Category Archives: Uncategorized

Creating animated gifs with imagemagick

In my last post I linked to some animated gifs I made on my mac. It’s pretty easy if you have imagemagick installed.

Simply get a bunch of images together and use the convert command:

convert -resize 900x -loop 0 -delay 10 DSC_8264.JPG DSC_8265.JPG DSC_8266.JPG DSC_8267.JPG DSC_8268.JPG DSC_8269.JPG DSC_8270.JPG jon_walk.gif

The last argument is the output filename. The options should be self explanatory, but you can check them up in the man page if you want to tweak the values.

Paula Deen riding things

I made some Paula Deen riding… pictures. Because I can. Find more here.

Cloud email service price comparison

Larger interactive versions of all the graphs on this page are available here.

Update: Added Mailgun to the graphs.

Earlier this year I posted a price comparison between Sendgrid, and the then newly available Amazon SES.

Tim Falls commented on the post saying that Sendgrid had updated their pricing:

Since this post was published, we have released a new pricing structure *and* a new service tier that offers more email for less + a feature set and pricing model that you will find very competitive with SES.

That was back in June, so it’s about time I produced an updated comparison. First, lets look at the difference between the old and new Sendgrid prices:

Comparison of old and new Sendgrid prices, click for a larger version

Overall the up-front plan prices, and prices for email over allowance have remained the same, but email allowance within each plan has increased. The exception is the Silver plan where email over allowance has increased by $0.0001/email. New to the lineup is the Lite plan.

More interesting is how these new prices compare to the competitors. I’ve added in Amazon SES, and Postmark too:

Sendgrid, Postmark and Amazon SES price comparison, click for a larger version

The most notable differences here are the inclusion of Postmark, and the the Sendgrid Lite plan that shadows Amazon SES. I’d guess this was added purely to compete with Amazon. As in my last post it is hard to see what is going on with smaller numbers of emails being sent, here’s a zoom on the origin:

Price comparison for small numbers of emails sent, click for a larger version

Here you can see the Sendgrid Lite plan shadowing Amazon and the Postmark costs heading up rapidly.


It seems Sendgrid have just added an ‘Amazon SES’ plan to pull back any customers that would have chosen SES based on price. It’s probably a good move, and it will allow easy transition into their more ‘premium’ plans if you sign up and later decide to change plan.

Given the advertised features of Postmark compared to the price it seems hard to consider using them. They seem to have some fairly well known customers though, so if anyone has used Postmark leave a comment with how that is working out for you.

So which email cloud provider should you use? Use the graphs I made, but price is only going to be one factor, so check what each provider offers. I’ve linked to all the pricing pages below.

Price sources

Tagged , , , , ,

What is the correct order to watch the Star Wars films in?

A friend of mine recently announced on Twitter that he was introducing his wife to Star Wars, however to my shock and horror he said he would be starting off with Episode 1 which just seemed so wrong…

What is the correct order to watch the Star Wars films in?

I’ll be starting my eldest daughter off on the first Star Wars film (Episode 4) soon too, it just seems like the natural order. When I had calmed down and stopped frothing at the mouth I explained my worries to him and he asked for references.

Every conversation I have ever had on the subject of the correct order to watch the Star Wars movies in has resulted in an agreement that 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3 is the correct order, but I never got it in writing so I decided it was time to get evidence, from Twitter!

The first response was direct to me in IRC:

17:01 Caius: 4,5,6,1,2,3
17:01 Caius: *IF* you let them watch 1,2,3

That’s fairly standard, it’s often debated wether bothering with Episodes 1, 2 and 3 is worth it, though I think I will show 4, 5 and 6 to my daughters eventually. The rest of the responses came quickly on Twitter:

Well that was the sort of response I was expecting, except the one person who suggested Episodes 4, 5 then 6 followed by the Christmas Special@mibly, you’re sick! Here is the response as a pie-chart to better illustrate the responses:

Not a single person out of my highly representative sample group voted for Episode 1, 2 then 3 first. I kind of agree with @prettierpixels that the in-jokes will be missed if Episodes 1, 2 and 3 are watched first, but I just have a sort of deep-down intuitive feeling that Star Wars will be spoiled if Episodes 4, 5 then 6 aren’t watched first.

Got an opinion? Post it in the comments!

Tagged ,

NWRUG February 2009 – Nanite talk

For the first time in quite a while we had a talk at NWRUG, it seemed to go well and the free Pizzas and Beer provided by Engine Yard were very popular. About 12 people turned up. I was the only speaker and did a 45 minute talk on Nanite with a brief introduction to cloud-computing as that’s the environment I see Nanite being most useful.

Thanks to everyone who turned up and Engine Yard for the sponsorship. I promised a blog post with links to some of the resources from the talk, and here it is!

Useful links from the talk

Nanite (of course)

Kestrel (a starling replacement)

Delayed Job

Warren (A wrapper around AMQP from brightbox)

Engine Yard Solo

As I mentioned in the talk you can probably get away with using third-party APIs and calling it ‘cloud-computing’, this set of slides is really interesting:

Web Hooks and the Programmable World of Tomorrow

Lastly the slides on SlideShare, though they don’t make as much sense as they do with the talk & my notes.


Pastie: control rabbitMQ using Nanite, controlling god using Nanite.

Next Month

More talks! Asa Calow has agreed to do a talk on Solr and I rather foolishley agreed to do another talk on Sphinx.

Tagged , , , , ,

Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol

Today I discovered the Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol. There’s a proper RFC and everything, most useful.



Seen on a list recently

Remember, top-posting because that’s where the cursor happened to be is like shitting in your pants because that’s where your arsehole happened to be.

Q. Does GTA San Andreas work on a MacBook Pro using WinXP and Boot Camp?

A. Yes it does, perfectly and at the highest detail level.

Slightly naughty


Wlll: “My name is Anne van Kesteren and contrary to what many people think, I’m a male.”
Wlll: The internet needs more laydees.
Wlll: 3D laydees that is.
ciaran29d: :|
Wlll: ones who can program Ruby
Wlll: And are hot.
ciaran29d: heh
Wlll: And slightly naughty.
Wlll: You get the idea.
ciaran29d: like, they use PHP?
Wlll: No, that’s just bad.

Bad Cookie

I am using the Rails cookie store that was introduced in Ruby on Rails 2 to store my session data on Rails will throw an exception if the cookie data is tampered with (Rails can check if the data has been altered), and as I use the Exception Notifier plugin I got my first ‘Cookie Tampered With’ email today:

A CGI::Session::CookieStore::TamperedWithCookie occurred in account#signup:
/usr/local/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/actionpack-2.0.2/lib/action_controller/session/cookie_store.rb:143:in `unmarshal'

And the cuplrit? The Alexa crawler apparently. No Alexa crawler! Bad bot!