A new project of mine has launched: SideDolla.

It’s one of those passion projects that come along every once in awhile.  I built this while thinking about specific friends and co-workers.  Some employers out there aren’t great for the creative person.  They aren’t great if you want to feel like you are making a difference in whatever the business sells.

SideDolla is a way to get that creative outlet.  It’s intended for those with experience in any field to be able to offer their services as part time work out side of a full time job.  It’s a hit with everyone we talk to about it.

Check it out: SideDolla

 
 

Phatness.com is the personal blog of Mike Wille

I'm a developer with a passion for building products.

Most days, you can find me stirring the cauldron at Brilliant Chemistry.

 
 

So one of my projects is called Socialply.  We have almost 2000 runners in the 2013 Detroit Marathon fundraising on it.  That’s not the impressive part.

The impressive part is what these amazing people are doing.  They have collectively raised over three quarters of a million dollars, all for charity!

Incredible.

Check it out: https://www.socialply.com/marathon

 
 
The hard part of rebranding a giant like Yahoo is not how the logo looks. It doesn’t matter so much if some dislike it. A logo is not decorative, it works more like an icon. It needs to be clear. Brands create orientation. The most beautiful toilet sign is useless if men constantly walk into the ladies’ room.
oliver reichenstein
 
 

Remember to change your auto/home insurance every so often.

After 3 years, Allstate hiked my Homeowner’s Insurance by $700 to $1500.  When my auto policy was to renew, they hiked my premium up to $4,500 from $2,760.  Almost $2K more!  That was with no accidents and no tickets.

If I wasn’t in an a hurry, I would have shopped around.  I was on the computer already so I checked Progressive.  Their quoted auto premium for 6 months?  $780.  For 12 months, that’s over $1000 less than what Allstate used to be.

There is no concept of customer retention in insurance.  Buh Bye!

 
 

We are spinning up a new startup. It’s about time to go live. For this startup, we are using Rackspace and their cloud offerings. We do quite a bit of business with them (up to $1K per month) and it was just easy here.

I’m prepping for an internal final review of the first MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Among many tasks, I decide to prune all of our test data and then empty a few history tables we don’t need data for anymore. In the middle of a stack of “delete from X” queries, the database goes offline. Connection lost and I’m unable to reconnect via command line?!

Okay. Let’s log in to the control panel and see what it says:

database-blocked

Database Blocked

Unexpected. Okay, let’s dial up Fanatical Support and see what is up…

It could be rude to post the transcript. To cut a 30 minute chat short, the good word from Rackspace is that the database became blocked because “you are almost out of disk space.”

Notice the screenshot above, it shows 1.9 GB used of 2 GB. Now, a cloud database that has a critical failure mode when disk space is close to, but not completely used up, is un-freakin-believable. Even if disk space was completely used up, it’s an arbitrary limit that was created for pricing. The database shouldn’t go down if we hit it. It’s especially ridiculous when the failure happened as I was deleting records (not inserting!) to clear up disk space. (Likely because MySQL needed to use some additional space for referential integrity checks or something) Finally, this requires manual intervention from support personnel to remedy the situation. My two options given were to increase the disk space of the cloud database, or give support the queries I need to run to finish clearing up disk space. I’d be happy to resize disk space, if it was temporary. However, insanely, you cannot reduce disk space of a cloud server after increasing it.

Even though we are in testing, think forward to golive and beyond. The database disk usage goes to within 5% of the limit and will then go dark. Complete and critical failure of the app. No warning.

Would you trust your 3 AMs to this? Would you trust your business to this? I’m appalled that Rackspace would bring this to market.

We have another startup on Heroku. What happens when you hit a pricing limit with Heroku databases? You get emailed for up to two weeks before they start denying inserts. Even then, the database is still responding to read requests.

Credit where credit is due. The support rep that was talking with me for 30 minutes was great. Even emailed me afterwards when I callously dismissed his last attempt at help. I don’t get that from Heroku.

 
 

Trespassing for education.

 
 

Not a bad spot for a nap.

 
 
We used to value hard work. It was the cornerstone of our society. We invented computing, the telephone, the automobile and modern medicine. We invaded Normandy. We traveled to the moon. We dug our way out of every challenge that has come before us to get where we are now. Now we’re selling sepia filters for a billion dollars and complaining that we can’t pay our student loans back.
Joe Conway
 
 

Unfortunately, my Valentine has had a rough week. This won’t make it better but maybe it makes her smile for a little bit. I love you babe.

IMG_7523

 
 

I’m proud to announce the launch of DesignPad, an iPad app for drawing out your ideas.

We do a lot of ideation at my company, Brilliant Chemistry. DesignPad helps with visualizing your ideas and explaining them to someone else. It’s a great communication tool, on top of being a drawing app.

One of my favorite features is the snap-to-grid drawing mode. You can toggle a grid, reminiscent of my favorite paper drawing pads and when you draw, your line sticks to the grid lines. This is great when you need to quick layout some dialog boxes or windows or floor plans or whatever. Then you switch back to free hand and draw in the details.

Zoom mode is great. Unlike other drawing apps that allow you to zoom, the brush size changes to match your zoom level. You can get some pretty intricate detail with this.

Of course, everything is vector. So when you print out your drawings, they look as good as they did on the Retina screen of the iPad.

Get it now while it’s 50% off!