I started working on a new backend for Better Voicemail, but it ended up turning into something a little bigger (although still part of the new BV backend). I’m calling it BuildANumber. It makes it easy for anyone to create their own phone system. More info at http://www.buildanumber.com
My FitDesk came in! It was very simple to put together and took about 10 minutes. It feels very well made and solid. My favorite thing about it is that its perfectly silent! There are a broad range of resistance levels and seat height levels. Both are very easy to adjust. It is extremely light and very simple to fold up.
I really wish Github had some free way to have private repositories. I’d even settle for a way to have unlimited private repositories for a reasonable paid price. I have a paid Github account for my company which has repositories related to that in it. But, that doesn’t work well for random stuff that you would like to be private since you are limited to a specific amount of repositories.
I signed up for a Bitbucket account today just so I could host a private repository. I’ll probably host ALL my random private repos there from now on. Thats a big missed opportunity for Github, because I’m sure there are a lot of people like me that are doing the same thing.
Github should remove the repository cap on their paid plans and instead have a simple storage cap like Bitbucket does. You should be able to have as many repos as you want that can fit in your space allotment.
Better Voicemail was listed in AGBeat’s 60 Brands to watch in 2012! This is extremely motivating and we will work very hard to do great things.
I hope to forge partnerships with other tech companies in the real estate market in the coming months as we continue to innovate in an area that hasn’t seen innovation in a decade. We have a lot in the pipeline and a lot of work to do yet.
Here’s to the new year and to bringing professional voicemail to the 21st century.
One of my projects, Better Voicemail, got some more great press today. We’ll be moving out of beta soon and I’m looking forward to it! We have a lot in the pipeline but I think we already have a solid product that will benefit a lot of Realtors out there.
Google has been working on driverless cars for a few years now. The obvious selling point is that the cars will be much safer without a human behind the wheel.
Currently, a car spends 96% of its time idle. Compare that with planes which spend almost their entire lifetime in operation/airborne. Idle planes aren’t making money, and they need to recoup their hefty $120M price tag. There is an unforgiving economic incentive to make sure it is always in use.
The proliferation of driverless cars will have a similar effect. Cars will spend less time idle: why would a household buy 2 (or even 3) cars, when they only need 1? Ride to work, then send the car home to your spouse. Need to go grocery shopping, but your kid also needs a ride to a soccer game? No problem, a driverless car can handle that.
What will begin as households cutting back to a single car, will expand. Why would a family need an entire car to themselves? That’s crazy! It may start as extended family in the same area sharing cars, then neighbors sharing cars, and then entire apartment/condo complexes in cities offering driverless cars bundled into their HOA/rent.
The operating percent of a car will go from 4% to that 96%. But back to my leading statement: there are unintended consequences. Parked cars will be a relic from the past. What happens to car insurance prices if a driver is no longer part of the equation? And if cars are receiving 20 times more actual use, that would imply that there would be 20 times less cars sold. This is the kind of disruptive change that can reshape the automotive industry. The recent GM/Chrysler bailout may have been for naught.
 Of course, this isn’t exactly the case, as the cars would need to be replaced more often due to nonstop usage, but the point stands.  Hell, I’d share a car with my condo complex. I currently don’t own a car, I walk or take taxis basically everywhere.  Of course, car companies realize this. And I can guarantee you, they will lobby against driverless cars.
I had some free time tonight so I decided to play a little Battlefield 3. I go to BattleLog and it tells me I have to update the game first to play. So I start the update and notice that its a 3.9 GB download! Wow.
I can’t imagine why the update needs to be that large. I think I’m having to download the whole game again just to update it. Thank goodness I’m not on a metered internet connection.
EDIT: Dice says the reason that the download is because “it contains most of the content for Back to Karkand”.
Earlier today I got an email from Amazon letting me know that one of my instances was experiencing “degraded performance” due to a hardware failure. They recommended that I stop and restart the instance so that it would be automatically migrated to new hardware.
So, I logged into AWS to check to see if the instance got removed from my Elastic Load Balancer like it should have. Turns out it WAS automatically removed. I simply force stopped the instance and brought it back online and the problem was solved.
Summary: Hardware Failure was fixable with one click and resulted in ZERO downtown. Gotta love it.
I’m currently attempting to max out my free Dropbox account by buying some AdWords that use my referral link. I’ll update this if I get any results.
UPDATE: Well I spent about $35 and got up to 11.5GB of space. I think I probably would have had better results without spending as much money, but I think some other people were trying to do the same thing at the time so we essentially got in a bidding war and drove the CPC up. I’ll probably try again to get to 16GB in a couple of months.
Note to self: Do not trust Django to set up your database indexes correctly! It really has no concept of what should be indexed and what shouldn’t. The only thing it gets right is the table id (obviously) and any model fields you set as unique.
I’ve read things about this before, but sort of put defining my indexes on the back burner. You would think it would pick up CharFields with “choices” defined and things like that, but it doesn’t.
Oh man. I know I’ve encountered something like this before. So many developers have absolutely no experience writing decent SQL. Its getting even worse these days with the prevalence of ORMs in all the big frameworks. When they do have to actually write a query, they just throw syntax together until it works, even if it ends up looking like this and taking 18 hours to run:
I’ve been wanting to redo my home page so it has a simple blog, but I didn’t want to have yet another place to remember to post stuff to. I saw people like +Kevin Rosewere using their Google+ profiles as their home pages. I liked the general idea of that, but still wanted my own domain.
I ended up hacking together a simple script that you can stick in a web directory that creates a blog/homepage that is powered by your public Google+ posts. I’m calling it Plusify. It’s easily theme-able and has the added benefit of backing up your public Google+ posts to a SQLite database.
I noticed that +Daniel Treadwell created a Wordpress plugin and a service called Pluss.es to do something similar, but I didn’t want a full Wordpress install just to run my dinky blog. Also, I wanted to continue to host my blog, so Pluss.es was out as well.
Disclaimer: I normally do web stuff with Python these days, but I used PHP for this because more web hosts support it. I’ve only spent a few hours working on this, so don’t hate if you don’t like the code or product. Also, I’m no designer so you’ll probably think the default theme is ugly.
There is still work to do on it and it probably has some bugs, but I think its a pretty good start for only a few hours work. I’ve open sourced the code, so you can fork it at: https://github.com/lylepratt/Plusify