Pairing with Junior Developers

A few months ago, I wrote up a piece for mid-level and senior devs about how to usefully pair program with a less-experienced partner. You can find it on the DevMynd blog.

You may also be interested in my article here on my first two months of full-time pairing, written back in the day when […]

The FOSDEM Conundrum

Originally published Saturday Jan 31 2015; now updated with Sunday Feb 01’s developments!

My Twitter timeline has been full of Belgium.

I’m in San Francisco, but many of my developer friends are in Brussels for FOSDEM, an annual free software conference with 5000+ attendees, which this year had a Ruby “room” (like a track). Everyone […]


A year ago, I founded Ministry of Velocity to build the consulting company I wanted to work at. Overall, it’s been a good year. I’ve spent roughly half my time pairing with developers at client companies, leveling up their teams. The other half has been longer-term community stuff like conferences, writing, and open source.

In […]

Programming Is Not Math

When I learned to program, back when dinosaurs walked the earth and the internet had no cats, there was an idea: if you were good at math, you’d be good at programming. I was great at math as a kid, but perhaps because I didn’t like it much, no one steered me towards programming. I […]

What Your Conference Proposal Is Missing

As a developer, doing talks at tech conferences is great for lots of reasons: boosting your career, promoting your company, and getting more excitement into other parts of your life. As an introvert, though, the best perk as far as I’m concerned is the stream of people who come up and talk to me. No […]

Why You Should Never Use MongoDB

Disclaimer: I do not build database engines. I build web applications. I run 4-6 different projects every year, so I build a lot of web applications. I see apps with different requirements and different data storage needs. I’ve deployed most of the data stores you’ve heard about, and a few that you probably haven’t.

I’ve […]

How To Prevent Inappropriate Presentations

This weekend there was another inappropriate presentation at a technology conference. This is sadly not a new phenomenon. But in my work with RailsBridge over the last four years, I have found the secret to preventing these types of talks.


How Diaspora Connects Users

Note: this is the first in a series of technical posts about Diaspora’s software architecture and code, and is a slightly modified version of the original on the Diaspora blog. If you have topics you’d like to see covered in future installments, please let me know.

A single installation of the Diaspora software is called […]

CruiseControl.rb and RubyGems 1.5.2

Diaspora uses CruiseControl.rb to run our continuous integration server. CC.rb is on Rails 2.3, but the applications it’s building are on Rails 3, which means I occasionally run into … weirdness.

Last week, for example, I wanted to speed up our builds by upgrading Bundler to 1.0.10 and RubyGems to 1.5.2. Because of the new […]

Running Cucumber Features Without a Display

I’ve been helping out with the Diaspora project, an open source social network that gives you control over your own data.

When I first started poking around the codebase a few months ago, they’d just started writing a few cucumber selenium integration tests – which of course I want to encourage! – but they weren’t […]