Right now, there are brilliant students from all over the world sitting in classrooms at our top universities. They’re earning degrees in the fields of the future, like engineering and computer science. But once they finish school, once they earn that diploma, there’s a good chance they’ll have to leave our country. Think about that.

Intel was started with the help of an immigrant who studied here and then stayed here. Instagram was started with the help of an immigrant who studied here and then stayed here. Right now in one of those classrooms, there’s a student wrestling with how to turn their big idea—their Intel or Instagram—into a big business. We’re giving them all the skills they need to figure that out, but then we’re going to turn around and tell them to start that business and create those jobs in China or India or Mexico or someplace else? That’s not how you grow new industries in America. That’s how you give new industries to our competitors. That’s why we need comprehensive immigration reform.

Rails in Realtime


Update: We’ve written a complementary post that goes into more depth. Read this first and then check out Rails in Realtime, Part 2.

LayerVault is built using the popular web framework, Ruby on Rails. The framework, at times known for its divisiveness, has allowed LayerVault to grow from a single box to a swarm of machines over the past year. Recently, there has been a wave of great JavaScript-based frameworks that make creating a “realtime” app a cinch. Because LayerVault is a perfect facsimile of a team’s filesystem, having the web interface update immediately is incredibly important. Every ⌘R is two key presses too many. Finder doesn’t require you to refresh every time a file changes, why should a web app? We’re happy with Rails, so transitioning to Meteor, Ember.js or Backbone.js whole hog isn’t the right move for us.

The phrase “realtime” is thrown around about as much as “local” and “disruptive” these days, so the phrase is often ambiguous. For the purposes of this post, a “realtime” app is the following: page refreshes are not required to see the most up-to-date state of information and new information is communicated in tens of milliseconds instead of hundreds or thousands.

This blog post will cover some of the patterns that we use to allow LayerVault customers to never worry about pressing ⌘R. This is all done by using vanilla *.html.erb templates and never rendering any parts of the page using JavaScript. Once a database record is changed, that change appears in <500ms in a customer’s browser.

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You Just Have To Do Something


Throughout life we are impacted with moments that are rich with meaning and significance. Regardless of the joy or sorrow that these moments create, it is our job to listen and respond. This summer I was given the gift of one of those profound moments.

On a warm August afternoon, my wife and I invited some close friends over for lunch to spend the day swimming in our pool. We were in the water playing with our kids, watching them one-up each other jumping in, and playing all the usual games.

One of the times my daughter climbed out to jump back in, she cried out in pain after stepping on a bee. As soon as I pulled out the stinger left behind in her foot, one by one more bees began to swarm. Thinking that the dead bee was attracting others, I picked it up and went inside to throw it away.

The moment I opened the trash in the kitchen I heard my wife scream outside. It wasn’t an ordinary scream. I look outside right at the moment she was diving into the water. Racing outside I was certain that she was being attacked by the aggressive bees.

I made it to the edge of the water right when she was coming up. My heart sank. In her arms was our little boy, blue and lifeless.

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Early sketches from the web’s finest


Pen and paper

Most designers are accustomed to starting their work on paper. If you’re a designer, you’ve probably got a notebook or two sitting around with random brilliant sketches. Often the initial sketches themselves are something to be proud of — and it’s a shame that no one ever sees them.

Have you ever wondered what others’ sketches look like? We did. When designers put pen to paper the results are quite different. We’ll show you.

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