TurnKey Linux Virtual Appliance Library

Why I resist criticism (loss aversion and cognitive dissonance)

Have you ever felt like your Ego is getting in the way of being productive?

These last few days I've been feeling I might be overly resistant to criticism with regards to some new stuff I've been developing. So as an anti-dote I'm writing this blog post to remind myself why that might be.

In a nutshell, I think I tend to fall in love with my creations and let it bias my judgement.

Remember, the more effort you put into something the more attachment you feel towards it. It's a well known cognitive effect. You need to make sure you compensate for that and don't let your ego get the better of you.

Amazon FPS (flexible payments system) in a nutshell

A few weeks ago I looked into Amazon FPS (Flexible Payments Service), just to see what our options are for premium services like commercial support. You know, the stuff we can't give away even if we wanted to because their are real costs involved which we couldn't subsidize without going bankrupt.

Note that we're probably not going to be using FPS in the near term but I did research it exhaustively before I ruled it out (for now). While it's fresh in my mind here's the summary for the benefit of those who might be considering it as an option.

My code refactoring algorithm

You're looking at a block of Python code. It's not immediately obvious what it does. It's sort of a mess and you realize it needs to be refactored. But how? What mental algorithm do you use?

Announcing public API for TurnKey Hub

More power, control, flexibility and automation of cloud servers.

Alan Kay once said: "Simple things should be simple, complex things should be possible". We live by those words, and I think we've done a pretty good job up until now.

The Hub makes launching and managing instances on Amazon EC2 really simple, but the one thing that has been missing is a solution to make complex things possible - i.e., programmatic control.

An experiment: gaming Slashdot's moderation system

Or: why moderation systems are trickier than they look.

Understanding the dynamics of online communities is one of my pet interests, so as a regular reader of Hacker News, I took notice when Paul Graham started experimenting recently in an attempt to stave off the gradual but unmistakable decline (AKA redditization) of what used to be my favorite online community after TurnKey.

The discussion inspired me to write a blog post about an experiment I tried a while back at my other geek haunt - Slashdot. Just to throw in my two cents.

In theory comment moderation systems are democratic and promote a high signal to noise ratio. But I've long suspected them of promoting group-think and being easy to game once you understand a little bit about the dynamics at play.

New Hub feature: Auto-Restore TKLBAM backup to a new cloud server

Since we announced the release of TurnKey Hub v1.0 two weeks ago, we followed up with the two top issues users reported, and continued to receive awesome feedback - you guys rock, keep it coming!

Neat trick: invoking a Python debugger at an arbitrary point in your program

Do you find yourself occasionally wishing you could freeze a misbehaving program at an arbitrary point in time and then examining what was going on interactively?

That's exactly what the debugger is for, but sometimes it's just too much of a bother to run your program inside it, you have to set breakpoints, etc.

Well there's a really simple alternative: call the debugger from an arbitrary point in your program, like this...

Hub 1.0 follow-up: two top issues users reported + what we're doing about it.

Last week we announced the release of TurnKey Hub v1.0. The response was great, signups went through the roof and many of you went the extra mile and provided detailed feedback on your first impressions from the new version.

Announcing TurnKey Hub v1.0 - now officially out of private beta

Hub Front

When we first announced the TurnKey Hub private beta about 9 months ago, we had limited capacity (invitation only) and a modest feature set. Since then we tested, bugfixed, removed bottlenecks and added features, constantly improving the Hub with the help and feedback from our excellent beta users. Thank you so much!

Tips for a cleaner chrome

As I discussed in a previous post (custom search engines for efficiency), I love simple tweaks that provide an improved workflow, don't make me think, and reclaim wasted screen real-estate.

With the release of Firefox 4, namely the new App Tab feature, I decided I would share some tips I've been using in Google Chrome, hoping others will find them useful.

Pictures are worth a thousand words, so:

Before: