Heroku Deploys via Github are not faster than using git push

While we did not expect to see any difference, we did confirm that our 10 minute deploys to a Heroku staging server typically take the same amount of time whether we use the old git push vs Github integration.

We did not test whether a deploy with significant new data (a ton of new images added to the repo for example) was materially faster from Github.

Heroku CI is remarkably slow, but half as slow if you use the largest dyno type

UPDATE: using in-dyno postgres puts Heroku CI on par with running Rspec locally!

Experimenting with using Heroku CI for a Rails app, we were a little surprised just how slow Rspec specs run.

As you can see however the runtime cost is about the same since the largest dyno performance-l costs twice as much as the default dyno used by Heroku CI.

Unfortunately, we cannot test using in-dyno Postgres since Heroku does not seem to offer a way to specify the Postgres version for in-dyno instances.

 Mac OS XHeroku CI "M" dynoHeroku CI "L" dyno
Dyno cost/hour$0.34$0.68
Run Time5:5359:0031:43
Heroku cost$ 0.34$0.36

Next Step: If we can get parallel tests to run, it will be interesting to see if the overall runtime (and cost) remains constant so we can shorten the test to say 2 minutes by running 16 dynos.

If so that may be GREAT news for using Heroku CI vs Travis CI or Circle CI, whose fixed monthly cost is HUGE for even a few concurrent instances.

4 Most Remarkable Shortcomings of Apple Watch Series 4 (e.g., why I returned it)

That’s a lie. It’s NOT an AirPlay source:
See https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208728

Ooops. Even on version 5 of Watch OS,
Apple forgot to ‘mirror’ your iPhone’s

default alert setting to your Watch, or provide
any other way to add an alert to an appointment.

For someone who uses Macs and iPads and iPhones, there’s a lot to like about the Series 4 Apple Watch (GPS + Cellular, watch OS 5.1.2).

But I returned mine to the Apple Store after only 3 days because:

  • The Deal Killer: Cannot create appointments with “alerts” – if you use the Watch to create a Calendar appointment, there is no way for the Watch to add an alert, such as an alert 30 minutes beforehand. So your appointments created with a Watch behave differently than the ones you created with your iPhone. (If you create an appointment via an iPhone, or an iPad, or a Mac you can set a default alert, but not with the Watch.) This was confirmed today by Apple Support who escalated the issue to engineering.
  • Calendar displays only current month. Of the many bone-headed things Apple has done in the post-Jobs era, a Calendar app that will not display months other than the current month deserves special mention. If you display the month-at-a-glance calendar, and turn the scroll knob, or swipe, the Watch displays… the same (current) month.
  • No 5 GHz Wifi support  – had to dumb-down my home wifi network to 2.4GHz for the Watch to connect correctly to the iPhone, even though it said it was connected it wasn’t connected to the iPhone via Wifi. Apple documentation is silent about the need to dumb-down your Wifi to 2.4GHz… One symptom is ridiculously slow music syncing when adding playlists to your watch if your iPhone connected via 5GHz and your watch connects via 2.4GHz… but the iPhone offers NO way to “see” what Wifi speed your iPhone is connected, so good luck debugging this.
  • No Airplay support – despite offering an “Airplay” option right on the Control Center when selecting audio output, the Watch is NOT on Apple’s list of Airplay audio sources. Confirmed with Apple Support on lengthy call: if you have a nice stereo connected to an Apple TV, no, you cannot stream audio to the Apple TV’s sound system. So the “Airplay” option on the Watch is a lie… iPhone and iPad and Mac Airplay options DO connect to my Apple TV (audio and/or video) the Apple Watch will not show an AppleTV among the audio destination options. (I thought perhaps it was because mine was a 3rd Gen AppleTV but Apple Support said no version of AppleTV can play music from a Watch.)
  • BONUS Shortcoming: No Phone or Messages quick-launch option for the new Infographic faces. Oddly, the fancy new faces do not support the two most important options (which they call complications)… no phone and no messages.


How to allow two Vagrant apps to talk to each other

An issue we ran into recently is: if the same development machine is running two Vagrant instances, how can an app running onfoofetch data from a url onbar.

The two-part ‘trick’ if foo wants to fetch data from bar, is:

1) each app’s Vagrant file needs a line:

config.vm.network :private_network, ip: PVT_NETWORK

where PVT_NETWORK is a local IP, is different for each Vagrant file, and probably needs to be in the same subnet. For example PVT_NETWORK might be (foo) and (bar)

2) foo accesses bar via the PVT_NETWORK IP address not the “real” IP you would use with a web browser.

In our Rails example, we have each app running on a different port, so foo is on localhost:3000 and bar is on localhost:3001, so foo would access a url on bar via

JibJab irresponsibly, ineptly, and possibly illegally blasts ecards

I despise irresponsible mass-emailers like JibJab.

A truly unfortunate real estate team in California was horrified yesterday to find that JibJab (jibjab.com) pissed off legions of their customers as a direct result of JibJab’s inept and irresponsible practices (which are also, in my non-legal-expert opinion, illegal under CAN-SPAM).

The agents’ intent was simply to blast out a holiday card to their email list via JibJab. It became, in their words in the apology they then had to email to their entire email list, a “debacle” and “nightmare”.

By irresponsible (and possibly illegal), I refer to the fact that when JibJab sent an email on behalf of the agents, they did not provide any opt-out link. In my opinion, that seems to be a fine-worthy CAN-SPAM violation because these were not transactional emails.

By inept, I refer to the fact JibJab blasted many duplicate emails to the same recipients, which in the words of the agents made “tons of people angry at us.” (Even if we allow the possibility – although I have no reason to believe this is the case- that the agents somehow submitted duplicate requests to send the same ecard to their list, JibJab is still in my opinion woefully incompetent for allowing the same card to be sent to the same recipient from the same account multiple times.)

As an example of JibJab’s ineptness, here is a copy of our inbox for one day:

Naturally, JibJab does not answer their support phone (the greeting tells you to email them), and they (thus far) have ignored both email we sent alerting them of the dual issues of repeat sending and no opt-out mechanism. (I tried contacting JibJab within minutes of the first duplicate, so they could have saved countless pissed off recipients had they offered real-time support option.)

Ironically, JibJab’s most recent tweet boasts their product “keeps on giving” but I think we can all agree that blasting 29 duplicates isn’t something to boast about.

I can only wonder how many hard-earned customers and prospects JibJab customers have lost due to JibJab’s ineptness and irresponsibility.

For healthcare plans, Bronze is less expensive except in a narrow range of care usage

Short version: the $200/month additional premium for a Silver plan (vs Bronze) almost never gets recouped through the lower copays. (Remember, although you hit your lower Silver deductible sooner, you still pay 20% of all costs until you hit the out of pocket maximum, which on the Silver does not happen until your expenses hit something like $12,500. But on Bronze, once you hit $4000 in expenses your coverage in 100%. The extra premium for Silver, combined with paying out of pocket until you hit $12,500, is the one-two Silver sucker punch.)

Long version: For those of you deciding which ‘color’ version of healthcare plan to choose, there is a very high possibility that the Bronze is less expensive. This guy does a detailed analysis which, despite being a few years old, definitely applies in my case. http://ideas.4brad.com/surprising-math-obamacare-levels-go-…

I did my own spreadsheet for our employer BlueCross plans and found that by the time you factor in premium costs, Bronze was less expensive for anything other than the case where covered medical expenses fell into the narrow range of 4000-6000 for the year (and even then, in that narrow range where Silver was less expensive, Bronze only cost a couple hundred dollars more than Silver).

Emotionally, the “intuition” that it sucks to pay 100% of expenses until we hit the Bronze deductible ($4000 in our case) is simply wrong. The numbers were unambiguous, the Bronze wins.

So here’s a good question (echoed by the guy whose analysis I linked above): why in the hell don’t employers or insurers or the various HCA websites provide a chart or calculator to “compare” the real TOTAL cost of each plan under different care usage scenarios?

Here’s the results of my spreadsheet for BCBS Bronze, Silver, Gold.

The top chart is the usual case where only ONE subscriber incurs the medical expense on the X axis (and the other subscriber is generally healthy), the bottom chart is if BOTH subscribers use the same level of medical expense.

Caveat: If your “member cost” (the insurance allowed amount) for prescriptions is significantly higher than your Silver co-pay, that difference in effect “adds” to your premium cost for Bronze. For example suppose you are on Silver or Gold right now and every month you take XYZ, and on your insurance claim each month you see the Provider (retail) cost for XYZ is $600, the insurance allowed cost $320, member pays $20. Your copay benefit in this case is saving you $300/month vs the normal insurance-allowed rate for that drug.

Never name (or draw faces on) veggies you plan to eat

When visiting farmer acquaintances, the GF brought home this huuuuge gourd. We had planned to cook it for Thanksgiving.

However, you know how young farmers are advised not to name animals they are raising for meat?

Turns out… same thing is true re: drawing faces on your veggies…

We obviously cannot eat “Gourdy” now!

Remove your GPS location EXIF geotags from IOS videos before sharing them

Suppose you want to sell an item online, and post photos and videos of the item online. And to protect yourself you plan to meet a potential buyer at a public place such as a Big Box Store parking lot. That’s more or less pointless if you link your ad to your photos and videos but they were taken at home, if they are geotagged, since you’ve now shared your home address with anyone on the internet. And geotagging is on by default for many people.

For Mac users, with photos, it is relatively simple to remove the geotag data right within Preview. (Open the photo, under Tools show Inspector, click on the ‘i’ icon, click on GPS, then click ‘remove location information’.)

However, for videos, the Mac offers no such shortcut to remove the location information on a video you took… a lamentable oversight IMO.

The free FFMPEG command line app will do the trick, and is easy to install.

Assuming you have Homebrew installed (Google it, if not):

brew install ffmpeg

Once installed, run it for each video with the options
-map 0 -map_metadata -1 -c copy

I copy the videos into a desktop folder such as ‘nogps’ then run ffmpeg for each video in that folder:

cd ~/Desktop/nogps

ffmpeg -i IMG_1000.mov -map 0 -map_metadata -1 -c copy NOGPS_IMG_1000.mov

ffmpeg -i IMG_1001.mov -map 0 -map_metadata -1 -c copy NOGPS_IMG_1001.mov

IMO fatal flaws – OrchestraOne practice management for therapists

  • OrchestraOne touts a flat $20/month cost but (literally) hides huge extra costs on their pricing page that makes it 10x – 20x more expensive even for modest practices. Their “3% for payment processing and $5 per insurance claim submission” is not unreasonable, but it IS (literally) hidden on their Pricing page in a way that I consider outright misleading. see for yourself I assumed it was an oversight, but a month later they still hide that pricing on their pricing page.

  • No self-pay under client control. Hard to believe, but they don’t support clients managing their own credit card info.

    • In order for a client to make a copayment via credit card, the client must give you their card info to store, then you have to initiate the charge. Better systems provide a way (such as base don Stripe Checkout) that lets the client click a link, enter their payment info for that one transaction, and optionally store the info at Stripe for next time.)
  • Literally zero support for any kind of group sessions, much less the full ability to book arbitrary client for a Tuesday night drop-in support groups.

  • No data export feature. They say it is coming, but a database-centric product without data export on Day One is a red flag.

  • Feature-poor. It’s a young product, with IMO far too many shortcomings to be viable for a real practice. Their feature requests page includes such basics as:

    • no support for patient intake/history forms in client portal
    • no ability to sign notes
    • no ability for patient to opt out of SMS reminders
    • no ability for clients to upload docs to their portal (prior lab results for example)
    • no client search by phone or email

IMO fatal flaws – Theranest practice management for therapists

When evaluating practice management software for therapists, Theranest www.theranest.com gets thumbs down for the following reason:

  • Holds your data hostage. If you decide to use Theranest a while, they seem to want to make it as painful as possible to take your marbles (data) if you close your account.
    • Will not export client notes as text. (A printout or PDF is useless when it comes time to import data into a new system. And you know that Theranest knows that.)
    • Will not export client session history as text, not even just dates of past or future sessions.
    • Will not export client payments as text.
  • Literally impossible to schedule support group meetings where the attendees change from meeting to meeting.

Whether or not support group scheduling is important to your practice, as a matter of principle and practicality you should, in my opinion. reject ANY application that doe snot offer complete data portability.