Fly on the wall: “Fix what needs fixing.” Matt 15 Sep 2006

14 comments Latest by 1.618

Toy logo
We got a kick out Simplebits Dan’s version of our logo:

toy logo

RailsConf Europe
David, Jamis, and Marcel attended RailsConf Europe. Talks they especially enjoyed included Dave Thomas’ about risk (received a thunderous standing ovation)…

Focusing disproportionately on the wrong risks screws you because you don’t fix what needs fixing.

and Kathy Sierra’s

Tell about something else than Rails that you are passionate about. (started with small laugh probably because crowd had to think hard about what else to be passonate about besides from Rails)…Just changing a few words (like using the word “you”), can increase perception by about 40%. Brain thinks it is in a conversation so it pays attention.

Textmate presentation
Marcel: “i saw some of the best constraint embracing of all time…david realized on the plane that his laptop didn’t have Keynote…so he did his entire presentation in textmate…one tab per slide…all code samples”

Using Camtasia for product video demos
Jason: “Camtasia rocks. You can piece together multiple quicktime movies so you can record them in chunks…same with audio…and you can put transitions between them…this way if you mess up one part you don’t have to do the entire thing over again…and you can save the “project” so you can open it up whenever, make changes, and generate a new movie…You can also record video through your isight and have a talking head down in the corner. Could be useful later…I shoot in Snapz, Apple Animation, highest quality, no compression…then I have to convert that to avi (Camtasia exports .mov but doesn’t import). Quicktime does this easily…And then import into Camtasia.”

Scripting product demos
After “winging it” failed, we’ve resorted to scripting out video demos. The trick: say it first and then write it down.

Jason F.
I have finally resorted to writing a script for these movies
Jason F.
and reading it
Jason F.
it’s just too time consuming otherwise
Jason F.
but I think scripts will really speed this up
Jason F.
and cut the production time down by 50% ultimately
Ryan S.
yeah that makes sense
Ryan S.
it always seems like it’ll be faster if you do it off the cuff,
Ryan S.
but doing the script homework up front probably saves time
Jason F.
works great for really short ones
Jason F.
but not entire product demos
Matt L.
needless to say, good idea to read this out loud as you go. i presume you’re already on that tho.
Jason F.
yes, been working on it
Jason F.
I’m actually doing it in reverse
Jason F.
saying it then writing it down
Jason F.
so I can write it as I’d say it
Jason F.
instead of the other way around

Gatez’ bling
Gatez w/ bling

This Bill Gates photo (bling added by Ryan) led to a variety of responses, including: “Gatez”…”Redmond is WEST SIDE”…”B to the G!”

Music bloggers
Some backlash against “fashionable” music bloggers…

Jason F.
Jason F.
Denton’s new music blog. That’s their manifesto.
Ryan S.
really true about the crazy hype booms and busts around bands
Ryan S.
(or anything else that bloggers talk about)
Ryan S.
"THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER" when they first see it, and then it’s nothing the next day
Jason F.
uh huh. it seems to be a blogger virus.
Jason F.
although it’s probably always present in humanity. blogs make it easy to diagnose.
Ryan S.
it’s normal for consumers to be extra excited about something new and then forget about it
Ryan S.
but that shouldn’t be true with "professional" reviewers
Ryan S.
they’re supposed to have more restraint, i think
Ryan S.
and blog reviewers aren’t professional, so that restraint isn’t there
Matt L.
my friend who’s a booking agent has noted that bands are way too green nowadays.
Matt L.
at sxsw there are tons of bands that have only played 15 shows. that never happened 5 years ago.
Matt L.
symptomatic of our culture in general now. younger, greener, fresher, etc. all good. even if the quality isn’t there yet. but there’s a def downside. if you’re not ready, you’re not ready.
Ryan S.
yeah, fwiw, clap your hands say yeah is awful live
Ryan S.
i liked their album too, but the performance stinks
Matt L.
bloggers/pitchfork get off on blowing up bands that no one’s ever heard of. it’s an ego stroke for them to be able to say "i made arcade fire." of course, if the new tom petty record is great they wouldn’t even mention it. been there, done that.

A simple way to get a feature under control
Ryan: “gotta share this technique because it’s working so well…i’m building this registration app…i keep a to-do list in Backpack of the features i need to build…and top of the list today was ‘Make payments toward your balance’…that feature involves multiple screens, rails actions, validations, etc etc…so how to keep it all straight?…i need some kind of map that shows what the screens are, what they include and how it all functions…here’s the really simple format i’ve been using:

color technique

…black text is a Rails action…purple is anything worth mentioning that has to be in the screen…and red is user actions, like links and submit buttons…it doesn’t include everything, but that’s the point. it includes enough that i feel like the whole feature is under control, and i can start building it without keeping too much in my head at once.”

Spicy chat
A call went out for LESS spice:

Matt L.
is anyone else ever pissed off by the size of the packaging of fresh herbs at the supermarket? a recipe calls for a tspn of oregano or rosemary yet i can only buy a huge container. where’s my single serving size? LESS SPICE. </rant>
Ryan S.
i have that problem bigtime
Ryan S.
i can never by the spice i need for _one_ dish

Simplify = gray???
Jason noted the “simplify” button on the left side at But all the button does is hide the saturated colors…

Kinda silly. Still, at least there’s some other option besides the “normal” version w/ white text on a red background (which is pretty much the typographical equivalent of “fuck off”).

Zorro Buck
Ryan had more fun with Jamis’ moustache (original pic from RailsConf):

zorro jamis

Ryan: “i’d work a fencing saber in there, but you get the idea.”

14 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Joe Ruby 15 Sep 06

Um, yeah, nice mask…

ML 15 Sep 06

Roo, it’s linked up in orig post now (didn’t know where the undoctored version of photo came from ‘till you mentioned it).

Roo Reynolds 15 Sep 06

Thanks Matt.

jkottke 15 Sep 06

I was at a conference a couple of weeks ago and one of the presenters did her talk with Microsoft Word, scrolling down as she went. It was nice…along with the text she was currently referring to, you could see a bit of her previous point and some upcoming ones as well.

SH 15 Sep 06

i can never by the spice i need for _one_ dish

At Whole Foods, and most organic co-op type stores, you buy spices by weight by spooning them in little bags they offer or jars you bring from home. I’m finding that more and more on the West coast this has become the norm since the novelty of it is incredibly attractive to Californians who like to always be doing things differently than everyone else.

Joe Ruby 15 Sep 06

Dear Powers That Be,

It would be totally awesome if, like, videos of the speeches were made available again like they were for the last conference.

You have our gratitude,

Jake 15 Sep 06

37signals, kings of chicago? no, pitchfork is, they’re just FUD though

Andrew 16 Sep 06

”..This Bill Gates photo (bling added by Ryan) led to a variety of responses, including: “Gatez”…”Redmond is WEST SIDE”…”B to the G!”

No way. If you were from Seattle you’d know that Redmond is full-on EASTSIDE. (As in, the East side of Lake Washington…)

Steve R. 16 Sep 06

Re: Spices - the Spice House on Wells st., about 1/2 block south of North Ave. sells fresh spices by weight - get a tsp. if that’s all you need, FYI.
It’s worth a visit just to give your nose a good time, and if you are lucky, get a lecture on why grocery store cinnamon sucks.

brad 17 Sep 06

Actually the best solution I’ve found for those particular spices (rosemary, oregano) is to grow your own. Thyme is easy to grow too. You can grow them inside in a sunny window during the winter, and put them out on a balcony in summer. They’re quite unfussy, just need lots of sun and enough watering to keep them from drying out completely, and rosemary likes to take a shower every now and then in winter. When substituting fresh herbs for dried, use more (at least twice as much). Basil grows really well in pots outside in summer, and there’s nothing like fresh basil.

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