What's in Chris' Brain - October 2010 Edition

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I haven’t done one of these for a while, so I thought I’d share some stuff I’ve been looking at lately. Also, I’m not doing anything earth-shattering that needs a blog post. ;)

Stange Loop Conference

I found out about this conference via Twitter. I enjoyed St. Louis immensely when the family drove 17 hours to visit my wife’s brother and his wife 3 years ago. The zoo there is awesome and free! Anyway, there were a lot of interesting talks given using a wide variety of languages and tools. Nice to see a conference that was focused on what I call the “future shock” technologies: ones that use paradigms that are very different from the mainstream and trying to show you practical uses for them. One that stood out was Kyle Simpson’s “Dude, That’s some Strange UI Architecture”. He did a brief demo of a Javascript-powered framework that used what he called Client-View-Controller, where EVERYTHING is Javascript except the black box that is your data source. The tl;dr version? Javascript on the client and the server, use for templating, and make sure your data source can accept and return JSON. Very interesting, and worth checking out.

Sharding and NoSQL - Be careful!

Great blog post on one of my favourite reads, the High Scalability blog, about the problems Foursquare experienced with MongoDB and what can be learned from it. Lesson #1 of superhyped technologies: make sure the damn thing works for what YOU need it to do. MySQL and Postgres are also great key-value stores. It’s all about understanding your data, not ditching JOINS because someone else told you to.

Make an Infoproduct

My internet-famous sort-of-friend (meaning we’ve known each other for a while via the internet and have actually met in person, once, in Toronto) Amy Hoy is hustling her way to piles of cash by sharing the skills she’s developed along the way. Go and read her awesome post on making digital goods that you can sell.. Amy catches a lot of flack for her willingness to express her desire to make MONEY from her SKILLS. Having already done this once myself, to middling success (my CakePHP book has done better than I thought it would, but probably not as good as it really could’ve) I can tell you that Amy knows what she is talking about. Don’t listen to the haters, go and make something you can charge money for!.