Thursday, May 12, 2005

Blogger Help : What is BlogThis! ?

Blogger Help : What is BlogThis! ?

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Google Went Down Because of DNS Misconfiguration

Have you ever tried to hit and gotten a 404? Me neither. But check this out:
Brief Outages at Google, eBay Make Headlines

Now I've been to Google and I've talked to their DNS guys. I know they use BIND as well as djbdns. For those of you who don't know, BIND sucks, but that is another story. Still, I have to wonder whether there was some kind of hack on Google's DNS servers or whether to attribute this to human error.

Some supposed answers to this question:


Google (NOT) Hacked? Just A DNS Glitch says Google

Statistically human error is more likely to be the root cause of any outage but there are some interesting factors at play here. First, Google has arguably one of the most complex DNS configurations of any internet company. Second, Google has some of the best sysadmins of any internet company. Third, this happened at 5 minutes to midnight on a Saturday night. Cron job anyone?

No matter what happend its pretty remarkable.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Turning Down Offers is Fun

I guess this post could be considered a follow up to my Job Hunt in the Valley. I secured an oral offer from Cosmix today. They sure tried really hard to beat me down. First, they had the senior recruiter from their headhunter call me. He was trying to convince me that salary offer Cosmix was about to make was their best. He went so far as to bet me a lunch that I wouldn't get a penny more. I told him to clear his lunch calendar.

Then, this evening, I got a call from Cosmix co-founder, Venky Harinarayan. He is a nice enough guy and I thought we were getting along quite well. The conversation was frank and I got the chance to pick the brain of a bona fide Venture Capitalist. The gist of his argument was that I should join his company for the "equity," to the tune of 50,000 stock options. My problem with the offer? I have no idea what Cosmix does. Ok, well, I know they want to build a search engine, but come on, hasn't this already been done? So they want to build a better search engine? Well, okay, I suppose but how are you going to make money doing that?

The salary was decent and could be characterized roughly as "market." The problem I saw was that the responsibilites they were looking for me to fill were far greater than those associated with any position in the "market." Here's a partial list of the responsibilities I would assume:

  • Systems Administrator
  • Network Administrator
  • Data Center and Facilities Director
  • Hardware Purchaser
  • LAN Administrator
  • Security Administrator
  • Exchange Administrator (yuck)
and the list goes on. Well, fine, I can do a great job at most of those responsibilies and a pretty good job at the rest (okay, except for the Exchange bit). But taking over all that responsibility ought to come with a corresponding increase in salary.

I know what "market" is for these positions. What I had a harder time with was figuring out how much above market one should be compensating for absorbing *all* these responsibilies.

I had some numbers in mind going in. Based on the interview, I revised my numbers upwards to account for the additional time and headaches of dealing with all these issues at the same time.

Still, in the end, Cosmix was stuck at our near my current salary which meant this was going to amount to a lateral move. Yuck.

So, in the end, I said "No thanks."

Now I just have to figure out where I want to eat lunch.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Asterisk on the Horizon

I work with VoIP every day. My current employer sells a VoIP based contact center solution. The more I think about our business model the more concerned I get that open source is going to leapfrog us. Lately, my concern has been focused on the huge popularity behind Asterisk, the open source PBX solution from Digium Corp.

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My concern is this: we employ 20 engineers of average skill and ability to write and maintain code for our product. By last count, Asterisk developers number over 1000, most of whom are open source experts already. It is not going to take long for the Asterisk folks to tap into our market. Once they do, I believe they will be able to surpass the quality of code we are producing in fairly short order. From there, the rest of our system is fairly trivial, a backend database (MySQL anyone?), a mail server (take your pick), JBoss (already open source) and some web collaboration. This is really not such cutting edge technology and putting it together wouldn't be that hard at all.

Yep, Asterisk is troubling indeed.

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Job Hunt in the Valley

My job hunt is in full swing. Yesterday, I had a second interview with a company called Cosmix. From the sound of it, they are interested in hiring me. When the topic of salary came up I knew it was time to bust out the negotiation skills I worked so hard on in law school. Aparently the interviewer could tell as he complimented me on my stance and said it would come in handy after I was on board. We'll see

Today I got a call from a recruiter at VMware. It's always funny to talk to recruiters because they can talk the talk but they have no clue whether you can. I think if I had told this guy I installed Linux on a network of 1000 flux capacitors he would have kept going right along.

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