Simple, effective parental control for your Mac

Today, I whipped together a simple, effective parental control script for our shared Macbook Air.  For many months, our homeschooled son has been easily distracted by videos and messages when he is supposed to be working hard on crafting a good paragraph.  Apples parental controls are a massive #FAIL – deselecting the default apps do not work and you cannot just simply turn off the Internet.

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

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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Disable Spring when debugging gems

I spent a good 45 minutes puzzled as to why byebug wasn’t working from within a gem I’m debugging.  Even more confusing was that when I set byebug in the gem code along with some debugging code, and stepped into the gem, I saw my code edits along with the call to byebug… but the new code was never reached, it was as if it was being skipped right over.  Odd.

Went for a cup of coffee and to ponder this….

Finally, I figured out that spring was preloading the app and keeping the gems loaded – even after I changed the gem code.

For now, I’m going to keep spring disabled by setting DISABLE_SPRING=1 in my .env file.

How to search for methods on a massive Ruby object

While debugging Autovist today, I wanted to see what methods the Tweet object supported (from the Twitter gem, which wraps the Twitter API) in order to figure out why the message was null.  As you can see below, it doesn’t have a nice way of dumping out all values for inspection.  🙁

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

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

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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Create custom URL-click tracker in less than 5 minutes

Google Analytics is a powerful tool when your site has thousands of visitors a day or more. But it isn’t so good at showing you the most popular links on your site; nor does it allow you to work directly with the data your site generates and sends to it.

The reason we wanted to do this is because the Vaccine Ingredient Calculator’s Ingredient Report has a huge amount of links for more information and it would be really helpful to know the order in which our VIC users find them to be useful.  Depending upon vaccine choices, there could be up to 90 links!

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