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Overheard : Process

Love this quote about process attributed to Tobi Lutke in multiple interviews. He said it in different ways, but here is the gist

There are three kinds of processes

  • Process that makes things that were previously impossible to do, possible. That’s good.
  • Process that makes something that was previously possible significantly simpler, which is also good.
  • Remaining 99.9% of all process that exists in corporate America is the third category, which is actually just telling people to behave slightly different from what common sense tells them to do.

Source :

HOW TO : Add commas (,) at the end of every line using Notepad++

Thanks for this great nugget from Sumama Waheed

Many a time, you get some data as a CSV file and need to copy some of that data and include it in a SQL statement. For instance one of the rows in the CSV was first name in the format below

employee_id
1234
8765
9808
1235
8734
6723

And you need to put it in a SQL statement as below

SELECT * FROM employee_table
WHERE employee_table.employee_id IN (1234,
8765,
9808,
1235,
8734,
6723)

That’s a lot of adding commas (,) at the end of every line. You can do it quickly in Notepad++ (you can do the same in any editor that supports regex) using the regex capability in search and replace using ($) as the search string and $, as the replace string.

HOW TO : Configure nginx to use URI for modifying response content

That was a pretty long title for the post :). I love nginx for it’s flexibility and ease of use. It is like a swiss army knife.. can do a lot of things :).

We needed to serve some dynamic content for one of our use cases. If user visits a site using the following URL format http://example.com/23456789/678543 , we want to respond with some html content that is customized using the 23456789 and 678543 strings.

A picture might help here

Here’s how this was achieved

  • Define a location section in the nginx config to respond to the URL path specified and direct it to substitute content
    location ~ "^/(?<param1>[0-9]{8})/(?<param2>[0-9]{6})" {

            root /var/www/html/test/;
            index template.html;
            sub_filter_once off;
            sub_filter '_first_param_' '$param1';
            sub_filter '_second_param_' '$param2';
            rewrite ^.*$ /template.html break;
    }

create a file named template.html with the following content in /var/www/html/test

Breaking down the config one line at a time

location ~ "^/(?<param1>[0-9]{8})/(?<param2>[0-9]{6})" : The regex is essentially matching for the first set of digits after the / and adding that as the value for variable $param1. The first match is a series of 8 digits with each digit in the range 0-9. The second match is for a series of 6 digits with each digit in the range 0-9 and it will be added as the value for variable $param2

root /var/www/html/test/; : Specifying the root location for the location.

index template.html; : Specifying the home page for the location.

sub_filter_once off; : Specify to the sub_filter module to not stop after the first match for replacing response content. By default it processes the first match and stops.

sub_filter 'first_param' '$param1'; : Direct the sub_filter module to replace any text matching first_param in the response html with value in variable $param1.

sub_filter 'second_param' '$param2'; : Direct the sub_filter module to replace any text matching second_param in the response html with value in variable $param1.

rewrite ^.*$ /template.html break; : Specify nginx to server template.html regardless of the URI specified.

Big thanks to Igor for help with the configs!!

Я вас любил – Pushkin

Loved this English translation of Я вас любил by Alexander Pushkin. One of my most favorite poems in Russian. Thought Robin Kallsen did a great job of translating it into English.

Original – In Russian

Я вас любил: любовь еще, быть может,
В душе моей угасла не совсем;
Но пусть она вас больше не тревожит;
Я не хочу печалить вас ничем.

Я вас любил безмолвно, безнадежно,
То робостью, то ревностью томим;
Я вас любил так искренно, так нежно,
Как дай вам бог любимой быть другим.

Translation – In English

I loved you once, and love, perhaps, has not
Within my soul yet wholly lost its flame;
But please do not be saddened or distraught -
To trouble you would drench my heart in shame. 

I loved you once, though lacking hope completely,
By envy and timidity worn thin;
I loved you so sincerely and so sweetly -
Ah, may God grant you be so loved again!

Overheard : Return on investment from a book

Quote from “The Rebel Allocator” by Jacob L. Taylor on the return on investment from reading a book

For around ten dollars, you get to have an in-depth conversation with an expert who dedicated years to distilling all the information about a topic. For the cost of a mediocre dinner, you get access to years of another human’s effort. I did the math. If it took the author one year of work, you’re paying them about one penny per hour. How much time does this penny-per-hour investment save you in culling through information? We’re talking lifetimes.

Overheard : Giving your best

A power quote by Abraham Lincoln. Ran across it while reading The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World . BTW, the book itself it a great read on history and leadership.

I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so to the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right won’t make any difference.