• Managing the yuck

    If you're a manager, you'll encounter yuck. What I mean is all the things that you hesitate to tackle, issues that you'd rather avoid and pretend they don't exist.

    So you don't want to actively engage with the yuck. But you should, says
    Allison O’Neill over on Slow Leadership!

    The best leaders constantly seek out the weakest parts of the business so something can be done about them. Yuck isn’t scary and yuck isn’t terrible. It is powerful and wonderful. It is the kind of stuff that once addressed can totally overhaul workplaces, people and profits.

    Improvement and innovation comes from people that address the yuck despite all the people admiring the emperor's new clothes.

    That's what we did today when we talked about how we can provide 24/7 IT services in a team that suffers from a very unhealthy responsibility-to-headcount ratio. To be honest, I was unsure how much the team was willing to productively work towards a solution instead of just venting frustration and anger about missing growth. But we found some very interesting approaches towards meeting the relevant demands. I'm glad that I decided to tackle the topic once and for all and gained hope that we'll find a solution as a team.

    I'll keep trying not to hesitate to address the yuck in my job. But I wonder if the 'stupidest thing we do around here' competition Allison talks about wouldn't take us weeks to decide upon a winner. ;-)

  • Twitter starts OAuth beta test

    For a long time now, many websites providing a service to Twitter users had to use those users' credentials to get access to their profile, messages or to post tweets in their name. For example, I've given my credentials to TwitPic, Twitterfeed, Remember the Milk and Skitch.

    Many people are quick to give away their username and password -- and as many learn the hard way why that's a bad idea. When Twply, a service emailing your "@name" replies, first promised "Your password is safe with us. No worries." and then sold on eBay for $1200 after one day, a lot of people that had given up their username and password there were left wondering what the new owner would do with those credentials.

    In software development, the underlying structures of best practices are called "patterns". Using one's username and password on a service to get access to another service has many bad implications and is therefore called an "antipattern", a practice that should be discouraged.

    Finally now, the Twitter crew has done its homework and is testing OAuth, a protocol to give one service access to another service in your name without revealing your password.

    I'm sure that this move will make even more Twitter support services appear, and now you don't have to do a multi-day due diligence period until you gather the courage to enter your credentials outside of Twitter any more.

  • Tauren Birthday Cake

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    My birthday cake, made by Carolin with 39 candles and a hand-drawn Tauren.

  • Coming to OSDC

    On April 29th and 30th, I'm taking the "opportunity to meet with Open Source professionals and insiders, gather and share information over 2 days of presentations, hands-on workshops and social networking" by visiting the Open Source Data Center Conference.

    Talks I'm especially interested in are:

    • Luke Kanies: Using Puppet for Unix automation and configuration management
    • Alexei Vladishev: Open Source Enterprise Monitoring with Zabbix
    • Florian Haas: Virtual consolidated HA: Virtualization with KVM, Pacemaker, and DRBD
    • Balazs Scheidler: syslog-ng 3.0, opening new possibilities
    • Kristian Köhntopp: Using kickstart and puppet to automate system administration
    • Kristian Köhntopp: MySQL database architecture and performance in big environments
    • Florian Forster: Performance analysis in big environments with collectd
    • Michael Prokop: Open Source and enterprise: the attempt at convergence
    • Marco Knüttel: Load balancing with Linux Virtual Server
    • Jens Bothe: Design of CI classes for data centers in OTRS::ITSM
    • Dr. Michael Schwartzkopff: Linux-HA Version 2
    • Dennis Stücken: i-doit / Open Source CMDB
    • Geert Vanderkelen: MySQL Cluster
    • Benedikt Stockebrand: IPv6 in the data center -- but not without Open Source

    I'm looking forward to getting insight into current developments and even more to meeting up with other IT executives. Are any of my ex-colleagues (apart from Kris, obviously) going to go to OSDC? I'd be happy to get together with you for some beer in the evening!

  • Rackspace leases new data center

    Since Rackspace Hosting is running out of floor space in their primary data center, they had to decide between building a new location and to buy or lease existing data center space.

    As Data Center Knowledge reports, they chose leasing:

    The company considered building additional data center space in its new headquarters facility in a former shopping center in San Antonio, but later indicated that it believed it could save money by buying or leasing instead.

    Finally, the company decided on expanding by leasing a data center in Auburn, Virginia, because this "will enable it to serve customer demand more quickly and cost effectively than if Rackspace built its own facility".

    Like after the first dot com bubble, there's unused data center space at many places because companies decided (and had to money) to build big. In the current economic situation, though, it seems wise to buy or lease that existing space instead of incurring huge new building costs.