Template Rails app in Docker

If you are a developer it is usually very helpful to be able to keep portable templates to test code snippets or build apps more quickly. When using Ruby on Rails, of course you can always use the rails generators as a very powerful aid. But if you find yourself constantly adding the same gems, similar scaffolding, or other components, it’s best to save your work as a template and use Docker. The main reason for using Docker is to help in deploying to different environments without changing any code.

After you have started your app using the rails new command and added the gems you usually use, it’s a good idea to save this as a template. The next step should be to create a Dockerfile inside your project.

Here you can see a good example of a very basic template.

The Dockerfile is important because it makes the code portable. Notice that it defines the version of Ruby and also installs all the dependencies that are necessary. Simply issue the docker build command once and then the docker run command every time you wish to have the template at your disposal. To connect to it:

docker ps # grab the container id value

docker exec -it <container_id> bash

 

Founder Institute Experience

fi-logoThese days, discussions about the economy often lead to comments about how the small businesses is what powers it. If small businesses are powering our economy, what invigorates it? Startups of course. That is why organizations such as the Founder Institute are such a key part of our future. The Founder Institute is a business accelerator program that helps aspiring founders launch their ideas into viable enterprises.

So what happens after the grueling three and a half month long program? Being one of their newest grads I can say that it is certainly an experience that helps to put your idea, your passion project, through the necessary steps to validate it. You also come out with a solid understanding of what you need to raise the necessary funding, something which is almost always necessary for tech startups. Most importantly, you come out with a minimum viable company and the tools necessary to have your enterprise take off. All the graduates are founders, the next step is for us all to become successful tech companies and invigorate the economy while pursuing our passion projects.

Wyncode Ft Lauderdale Cohort 5 Pitch Day

Video summary of my cohort’s experience on our last day where we pitched the applications we worked on for the last two weeks of the program. It can be very rewarding to dedicate yourself to an intensive program and make it through to the end.

Wyncode Bootcamp Experience

Ft Lauderdale Cohort 5

There are a few experiences that can help you reinvent your career. Wyncode Academy is in the business of helping people do just that. I was one of the students that participated in the Ft Lauderdale Cohort 5 program as part of their nine week intensive coding bootcamp. I feel the experience has certainly made a difference in acquiring the knowledge to build sophisticated applications based on Ruby, Rails, and JavaScript. Towards the end of the program the class gets two weeks to work on a final project which we all present to the community during Pitch Day. My team presented Sensoree; a web application that gathers sensor information from Internet of Things devices in order to automate your life. My contribution to the app consisted of pitching the initial idea, working on the backend, integrating with Twilio, and integrating with the Raspberry Pi. I would like to thank Wyncode Academy and the panel of judges for selecting us as the winning app for Ft Lauderdale Cohort 5. Visit the winning app at www.sensoree.net

 

From the Premise to the Cloud

Global communications

Have you been wondering what benefits there are in moving some of your infrastructure to the cloud? Why are so many businesses talking about it and making the move? This decision can be particularly difficult if you have an environment that is paid for and running smoothly. But let’s explore some of the initial basic questions that come up while considering this question:

  • Are any of your business applications mission critical? If so, do you have a disaster recovery or any other kind of mitigation plan?
  • Is the underlying OS supporting your mission critical apps being properly maintained and patched?
  • What are your on-going IT operational expenses (including hardware and software maintenance, support contracts, and in-house staff)?
  • Is your IT staff spending a large amount of time doing routine maintenance and other operational jobs which could be automated (such as patching, upgrading, doing backups, etc.)?
  • Does your website or any web applications you have suffer from slow performance due to a bottleneck in your data center Internet connection?
  • Can your mission critical applications scale up properly and automatically whenever you have peak demand? And scale down to reduce costs?

This kind of initial assessment can help in realizing if you are a good candidate to migrate your environment. From a business point of view, one should also consider how often you are incurring capital expenses (such as replacing servers or hard drives) that would disappear after migrating to the cloud.

Finally, once the current cost structure is well understood, one can compare that model to an OPEX cloud based cost structure. Amazon Web Services, for example, does an excellent job of publishing their cost structure. These days, most enterprises are realizing that the benefits of moving to the cloud are more obvious than ever and that there are far greater costs in keeping their environment in-house.

Why is AI freaking people out?

By: Keoni Cabral
By: Keoni Cabral

It seems lately like a lot of smart people are talking about the potential future role that Artificial Intelligence will have in our lives. As usual, the bad news is the one that always gets the most attention and that means everyone highlights the expectation that AI will eventually lead to our doom. But what is different now in regards to our future expectation of AI’s capabilities? After all, we have been overly optimistic about its future capabilities ever since the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey came out; that was 1968 in case you are wondering. Most people might agree that even in 2015 Google, Siri, or IBM’s Watson are nowhere close to HAL’s capabilities in the movie (remember HAL lip-reading?). We were way off back then in forecasting our achievements in AI. Why do people like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking think this is the time to consider the perils of out of control Human-level AI?

Tim Urban’s Part 1 article, The Road to Super intelligence, is a great read where he describes the reason why we need to start thinking about this now. One important reason why: the scale of human progress is now growing exponentially and most people don’t even realize it. Follow the link for the full article:

http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-revolution-1.html

Abusing the Sharing Economy

The sharing economy is one of the hot new trends of the tech industry. The hottest participants in this new trend are Uber and Lyft, Both are ride-sharing platforms focused on connecting you with  a driver directly. The difference between using these apps and calling a taxi service are mostly in convenience. Whether you use a taxi or one of these services, you’ll likely get from A to B safely but the difference in convenience really adds up. Things like scheduling a pick-up, knowing how far away your driver is, receiving a confirmation, pre-arranging payment, having a picture of your driver, and requesting a specific type of vehicle are only a few of the added conveniences. All of these add up to a very compelling alternative. Although these services are also skirting the law in a lot of cases by not providing adequate driver insurances, background checks, and licenses these issues will eventually work themselves out.

Sadly, there are also examples of the sharing economy that provide questionable benefits  and are basically abusing the system. Recently in the news, Monkey Parking, and app that helps you bid for on-street parking is one that provides questionable value. The key advantage being that you can more easily find parking in areas that have parking problems such as San Francisco. This app has already been deemed illegal by the SF city attorney because people are basically making money off of public property.

The latest entrant: Reservation Hop. This app apparently makes restaurant reservations under fake names and then sells those reservations to you. Really? Where is the value to consumers here? This app appears more like it is making itself a meddlesome middleman in a situation where it adds no value. Worse than that, it is basically abusing a system of reservations based on an honor system. Restaurants will likely start asking for credit cards or will ask for a form of ID to get rid of this abuse. Hopefully we’ll start giving less attention to these junky apps and get back to rewarding innovation rather than sleazy business tactics.

David Karim, Cloud Guru