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Mandrill: Email infrastructure from MailChimp

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Mandrill is an email infrastructure service that started as an idea in 2010. That idea became reality in 2012, when Mandrill cannibalized a crew of MailChimp’s best engineers. Isolated from the rest of the team, they turned the idea from a skunkworks project into a product that outperforms competitor services. Growing fast and innovating faster, Mandrill is now the largest ...

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R: Applying a function to every row of a data frame

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In my continued exploration of London’s meetups I wanted to calculate the distance from meetup venues to a centre point in London. I’ve created a gist containing the coordinates of some of the venues that host NoSQL meetups in London town if you want to follow along:           library(dplyr)   # https://gist.github.com/mneedham/7e926a213bf76febf5ed venues = read.csv("/tmp/venues.csv")   ...

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Go for Java Programmers: Simple Types

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Part of the Go for Java Programmers series Before we get into custom types, and Go’s version of object-orientation, let’s cover the simple types that come out of the box.  Full details can be found in the (surprisingly readable) language spec, but here are some highlights that are important from a Java programmer’s perspective.           Booleans ...

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The “Uncanny Valley” of L3 Cache Contention

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While preparing for my talk at QCon SF 2014, I wanted to investigate a theory around how micro-benchmarks are not a useful reflection of how software may behave when run as part of a larger application.  Specifically due contention in the last-level cache (L3* in current Intel CPUs). An Example Last year while working on a system to store market ...

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Prototype Driven Development

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When starting a new software project, the number of unknowns is huge. We have learned the hard way that one of the most costly problems in software development is getting our requirements wrong, and by using Agile, MVP, and similar techniques, we have improved this somewhat in that at least we know think we know what our customer wants and ...

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Deferred Fetching of Model Elements with JFace Viewers

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Model elements displayed by Eclipse JFace Viewers sometimes take a considerable amount of time to load. Because of this the workbench provides the type IDeferredWorkbenchAdapter to fetch such model elements in background. Unfortunately this mechanism seems to be supported only for AbstractTreeViewer derivates via the DeferredTreeContentManager. Hence I developed a generic DeferredContentManager of my own… It enables background loading for ...

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Useless lying version ranges

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A frequent request from the Ceylon community is support for version ranges in expressing module dependencies. There’s no doubt that our current module system is too inflexible in terms of dependency resolution in the face of version conflicts, and I have some reasonable ideas about how to address that problem without needing version ranges. But I would like to document ...

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Why you want to give up coding

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A background story A friend of mine worked as a Tech Lead, let’s call them Jo (not their real name) for most of their career. A few years ago, Jo moved into a management role that involved very little coding. They were no longer working full-time as a developer and they stopped playing a Tech Lead role. Jo now leads ...

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Static Typing Is Not for Type Checking

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In his post “Strong typing vs strong testing” Bruce Eckel described the idea, that statically (or strongly) typed languages don’t give you much, because you should verify your programs with tests anyway, and those tests will check the types as well – no need for the compiler to do that (especially if it makes you less productive with the language). ...

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