Here are just some interesting gems and other software that have caught my attention recently:
oh-my-zsh makes it easy to use zshell as a replacement for bash on OS X. It is very easy to install and comes with a whole bunch of useful plugins. I've only really dived half into it but already feel like it's been making my console better. I personally love how it shows the Git branch I'm working on at the moment.
Bloom Filters are a very cool way of doing a quick and space efficient lookup if an item exists in a set. It's used by databases and caches, and Google uses it for their Save Browsing service. There's some cool ruby gems that make it easy to use them and I already have an idea where to deploy them next.
How Github uses Github is pretty much how we use Github at EmberAds. The more we do it the more I see the benefits especially:
We work asynchronously
We use the hell out of Campfire
Master is always deployable
Pull Requests are our code reviews, requests for comments, and discussion boards.
Other apps have great features like prioritising stuff. But honestly, we have barely touched BaseCamp in weeks.
Fast UUID generation is something we needed at EmberAds seeing as we use UUIDs everywhere and most of the Ruby gems were rather slow. Caius cooked up a Ruby gem that uses a native C library which in our simple benchmarks spit out UUIDs about 6x faster.
On that note, actsasuuid is what we use to store UUIDs on our models in Postgres.
Rake progressbar makes it easier for me to understand if I can go and make a brew or not when some of my rake tasks are running.
And finally, static site generators like Nanoc, Jekyll, and Octopress (used on this site) have been really catching my eye lately. Mainly because of the security and scaling implications. I've been working on a blog post on this, mainly to inspire regular bloggers that you don't need a big server and a massive database to render a Wordpress site that will load slow as hell regardless.