Our failed experiment: great on the rack, bad in the mirror

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Business Bullet_white Comments Comments

My left arm is one inch longer than my right. My right foot is a half inch longer than the left. For me, trying on clothes is an adventure: what looks good on the rack often doesn’t on me. I thought of this recently when we decided to end development of a new product.

There wasn’t anything wrong with this product. It worked, looked good for a BETA release, and wasn’t a support burden. The problem? We didn’t use it. The magnitude of not using our product became clear when we compared it to Scout, our product that we use daily.

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Scout for the iPhone: BirdDog

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Features Bullet_white Comments Comments

Shawn Veader of V8 Logic has released BirdDog, an iPhone application for Scout. The app is on sale for $1.99 through Thursday.

With BirdDog, you can track the health of servers you are monitoring with Scout. BirdDog provides an alert history for each server, highlighting any active alerts. It’s a simple way to stay on top of your server infrastructure for the price of a cup coffee.

You can download the application from the iTunes App Store.

I pestered Shawn a bit about BirdDog and iPhone development below.

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Embedded Customer Support With Rapportive

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in HowTo Bullet_white Comments Comments

A big part of providing good support is making it painless. At Scout, Andre and I handle all of the support requests. Once we’ve gathered the account information, it usually doesn’t take much time to help. The problem is quickly putting the account information together. We don’t want to use a dedicated support application – we usually handle just a couple of support requests per-day.

Why not view all of the account information right from Gmail, where the support request originates? We’re using Rapportive with a custom Raplet to make it happen. When we receive an email from a Scout customer, we see their Scout account info.

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RVM and cron in production

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in Development Bullet_white Comments Comments

UPDATED 6/7/2013We no longer recommend using bash -l -c to run Cron jobs with RVM. See our updated approach .

This info is for Scout users, but it’s also applicable to anyone who’s wondered how to use cron together with RVM. This assumes 1) you are using bash; 2) you running you cron tasks as a non-root user (say, “deploy”).

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A Holodeck for deployments?

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Development Bullet_white Comments Comments

Recently I watched the documentary miniseries When We Left Earth. A constant theme from early space flight was the huge number of unknowns. For example, before the first astronaut went into orbit, NASA had concerns humans would lose their vision and wouldn’t be able to swallow in zero gravity. Thankfully, space worked out.

In devops lingo, it was impossible to build an accurate staging environment.

At Scout, we’ve grown almost 600% since last August. With that growth, our deployments are more carefully executed. This is monitoring, so Scout needs to be reliable when we deploy changes.

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Rails 3 Support

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Plugins Bullet_white Comments Comments

Upgraded to Rails 3? No problem, Scout can monitor that!

Just follow these 3 steps to monitor a Rails 3 application in Scout.

 

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