applications”.
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I watched Jeff Veen’s “Designing for Disaster” talk (below) and took away a couple of parts that I thought were really good. Some notes:
How to do Product Reviews (can be design, product, process, anything) — making an objective process out of something that is very subjective.
- Optional attendance, but mandatory participation (keeps everyone focused)
- Not a forum for expressing opinions
- Rather, a place to solve problems.
- Define in the beginning if session is supposed to be divergent or convergent.
- Divergent - I want as many ideas to solve this problem as possible – let’s talk about everything; brainstorming
- Convergent - Evaluating feasibility, acknowledge constrains. Drive towards consensus.
- Measure momentum in days (weekly checkup of progress)
- Measure projects in weeks (figure out pace, when we will go out with the next thing)
- Measure priorities in months (“we’re going to focus on performance and distribution in Q2″)
- Measure vision in years (“organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible”)
For a new Backbone.js + Flask project I’m using grunt + grunt-contrib, RequireJS’s r.js, Flask-Assets / webassets for static file (LESS/CSS, JS) compilation. But I needed a good way to get my nicely optimized static files onto a CDN and serving proper HTTP headers.
Using the excellent s3cmd tool, here’s what I came up with.
This example will break for browsers/proxies that don’t support gzip, but this is fine for my needs. Any other solution would either require a custom origin web server or writing different filenames in HTML depending on the request coming in. But since I want to use S3 as my origin this is the easiest/simplest solution.
Since all assets are “built” with a md5 version number hash in the file name, I want far futures headers to cache permanently.
I setup my first personal webpage (philfreo.com) in 2004 when I was in high school. It’s had some server-side includes and a tiny amount of logic written in ASP. It looked like this:
I redesigned it once in 2006 during my Yahoo! internship, and it looked like this:
And there my website sat from 2006 until 2012. That’s forever in internet years!
So here we are in the summer of 2012 – time for a redesign! Nothing too fancy, just clean up the styles to be more modern and representative of the current web. It should tell people about the 2012 Phil Freo rather than the high school or college version of me. It should no longer focused on my freelance website design (where I once dominated SEO for terms like “gainesville web design” and “jacksonville web design”) and now more focused on my work with startups, modern full-stack web development, and my blog.
You’re probably looking at the new site now, but for archival purposes, here are some screenshots:
Blog article page: