bookmark_borderUtility Bash script to setup key based ssh access quickly

I needed to add my public key to a couple of servers the same day. After having done it twice, I thought of writing a bash script to pull my key from a public url at dropbox and append it to the authorized_keys file on the server. It appends to the same user who I am logged in as.

You can build on this if you find yourself doing something similar repetitively.

bookmark_borderRailsConf 2010

So it’s that time of the year again.

It’s the time for RailsConf. It’s the time for another visit to the US. And it’s the time to write another blog post.

The RailsConf2010 is from 8th to 10th June in Baltimore, MD.

This will be my fourth US Railsconf. Two years in Portland, Oregon. Last year in Las Vegas and this year in Baltimore – RailsConf is giving me good reason to visit different parts of US. I hope that the British Airways Ground Staff Strike does not disrupt my plans.

I travel directly to Baltimore, where on the sidelines of the conference, I have some very interesting meetings scheduled. After the conference, I will be in NYC for a few days for business. Then from NYC, I’ll be hopping over to the west coast and be in San Francisco for a week.

If you are in any of these cities that I would be visiting and would like to meetup, drop an email to manik at vinsol dot com

bookmark_borderBizConf round up

I started writing this blog post 31K feet above the ground – somewhere between James Bay and Hudson Bay in Canada aboard the AA292 from Chicago to New Delhi. I finished it and published it a good three weeks later – after things had settled down upon my return to Delhi from a fairly long US trip.

BizConf has been a great experience. I met a lot of interesting people, attended many thought provoking sessions and participated in some very insightful conversations.

Two factors that made BizConf extra special were

  1. The Venue: The Ritz Carlton at The Amelia Island, is a beautiful property in the middle of nowhere.
  2. The size: Limiting the number of participants to 75 lended a highly personal touch to the conference.

This blog post should have come earlier. But I travelled from BizConf to Chicago to attend the Agile2009. The five days at agile2009 were just as hectic and prevented me from writing this post.

So, let me start this post with a list of some useful apps, I found out about at the bizconf

  • Launchly – Track and vote on new website launches.
  • No Kahuna – User story management application that TerraAlien uses. @ntalbott introduced me to this site.
  • Spreedly – – My first impression, was that this is just the hosted SaaS RailsKit. But upon talking more about it with @ntalbott – I realized where it fits in. One of our recent projects has a subscription billing module, I guess we could have saved atleast a few weeks, had we know of Spreedly before we developed our own subscription management system.
  • Pipeline Deals – Lead Tracking Software, @Obie talked about.
  • Workday – HR in the cloud
  • Devver – Execute your tests on the cloud.

Here are two books that I added to my list

  • The art of possibility by Benjamin Zander . I had seen Zander’s video on a few months ago, but I had lost the link. Good to have both found out about his book and the link.
  • Four Steps to the Epiphany – by Stephen Gary Blank.

I did not tweet during the sessions, infact I did not even take my laptop to the talks so that I could concentrate on the talks and also keep it simple – with just a pen and a note book.

During the talks, I had noted down some point that had an impact on me. I want to share the main takeaway from each talk here.

Selling Value for Fun and Profit by Randall Thomas (@daksis)

We do not sell time, we do not sell deliverables – we sell value. It is important to preserve, create and deliver value. So price on value and deliver value, make sure you market the value and get paid for the value

Build Trust : Keeping People Happy without Paying an Arm and a Leg by Johanna Rothman

Standups are great for Removing Group Obstacles – but they are not good for removing personal obstacles. So do one on one with your team members – treat those one on ones like business dates and treat that time as sacrosanct.

Good Idea, But How Do We Do It? Finding and Using Your Sources Of Power by Esther Derby

Use your network, People like to do favors to others. People don’t like help inflicted upon them. Work by attraction.

Keynote by Roy Singham

Write down your top 10 mistakes. Strategists look out to the future – but that is possible if someone is taking care of the “here and now”. The most important rule in consulting is to know your customer’s customer. Are you a connector/ maven / persuader – Tipping Point.

Why Agile Will Probably Fail You by Corey Haines

Scrum Assumption = Self Organizing Responsible Developers
Quality = Nominal cost of Adding Features
Crafsmanship = Effective Coaching + Continual learning + Deliberate Practice [ Think of a orchestra which practises the only time when they are on stage – Why do we do that with developers]
CodeKata + Code Dojo + Code Retreats

Getting Things Done by Jon “Lark” Larkowski

Mac Break Weekly. OtherInbox
Caldav – For iCal and Google Calendar syncing.
Tomatoes – Pomodoro (

Rails Economics and the ARC Model by Ian McFarland

Three Factors: Agile, Rails and Cloud have revolutionized Computing.

Overall a great conference. I have one question however – Why were all the Panels about Product Development? Did it show Hashrocket’s eagerness to launch a product. For a conference tagged as “the premier learning and networking event for forward-thinking consultants and principals of custom web application development firms” – I would have loved to see panel discussions about improving ourselves as consultants or something to that end. I understand and appreciate the motivation behind doing a product. But this wasn’t the conference about Services companies wanting to do a product.

Thanks Hashrocket for organizing the BizConf. I will surely be back next year.

bookmark_borderBizConf and Agile2009

A quick post to let all of you know (ok, the 5 of you who read my blog know) , that I will be in US for a long trip. Ok, it’s only two weeks, but that’ll be the longest I’ll be away from home, in these last few years.

I will be in San Francisco from 12th to 19th August, meeting the cofounder of my new venture and generally meeting up clients and friends. I will post more details on the new venture when I am back.

From SF, I will go to Florida, to attend the BizConf. I am really looking forward to this promising conference. I will tweet and blog about my experience there and share my learning with all of you.

From Florida, I will be off to Chicago for a long conference – Agile2009. I look forward to learn a lot at this conference too. We use agile development methodologies at VinSol and I have so many questions related to all the aspects – be it “Planning Poker”, “Iteration Lengths”, “Development Contracts” , “Maintenance Contracts” etc – I am prepared to pick the brains of all the experts who are coming there.
I want to be able to apply all that learning to improve the experience of working with VinSol for our clients as well as all our team members. Again, I will tweet and blog about the learning there, too.

Anybody reading this post who is also attending these conferences or is in that area – and interested in meeting up – please let me know.

bookmark_borderMobile Monday Delhi: 7th Edition

Just got this email from PacificLeo announcing MoMo Delhi 7th Edition:

Hi Guys

I am Very excited to inform you that we have finalized the schedule for next meet up of Mobile Monday,Delhi. This will be our seventh Meet up.Its scheduled for Saturday ,11th of July 2009. Theme for this time is Mobile Location Based Services . We have got confirmation from some leading LBS experts for participation in event . there will be few demo of cutting edge LBS innovation being done in India .I request you to don’t miss it . Everyone interested in Mobile is invited .Please register yourself beforehand as we have only limited sitting capacity at venue .

Details of Event is given Below

Mobile Monday Delhi:7th Edition

THEME : Mobile Location Based Services


Saturday , 11th of July 2009


MapmyIndia HQ
68 – Okhla Industrial Area,
Phase 3,
New Delhi, Delhi 110020
Ph:+91-11 4600 9900

Want to participate ?? Register yourself at

Looking forward to see you there. in case of any difficulty in registration please feel free to contact me

I attended the first edition of MoMo and enjoyed it thoroughly. Since VinSol was not doing any mobile development, I was not very motivated to attend MoMos. But with our recent focus on iPhone and Android, I decided to start attending the event regularly.
I will be there and I look forward to meeting some of you there.

bookmark_borderReporting the first full day Ruby Event in India: The Ruby FunDay

The First Ruby FunDay was held at Impetus Technologies, Noida on 22nd November 2008.

There was a lot of Ruby and a lot of fun.
It was an exciting event with a good number of developers in attendance.

People from various companies already working on Ruby formed the largest part of the attendees. Then there were a few Java programmers, who had come to checkout ruby or so it seemed to me. Also there was a group of students from PantNagar College of Technology. I really appreciate their coming all the way from PantNagar for the Ruby FunDay.

The event started off with Sur doing a presentation on Ruby, though he intended to cover metaprogramming, but a battery of questions from the audience didn’t allow him to go beyond the basics. Particularly developers from a java background were having a hard time embracing Ruby’s open classes and duck typing. Everybody enjoyed Sur’s session a lot as he let code answer audience questions.

Then we had a presentation from Aditya Babbar of Impetus Technologies. He talked about the problems faced in deploying and managing a Rails app. He didn’t speak about only the problem, but demoed a solution which Impetus has worked on to alleviate that pain.

Sid showed us how he used to make a Rails app multilingual using Gibberish before Rails added I18n support. Then he showed how life had become easier with Rails 2.2’s in-built internationalization support. His slides are online at slideshare.

After Sid’s session we were served a splendid lunch made at the Impetus Cafeteria.

Right after lunch, was the one of the most awaited sessions of the day. Gaurav built an AIR client for his fictitious app called Blabber! It is just a co-incidence that the application name sounds like Yammer. You can see the details of his presentation on his blog here.

Then Rishav gave a presentation on Sphinx, using Thinking_Sphinx plugin. He showed all the Full text search capabilities of Sphinx, and also proved why thinking_sphix is a better plugin than ultra_sphinx for beginners atleast. His presentation is online at slideshare

Akhil’s session was the last technical session of the day. He carried on Rishav’s introduction to Sphinx to show how Faceted browsing works with Sphinx. You can find his slides also on slideshare

And then we had the musical extravaganza. Sur and Hemant with help from everybody else present at the event, put up a great show with a guitar and their melodious voices.

A lot of presenters were presenting for the first time, but did a really great job. To say the least, we can expect the event to improve as we organize subsequent editions. It feels really great to be involved with starting Ruby FunDays in India.

To read a more detailed review, go to Ritu’s blog.

bookmark_borderGetting ActiveScaffold to work with Rails 2.2 edge

Due to the way template handling works in Rails 2.2, activeScaffold does not work on edge rails anymore.
Thanks to Dr.Gaffo there is fix for the problem in his fork of ActiveScaffold. Get the edge branch of his fork at which is compatible with edge Rails.
Even after this you might face some problems like the path to Inflector. Just move the reference to ActiveSupport::Inflector and you should be good.

There is one issue that I noticed, date time field handling by ActiveScaffold is broken, thanks to refactoring in Rails core for handling these. I will post a fix for this as soon as possible and update this post too.

bookmark_borderAgile Expert Series in Delhi

Sanjiv Augustine a well known International Agile expert is in NCR and is giving a free community talk on the 15th Nov. The event will happen in Gurgaon and Noida (evening and morning). The event details and signup is at

So if you yourself are or know someone who is interested in agile development practices, this is a must attend event.

bookmark_borderRuby Fun Day: The first full day Ruby and Ruby on Rails event in India

Here’s announcing the first Ruby and Rails Full Day event in India. It has been in the making for months if not years, and now finally it is going to happen on 22nd of November 2008.
We invite all Rubyists and Rails Lovers in India to participate and give us the enthusiasm to organize Fun-Days regularly.

Call it the Ruby-barcamp if you may. Everybody is welcome to speak, but send us a summary of what you would speak about.
This will be an event for the Geeks by the geeks and so we want to ensure hardcore technical sessions.
The only criteria for this one is “more code, less talk”. And of course it has to be related to Ruby or Ruby on Rails.

For event details and participation confirmation: visit

Have a day full of Fun and Ruby.
Special Thanks to Impetus Technologies in Noida for providing the venue.

bookmark_borderWould you hire this Ruby on Rails developer

I had this interaction with somebody who applied for a job at Vinsol

What is disturbing here is the attitude of Indian developers towards contributing to open source projects, and belive me, this is fairly rampant. Contributing to open source projects matters more than your marks in school to us and to a lot of other companies around.