Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Facebook's Hack-A-Months Cause Disruption, Innovation | Fast Company

Tech giants such as Google to Facebook are famous for hack-a-thons, all-night marathon coding sessions where eager employees build something unrelated to their current projects. While a break from the usual grind helps free programmers for more creative pursuits, the one day time-limit can stunt innovation and lead to only tiny breakthroughs.

For truly disruptive products, Facebook needed a truly disruptive practice, so they stretched the hyper-focused concept of the hack-at-thon another 29 days, where employees do nothing but intensively build out ambitious projects. Among hack-a-month's many successes is Facebook Deals, the Groupon-like daily deal feature that vaulted the social networking site into the e-commerce industry (check out MTV's coverage of a Facebook hack-a-thon below).

"I can't imagine [Facebook Deals] happening faster without hack-a-month," says engineering manager David Ferguson.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Nobody tells you what you have to do—only what you don't have to do. - Red Bull country

Little known outside of his native Austria, Dietrich Mateschitz is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our age, a man who single-handedly changed the landscape of the beverage industry by creating not just a new brand but a whole new category: the energy drink. As the visionary who brought the world Red Bull, affectionately known as "speed in a can" or even "liquid cocaine," Mateschitz, 67, has been a patron saint for more than two decades to late-night partiers, exam-week undergrads, long-haul truckers, and, above all, extreme-sports athletes everywhere.

In return for his sickly sweet innovation, the world has made him very, very rich. Last year the privately held company, also named Red Bull, says it sold 4.2 billion cans of its drink, including more than a billion in the U.S. alone. That represents a 7.9 percent increase over the year before, and revenues jumped 15.8 percent to $5.175 billion. Mateschitz runs an efficient enterprise that has yet to trip on its rapid growth: At the end of 2004, he had just 2,605 employees; in 2010, Red Bull employed 7,758 people—which works out to more than $667,000 in revenue per person.

Now he's set his sights on media. On May 15, subscribers to the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, Houston Chronicle, and New York Daily News found a magazine called Red Bulletin inserted in their Sunday papers. The 98-page glossy features a cover story on San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum, as well as pieces on Bob Dylan, graffiti art, and Russian BASE jumper Valery Rozov. Billed as "an almost independent monthly," the magazine is a product of Red Bull Media House, a subsidiary media company launched in Austria in 2007 that expanded with a Los Angeles outpost this January.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Nobody tells you what you have to do—only what you don't have to do. - Red Bull country

Little known outside of his native Austria, Dietrich Mateschitz is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our age, a man who single-handedly changed the landscape of the beverage industry by creating not just a new brand but a whole new category: the energy drink. As the visionary who brought the world Red Bull, affectionately known as "speed in a can" or even "liquid cocaine," Mateschitz, 67, has been a patron saint for more than two decades to late-night partiers, exam-week undergrads, long-haul truckers, and, above all, extreme-sports athletes everywhere.

In return for his sickly sweet innovation, the world has made him very, very rich. Last year the privately held company, also named Red Bull, says it sold 4.2 billion cans of its drink, including more than a billion in the U.S. alone. That represents a 7.9 percent increase over the year before, and revenues jumped 15.8 percent to $5.175 billion. Mateschitz runs an efficient enterprise that has yet to trip on its rapid growth: At the end of 2004, he had just 2,605 employees; in 2010, Red Bull employed 7,758 people—which works out to more than $667,000 in revenue per person.

Now he's set his sights on media. On May 15, subscribers to the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, Houston Chronicle, and New York Daily News found a magazine called Red Bulletin inserted in their Sunday papers. The 98-page glossy features a cover story on San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum, as well as pieces on Bob Dylan, graffiti art, and Russian BASE jumper Valery Rozov. Billed as "an almost independent monthly," the magazine is a product of Red Bull Media House, a subsidiary media company launched in Austria in 2007 that expanded with a Los Angeles outpost this January.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Woohoo finally! Disabled annoying animation. Saves me 1/2 secs of productivity waste looking at useless animations.

ran across this tidbit in the HyperSpaces FAQ and I know I haven't seen it here before (and I'm quite the avid OSX Hints follower).

It has really sped up changing between Spaces workspaces for me (which I do probably over 100 times/day). Once you've seen the 'swoosh' animation a few hundred times, you don't really need to see it again. Please note the requirement of running 10.6.4 or later.

Here's how to disable the animation that occurs when switching between Spaces:

  • Open /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app.
  • Copy and paste the following into the terminal window and then press enter:
    defaults write com.apple.dock workspaces-swoosh-animation-off -bool YES && killall Dock
If you'd like to re-enable the animation, just do the following:
  • Open Terminal.
  • Copy and paste the following into the terminal window and then press enter:
    defaults delete com.apple.dock workspaces-swoosh-animation-off && killall Dock
The original reference is here.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

If you ever wonder what Facebook does to support their scale, InfoQ has lots of videos.

Facebook: Science and the Social Graph

Mar 25, 2009 ... In this presentation filmed during QCon SF 2008, Aditya Agarwal discusses Facebook's architecture, more exactly the software stack used, ...


http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Facebook-Software-Stack

Facebook's Graph API: The Future Of Semantic Web?

Apr 24, 2010 ... There are two important themes behind everything we're delivering today.” says Bret Taylor, head of Facebook's platform products in the ...


http://www.infoq.com/news/2010/04/facebook-graph-api

Scale at Facebook

May 28, 2010 ... Beside presenting the overall Facebook architecture and scaling solutions used, Aditya Agarwal talks about the iterative process of ...


http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Scale-at-Facebook

Evolution of Code Design at Facebook

Apr 28, 2011 ... Nick Schrock presents how Facebook's code evolved over time, explaining some new constructs – fbobjects, Preparables, Ents - introduced to ...


http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Evolution-of-Code-Design-at-Facebook

Facebook's Petabyte Scale Data Warehouse using Hive and Hadoop

Feb 21, 2010 ... Ashish Thusoo and Namit Jain explain how Facebook manages to deal with 12 TB of compressed new data everyday with Hive's help.


http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Facebook-Hive-Hadoop

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Always inspect your changes before committing; if it doesn't let you review easily, fix it.

Committing code into source control is easy – too easy! (Makes you wonder why the previous point seems to be so hard.) Anyway, what you end up with is changes and files being committed with reckless abandon. “There’s a change somewhere beneath my project root – quick – get it committed!”

What happens is one (or both) of two things: Firstly, people inadvertently end up with a whole bunch of junk files in the repository. Someone sees a window like the one below, clicks “Select all” and bingo – the repository gets polluted with things like debug folders and other junk that shouldn’t be in there.

A commit window showing a lot of files that shouldn't be in source control

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Monday, May 2, 2011

The traffic shift was executed incorrectly... and then came down everything in the cloud.

At 12:47 AM PDT on April 21st, a network change was performed as part of our normal AWS scaling activities in a single Availability Zone in the US East Region. The configuration change was to upgrade the capacity of the primary network. During the change, one of the standard steps is to shift traffic off of one of the redundant routers in the primary EBS network to allow the upgrade to happen. The traffic shift was executed incorrectly and rather than routing the traffic to the other router on the primary network, the traffic was routed onto the lower capacity redundant EBS network. For a portion of the EBS cluster in the affected Availability Zone, this meant that they did not have a functioning primary or secondary network because traffic was purposely shifted away from the primary network and the secondary network couldn’t handle the traffic level it was receiving. As a result, many EBS nodes in the affected Availability Zone were completely isolated from other EBS nodes in its cluster. Unlike a normal network interruption, this change disconnected both the primary and secondary network simultaneously, leaving the affected nodes completely isolated from one another.

When this network connectivity issue occurred, a large number of EBS nodes in a single EBS cluster lost connection to their replicas. When the incorrect traffic shift was rolled back and network connectivity was restored, these nodes rapidly began searching the EBS cluster for available server space where they could re-mirror data. Once again, in a normally functioning cluster, this occurs in milliseconds. In this case, because the issue affected such a large number of volumes concurrently, the free capacity of the EBS cluster was quickly exhausted, leaving many of the nodes “stuck” in a loop, continuously searching the cluster for free space. This quickly led to a “re-mirroring storm,” where a large number of volumes were effectively “stuck” while the nodes searched the cluster for the storage space it needed for its new replica. At this point, about 13% of the volumes in the affected Availability Zone were in this “stuck” state.

Posted via email from markjeee.com

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Once upon a time


Taken at Briza Homes, Consolacion

Posted via email from markjeee.com