Virtuous cycle

Bartlomiej Owczarek weblog

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Bootstrap: Ruby stuff and Blip, not a twitter clone at all

Today I visited Bootstrap meeting for the first time, so now I feel obliged to write a post about it. Even better to write it before Albert does.

In fact, I thought I would be horse riding at the time of the meeting. But you have to live by your principles, and one of my principles is, don’t ride horses in a shitty weather. The weather was awful all day.

The place

Chlodna 25. Nice place! Never been there either. It’s a cafe and there is also a room downstairs, where the presentations took place. And there are lots of board games available that you can play.

I arrived exactly at 12, took a chair from above because there was already no free places in the basement and ordered an apple pie (12 was early enough for me to miss breakfast), and the presentation started.

New Ruby

First presentation was planned to be, I guess, about some changes in the Ruby on Rails framework. Or whatever it’s called since I never figured much about this framework. It seems to require some more advanced server config, so I satisfy myself with good ol’ php. I thought maybe I will at least get some feeling about Ruby from this presentation. Not so much.

The person presenting was using slides, if you can call them slides, in text application which looked like the ancient vi editor. I had known that Powerpoint was bad. But I didn’t know there could be something worse.

After 10 minutes of presentation, my apple pie was already gone, and presenter was still trying to make some point about web being more about machine-to-machine and this kind of stuff. Przemek and Albert already arrived.

They quickly decided, and perhaps it was them because they had no chairs, that we better go upstairs and have a beer. So I joined them.


My breakfast at that point already included one black coffee I managed to get at home, and the apple pie. It felt wrong to add a beer to it. But that’s what I did, for the company.

Strange how Nasza Klasa creeps into every conversation lately. This time we vigorously disagreed with Albert who had a strong opinion about its perspectives, but maybe I will not comment on his opinion before he finally posts it on antyweb. Let me just say that it’s wrong.

Another topic we discussed in detail was premium model vs advertising model. Przemek and Albert are big fans of premium and used examples, inter alia, of one Polish catholic dating site (yes I know), which supposedly has 30k users who pay PLN 100 for the privilege. Not bad right? And then there is also nozbe, which for me can be used as a successful example, even though I’m not sure if I’m the only one who paid for it (my productivity is priceless!).

Also Hagel, which I quoted recently, anticipates fall of advertising returns and rise of places where people actually pay for products they like to use.

But on the other hand, large newspapers like New York Times and FT are (partially) opening up, because ad revenue from increased traffic outweighs subscription fees. I think ads-vs-premium has to be considered carefully case by case, and premium will not always be better.

We heard applause, which indicated that Ruby presentation was over and we went downstairs to join Albert, who really wanted to hear about Blip. I presented my latest idea to Przemek before leaving, and it was kind of well received. It’s reassuring.

Blip presentation

There were in fact two presentations, one was a technical one, and second more conceptual. This post is getting unacceptably long, so I summarized what I liked or found interesting in bullets, and in fact there were a number of cool things:

  • “We didn’t clone Twitter, we built our own site based on idea of someone else” (heh)
  • Rather impressive (for me) shots of tools for automated testing, checking test coverage and migrating stuff to the production (with ex ante testing on a dedicated machine)
  • Also impressive shot of something which looked like generating web application from a script (wish there was something like this for Zend framework)
  • They reach approximately 100 users concurrent, but the load is more than it sounds because blip refreshes automatically every couple of seconds. If I understood correctly, what differentiates them somehow from Twitter is more interactivity (more towards interactive chat)
  • An open source software for clustering delivery of huge volume of static files (but why not use S3? probably because of access to cheap GG hardware)
  • Some web server I never heard of before (supposedly even better than lighttpd, which I never used, but at least heard of it)
  • “Your father is using wordpress” (when explaining concept of microblogging)
  • “Ambient intimacy” (when explaining concept of microblogging)
  • “Limited number of features” (when explaining theory of successful social / communication application)

What I didn’t like was a number of dumb questions. Some very best included one about newspapers stealing and reprinting blips (read:twits), and one asking if they expect inquiry from the Personal Data Authority, or whatever it’s called.

Unofficial session

After presentations there was an unofficial get-together. I had hoped that I would meet some programmer to realize my latest idea, but sadly I was too occupied with Albert and Przemek and then we went to sushi early, to make for the terrible breakfast.

Anyway, according to the guys, the people coming there are mostly looking for ideas and are no programmers. In fact Przemek is also looking for a developer. I saw one person tagged “freelancer”, but he disappeared somewhere rather quickly.

There was also a girl who has a blog I believe I read someday, but couldn’t tell for sure.

Anyway the meeting was quite inspiring, even though next time I will try to get to know some more new people. Maybe also take some picture so the post doesn’t look boring.

Update: Albert indeed wrote about NK seemed to have written about NK since I see the post in Google Reader, but it is no longer on the blog, so I cannot link to it. Sensitive stuff, this NK.You can also read another bootstrap report by lemiel (Polish), even though he, for obvious reasons, misses our beer moment, which was surely the highlight of the event.