Mike West works and plays on the internet. Currently working as a Developer Advocate on Google's Chrome team in Munich, he helps develop websites and applications that (on good days) delight and inform. Drop me an email at follow me on or circle me on Google+

Archived Posts from November, 2008

  1. My job's value

    Recently, I wrote a short article on the effect a team’s sense of ownership in it’s projects can have on the finished product. The surprising twist in my professional life last week has led me back onto the same train of thought, but I’m coming to it from a slightly different angle.

  2. I ♥ GitHub

    Over the last two or three weeks, a substantial subset of my friends and colleagues have started using GitHub to host some of their personal projects. I’m really enjoying this influx, and it’s inspiring in a way I didn’t really expect. GitHub has done nothing less than to make my friend’s coding activity visible to me, and mine visible to them. This doesn’t sound like much, but it’s simply transformative; If this is how “normal” people feel about Facebook, then I can start to understand how it’s captured so much mindshare.

  3. An Admonition Regarding Details

    Details are everything, but worrying about details at the expense of progress puts the cart before the horse, misses the forest for the trees, makes perfect the enemy of the good, and can be described by many other metaphors with similar meaning.

  4. The Inspiration of Ownership

    On the bus home from work, I was listening to this week’s On the Media. In particular, I was struck by a great interview with the man who designed the field-organizer and volunteer training programs for Barack Obama’s campaign: Marshall Ganz. If you’re at all interested in the political angle, I’d suggest you listen. If you’re at all interested in how I’m planning to apply this seemingly unrelated topic to the technical field of web development (et al), keep reading.

  5. Flickr's API is driving me nuts

    I’m trying to do something with the Flickr API that I consider to be relatively trivial. I have the impression that the API is fighting me every step of the way. Why, oh why, can’t the wonderful people who designed Del.icio.us’s new API hop over to Flickr and slap together something that makes sense from the perspective of the end user?

  6. Generating Etags for static content using Nginx

    Nginx is a brilliant little HTTP server that I’m using on this website to quickly serve static content. It bothers me a (very) little that it doesn’t correctly generate Etag headers for static content, however. I’m attempting to remedy that oversight by releasing an Nginx module: nginx-static-etags.

  7. The Overton Window at Work

    The ‘Overton window’ is a bit of political jargon that describes how politicians influence the perceptions and debates that go on among the voting public. In this thinly veiled (but mercifully short) rant, I argue that it’s equally applicable to my workplace.

  8. Smoothly Migrating to a New Server

    Hopefully, you didn’t notice a thing yesterday when I moved the site off my shared accelerator at Joyent, and onto a custom built slice at Slicehost. That was very much the goal. Briefly, I’ll go through the steps I took to make the transition as smooth as possible both before the launch and directly afterwards.

  9. Fallow fields and new beginnings

    It’s been quite some time since I put any serious effort into mikewest.org. I’ve had tons of work, I’ve been burnt out, I’ve been complacent… the excuses pile on top of each other, each valid, each sufficient, none satisfactory. For the sake of my own sanity, I need to start working on personal projects again. Last week’s GitHub dump was the first step in that direction. Consider this relaunch to be the second.

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