Man, how did I miss this before? New Relic is having Gregg Pollack, of Rails Envy fame, do screencasts on scaling Rails. There’s some really great stuff in here, and I definitely need to reserve some time to go through each of them myself.
Khoi Vinh wrote a great piece about Tropicana’s redesign and their subsequent reversal. What I particularly liked was how he pointed out how the usability of the design went significantly down, as I mentioned before.
After coming out with a completely new packaging design, Tropicana is changing it back. I really don’t understand why the new design was ever carried out, not because it looked all that bad, but because it was so different from the previous design, making it near impossible to find Tropicana when going to the store, and the differentiation between different flavors was really small as well.
Great post by John Gruber on how effective applications can be when they don’t require the author to ever “save” anything. For instance, he refers to iMovie, where the user never has to deal with saving a file somewhere–the application just figures it behind the scenes. Also check out Chris Clark’s response “By Proxy, By Proxy, By Proxy”, where he talks about how download windows could be helped by the very same idea.
Marc Hedlund wrote a great piece on the current Hulu/Boxee controversy. Every time the major media pulls something like this, it always amazes me how disconnected from their customers they are. People wanted to legally watch content on their TVs through Hulu, but somehow they thought that hurt their numbers, so they’re forcing people into finding other ways to get TV shows and movies from their computer to their TV, which I’m sure is far more destructive to their profits than Boxee.
I’m currently in Heidelberg, Germany for the semester, and I’m going to be posting over at Scamps Abroad, with two friends who are also studying here. I recently posted about my flights over, so go and take a look!
Blink-182 is back, and they’re going on tour this summer. Awesome.
Here’s their message:
Hi. We’re blink-182. This past week there’ve been a lot of questions about the current status of the band, and we wanted you to hear to straight from us. To put it simply, we’re back. We mean, really back. Picking up where we left off and then some. In the studio writing and recording a new album. Preparing to tour the world yet again. Friendships reformed. 17 years deep in our legacy.
Great talk by Bill Gates at this year’s TED conference about his work to eliminate malaria in Africa and improve education in the poorer parts of the US. I really like the way he attacks problems like these: instead of throwing money at the issue, he tries to make small changes that have a large impact, such as giving mosquito nets to families in Africa, or giving teachers feedback on their teaching. Definitely worth a watch.
Paul Buchheit discusses how Gmail was first built: not by long meetings about strategy, but rather through prototyping. I tend to really enjoy this approach, because it allows you to actually try thing outs, instead of just discussing if a feature might work. It may mean having some truly awful code at first, but it’s a great way to really learn what works and what doesn’t, and I think with the rise of frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Django, this style of development becomes a lot easier.