Why web developers have more to learn from Wall Street than Steve Jobs

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Business Bullet_white Comments Comments

In 2006, the biggest risk-taker on Wall Street looked like John Paulson. This certainly wasn’t based on Paulson’s past behavior. Paulson managed a middle-of-the pack hedge fund. He made careful, boring deals. He rode the bus and liked to ride his bicycle. In other words, he was the anti-Gordon Gekko.

The risk Paulson was taking? He was betting against the mortgage market using credit default swaps. Insuring $1 million in high-risk mortgages was dirt cheap – around $10,000. If all of the homeowners made their payments, Paulson would be out $10,000. If all of the homeowners defaulted, he would make the entire value of the bundle – $1 million.

For Paulson to make money, these high-risk borrowers needed to default. At the time, most analysts thought that a perfect storm of rising unemployment rates, higher interest rates, and poor local economic health was needed to trigger widespread defaults. However, Paulson’s extensive modeling showed widespread defaults required just one trigger: flatlining home prices. With home appreciation rising at 5 times the rate seen from 1975-2000, there was plenty of room to fall back.

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MongoDB Slow Queries Monitoring

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in Plugins Bullet_white Comments Comments

Thanks to Jacob Harris, we have a MongoDB Slow Queries plugin for Scout.

The MongoDB plugin captures the number of slow queries per minute according to the threshold you specify. It also reports details of any slow queries that take place.

Of course, like any other Scout plugin, you can set trend triggers, graph results, etc.

Please install from our directory, kick the tires, and let us know if you have any feedback!

Also, for general MongoDB Monitoring, checkout the MongoDB Monitoring Plugin.

 

Scout makes the big screen at Runa

By Andre Bullet_white Comments Comments

There are lots of things that look great on big, wall-mounted flat screen displays: Halo, Dark Knight, the Super Bowl.

How about Scout-generated graphs?

Robert Berger, CTO of Runa sent us a picture of their Scout setup. Runa has an LCD screen of Scout graphs positioned above the most-visited location of any tech office: the coffee machine.

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When tech startups == closed restaurants

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Business Bullet_white Comments Comments

Bootstrapped tech startups are a lot like restaurants started by quality chefs. It’s easy to find restaurants serving award-winning food that fail. There are lots of self-funded startups started by smart developers that either never launch or die a painful death. Writing quality software – just like serving good food – is the foundation, but it’s not going to make you profitable.

Like chefs who take pride in their food and constantly strive to improve it, developers like us are never done making our software better. There is an unlimited list of things we’d like to improve. Better scheduling and planning won’t shrink the todo list – it’s a leaking todo list that spawns another todo when one is completed.

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InfoQ Scout Interview

By Derek Bullet_white Comments Comments

Robert Bazinet, Community Editor for InfoQ and owner of expens’d recently interviewed my co-founder Andre Lewis. You can find the Q&A below:

Scout – Extensible Server and Application Monitoring

Andre talks about data security with hosted monitoring, remodeling his bathroom, how Scout fits in with existing tools like Nagios and Munin, our secret open-source sauce for data storage, and smoke detectors.

On his blog article regarding the interview, Robert says of Scout:

I have had the opportunity to use Scout and witness the power of the application. One of the most impressive aspects I see is the plugin system. Scout offers a bunch of plugins, all open source. Developers can also freely develop their own plugins for their own purposes and are welcome to contribute them as open source. An all around win.
 

Instrument Your Business

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in Business Bullet_white Comments Comments

Instrument your business. It's like instrumenting your code, but profitable.

If you're a developer or a sysadmin, periodic optimization is a fact of life. As more people use your code, you'll see performance issues. Unoptimized use cases bubble up. Systems get strained by continued or heavy use.

On the technical front, there are a lots of instrumentation tools available. We've used ruby-prof, Request Log Analyzer, Scout (of course), MySQL Tuner, httperf, and Rack::Debug. Not to mention low-level tools like top, vmstat, iostat, etc.

The point is this: anything that gets used a lot can be optimized. To optimize you need visibility. To get visibility, you need tools.

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