Reliable Answers - News and Commentary

Technology in the News

Technology is constantly changing and providing the casual user with challenges never dreamed of. Technology in the News is provided in an effort to assist you in getting the most out of your computer, while avoiding some of the pitfalls. Your computer really isn't out to get you. Why not learn to be friends?

 Title   Date   Author   Host

by Jeff Putz

February 8, 2012

Often times, when we look at a problem, we turn to Rails or something similar, because when you have a high-performance precision screwdriver, everything starts to look like a finely engineered screw.

Sometimes, what you really need is a big hammer, because what you're looking at is a nail. Our public sites - sites like and - are a perfect example of this. Let me tell you about our journey with these sites over the years, and how we've landed on a simple solution that boosted conversion rate by about 5%.

by David Tolsma

February 1, 2012

It used to be one of the biggest pains of web development. Juggling different browser versions and wasting endless hours coming up with workarounds and hacks. Thankfully, those troubles are now largely optional for many developers of the web.

by Far the Biggest Cause of Failed Email Delivery We See Is Due to Bad Email Addresses That Were Entered in to the System-Problems Like 'Joe

February 1, 2012

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is about how we handle mail delivery and ensure that emails are making it to people's inboxes.

First, some numbers to give a little context to what we mean by "a lot" of email. In the last 7 days, we've sent just shy of 16 million emails, with approximately 99.3% of them being accepted by the remote mail server. Email delivery rate is a little bit of a tough thing to benchmark, but by most accounts we're doing pretty well at those rates (for comparison, the tiny fraction of email that we use a third party for has had between a 96.9% and 98.6% delivery rate for our most recent mailings).

by David

January 23, 2012

Working US hours from Europe has flipped my day. Mornings are now for leisure and evenings for working. This completely changes what that leisure time is spent on.

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...

Carschooling by Diane Flynn Keith

Take me to the top

Reliable does not endorse any Google advertisers, these ads are managed by Google. They are here to pay for hosting expenses. If you notice an inappropriate ad, please contact Shawn with the domain of the offensive advertiser.

Take me to the top

We invite you
to visit:

Professional Web Hosting and Design Services: 12 Point Design Local Homeschool provides the most up-to-date support group listings in a geographical and searchable index Budget Homeschool Kidjacked -- To seize control of a child, by use of force SaferPC dispels security misunderstandings and provides you with a solid understanding of viruses and computer security Reliable Answers - developer information, current news, human interest and legislative news Twain Harte Times - Twain Harte, CA - The closest you can get to Heaven on Earth Cranial Laser & Neurolymphatic Release Techniques (CLNRT) - Experience dramatic pain reduction At Summit Chiropractic our mission is to improve your quality of life - We know that health is much more than just not feeling pain Visit to learn about your preschool options.