• Digg The Code

    I don't give much about the whole hoopla around the cracked HD-DVD code. Kevin's reaction actually was the only right thing to do: By taking sides with the Digg mob he will either be the Knight in Shining Armor or the Martyr for the Cause -- a hero in both cases.

    But what's really interesting is the many creative ways people spread The Code. Take, for example, the Wired Code Photo Gallery

    I also like Geoff Smith's song (and not only because of Cali's bouncing around):

    Force by sheer mass doesn't impress me much. But creativity always does.

  • Let's just copy the whole thing

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Noone knows that better than successful internet services. That's why there are clones of Slashdot (I developed one myself in 1999 -- my first weblog), clones of Digg, and now clones of Twitter, too.

    But there's a line between imitation and outright plagiarism, and this line certainly has been crossed in my opinion when German Twitter clone Wamadu not only copied Twitter's functions and looks, but also the complete Twitter API Documentation Even if you don't know German, the headlines alone give away that Wamadu's equivalent is a blatant copy.

    Where Twitter's documentation ends with

    This document is authored and maintained by Alex Payne, an engineer working on Twitter at Obvious.

    the Wamadu texts finishes

    Dieses Dokument wurde von thorsten, einem der wamadu-Programmierer erstellt und wird auch von ihm aktualisiert.

    Someone should explain to "thorsten" that there's a thing called copyright. And maybe, other things like ethics and self-respect.

  • Amazon S3 as storage backend for MySQL

    I found on the agenda of the MySQL Conference & Expo 2007 that Mark Atwood presented in his talk A Storage Engine for Amazon S3,how to use the Simple Storage Service to store the data of a MySQL database.

    That MySQL allows to exchange the storage engine with plugins is a well-known fact. That's how the transition from MyISAM to the transaction-capable InnoDB storage engine was made. But to move the storage completely on the internet by using S3 is an unusual, yet interesting idea.

    Amazon offers S3 as

    a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web.

    S3 users don't have to deal with RAIDs, storage volumes, scaling capacity, doing backup or any other technical details. It's all taken care of at the Amazon data center.

    I'd be interested how well this internet storage system can be used as the storage backend for MySQL -- what about latency, bandwidth and other issues? For example, what happens if I do a full table scan over a big table that's stored on S3?

    Maybe there's some MySQL expert out there that can shed a bit more light on that topic?

  • Don't just apply, communicate!

    I still am looking for Linux sysadmins because my responsibilities grow faster than my team. Unfortunately, good Linux admins seem to be hard to find. Of all the applicants, fewer than the half get an appointment to present themselves.

    But what really surprises me is that not even 10 percent of those that get invited make contact before or at least after their interview. This happens so seldom that those who do always make a positive impression. Why is it that people applying for an IT job at a huge internet company don't seem to be able to do a Google search for the names of those they got invited to meet in person?

    That's why I'd like to give all job seekers a hint: People that were rejected only had applied; those who got the job, communicated.

    So, do communicate -- before, while and after your job interview.

    h2. Before the interview

    When you prepare for your interview, not only get to know the company you'd like to work at, but especially collect information about those people that are going to do the interview and may probably be your future boss.

    Many people warn not to publish compromising material about yourself because it may be found by a future employer. But that works the other way around, too. And it's not only the employer that's entitled to look for references either.

    Ask about who will conduct your interview and make use of the mighty Google. Are they technically savvy? You'd better be prepared accordingly. Do they blog about their hobbies? Maybe you share some of them; mentioning that could build some common ground to talk about.

    There are other people you could contact, too: your potential future colleagues. For example, Guy Kawasaki sees a tight connection between LinkedIn and the Art of Avoiding an Asshole Boss

    h2. During the interview

    During the interview, always keep in mind that its purpose is to get as much valuable information as possible -- for both sides! They want to see if you have the necessary skills to do the job and the right attitude to fit in the team. So concentrate on the points that will convince them that it's you they're looking for.

    But don't forget that there are also things you need to know. While your interviewers aim to confirm the positive impression they got from your papers, you should put to the test the impression of the company that made you apply. Additional to job details, work environment and perks, there are other things to ask. Alexander Kjerulf has the following suggestions for questions that may lead to interesting insights:

    • Whats been your best experience working at this company?
    • When do you have the most fun at work ?
    • Who do you enjoy working with the most here? What do you like about them?
    • Which manager do you admire the most in this company? What do you admire about that person?
    • Whats the greatest thing your manager has done for his/her people?

    h2. After the interview

    Even if you get rejected, don't stop communicating until you've asked about the reasons of your dismissal. You may not get a useful answer everytime, but I know at least one person that will tell you honestly why you weren't chosen. Don't let that opportunity of improving your job or interview skills slip away unused.

    h2. Conclusion

    Apart from Dr. Frankenstein, almost all employers expect their staff to successfully communicate. So, put in the extra effort to get into the position of doing so to your best.

    And, by the way, if you're an enthusiastic Linux system administrator that's looking for a new job at a workplace in southern Germany that's as much fun as it's challenging, please do apply. And don't forget to confirm that someone actually reads my blog. ;-)

  • Sometimes, you don't need expensive instruments

    All you need is 6 drummers and an apartment to really get grooving.

    And, maybe, exact timing.