Full Stack Toronto meetup July 2, 2014

Nick and Xiyang will discuss continuous delivery on a full-stack JavaScript stack and how today’s DevOps and Test-Driven-Development processes have enabled the seismic shift in best practices from frequent delivery to continuous delivery. Nick will present an updated maturity model for shifting to continuous delivery and Xiyang will share best practices learned on several rangle.io projects.

Nick and Xiyang from rangle.io on continuous delivery – both the benefits of it, and what it takes to do it. Important things I remember from a week afterward:

  1. Continuous delivery not only requires the right tools and software, but discipline and commitment from a team of developers
  2. Moving a product development team from using bad development and deployment practices to using continuous delivery can take over a year
  3. Continuous integration with unit tests and E2E tests is an important step in that process
  4. Rolling back an application to a previous build should be as simple as deploying a new build

Nick is inspired by Six Sigma techniques when thinking about minimizing variances and improving the efficiency of development when moving a project towards continuous integration.

Continuous Delivery for Modern JavaScript Applications

Wednesday, Jul 2, 2014, 7:00 PM

MaRS Commons
101 College St. Suite 230 Toronto, ON

25 Full Stackers Went

Nick and Xiyang will discuss continuous delivery on a full-stack JavaScript stack and how today’s DevOps and Test-Driven-Development processes have enabled the seismic shift in best practices from frequent delivery to continuous delivery. Nick will present an updated maturity model for shifting to continuous delivery and Xiyang will share best prac…

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Counter balanced sit/stand desks

There are 3 ways of moving height adjustable desks up and down:

  1. Hand cranks
  2. Electric power
  3. Counter balances

Hand cranks aren’t for lazy people because they take repetitive physical effort to spin. Electric desks aren’t for impatient people because they are slow.

Counter balanced based desks are interesting to me. They use springs or pneumatic systems to offset the weight of the things on them, and move as fast as your arms and hands can push them up or down.

HumanScale Float Table

The Float Table is the best design I’ve seen yet. Why?

  • No crossbars to bang your legs against
  • Spring-based counter balance can be adjusted with an easy to reach hand crank
  • Includes a mechanism to prevent the desk from going flying up or down when the load on the desk changes and no longer matches the counter balance’s strength

The desk moved smoothly and quietly when I tried it at the HumanScale showroom.


It is possible to buy the Float’s base without the desk top.

Ergotron WorkFit-D

The Workfit D is half the price of the Float Table, but makes some compromises:

  • adjusting the counter balance requires getting on the floor behind the desk with a ratchet and turning a hidden bolt on each leg
  • has crossbars that may hit your legs when sitting


The base is available without the top. Look for the WorkFit-B HD

Varidesk Pro

Varidesk makes a full size adjustable height desk along with their risers that go on top of existing desks. I’d like to see the Varidesk Pro in person. I wonder if the handle-holes ever get in the way.

StepsCount SC45

The SC45‘s dual-surface design is unique. The rear surface is static, and the front surface moves up and down on a gas lift and can be tilted. It is designed and sold by one small Canadian company, and I can’t find much written about it anywhere online.

Globe Stamping EZ Lift II

The EZ Lift II is a pair of arms that can be combined with an existing wall and desk surface to create an adjustable height desk. I tried it out at the Brigholme Interiors Group showroom and found it worked very well. Quiet, smooth, and it could be bolted on to a base with wheels to make it portable. Here’s the brochure.

Haworth Planes Table with Torsion Paddle

Haworth Planes Table

Haworth offers a pneumatic-lift height adjustable version of the Planes Table.

Torsion pneumatic cylinder provides continuous adjustment range within 27″(686mm) to 45″(1143mm) height range.
Paddle is standard in black.
Base standard with Trivalent chrome telescoping base tubes.

Online details are slim, so check page 182 and 183 of this PDF.

Global Height Adjustable Table

Global Adjustable Table

Another table without a ton of details online. A bit under $1000 CAD with a single crank to adjust the counter-balance. Ugoburo sells it.

Toronto WebPerf Meetup July 18, 2014

Web Performance Toronto

Organized by Barbara Bermes. Hosted at EventMobi. Blake Crosby talked about Google Page Speed.

  • The Insights web application is good for testing out lives sites (yours, and those of others)
  • The Chrome plugin is good for testing your in-prgoress sites while offline/not publicly accessible, and appears in Chrome’s dev tools
  • The Apache and nginx Page Speed modules are great for speeding up existing websites and can be enabled/disabled on a per-vhost basis
  • The API could be good for integrating a speech check into a build process

Other similar tools include:

Blake showed that the top 4 sites in Alexa’s rankings (Yahoo, Google, Facebook, YouTube) all had Page Speed Insights rankings above 97%. Just for kicks, here’s a few lower ranking sites:

Alexa Rank URL Insights score
19 Sohu.com 70%
21 Yandex.ru 75%
22 vk.com 85%
23 bing.com 89%
24 wordpress.com 86%

He also talked about how SPDY and HTTP2 protocols are different and better than HTTP. Slides are here

Shalom talked about keeping a front-end codebase neat and tidy

  • Try custom icon fonts (see Font Awesome)
  • Try Object Oriented CSS
  • Did you know that browers still animated gif when they are off-screen? It’s safest to take your spinny activity indicator gifs out of the DOM when they aren’t needed

HumanScale M2 and Ergotron LX Monitor arms

I’ve been using a HumanScale M2 at home for 2 months now, and just purchased an Ergotron LX desk mount arm to hold up my laptops. Here’s my thoughts so far.

3 things I love about monitor arms

  1. Pulling the monitor closer to my face using my hands instead of pulling my face closer to the monitor using my neck and spine is a very good thing.

  2. Arms have smaller footprints than stock monitor stands, and are at the back of the desk leaving more room for tablets, paper, cats, and other stuff.

  3. With arms mounted at the back/sides of the desk, the rest of the desk has fewer wires getting tangled on top of it and is easier to keep clean.

HumanScale M2

Humanscale M2

I picked up an almost-new HumanScale M2 off of Kijiji for about $100. When purchased new it has a 15 year warranty, so I have faith it will last a while. Mine came with a bolt-through mount which was easy to install. My mostly-hollow Ikea Linnmon table-top has no problem supporting it so far.

The arm looks great, and is currently holding up a ~12 lb Dell 2208WFP monitor with no issues. It takes 2 hands and some force to adjust the position and angle. This could mean I haven’t set the tension settings properly, or a result of the monitor being on the light side of the suggested weight range. Being able to rotate the monitor 360 (limited only by the power and display cables) is great, but sometimes I can’t tell if the monitor is level or not which leads to fidgeting with it.

October 2014 update: The M2 is now holding up a ~14 lb 27″ BenQ BL2710PT with no problem. The range of motion allows me to lower the monitor almost to the surface of my desk, or raise the bottom of the frame 8.5″ up in the air. I move it a bit every day, depending on how I’m sitting.

Ergotron LX Desk Mount Arm

Ergotron LX arm

The Ergotron LX Desk Mount Arm should be a great value if it doesn’t break. It’s half the price of a new M2 with two mount types included (but only a 5 year warranty), has similar reach and supported weight range specs, and has greater angle adjustment range than the M2. I plan to use this arm to hold up a laptop. It is chunkier looking than the M2, but allows me to lock the rotation of the monitor at a level angle, and can also tilt back much farther.

October 2014 update: The LX and its notebook tray accessory have been holding up numerous 13″ – 15″ laptops reliably for a few months now. One of my favourite things to do is raise it up to about 14″, and then run another notebook or multiple touchscreen devices on my desk under the tray. It’s like having a shelf. I can test web apps on a lot of devices simultaneously right in front of me this way.

Things these arms have common

  • Spring based vertical tension (no gas cylinders)
  • Mostly made of aluminium
  • Similar reach distance
  • Similar minimum and maximum weights
  • Lots of good reviews on Amazon

Things that are different

  • M2 has a 3x longer warranty
  • M2 is usually 2x the price
  • M2 has a quick release VESA plate that makes it easier to swap monitors
  • LX has a wider ranger of monitor angle adjustments
  • LX can lock monitor rotation (using 1 screw) to keep the monitor level

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