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 Title   Date   Author   Host

by The Way

January 16, 2012

Taylor's post about our growth in 2011 included a bunch of numbers showing how the pistons inside the 37signals engine are pounding faster, but it all got swept away by what seemed like an innocent side-note: The 100 millionth file was called cat.jpg.

Being as it is that the internet is constantly accused of being just an elaborate way of sharing pictures of cats, sharing pictures of cats, we thought that was funny. But it wasn't. We shouldn't make jokes about anything even remotely related to people's data. Because the natural train of thought from there goes: Hey, if they saw the file name cat.jpg and shared it with the world, what's to prevent them from sharing other data? Actual sensitive data, like Downsizing-Plans-2012.pdf? Hell, what if they're actually looking at my secret new logo and leak it to the press?

January 10, 2012

Over the last 20 years, my primary computing environment has gone from Windows 3.1, to Mac OS 6/7/8/9, to Windows for about a decade, and then back to a Mac a couple of years ago. Recently, I switched to using a Linux desktop as my primary computer.

I can't say that there's a dramatic reason why I switched (it's not some political statement about free and open source software); I just wanted to use some hardware that was impractical to get from Apple. Something crazy happened when I switched: absolutely nothing changed.

by Ryan

January 6, 2012

Back when 37signals was consulting, we gradually weaned ourselves off of documentation. It's normal practice in the design world to produce lots of artifacts.

You see IA diagrams, flow charts, OmniGraffles, and all kinds of illustrations of what the final product will be. In the early 2000s we noticed that our clients only cared about the deliverable, so we dropped nearly all of the paperwork. Since then we've often advised other companies to spend less time on paperwork artifacts and more time on real prototypes. But just saying that isn't enough. How does a team that is accustomed to a heavy paper flow wean themselves off of it?

January 4, 2012

Every week, a few of our programmers focus on responding to customer problems that might indicate a bigger issue with one of our applications.

In addition, we're constantly looking at issues (Rails exceptions, performance "hotspots", etc.) that don't bubble up to the customer level, but that are just "good housekeeping". Taking care of these issues can have both real and measurable impacts - for example, we reduced application exceptions by 43% in December, allowing us to proactively fix even more problems before customers noticed.

by Jamie

December 30, 2011

Apple with iTunes has ushered in an era where CDs and DVDs are fast becoming extinct.

CDs and DVDs require packaging to be produced, space in warehouses to store, and discs to be fabricated. Presumably offering the music and movies on iTunes is cheaper because all the costs to manufacture have been cut. The savings get passed on to the customer. Video games are different though, and I can't really figure out why that is.

by Jason F.

October 11, 2011

I've been thinking more about how I review a design - both my own and someone else's.

So over the past couple days I've been writing down every question I've been asking when I look at a design-in-progress. Some of these I say out loud, some just go through my head, some are in person, others are posted to Basecamp or Campfire. These are in no particular order, and I don't ask all of them every time...

September 20, 2011

It's a good question, and one that's important to understand.

Running an A/B test without thinking about statistical confidence is worse than not running a test at all-it gives you false confidence that you know what works for your site, when the truth is that you don't know any better than if you hadn't run the test. There's no simple answer or generic "rule of thumb" that you can use, but you can very easily determine the right sample size to use for your test.

September 20, 2011

I recently received an email from someone who was getting into programming, and was asking for advice on how to proceed.

I wasn't able to help him take his project further, but it gave me a chance to think back on the times that I've been a beginner (whether it was web programming, or iOS programming, or even something unrelated to software entirely), and to contemplate how I approached those beginnings. I identified four things that I've found were fundamental to my particular learning style. Obviously, there are as many learning styles as their are learners, but these are what work for me.

by Alex Anglin

September 8, 2011

I'm going to give away all of my secret sauce, and tell you the three things that are required to be successful at business analytics (or data science, or whatever you want to call it).

by Lee J. Colan

September 7, 2011

I used to think time was the most limited resource. It's so limited that you can't even save it for later.

But there's something even more limited than time. It's your attention. Attention is a subset of time, therefore it's more limited. How you spend your attention is more important than how you spend your time. Attention is about focus and careful, thoughtful consideration. Unlike time - which can be broken into convenient chunks of 15 minutes - attention doesn't divide quite so neatly or easily.

Carschooling by Diane Flynn Keith

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