Barry Frost

This is Barry Frost’s personal website.

May 2011

Setting up PostgreSQL for Ruby on Rails development on OS X

Landing Page Examples | Unbounce

Good landing pages with call-to-actions, A/B test winners and lead generation

Building Great Software Companies

Collection of articles and tips from Joel Spolsky and his Fog Creek colleagues.

@cronkshaw I think Messenger for Mac 7+ supports it

@cronkshaw Sorry! It feels like you’re using software, not a phone. iOS is tight and predictable, I’ve no idea where to look on Android.

First day using Android after 3 years of iOS. I’m unimpressed. It’s inconsistent, ugly and clunky. The Gmail app is the best feature so far.

@Tomtids Safer at the back but slowed down matches. The days before Schmeichel and Seaman… I was 10!

“Thomas, bursting through the midfield. It’s up for grabs now!” #Anfield89 #StThomasDay

@clearjanuary Thanks very much. It’s all mine actually.

The recruitment threesome: my advice to leave everyone satisfied

Prototypes — Bring your mockups to life

Creates tappable, animated mockups from images that can be browsed on an iPhone for a client demo

The Ultimate Website Launch Checklist

Why aren't you using git-flow?

A summary of git-flow and how to get started with it

git-flow: a successful Git branching model

Both a process and a set of extensions for managing branches when developing with git

jQuery Fundamentals

One-page book on using JavaScript and jQuery

The recruitment threesome

The struggle between recruiters, employers and candidates and my advice for each.

The recruitment threesome

An employer, a candidate and a recruiter. Sometimes recruitment is direct, but often it involves each of the three parties jumping into bed together. Despite early enthusiasm the end result can frequently be disappointing and unsatisfying. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Read full post…

Miro Video Converter

Free Mac/Windows converter for most video formats into MP4, Ogg Theora and WebM for use as HTML5 video

@cronkshaw I’ve used Crucial’s SSD in a MacBook Pro, but I hear the OCZ Vertex 3 is currently best (untried):


HTML5 friendly Mac animation tool. Don’t mention the F word.

@neilmiddleton Yep that part took seconds. Easy.

@flapjackthecat Ian, I am worried about you.

@neilmiddleton Not much: hash() changed which broke some values for me. Easy otherwise.

Bashing away at a new blog post for tomorrow. Also upgraded to Ruby 1.9 on #Heroku. Almost painless.

See how quickly a page loads in a remote browser. Includes a waterfall chart (web inspector?) and screenshots captured throughout the loading process.

@marckysharky Ha ha. Stay classy, Chelsea.

Installing Ruby 1.9 and Rails 3 on Mac OS X

Covers rvm installation and how to switch between Ruby versions. Successfully used on my Mac with 10.6.

Line up customers before you ship

Build relationships with customers and then build something they want

Pet rabbits are cruelly neglected and mistreated in Britain, survey finds

Depressing study about lack of care for rabbits. 75% of our pet rabbits are badly cared for…

HTTP Load Testing

@Trevorlines That’s no fun. The rumoured heatwave hasn’t hit us in Windsor but it’s still sunny. My grass could do with some of your rain!

Lunchtime barbecue in the garden with @larrylou100

Active Admin

Administration framework for Rails that also provides an API/download interface to data

@gunnerblog Gill: “It gives a buzz to everyone at the club when you bring in high quality players.” - couldn’t agree more.

@BradHaverly Competition is always good, benefits everyone. Sneaky suspicion that v5 will be a big jump.

@Tomtids Excellent 9 mins. I especially liked the need to balance impulse vs aspirational stuff. Important to explore outside what’s normal.

@BradHaverly Eh? Will use it for testing and researching dating apps. You’re not a fan?

Impressed with @37signals’ Highrise as a tool for managing recruitment leads. Gravatars, Twitter feed and maps helping us qualify and act.

Decision made on a new work Android phone, thanks to @cronkshaw ‘s recommendation. HTC Desire S on its way…

@cronkshaw That’s interesting to know. I’m sceptical, but if it’s that good I may end up properly switching.

@cronkshaw My favourite too, thanks. It’s been ordered and is on its way.

I want to replace my work iPhone on O2 with the latest Android model for testing/research. Bewildering options. Recommendations? #lazyweb

Roundabout Round-up

My notes from our day at Silicon Roundabout in London, recruiting for developers.

Well done and many thanks to @jimeh @Jennyuffer @martinbtt and @rosswilliams for their hard work hustling and recruiting for us.

Sore legs and hoarse from recruiting with the @globaldev team at today’s @milkroundabout. Met some great developers so thoroughly worth it.


Wordpress themes and site templates starting at $1


Node.js and Ruby hosting service, similar in concept and pricing to Heroku (simple free plan)

Twitter sparklines

Sparklines (sparktweets) using Unicode characters. Further clever innovation within tweet constraints.

Grapple Mobile

iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, etc. mobile app developers.As used on The Apprentice

I like the simplicity of Google’s #chromebook for just browsing & typing. The iPad could do with its multi-user feature

Managing Heroku deployments

Multiple Heroku remotes, backups for rolbacks and auto tagging of deployments.

Join us at Silicon Milkroundabout

Little post by me on my team’s blog promoting our attendance at the London tech startup recruitment fair this Sunday.

Get your eyes lasered

I was a contact lens/glasses wearer for over 16 years before finally undertaking laser eye surgery in December last year. I had toyed with the idea for a while and finally went for it. I’m thoroughly pleased with the end results and wish I had gone for it sooner. What follows are my own experiences and thoughts which may be valuable if you’re considering laser eye surgery too.

Read full post…

Get your eyes lasered

My experiences getting laser eye surgery.

@rosswilliams I didn’t know you were allowed to watch adult channels in taxis?

@mattjukes Ooh. If you need a beta tester let me know.

@ian_winter Nah, I forgot The Apprentice: the only reality TV nonsense I watch. Sky make me sad that I still haven’t got Anytime+ though :(

@hobbsy Do it. They’ll give you loads of drops to clear up dryness - my eyes were terrible before. Thanks for the article plug too.

Sky’s Remote Record never fails to impress me: requests on their site/app goes back to my box via an actual satellite in space #thefuture

I’ve made myself a self-hosted short URL system with my new domain to link to things, e.g.

Ripping apart that ridiculous 2bn royal wedding viewers stat:

Simplenote Fluid userstyle

Tightened up design that maximises to a Fluid window. Needs userstyles so use a pre-1.0 version of Fluid or pay for the Pro version.

In a pretty Surrey village waiting outside a church for wedding proceedings to kick off. Glorious weather for it.

@andrewscrivener @BradHaverly When Snow Leopard launched we bought it for all our Macs. I would expect to do the same for Lion when out.

@neilmiddleton Quite right. Usually when listening to old recordings of Thatcher speeches, I would wager.

AV and local elections voting done but had to dodge a Tory exit poller on the way out. If charity reps are chuggers, he must be a tugger.

@martinbtt Praise from ruby royalty! Good work.

jQuery URL Parser

@marckysharky Did you forget your stabilisers?

@hobbsy Blimey. I think that may be too many pixels for me. Good to know it works.

@hobbsy This article claims the 27in does, although doesn’t quote a source:

@thesambarnes Sadly he’s driven off. Probably to defraud little old ladies or something.


Messaging system built for LinkedIn’s activity streams. Relies on the filesystem for storing/caching messages. Built on top of the JVM.

Guy pulls up outside, music blaring from his car. Parks on a yellow line, pops a disabled badge on his dash and strolls off carefree. #grrr

@thesambarnes Do you listen back and transcribe yourself? May be a use for #MTurk or similar, although perhaps not if private/confidential.

Predictions on what iCloud (Apple’s rumoured music/storage/sync platform) may look like

@mattjukes I said I’d let you know how my eye lasering went. Here’s a write-up: (in summary, glad I did it).

My experiences having laser eye surgery and why you should go for it too: #eyesurgery #lasik

Living the Bank Holiday Monday Homebase dream.

Discovering new (to me) music: Kisses, Radio Dept. and Warpaint, courtesy of Mr @hobbsy. Also loving The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

Mammoth Instapaper queue and Google Reader stars reading/bookmarking session done:

Rantings of a sub-editor

If you read this you’ll certainly get your just deserts…

Gentleman's Dictionary and Usage: Breakfast

Tea, sausages, bacon, egg, toast, beans. Beautiful writing.

The Perpetual Web, The Year in Startup Innovation

Redesigns of hot startup homepages: simplification, differentiation and prettifying.

URL Design

Essential advice for building namespaced, human-readable URLs and ensuring that links behave as a link.

notes on "how to clone delicious in 48 hours"

Perhaps it’s not quite as simple as it first seems. A useful list for consideration when building public services.

Life inside Facebook: how head of developers organises 500 people

1-2 month projects, 100 simultaneous, 80% focused on growth, 20% on revenue. Product dev make the decisions: reduce friction. Financial/sensitive areas have automated tests to protect.

Why Wesabe Lost to Mint

Lessons and myth-debunking. Spending 6 months to write their own bank data importer - rather than using Yodlee - was perhaps key. Also note that Mint used SEM to acquire customers at $1/user.

The Agile Inception Deck

10 questions to ask at the start of your next project

Would like to meet: The truth about internet dating

Quotes and commentary from online dating users, including, “I don’t want someone like me. Why on earth would I want someone like me?”

The (new) Campaign Monitor office

More office porn. Especially love catered lunches and shared dining area.

git for the lazy

Viewing changes, fixing mistakes, branching/merging, tags, etc.

How About We Disrupt Online Dating

Interesting to hear opinions on online dating from a startup entrepreneur outside the industry, especially deliberately targeting those who wouldn’t be turned off by deep Facebook integration.

Great rules for choosing a name

Distinctiveness, brevity, appropriateness, easy-to-spell, pronounceability, linkability, extendability, protectability…

NoamB/sorcery - GitHub

“Sorcery is a stripped-down, bare-bones authentication library, with which you can write your ownauthentication flow”. Examples for Rails 3 and Sinatra.

The future of analytics products

Comprehensive analysis of the myriad analytics tools that go beyond GA

Providing great user experience with feedback

Lessons on providing feedback in 37signals’ Basecamp Mobile interface: highlight states, progress indicators and waiting screens.

Type study: An all CSS button

Dan Cederholm designs a pressable button using Typekit fonts and lots of rich CSS3


jQuery plugin for magical reveal/sort/filter layouts that progressively transform blocks using CSS3 (or older techniques).

A template for unlicensing or releasing software into the public domain

Sign up form design - best practices & design review

Free PNG Credit Card, Debit Card and Payment Icons

We're looking for an Office Manager / Executive Assistant - (37signals)

Perfect task-based job ad for an office assistant - who we’re looking for, what you would have done in the last week and then other duties.

Technical strategy for

Also, useful competitive analysis showing the mix of doctypes, css/js inlining, response formats and redirects.

So You'd Like to Send Some Email (Through Code)

You need: reverse PTR record, DomainKeys in DNS/code, SenderID in DNS. Plus how to verify all is set up correctly.


Javascript Markdown implementation. Currently looks to be under active development.