Posts about 'Web'

Building things does not require moving to California

Monday, June 18th, 2012

CNET has an excellent writeup of the Boston technology scene.

It’s inside baseball, but a really interesting read.

How to get cron to use the rbenv ruby

Friday, June 1st, 2012

With any luck, this will save people my hours of aggravation.

My problem:

I’m using .rbenv to manage the Ruby processes. When I run everything manually and through the tests, it all works great. Unfortunately, when I put it into cron, it fails.

My solution:

Step One: Find the rbenv binary:

jason:~$ which ruby

Step Two: Update the cronfile:

In my cronfile, I changed from:

* * * * * cd /home/jason/program-dir ; ruby program.rb


* * * * * cd /home/jason/program-dir ; /home/jason/.rbenv/versions/1.9.3-p194/bin/ruby program.rb


There’s probably a more Linux-fu method, but this worked. If you have a more elegant solution, please drop me a line so that I can update this post.

What is live TV?

Monday, May 14th, 2012

How many people still watch TV live? Fewer and fewer I’ll guess. Certainly not us. Other than Red Sox and Patriots games, we don’t watch anything live.

Even if we’re in front of the TV tonight to watch the hour-long How I Met Your Mother finale, we’re going to spend the first fifteen minutes of it watching something else. At 8:15, I’ll turn on the recording that started at 8:00, and we’ll fast-forward through the commercials and end up finishing it at the same time as the live show.

I can’t imagine this bodes well for the companies buying those commercials or the ones selling them.

The risks of being a small investor in a private company

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

I’m all in favor of the recently-passed JOBS act, which loosens restrictions and regulations on investing in small companies. But, the downsides are obvious.

Human nature dictates that a lot of people are going to get conned. Some of my older readers may remember grifts from the sixties, seventies and eighties — the details change, but the story doesn’t.

Entrepreneur and investor Chris Dixon gives a good run-down of some of the risks. It’s worth a read.

The story is a sad one, told many times

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

I guess this is the inevitable path of any well-respected company, as described by a former executive.

The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.

A much better direction

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

This is one of the best things I’ve read in a long time, from a New York Magazine cover story on the New Wall Street:

“If you’re a smart Ph.D. from MIT, you’d never go to Wall Street now,” says a hedge-fund executive. “You’d go to Silicon Valley. There’s at least a prospect for a huge gain. You’d have the potential to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. It looks like he has a lot more fun.”

Hallelujah. If we can get the best and the brightest building stuff instead of pushing money around, I think we’ll all be better off.

Tracking my recipes

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

One of my other projects for 2012 is to get all my recipes digitized. My goal is to code up two recipes a day, so that by the end of the year, I should have them fully digitized and cross-referenced.

You can follow along if you like, by going to Jason Butler’s recipes. I have six up now, and I’ll add a dozen or so a week.

Of course, being a geek, I ended up writing my own custom recipe publishing engine. Of course!

Dylan’s Amnesty International Album

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Awesome. I’m listening to it on Spotify right now. It’s also available on Amazon or iTunes if that’s the way you roll.

Best tracks:

Ziggy Marley: Blowin’ in the Wind.
My Chemical Romance: Desolation Row
Miley Cyrus: You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.

Seriously, the Miley Cyrus track is really much better than you’d expect.

My Going Green Opus

Friday, January 13th, 2012

My newest piece is up at 39Essays. This week: Going green is not that frickin’ hard.

This is one of the longest single pieces I’ve ever written. I’m working on improving at this whole writer thing.

Let me know what you think!

39 Essays launches

Friday, January 6th, 2012

I just launched my first site of the year, one that I’ve been thinking about for quite a while: 39 Essays. It’s going to be a series of essays where I try to figure out the meaning of life. It’s like your very own mid-life crisis, in handy digital form!

Read all about it in my first post, Introduction and Throat Clearing.

Couple of tweaks to

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

My little site has gotten dusty. Time to fix that. So, I just did a morning’s worth of spring cleaning.

I’ve finally updated my WordPress installation from 2.2 up to 3.3. I’m recommending WordPress to several clients, so I might as well make sure that I’m up to date on all the different ways it’s useful. I plan on experimenting with more of the plugins to test out different ideas. Should be interesting!

It’s been a lot less fun around here dealing with the continual onslaught of comment spammers. So, I’ve turned off WordPress commenting entirely, and I’m going to solely have commenting through Facebook’s plugin. While it’s powered by Facebook, you can still comment using your Facebook, Hotmail or Yahoo credentials, so I hope it’s not too much of a burden. I’ll watch this for a while and see if it ends up making life better for everyone.

And, hey, I’ve caught up to 2008. You can now like, share, tweet, fold, spindle and mutilate these posts however you like. Woo Hoo! You can start by liking itself, by pressing the button right above my picture over in the sidebar. Thanks!

So, those were the quick tweaks. I’m going to do some work around design over the next couple of weeks, and I hope to be writing far more often than I have been. Though, we’ve all seen that promise before.

And wow, is my PHP rusty…

A quick update

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

I just saw that my last post is dated November 10th. Yikes. Bad Jason.

I’m still thinking about topics for the blog, but I’m having less and less time to actually write them (or cut photographs, or find useful links, etc.).

Practically Green is going very strong, and running product and tech for a company inside the tornado takes some attention. Serendeputy is still (shockingly, given how I’ve ignored it for a while) gaining users; though the joy of a web application is that it just runs itself. Sadie and Lucy occasionally request my time. Plus, I’m out shoveling the goddam driveway every three hours. Need more hours. I’ve haven’t been this continually stretched for this long since Seattle.

Alas. I look forward to returning to this soon. My ten-year blogging anniversary is coming up in a couple of months. I’d like to do something nice for it. We’ll see how it all turns out.

Adventurously Green

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Throughout this year, A. and I have been working to become a little greener in our life. Partly because we feel like we should, partly because it’s often cheaper. (Composting saves me from having to pay extra for Concord trash pickup, for example.)

This morning I got to “Adventurously Green” on Practically Green. I think it’s a nice little accomplishment. (And, I get a pretty tree!).

If you’re interested in seeing how green you are (and, at the same time, testing out my new product..), take the how green am I quiz. I’d love to hear what you think (and how we compare).

The joy of podcasts

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

I’m driving four hours today for a meeting. My companions? Four podcasts I’m excited to hear.

Jorge Garcia dissects The Package on Geronimo Jack’s Beard.

Firebrand of the American League does its Red Sox Preview

Andy Ihnatko talks about the iPad on a special episode of MacBreak Weekly

Dan Carlin does his regular bi-weekly Common Sense show.

I can’t live without my radio. But my radio is now almost exclusively podcasts.

Marital Green Spats

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Susan, over at the Practically Green blog, writes about when couples fight over how green to be.

I’m sure some couples have serious green battles, particularly if one person is just starting to think green and the other isn’t there yet . I feel pretty lucky that our green differences seem to lead only to a few eye rolls and snarky comments.

Are fights over the goddam paper towels this generation’s version of fighting over the new set of golf clubs? I hope not. One of our resolutions this year is to be a little greener — not to upend our life, but to be a little bit better. My green living tag over at Serendeputy is helping me out…

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Merry Christmas, everybody!

I’ve been a poor correspondent. Sadly, that’s unlikely to change at any time in the next couple of months. I have a major new release of Serendeputy in its final stages, and I’m also working a separate super-secret project. Lots to do. Blogging suffers.

But, I should be able to have some pictures up this weekend. I have a feeling that Sadie and Lucy are going to be happy with what Santa is going to bring them.

In the meantime, here are some sites I’ve recently added to the Serendeputy catalog which are really cool. It’s worth checking them out.

Fashion Served: I’ve been building out the fashion tree, and I found this site. It’s a showcase for some of the best fashion photography around.

(And yes, I understand the irony of someone who wears shorts and a t-shirt in his home office all day building out the fashion tree.)

Roger Ebert: Roger Ebert can’t talk anymore, but he sure can write well.

Wend Magazine: I’ve also been building out the green tree — we’ve become much more involved with green this year — and I found this site. All sorts of interesting links, articles and stories.

Clients from Hell: Freelance and design clients say the darndest things.

Special bonus, here are my top 25 Most Popular Sources at the moment: Fail Blog, Sadly No, Balloon Juice, Fashion Served, Techdirt, New York Times, Work it Mom, Consumerist, Roger Ebert, TechCrunch, Business Insider, Boston Globe, Wend Magazine, Steve Blank, Holliston Reporter, The Atlantic, Clients from Hell, ESPN Boston, Tracker Editor’s Blog, SEOMoz, Harvard Business School Publishing, The Baseline Scenario, MLB Trade Rumors, Entertainment Weekly, and Cracked.

Make of that list what you will.

Serendeputy doesn’t lie. That list is pretty much what I’m paying attention to right now…

Water pollution in Holliston

Monday, September 14th, 2009

The New York Times has written an ambitious application where you can enter in a zip code and get all the water polluters for the town. Holliston looks clean, which is reassuring.

The rest of Massachusetts is a little more troubling.


Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

After a little more than a year of work, I just launched the public beta of Serendeputy. Check it out, if you like.

Learn something new everyday

Friday, April 17th, 2009

My target market for Serendeputy isn’t me, it’s “Jen” a Gen-X/late-boomer who uses the computer as a tool, not a toy. So, most of the things I’ve indexed are more in line with her interests than mine.

I’ve seeded the site with sites that will appeal to Jen, including a ton of sites focusing on fashion. One of those sites (with the great name of Shopping is my Cardio) led me to Antler Magazine, a beautifully put together online magazine. The technology here is pretty impressive. I’d love to see Alan Taylor’s Big Picture in this type of a format.

I wish the newspaper industry would focus more on making incredible things, and less on trying to turn back the clock. But, that’s a separate rant.

This reminds me, I should get back to putting together the linky-goodness posts. I haven’t done any of those in forever. Bad Jason. I’ll see if I can get back in the saddle for that. After beta.

Consumerist posts of the year

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

I love Consumerist. If you’re not reading it, you should be. For a sample, here’s their top 17 most-useful posts of 2008.