Dramatic improvement by replacing ActiveRecord loop with single SQL query

Chris Downey

Founder, VaxCalc Labs and creator of Autovist and the Vaccine Ingredients Calculator.

Latest posts by Chris Downey (see all)

Autovist’s worker process started producing hundreds of Heroku R14 “memory quota exceeded” errors:

But we haven’t added any new jobs recently.  What’s going on?

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Activist best practice: auto-archiving web pages

Chris Downey

Founder, VaxCalc Labs and creator of Autovist and the Vaccine Ingredients Calculator.

Latest posts by Chris Downey (see all)

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Experimental features: randomized slowdowns + retweet chains

Chris Downey

Founder, VaxCalc Labs and creator of Autovist and the Vaccine Ingredients Calculator.

Latest posts by Chris Downey (see all)

Normally, Autovist broadcasts every hour at a random time within the hour.  I created a new Twitter account for Autovist itself, but don’t want hourly tweets yet until we build up at least 100 messages.  Autovist already has a built in check to make sure the same tweet is not broadcasted within the same 12-hour period.  But I wanted to add some randomized behavior on top of that:

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The Geeky Roots of Autovist

Chris Downey

Founder, VaxCalc Labs and creator of Autovist and the Vaccine Ingredients Calculator.

Latest posts by Chris Downey (see all)

One of my very favorite things about Autovist is building randomness into it and never knowing what it will do next.  This makes it endlessly fascinating for me.  When I was a 9 years old and building  up a record collection, I began having a big problem…

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Autovist broken-URL notification

Chris Downey

Founder, VaxCalc Labs and creator of Autovist and the Vaccine Ingredients Calculator.

Latest posts by Chris Downey (see all)

Isn’t just awful when a great link you’ve been sharing breaks?  Perhaps the content has been removed or the website has been reorganized.  As busy online activists, we don’t have the time to check all the links we share. Especially when we use Autovist and have thousands of tweets in our knowledge-base, checking links becomes unmanageable.

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How NOT to change your API (looking at you, Twitter!)

Chris Downey

Founder, VaxCalc Labs and creator of Autovist and the Vaccine Ingredients Calculator.

Latest posts by Chris Downey (see all)

Twitter added extended tweet mode to their API and screwed up Autovist. Autovist helps you build a massive knowledge base by importing your tweets every night.  When importing a tweet with a photo, Autovist has always been able to tweet it again and again looking exactly like the original tweet. It worked perfectly for years.

But then Twitter “enhanced” its API and returned different results by default.  What was originally tweeted like this:

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Stripe’s multiple quantities of a plan saved me a TON of time

Chris Downey

Founder, VaxCalc Labs and creator of Autovist and the Vaccine Ingredients Calculator.

Latest posts by Chris Downey (see all)

Autovist was designed with the assumption of one customer paying with one credit card has one Twitter account.  We’ve just been faced with a great problem to have: a customer loves the service so much that she wants a second Twitter account’s advocacy to be automated with Autovist. Yeah!

But how can I get this to work with the current design?

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Keeping the Autovist Dashboard Fast… and a surprise discovery

Chris Downey

Founder, VaxCalc Labs and creator of Autovist and the Vaccine Ingredients Calculator.

Latest posts by Chris Downey (see all)

While performance tuning the database to solve Dashboard timeouts, we made a surprise discovery about how tweets and their embedded URLs are actually being used.

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Adding index reduces query from 80 seconds to less than half a second

Chris Downey

Founder, VaxCalc Labs and creator of Autovist and the Vaccine Ingredients Calculator.

Latest posts by Chris Downey (see all)

After bringing the production database down to my local dev machine and restoring it in order to use the latest data to develop against, I could no longer load the Dashboard for my @VaxCalc account as it kept timing out. Autovist has posted more than 25,000 tweets for @VaxCalc tracking multiple broadcasts of each tweet, url clicks and RTs for each of the broadcasts. Was this large number of tweets killing performance somehow?

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Protecting customers & visitors with Google’s SafeBrowsing API

Chris Downey

Founder, VaxCalc Labs and creator of Autovist and the Vaccine Ingredients Calculator.

Latest posts by Chris Downey (see all)

It took just a day to begin protecting our customers (and anybody who clicks on a link shared by our customers) with the SafeBrowsing API.  I’m very pleased with our experience with it.  Google provides good setup documentation, so I won’t go into the setup details.  Instead, I’ll delve into an overview of how it works and what I’ve learned so far.

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