Bugs don’t always mean broken functionality

25 Nov
November 25, 2012

I was having an issue with one of our iOS apps that caused some major slowdowns. The app was loading cached data from the disk, but it was taking just as long as when it fetched from the web! Here’s a video demonstrating what happened:

Check after the break to see what was going wrong!

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Why the best tool for the job isn’t always the right tool for the job


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09 Nov
November 9, 2012

We started our #hackaway with some lofty goals for hearquotes. I spent the day working with the team focused on developing the web application, and learned a lot in that 24 hours about javascript, web applications, my coworkers, and myself.

Early in the day, I made the decision to use Backbone to drive the web application. I knew that Ron, the other front end dev working with me, had some experience with Backbone, and I had been tinkering with it in a side project. There has been a really steep learning curve for me with backbone, and I still didn’t feel completely comfortable it, but felt like it was the best tool for the job. Plus, this was meant to be a day for learning, stepping out of my comfort zone, and working with a technology that I wasn’t necessarily familiar with, so I thought, “Let’s go for it.”

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Hacking the Findaway way


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05 Nov
November 5, 2012

This past Thursday the Creative, IT, and Product Development teams got together and had our very first Hackathon, otherwise known as Hackaway.  The idea came from various other companies that we’ve heard do a 24-hour period of working on a new product or improvement that is outside everyone’s normal work experience.  Facebook, Atlassian, American Greetings, Yahoo, and many other companies have done similar events, and it seemed like a great idea to try out here at Findaway.

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EBG-13 naq lbh. (ROT-13 and you.)


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10 Oct
October 10, 2012

So recently we’ve been working on encryption issues; implementing secure encryption between Java on a mobile device and Python on the server. Nothing too difficult, though it can be tedious making sure all the proverbial t’s are dotted and i’s are crossed. During a recent stand-up meeting I joked that if we needed to meet an upcoming deadline, I could implement an implementation of ROT-13 encryption pretty quickly, which would work for appearances sake.

Rather than the round of hearty laughter I was expecting at my witty retort (they are called stand-up meetings for a reason, yes?) I was met with confusion. People didn’t know what ROT-13 was! This made me feel sad, and old. (That, or they didn’t think my joke was funny, which seems rather unlikely.) In order to rectify this situation, here’s a short rundown of ROT-13. Read more →

The headaches of hosted data


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30 Sep
September 30, 2012

Many companies use vendor bought solutions for their CRM and ERP systems. There are many benefits to this, especially if you do not have a large IT staff in house to develop and support it. Findaway fits this scenario, and it works for us very well to meet our business needs. However, it is my job to keep all our data in that hosted cloud environment synced with our local SQL Server environment. In my 3 years here, this has proved to be very challenging a lot of times, and needless to say quite time consuming. I am a SQL dude by trade, which I am awesome at by the way, but I spend a good amount of my time tracking down issues between the 2 environments, as it’s not real time syncing.

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Easy Python SOAP with SUDS, with a few Date/Time gotchas.


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27 Sep
September 27, 2012

suds duckIn the world of web services, SOAP is a bit like the quip about the old Holy Roman Empire. It’s neither Simple nor an Object nor a Protocol (talk amongst yourselves). Actually though, the main thing is that it’s not all that simple. It’s just a teensy bit verbose and over-engineered for most uses. So in order to consume a partner’s SOAP web service with a minimum of overhead and teeth-gnashing, we use a very lightweight SOAP client called “suds”. In addition to its too-precious name, the other benefit of suds is that it is simple. To connect to a web service, you just do the following:

from suds.client import Client
url = 'http://localhost:3000/webservices/WebServiceTestThing?wsdl'
client = Client(url)

And you have a connection to the web service. It’s just that easy™. Read more →

A broadcast storm


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26 Sep
September 26, 2012

A broadcast storm occurs when a network system becomes overloaded by continuous multicast or broadcast traffic. This happens when different nodes start sending and broadcasting data over a network link, and the other network devices respond by rebroadcasting the data back to that same network link.  Eventually, this overload will cause the entire network to melt down and lead to the failure of network communication. It is a system admin’s worst nightmare (especially if it is a Monday morning!) and promises a very interesting day to say the least!

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Integrated Database Development with SQL Developer


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25 Sep
September 25, 2012

SQL Developer is a free integrated development environment from Oracle.

Out of the box SQL Developer connects to Oracle databases. With a few clicks, and downloading of a jar files, SQL Developer can connect to MySQL,  Mircrosoft SQL Server, Sybase, Cloudscape, DB2, Firebird, Informix , PostgreSQL, and others. Read more →

Outsmarting Your Users


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19 Sep
September 19, 2012

Often times in the tech industry we believe ourselves to be smarter than the users of the technology we develop.  Or, at a minimum we believe we know our users well enough that we make certain design decisions base on how we believe they will use our technology.  This is not necessarily a bad thing in most instances.  After all, we are the creators of the technology.  It’s reasonable to assume that we know a good deal about that which we are creating.  At least, one would hope so.  :-)

Recently, I was working on an Android app where I needed to download a particular set of files. This task was fairly autonomous. I was content to start the download task and let it do it’s thing in whatever time it took.  I am aware of the fragile state of today’s <insert number here>G networks and was hopeful that I planned accordingly.  I would wait until enough of the first file was finished downloading before I used it in another task.  That however should not keep me from starting another task so long as I did actually plan accordingly.  I mean, really… who tries to use something before they actually have it?  Duh!

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IE and console.log


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14 Sep
September 14, 2012

Many a developer has been foiled by IE after developing and testing in Firefox and Chrome, using their Javascript debugging tools, and then running into weird inconsistencies in IE.  This is yet another of those stories.

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