Gaurav Chande

Product & Engg at Wavy, Shopify alumnus

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Too brief to worry

Here’s a few ruminative words (from this interesting book I’m reading) on the history of our existence.

To be here now, alive in the twenty-first century and smart enough to know it, you had to be the beneficiary of an extraordinary string of biological good fortune. Survival on Earth is a surprisingly tricky business. Of the billions and billions of species of living thing that have existed since the dawn of time, most—99.99 percent—are no longer around. Life on Earth, you see, is not only brief but dismayingly tenuous. It is a curious feature of our existence that we come from a planet that is very good at promoting life but even better at extinguishing it.

The average species on Earth lasts for only about four million years, so if you wish to be around for billions of years, you must be as fickle as the atoms that made you. At various periods over the last 3.8 billion years you have...

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ISO image to USB drive or SD Card on a Mac (without using Disk Utility)

I was trying to restore a USB volume with a .iso file source recently using Disk Utility on the Mac OS (10.9). It simply did not work; I kept getting those ‘Could not validate source’ errors. Even ‘Scan Image for Restore’ option returned the same error. Turns out, Disk Utility is useless for this work.

There’s a simple command you can run in the Terminal app instead, which does the trick. First things first, you need to find out the ‘identifier’ for your USB (or SD Card). Just open up Disk Utility (yea, that same dreadful app), find your USB drive on the sidebar and click it. Now click the info button on the top bar. Look for the value of ‘Disk Identifier’. It should be something like ‘disk2’ or ‘disk3’. Lets say, in your case, the identifier you found is called ‘disk2’.

Second step is to unmount the partition so that you don’t get the Resource busy error. Your USB drive should have a...

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Enough with the self-doubt

Browsing through tweets in your Twitter timeline, you click around some intriguing things people shared. Those things include some wonderful creations – a product, a presentation, a blog article or some other cool thing somebody shipped. You’re amazed. But, you also feel small now. Your confidence in your ability is lower than it was before you started reading those tweets. Sometimes you consciously feel this self-doubt, while other times it’s bubbling up in your subconscious.

Rewind back a few years. What was the reason you liked this service, Twitter? You liked it because it enabled you to learn things from some amazing people, many of whom you did not even personally know. But now you’re here, letting your attitude pollute instead, thinking you’re not as good as those people.

The difference between you and them is not that you’re not as good. The difference is that they’ve mastered...

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Best of 2013

Started reflecting on 2013 and felt happy about how it went, especially in terms of all the new things I came across. Here’s a small list of the best of those things.

Best new experience: Backpacking across United States

Going on a backpacking trip to the US with nothing planned beforehand, was definitely one of the best new things I tried. It was tough initially, starting with no place to live in Miami. But it turned into an interesting experience, travelling from Miami to Key West to Orlando to San Francisco to Yosemite National Park and finally from there to New York City. Couple good things travelling like this teaches you:

  • Talking to strangers about their city is fun
  • Reminds you that there’s life beyond checking your email and twitter every now and again

Best book (technical): Sandi Metz’s Practical Object-Oriented Design in Ruby

There are many enlightening thoughts in this...

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New Year’s resolution

I love this ritual of setting a resolution at the beginning of every year. So many people committing to something new and powerful that ends up making each of them a better person – makes me feel happier about the world.

This year I’m targeting a long-standing bad habit: failing to follow a fixed schedule consistently.

We all talk about working on something we’re passionate about. Thoughts on passion, like Confucius’ quote ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life’, are decorated and celebrated. But when you do follow your passion, you’ll realize that it’s not enough. You’ll quickly start to see that things like discipline, hard work and perseverance are way more important. Passion does make it easier to attain these other bigger qualities, but they’re still very hard and need a lot of effort.

I choose discipline. I think it is what I need to work on...

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Why Vincent van Gogh inspires me

He did not begin painting until his late twenties, completing many of his best-known works during the last two years of his life. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings, sketches and prints.

Everyone has to cross a certain number of hurdles to reach the place they intend to reach. But it totally depends on you, how many you cross every day.

In short, it takes great things years, yes, but it depends a good deal on your motivation and the intensity of your practise. That’s something that can set you apart.

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Discipline is the differentiator.

You think you know the difference between a hero and a coward, Mike? Well, there is no difference between a hero and a coward in what they feel. It’s what they do that makes them different. The hero and the coward feel exactly the same, but you have to have the discipline to do what a hero does and to keep yourself from doing what the coward does.

– Cus D’Amato, Mike Tyson’s Trainer

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The Story of How I Got Hired (As a Developer at Shopify)

I’m a self-taught programmer. Three years ago, I graduated as a Chemical Engineer in India, clueless about what I wanted to do in life. Today, I work as a developer at Shopify in Toronto.

Now the first thing many people ask me is ‘how did you end up working with Shopify when you were still in India?’

I’ve been one of those “passionate programmers” for some time now (although I did not know squat about software development until a little over 2 years ago). In March of last year, while freelancing as a developer back home, I started to consider working at some interesting startup; one where I could learn a lot.

After reading this interview with Shopify’s CEO, Tobi, I was sold; especially after seeing his answer to “What’s your goal for the company?” So I started following the company’s work a little bit. After looking up the expectations of a ‘Developer Intern’ position on their jobs...

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Quirky is okay

‘Revolution’ is a term that people use only when you’re successful. Before that, you’re just a quirky person who does things differently.


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What is ‘Rack’ in Ruby/Rails?

Lets start with a basic browser-server interaction. Say you’re developing an app with Rails (or any other Ruby web framework) and it has a page located at ‘http://localhost:3000/users’ that displays all users. The ‘/users’ request is going to go to your Rails server asking to show all users.

Behind the scenes, this HTTP request that the browser sends looks like this:

// Request by the browser

GET /users HTTP/1.1
Host: localhost
Connection: close

And, the response sent by the server looks like:

// Response by the server

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Length: 25
Content-Type: text/html

Now, say you’re a web server. You have this Rails app loaded in you. And some browser came to you with that request having path ‘/users’. As a server you understand this HTTP request. But you don’t know what to do with it. You have to give it to your Rails app, because it knows very well...

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