Shifting to “new-style” url tag in Django 1.5

Prior to Django 1.3, the syntax for the url tag was {% url project_create %}. Django considered project_create to be a name of a view in your urls.py, not a template variable named project_create.

I recently upgraded Blimp from Django 1.4.5 to Django 1.5.1. We have around 200+ template files that were using the old url tag syntax and there was no way I was going to add quotes around the view names one by one.

I used Sublime Text 2’s Find and Replace with some regex to get the work done.

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This will search all files in a project for content that matches % url somethinghere and add single quotes around somethinghere.

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TA-DA!

Check out Django 1.5 release notes.

Kippt as an RSS Reader

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Last weekend I felt like working on a hack, but what? With the recent news of Google Reader being retired on July 2013 I thought there was something cool to be done with RSS, but what? As I was looking for ideas on my Clips I realized that with Kippt’s latest update, a redesign from ground up and tons of new features, you could store your RSS feed’s new entries, actually read articles just fine and have them stored and categorized however you want with Lists. 

So I already had a formula for something to hack on, RSS + Kippt.

Now “it’s definitely necessary to break out Emacs and modify that Perl script”. I put together a simple project using DjangoSuperfeedr, and Kippt’s API. 80+ commits later and FeedLeap was born. It works by first connecting a user’s Kippt account. There are two ways of authenticating with Kippt, username/password or username/API token. If a user provides username and a password we interchange it with an API token to use for all other requests. Passwords are not stored.

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After successfully connecting your account with Kippt you can setup your account to store all new feed entries into a default List.

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After setting up a default List for your RSS items, all that is left to do is add some actual RSS feeds.

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When you add a new feed you can select an optional List to override your default List you chose earlier.

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That’s it, you should start seeing new Clips appear as new RSS items come in. You can find this on GitHub and find me on Kippt.

Vagrant VM for StatsD + Graphite

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StatsD is this little awesome network daemon built by Etsy used to aggregate stats like counters and timers to a pluggable backend service like Graphite. You can read more about how it works on Etsy’s Measure Anything, Measure Everything blog post.

Since I’ve been already playing around with Vagrant and Chef I decided to just put together a simple Vagrant VM for StatsD and Graphite with the help of @hectcastro’s graphite, statsd, and node.js cookbooks.

To get started

First, clone the repo from GitHub. You’ll also need to have Vagrant and the librarian gem installed.

$ librarian-chef install
$ vagrant up
$ vagrant ssh

Graphite

Graphite’s credentials default to username root and password root.

$ open http://localhost:8080

StatsD with Python

You can use a client for Python like statsd.

from statsd import StatsClient
statsd = StatsClient()
statsd.incr('foo')

Favorite Podcasts

Back to Work
Award winning talk show with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discussing productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more.

The Web Ahead
A weekly podcast about changing technologies and the future of the web, discussing HTML5, mobile, responsive design, iOS, Android, and more.

Customer Development for Startups
Steve Blank, eight-time entrepreneur and now a business school professor at Stanford, Columbia and Berkeley, shares his hard-won wisdom as he pioneers entrepreneurship as a management science, combining Customer Development, Business Model Design and Agile Development.

NPR: Planet Money
Money makes the world go around, faster and faster every day. On NPR’s Planet Money, you’ll meet high rollers, brainy economists and regular folks, all trying to make sense of our rapidly changing global economy.

The Stack Exchange
The Stack Exchange team gives you an unparalleled look inside the building and running of Stack Exchange.

This American Life
First-person stories and short fiction pieces that are touching, funny, and surprising. Hosted by Ira Glass, from WBEZ Chicago Public Media, and distributed by Public Radio International.

This Week in Startups
Jason Calacanis and a rotating group of guest experts bring you this weekly take on the best, worst, most outrageous and interesting stories from the world of Web companies.

Looking back: 2008-2012

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So, the world didn’t end on December 21, 2012 as many believed would happen and the year is quickly coming to a close. This year has been truly and absolutely awesome. For the past couple of years I haven’t really reflected or looked back on things, so today I set out to do exactly that.

Let’s go back a bit. I always thought I wanted to be a Computer Engineer and during my junior year I decided to finish 12th grade on a summer program and get into college one year ahead (Fall 2008). On June 2009 I went to this Puerto Rico Startup Weekend event where I met Francisco and Pablo Tirado, Giovanni Collazo, Albizu García, Luis Benitez, Alfredo Richner, Rafael Mediavilla, Guillermo Carrión, and others which were all working on very interesting projects. I think I was definitely the one that got the most out of that weekend. Days later I got my first couple of real freelance gigs an opportunity brought by just going to that event and meeting those key people. Weeks later, Fran and Pablo contacted me to help them work on a big government related project… It was an honor! 

I worked with them on many projects on and off while I kept studying away, still thinking I liked engineering but having second thoughts. These guys were so understanding: when I had to study and couldn’t go to work, when I got there late, etc. I was getting paid for doing what I love, what else could I want?

On 2010 I switched over to Computer Science, something I really loved doing for sure. I spent 2010 and 2011 working mostly with the backend and iPhone app for ReceiptLoader, which we launched early 2011. I also organized the first Barcamp San Juan with Giovanni which was held on November 5, 2010  and a second one later on February 11, 2011, an amazing experience. 

I spent summer of 2011 coming up with ideas and validating them with Giovanni, Francisco, and Pablo. It took us around 30 days to find, filter, polish them a bit, and validate. We designed “Coming soon” pages with call to actions to get users to subscribe to email lists for products that we hadn’t even built. This was a great process with many lessons learned.

At the end of summer there was one project that stood out to Giovanni and I. The idea behind Blimp was born and we took on the challenge, we both left our jobs(I kept on studying) and started working on it. Both of us had money saved up and decided to bootstrap our startup, taking in freelance client work when needed. By September 2011 we had a bootstrap landing page, part of our strategy of trying to get small web development and design related projects to generate cash that would allow us to continue working. We also scheduled an MVP launch for October 10, 2011, launched it, and a couple of hours later, turned it off. We sent out invitations to 98 users, which in turn invited others into their companies in Blimp. We had more users that we had anticipated and things were blowing up which we couldn’t fix fast enough.

During all of these things we also organized Startup Weekend Puerto Rico, together with Ramphis Castro and Marcos Polanco. I was also part of the TEDxSanJuan team that made it possible for this kind of event to happen for the first time in Puerto Rico.

2012 started off with Elving Rodríguez joining the Blimp team. I’m sure that our product would have definitely not be the same if this wouldn’t have happened. Then on February 28, we organized a third Barcamp but this time in the other side of the island, in Mayagüez, with the help of Manuel Messon.

By September  we had couple of hundred beta testers using Blimp and giving us feedback. In two months we had totally redesigned the app from inside out and worked on mayor revamps and features. We started publishing a series of blog posts that were a slow introduction to a final public launch, talking about how we work with clients and a process for getting client work done

On December 14, 2012 I finally finished my B.S. in Computer Science and publicly launch Blimp: project management for doers.

Throughout out all these years I’ve been able to share my life with my high school sweetheart, Ana. After 5 years, on June 15, 2012 I proposed to her after her graduation and she said yes! That was definitely one of the best and happiest moments of the year and my life. She’s been with me through it all, she’s definitely my best friend, my soulmate, and the love my life. She recently got into graduate school and I couldn’t be any more proud of her!

I’m starting off 2013 with a very well needed and earned vacation trip with Ana. But as soon as I get back, it’s officially on! I have a bet with myself that this new year has to be way better and way more awesome than past years.

Looking back through the years, I’m definitely proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish, learn, and all the people I’ve met and collaborated with. 2013 will be the first year in which I can completely focus on Blimp, our product and anything else I want, no more school. I’ll be able to contribute more to the local startup community and keep the blog posts coming. I can now find more time to spend with my family and friends (and hopefully be able to exercise more often).

Thank you Ana, I love you so much!

Thank you mom and dad.

Thank you Giovanni and Elving.

Thank you to those of you who made all of this possible.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain