My Summer Side Project

Last year, around the same time, I decided to create a summer side project to give my brain a rest from the same old.  I love working on FantasySP, but even I have to take a break from the 24/7 grind.

So I decided to set aside some time for a fun side project called Top IAmA.  Basically, it collects IAmA’s from Reddit and repurposes them in a more readable format.  You can also browse these IAmA’s by category.

It’s been growing ever since with a nice loyal fanbase. I was thinking of redesigning Top IAmA this summer and base it on Boostrap so the mobile/tablet experience is more enjoyable.  I probably still will at some point.

But for now, I have a new Summer Project idea.

This summer project is more involved and a lot more challenging. The domain has been bought as of 20 minutes ago.  I can’t say specifically what the project will be, but I will say that it involves a very popular Google service.

My hope is that it will go live at some point this Summer or early Fall.  Stay Tuned.


My coding habits and a look at when I code

I love data, especially when it comes to data that can tell a story.  I was looking at my github account and wondering whether I could see a pattern in the times that I make my commits.  Naturally, I was curious and pulled up my punchcard.

By looking at my punchcard, what type of job do you think I have?  Can you guess?

Github punchcard
Github punchcard

I noticed a few trends:

  1. The most obvious one is that I am not a morning coder and my commits generally don’t start appearing until around 10AM.
  2. I clearly work seven days a week.
  3. My work day does not end at 5PM.
  4. I generally try to wrap up whatever I am working on by 5PM.  This is especially true from Wednesday – Friday.
  5. I work the least on a Saturday.
  6. On Thursday and Friday I tend to work even later than earlier in the week.  My guess is that I’m trying my best to finish what I am working on before the weekend comes.  Generally on the weekend I tend to add some polish on whatever I released during the week.  So that tends to be more fun coding with less heavy lifting.
  7. Monday and Tuesday I tend to work way past 5PM.  My guess is that I’m eager to get going at what I’m coding and after the weekend I’m a bit more refreshed.
  8. When it comes to a Saturday night I tend to code the latest.  So much for partying.  Boy, I’m such a geek.

Some things you may not know.  I work for myself and run my own company called FantasySP.  Hopefully by my commits, you’ll notice that I am dedicated to the project.  As the sole employee, I feel the pinch to get things done.

Is my commit pattern different than yours?  Does your day job force you to have a much different schedule?  Do salary developers work seven days a week as well?

I encourage everyone to write about their own punchcards.


New Theme

It’s time for a new theme here.  I was looking for something simple, clean, easy to read, and fluid.  Oh yea, and free.  So this is it.  The designer did an incredible job with this one.


The cost of running a boot-strapped startup

I’ve seen a few well known entrupenurs make mention of services that they pay for and I’d like to join the club.  For those of you unfamiliar with me, I run a fantasy sports news aggregator called FantasySP.  You can sync fantasy leagues rosters/transactions and be alerted of real-time player tends.  This is bootstrapped in every single way, as I am the sole employee and have zero funding.

The following companies are awesome and deserve my money and/or praise.

Web Host: ServInt $200/month

Not a flashy name in the hosting industry, but they provide solid managed services.  I use their Solo Express server to run FantasySP on a standard LAMP stack. A few other sites (like this one) also run on it.  It is actually about 10% cheaper than this because I pay a year in full.

Cheap Cloud Host: Rackspace Cloud $25/month

For all of those background processes that need to be run for FantasySP, a cheap cloud server from Rackspace does the job with a very fair price.  Highly recommend it to anyone who wants a cheap host to screw around with or run dozens of cronjobs. 🙂

CDN/DNS: Amazon Cloudfront & Cloudflare $8/month / FREE

Amazon Cloudfront is where I store most of my images,stylesheets, and javascript to speed things up.  For the images that slip through the cracks, there is Cloudflare, which offers an amazing service that is part CDN, part firewall, and part dns optimizer.  I have written about them in the past.  I use their free service, the rest of the $8 is spent on Amazon’s Cloudfront.

Version Control System: Github $7/month

Seriously, where else would I host FantasySP’s code and have version control.  Github is my first and only choice.

Realtime Analytics: Clicky $4.16/month

The best real-time analytics package out there.  I have no idea why people in the industry seem to blindly love chartbeat. Clicky is better in every way combing historical and real-time analytics in a great UI.

Application Performance Analysis: NewRelic $50/month

The best real-time software to monitor how your application is performing.  This has enabled me to spend less money on my hosting due to optimizations based on what NewRelic data and graphics tells me.  FantasySP zooms and NewRelic has a lot to do with it.  With around 700,000 pageviews per month, FantasySP remains rock solid.  These guys rock and are totally worth the money.

Source Code Editor: Notepad++ FREE

Notepad++ for windows, its free and it does just about everything those super expensive pay ones do.  (Why the heck is UltraEdit so damn expensive?)

Grand Total: $295 per month

This brings my grand total of web developer / startup related expenses to about $295.  The good news is that FantasySP more than makes up for these expenditures.  I try to not waste any money, so how do my expenses stack up to yours?  I am guessing most companies pay at least $500 per month JUST for hosting.


Full Disclosure, some of the links provided here are affiliate links.