Why we switched from Rackspace Cloud Files to Amazon Cloudfront

At RecordSetter.com we’ve been with Rackspace from day one and naturally we’ve been using Cloud Files for our static files CDN. But the camel’s back was broken and we’ve moved that portion of our solution to Amazon CloudFront.

Some background: Cloud Files is analogous to S3. It is a file store that is optimized for the cloud. Cloud Files uses Akamai’s CDN network as a layer on top of Cloud Files whereas Amazon’s cloudfront can be used to front an S3 container or act more like a traditional CDN.

The problem with Rackspace’s solution is that in order for your images, CSS files, etc to get loaded by the CDN you must put them onto Cloud Files first. What makes this difficult is that the only official interface is via an API. There are a number of third party solutions that attempt to provide easier access, but none of them are quite _there_ yet. So even if you figure out how to get files up there as part of your deploy process (I used a custom MS Build task and batch files) you’ll have versioning issues as the function to do a “cache invalidate” has been broken for months.

With this change we also started using Cassette for our versioning, bundling and minification needs instead of a custom solution based on YUI’s compressor.

We still use Rackspace and Akamai for our video streaming and there’s room for improvement there too, but that’s a story for another post.


Pomodoro Technique + Standing Desk

I’ve been doing a full time standing desk for about 18 months now. About 6 months ago though, I was fighting a running injury and was unable to stand all day, so I got a drafting stool and was using that as well. One of the things you’ll experience with a standing desk is that you tend to put yourself into “action mode” instinctively and will resist the temptation to read long articles (I use instapaper for that). Well, I was getting a bit too comfortable in my stool so I ditched it.

The problem is that I’m sortof going back to square one in terms of fitness for standing. My back is hurting.

I had previously done some experimenting with the Pomodoro Technique which basically just says that you should work on something intensely for 20 minutes, take a 5 minute break and repeat. All day long.

So my latest solution is that I’m using an iphone app Pomodoro Timer:


For my breaks I move over to one of our spare computer for 5 minute bursts of checking Twitter + Hacker News + reading whatever I’ve queued up for myself.