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Author Archives: Scott Motte

About Scott Motte

Programmer and tinkerer. Fledgling Devangelist @SendGrid. Follow me @scottmotte.

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Articles Posted by Scott


Open Source: Pull Request Driven Development

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Pull Requests are my favorite feature of GitHub. They are the way I prefer to do development. Avoid Communication Breakdown There is necessarily a lot of discussion that happens when writing code. On a team of one, this discussion happens in your brain. On a local team of two or three, it happens IRL. These approaches work ok, but they break down when the team is remote or four-plus people. So, how do you avoid this breakdown in communication? Often, teams turn to an external tool like Basecamp. I recommend against that. Those conversations live too far away from where

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How to Launch a Rocket with an Arduino and Node.js

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Recently, I had the chance to teach kids how to launch rockets using Arduinos. As you might guess, it was a blast. We wrote a countdown program using Node.js, hooked the program up to an Arduino, and wired up the Arduino. This sent an electrical signal to the rocket engine, igniting it. In this tutorial, I show you how to do the same. Prerequisites You will need the following materials: Arduino Mega 2560 Board. You could use a different Arduino board, but I recommend the Mega. NodeJS installed on your computer. It is relatively easy to install. You can go

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Complete Guide to Set Up Raspberry Pi Without a Keyboard and Mouse

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Raspberry Pi is a fun little “computer” that is an expandable hardware board with un-ending possibilities for hacking. The one downside is it can be tricky to get started if you don’t have an extra keyboard and mouse hanging around. The following tutorial makes it reasonably easy to set up your Raspberry Pi without a keyboard and mouse. All you need is a Raspberry Pi with a Wifi Adapter and a router with an available ethernet port. From there, it’s a two step process: Install Unix on the SD Card Configure the Raspberry Pi’s Wifi Let’s take those one at

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Remember to Floss With an Interactive Reminder Email

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It’s been over a month since New Year’s Day, but I’m still trying to keep some of my New Year’s resolutions. I’ve found the best way to keep them is to have someone remind you—nag you, really. Likely, your friends don’t want to spend their free moments nagging you though. So, let’s have SendGrid do it instead. Resolve to Be a Flosser You’re likely familiar with sending email through SendGrid, but we can also receive it via the Inbound Parse Webhook. We can combine the two to act like a person reminding us of our New Year’s resolution. How? We’ll

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Long Live the Informal Hackathon

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The Major League Hackathons–Penn Apps, MHacks, BoilerMake, and HackTech–are great. Go to these. But go to the small hackathons, too. Good things come from the small, informal hackathons. And you can even easily organize one yourself. The very first hackathon was small. I’m stating the obvious, but hackathons did not start as large organized events with multiple sponsors. They started as informal get-togethers. People like you, the makers and creators, got together to create something cool. Where to Start Hold informal hackathons. Get a handful of friends, pick a venue like your co-working space or apartment, and pitch in for

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Keep Your New Year’s Resolution to Code More

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The year 2014 is here and with it New Year’s resolutions. My New Year’s resolution is to commit more open source code. Little apps like this one by Nick Quinlan are helping to keep that at the forefront of my mind. Specifically, I want to complete a 30 day GitHub commit streak. I’m bad at remembering to commit so I built an application to remind me. It’s called github-streaker. It checks your GitHub commits each day. If you haven’t made any commits that day, it sends you a reminder email using SendGrid. You can deploy github-streaker in just a few

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A Sinatra and Heroku Application Template in 20 Lines

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Heroku is a great web publishing platform. Additionally, Sinatra is a great ruby web framework. In this post, I’ll show you how to quickly combine the two. I have created a sinatra-heroku-template app to make it easy on you. All files combined, it is only 20 lines of code. Do the following to get it up and running. git clone git://github.com/scottmotte/sinatra-heroku-cedar-template.git gem install bundler bundle heroku create yourwebapp git push heroku master bundle exec heroku open That’s it. You now have a bare bones Ruby app running in production on Heroku. Add your own code as necessary. Here’s a breakdown

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