oh, neat

Aug. 2nd, 2010 12:52 am
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
I just ran into the "you don't have access to this post, log in?" page for the first time and I have to say -- it's really damn awesome.

Major kudos to everyone who worked on that. It's great.
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
[personal profile] peoppenheimer tagged me for Three Weeks for Dreamwidth, asking how Denise and I got started working together. Oh man, this is going way back...

It first started on LiveJournal, in the volunteer support group. LJ (and DW) have a team of volunteers that get together and answer user questions in the support categories. Back in 2001, I decided to start helping out. That was about the time Denise did too -- although I'm proud to say I got my journal first (by a month) and I got into support before she did (heh).

We eventually crossed paths there first, probably in the IRC channel. She was a volunteer, I was a volunteer, and we were both helping LJ, yay! Truth be told, though, she was doing a lot more support volunteering than I (to this day, she is still #1 on the "high scores" list on LJ, while I am at #270). I ended up going into the development end of things, volunteering to help build up the server side of LJ.

(Actually, I took a detour to do client development since at that point I was good with Windows GUI stuff, but I didn't know anything about Perl etc. I started learning, though!)

Time started going by, eventually Denise worked her way up to being a senior member of the support team. Stuff happened, and she ended up working for LJ. (I believe that was Jesse's doing -- he told Brad "if you don't hire her and she has to quit volunteering for us, we're gonna be in bad shape".) I was actually pretty jealous that Denise got a job with LJ, something I had been wanting to do for a while.

That part of history is a little fuzzy when I look back on it now (I should reread my entries one day), but at some point [livejournal.com profile] crschmidt and I started Plogs.net. It was going to be a professional fork of LJ, taking it from being a social site and bringing it to businesses, universities, professional organizations. I still think it could have taken off -- at that time (2002-2003) it was before Six Apart even had venture capital! Anyway, that didn't end up going anywhere amazing -- mostly due to me getting sidetracked (college, friends, life) and not knowing enough (here we are, nearly a decade later).

Denise and I were still in the embryonic stages of our relationship at this point. We worked together on things from time to time, but she was busy working on LJ, running lots of things, and I was just a volunteer developer (sometimes). I didn't do it all the time, it really depended on how busy I was... but I was pretty busy at that time. Eventually, though, in late 2003, LiveJournal was hiring and I emailed Brad...

...and he said yes! I was surprised, awed, whatever. It was going to be a 6-month co-op program, where I would come out to Portland, work on LJ, and see how things went. I was still technically enrolled in college at the time, just away. It gave me a chance to demonstrate what I could do, though, and eventually Brad agreed to take me on as an employee with an actual salary and stuff. I was pretty excited.

But that's getting ahead of the story! When I became an LJ employee, I started doing a lot of interfacing with the support team and trying to fix bugs that were bothering users. Most of the existing LJ development staff at that time didn't have a lot to do with the volunteers and community as far as fixing bugs and things went, so it was a pretty big change to have me come in and say 'hey, support, what should I work on?'

Yeah, I spent a lot of time working on what Brad wanted me to work on, and then some time on whatever I wanted, but I also tried to make sure to work on things that were of high value to the rest of the volunteers. This meant I started working with Denise a lot, as she was running support and abuse at that time. She and I ended up talking a lot -- mostly work related, but more and more as friends.

When she came out to Oregon to visit the office for a week or two, Michael ([livejournal.com profile] deveiant, another LJ developer that I lived with at the time) and I offered our apartment for her to stay at. So she did! I think that was the first time I ever actually spent time talking to her and getting to know her, and I remember sitting out at the table in the kitchen talking for hours, or going out while she smoked. It was interesting for me, because I was so much from the conservative background, and trying to figure out this strange woman who had such funny ideas about things! ;)

That was also the year we went to North Carolina for AbuseFest (the yearly meetup of LJ volunteers, basically), where I got to know more of the people who I had been working with a lot online and got to see Denise in something closer to her natural habitat. The way she seemed to effortlessly just talk to people and how everybody would always listen to her, form circles around her... I envied that, being the introvert I am. (Grass is always greener, I'm sure.)

Denise and I kept working together a lot, though. I think a combination of me being probably the developer most vested in the volunteer community (having been one myself for years) and also naturally enjoying working with them as they were always so awesomely grateful whenever they got something... it was very Pavlovian. I'd implement something they asked for, they'd bake cookies and mail them to the office, or tell me how much they appreciated it. (A lot of the ideas for Dreamwidth's culture came out of the LJ volunteer culture, and much of that culture was built by or maintained by Denise.)

It is funny to look back now and realize that Denise and I had talked a few times (jokingly) that we should offer to take over the management of LJ and leave the coding to Brad. We never went anywhere with it, and at the time I didn't have nearly the skills or experience to have pulled it off successfully. (But now here we are...)

Eventually Six Apart happened, and I won't write about that much. Just enough to say that Denise and I talked a lot. I spent more time talking to her about things than anyone, I think, because while we may come from different walks of life and have different opinions on nearly everything, I think that the way we think is a lot alike. There's a lot of kinship there, in the way she thinks (not what she thinks, exactly, but the way she does it). I'm probably not explaining it very well...

We didn't talk much during the intervening time when I left Six Apart and was living in Iceland working for CCP Games, so nothing to say about that.

But then when I was at Mozilla ... sometime in early 2008 ... and she had The Idea That Changed My World ... that's when Dreamwidth started, and things picked up quite naturally where they had left off.

Is our relationship perfect? No way, there are things she does, there are things I do, and we have to deal with them. I'm typically way too abrupt in the way I communicate with her, and this frustrates her a lot. She's way too verbose for me, and I then end up skimming, and realize only later I missed an important detail and oops, I botched that up! But we manage to work through this, and there's only been a minimum of bloodshed... ;)

But seriously, Denise is one of the people I've known the longest in my life and still talk to, and if I were to sit down and think about it... yeah, I think that aside from Janine, I've spent more time getting to know and talking with Denise than any other person out there. She's an amazingly competent, smart, and capable person. I'm glad to know her.

(I think I got off topic. Sorry!)
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
Conferences are really good for my productivity -- when I'm trying to avoid the throngs of people, I find a quiet corner and do some coding.

This week's conference (the Web 2.0 Expo) has directly led to the creation of a rudimentary "Media" system for Dreamwidth, and the ability to email in photos and have them be uploaded and posted. I present for your consideration the first true "photo post":


So flattering. Thanks, Denise! ;-)

There are still some things to be done -- notably, an admin page so you can change the security on your images -- but once that's done I'll get it committed.
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
Took a break for two hours to get some lunch (6" Subway turkey and ham on wheat with diet coke) and then stop by the local Games Workshop. Chris was there, and upon hearing me coughing, remarked, "Wow, that doesn't sound good at all!" Ah yeah, no, no it doesn't. Thanks! ;)

Today's the last day for Greg and Dan, the two guys who ran the local store. Apparently Games Workshop is doing a lot of shuffling of it's North American operations, and one of those measures is changing how stores are run. This is really sad for me since the reason that I decided to take up Warhammer and start going to that store was because I really enjoyed the two guys who ran it.

I suppose that at the end of the day business is business, but still. It's pretty sad. Over the past six months I've come to know these guys as more than just employees at a store. Greg and his wife also play in the Friday night LARP I'm in, so at least I'll still get to see him, but... ah well.

Time to get back to work though. This weekend I'm racking up some major overtime ... sadly I don't get paid for it, maybe I'll talk to my boss. ;)
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
I am feeling two emotions right now to ridiculous levels:

a) Pride. We just had a code push. Let me tell you how many things exploded and required immediate intervention in the face of impending site meltdown? None. The team of developers we have working on Dreamwidth are awesome, and I'm very proud of the work they do.

b) Excitement. Today's code push had a feature I worked out one night when I needed a break from the other major projects I was doing, so I did an update to the Latest Things page:


It's even more fun to watch, now. It will take some time for the data to fully populate though, and even longer for the community to start swinging in to some sort of collective usage of tags. I have faith though!


Mar. 19th, 2010 01:08 am
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
I think I've mentioned before that I'm part of a Friday night LARP -- live action roleplaying game. It's the kind of thing where a bunch of us get together and have a good time building a story and playing a game. The fact that it happens to be a bunch of people who don't mind getting dressed up and doing it in the middle of downtown Mountain View where everybody can see it doesn't really change things much. ;-)

Anyway, the game is going well. My character is starting to develop in interesting ways, doing some fascinating things. I keep thinking that he's going to get killed off -- and actually, I sort of intended for that to happen when I made him. He's an experimental "get to know the game and rules" character that I didn't put much time into creating and he's turned out to be a lot of fun.

He's a Malkavian and his curse is Paranoia. Of course, he didn't know that was his curse until a good three months into playing him. It was rough going for a while because he'd constantly be triggered and start sabotaging his interactions with people, getting in trouble for basically stalking or investigating someone, and causing problems. It turned out eventually that he learned what his curse was when one of the other Malks, someone who was actually a psychiatrist before she was embraced, gave him some parting words of wisdom. (Tom sacrificed that relationship in brilliant fireworks due to his paranoia and some actions the woman in question took...)

There's so damn much to the game though. I can't really even describe how awesome it is, how crazy every Friday night is, and how bad I feel if I even miss one night. Yeah, yeah, that's life. It's just so interesting and entertaining, though -- so many plots, subplots, and even tinier little itty bitty things that sometimes go somewhere, sometimes don't. Oh man.

Anyway, apparently there's an opening for a Storyteller (one of the game masters). I put in an application even though I'm one of the newer players. Doesn't hurt to try, and I think it'd be a lot of fun!


Next subject, today has been pretty productive as far as Dreamwidth goes. I got our Google Summer of Code organization profile created, got [personal profile] fu ready to mentor, yelled at someone on IRC for using gay as a perjorative (not Dreamwidth IRC), and have been pounding out some code for credit card processing. Making great progress, too!

Oh yeah, and we watched Repo! The Genetic Opera and the American Idol results show for this week. The former was really entertaining and I'm still pondering it. I definitely enjoyed it though, and I really liked the voice of Alexa Vega -- but I can't really find anything she's done except be in shows... hrm.


Okay, nearly bedtime. Going to finish a little bit more of the code I am working on and then go crash.


Mar. 5th, 2010 01:53 am
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
It's amazing how a different organization of furniture in a room can completely change the dynamics of the space. Today I had the idea to rearrange our office, and so we did this evening. It looks a lot better, it'll be easier to clean, and it feels way, way more open than it did before. Jesse and Nicole came in and helped us with half the room, so I have to give props there.

We also played Clue tonight as a house, and then Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit. An amusing game, but it definitely has a fetish for giving you stupidly hard (and amazingly trivial) questions when you're on a pie square. One I got: "How many petals were on the flower Denethor was holding at his son's funeral?" (Exact wording/details probably wrong.) The answer was eight. But seriously, who counts flower petals?!

Dreamwidth continues to go well. I'm particularly excited that we hired a third person, and can't wait until she starts in April. That's going to be awesome.

Oh yeah, and we've been invited to speak at the Web 2.0 Expo conference, so both Denise and I will be there in SF in May. Additionally, Denise will be at two other conferences this May and ... I forget when. And hopefully, we'll both be at OSCON too.

Maybe some more later in the year, we'll see! It's really exciting, though, I'm stoked.

Okay. Time to sleep.


Oct. 24th, 2009 11:20 pm
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
Warhammer 40,000 miniatures are harder than I ever expected to build. Honestly, I had no idea the "hobby" was this involved! I knew that people played war games with little plastic units, but I didn't know it was this involved.

I'll post pictures as soon as I have something neat to show, but so far it's pretty neat. I've asked Janine to buy me some of the units for my birthday/Christmas. I'm playing the Tau Empire which is pretty tactical and interesting.

Anyway. I just had to pull some one of my Fire Warrior's arms off because I decided to promote him to a Shas'ui (a team leader sort) and give him a markerlight. I also have to do some drone conversions to build shield and marker drones (all I have are shield drones) but that should be pretty easy.

Nothing is painted yet, and the quality of my work is quite readily apparent as "newbie" -- so I'm sure down the road (if I continue this hobby) I will look at my first little 500 point army and think "wow, they look terrible".

C'est la vie.

In other news, my novel planning for NaNo is going well. I have a few more plot points to work out and some character background to do (as well as try to identify more than two characters I have already worked up somewhat), but I'm excited to participate this year. May even try to go to some of the local events, not sure yet though.

In other other news, I need to do a code push for Dreamwidth this weekend. Probably tomorrow, as it's already late and I want to go to bed soonish.

For a complete change of pace, I've (today) finished War of Honor, book 10 in the Honor Harrington novels by David Weber. I have one more book to go before I'm done with the series until the next one comes out. This last book didn't appeal to me as much as the others because it was almost all political intrigue, and I'm more interested in the space combat and character based events. But it was still good.

Okay, time to go glue my little dude's new arms on.
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
I've thought for a while now it'd be cool to remove Apache from the process of serving data on LJ (and now Dreamwidth). I spent an hour or two today hacking experimentally (which mostly means, looking at files, examining where things would hook together) and I think I know how I would implement it.

Basically, create a new module in Perlbal, "Perlbal::BackendGearman". This will correspond to being able to create a Gearman pool object, populating it with ip:ports (Gearman servers), and then pointing the reverse_proxy service at this pool. The service/client infrastructure doesn't have to have any idea it's talking to Gearman servers, which is great. The module would construct HTTP::Engine::Request objects, serialize them, and send those.

Then, the actual Gearman jobs are simply handlers that deserialize the request object, construct a HTTP::Engine::Response object, and return it. (Also, I'm not set on using this particular Request/Response object pairs... we might be able to just do something custom. There are some advantages to using these modules in particular...)

Something else that's interesting, the Perlbal modifications can even just skip the Gearman step entirely. In theory, we could make the entire site run out of Perlbal. That'd be great for development servers and small installations. (And it makes it very conceivable that we can distribute the site as an executable PAR file, which lets people just download it and run it... bam, they're up and running.)

I do have one concern for implementing this via Gearman: large requests. Right now, Perlbal doesn't have to buffer things. It buffers up to some amount, but at some point it just starts spooling the data to the backend. (Or to disk...if you have that turned on.) This gives some protection to Perlbal to prevent it from running out of memory, which is good. Also, I'm not sure about Gearman's performance with huge requests. In practice, I think that it won't matter; it should be normal/OK for ~100KB payloads going back and forth.

Okay, so that's a bit of a meandering post. This is something I've been talking to [livejournal.com profile] tupshin some about, and they're interested in this project as well.


May. 14th, 2009 12:13 am
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
Very frustrating evening. [[staff profile] mark]

Other than that, I am on call this week, as mentioned. But the remote office that normally handles the pager overnight is at an off-site, so I get to carry the pager tonight and tomorrow night. It should be fine (pager volume is pretty damn light!), but if I am grumpy tomorrow you know why!

In other news: omg, I will soon be a husband. WTF. I do not have any words to describe how much I am WTF OMG WTF OMG about this whole thing. Really. It's blowing my mind. I don't even know what to think right now. Oh yeah, and I owe Janine a lot of things by this weekend... oops... sorry honey, brain got eaten by PayPal. :(
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
First up: Happy Mother's Day to all those out there of the Mother persuasion. And my own mom, who apparently is reading this journal! (Hi Mom! I sent you two invite codes, you should have them in your hotmail account.)


This weekend went by pretty fast. I'm sure that's going to keep happening. I'm not even really sure what I did yesterday. I know that I went to dinner with Janine to Black Angus and had some nice steak. Oh yeah! Janine just reminded me what I spent the day doing: working on Dreamwidth to get our monthly spend down to a useful level, instead of the Open Beta high level it was at. Right, that sucked my brain.

Today we spent a lot of time on wedding and family stuff, as it is Mother's Day. A few hours in the early afternoon putting together plans for the reception, music choices for the ceremony, and a number of other things that we need to figure out. I still have a few things on my list that I have to look at, I'll get to them this week.

After that, we went up to the city to have dinner with Janine's family (Mom, Sister and Husband and Baby, and Uncle). It was at some Italian place in North Beach. Expensive ($240 for six of us) but the food was pretty good. I'm not a huge fan of really fancy Italian food (it's ... pasta, seriously) but it was alright.

Somewhere in here I spent a little while on the phone with my mom. That was nice -- I really like talking to her, but that always conflicts with me being busy and not liking talking on the phone in general. I should talk to her more, I know.

Upon coming home and taking care of some random things around the house, we tried to catch up on some TV. Two episodes of House and one of Lost and we still have a bunch of Dollhouse and Lost on the list. And of course, tomorrow being Monday brings us more TV. Augh! I've fallen so behind because of the Dreamwidth stuff. Le sigh.

And now for something completely different.

This coming week I will be on call again for my day job, with the added excitement of two full 24 hour shifts because the remote office that normally does the overnight shift will be doing their yearly offsite. It should be fine, typically the night shifts are the quietest, but ... still.

Then once that week (+ weekend) is over, it's wedding time! Oh man. I'm pretty excited, nervous as hell, etc.

I still need to write my vows.

And finish a few honeymoon plans.

zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
I finally pulled the trigger on [livejournal.com profile] xb95. The profile is wiped, the journal made private (and soon to have all of the entries deleted when I get time to write a script to do it), and everybody defriended. It feels strangely liberating, although I feel like I've just hacked off something that was a huge part of my life for most of the past decade.

A lot of people seem to be having drama on LJ, about Dreamwidth, and it makes me sad. Honestly now. I don't really care if people move to DW. I'd obviously love for people to come over here and move in. I'm biased, this is the place I've poured most of the last year of my life (and ALL of the last four months) into. I think that we've got a super kickass site with an amazing team making it even more awesome by the day.

But? I don't care if you use LJ! Use it! Stay! But if you want to use DW? It's here for you! No matter who you are or where you come in from. I am totally fine with people continuing to live out their lives on LJ, or people living on both, or more. It's fine, really. Do what you want, people, seriously!

The other thing that I find interesting is some of the noise about the importer and LJ passwords and stuff like that. If you think back and remember the time I worked for LJ, I had database access (including everybody's passwords!) for years. I didn't do anything untoward then and I'm sure as heck not going to now, either. Ponder that, if you must.

I know that it will die down eventually... just gotta ride it out, and make sure that Dreamwidth keeps on doing what Dreamwidth does. The people who have signed up in the past week have voted with their wallets, and we're not going anywhere, not for this year at least. We'll see how the rest goes.

Oh yeah, and get married. I've gotta work on that.

Bye for now!
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
Things have been absolutely hectic around here the past few days, as you can imagine. We're slowly winding down though, as tomorrow we fly home. It'll be sad to go, but it will be nice to be back home in my environment and have some time to relax.

Of course, as I go back to work Tuesday, I don't really think there's much relaxing time on the schedule... but at least the heavy push of Open Beta will be behind us and things should go back to how they were before. Work on things in the evenings and weekend and turn an eye towards Site Launch. Yay! Life has patterns!

Well really, my big focus for the next month and a half is my impending wedding. Yep! May 24th is the big day, and I'm pretty excited. I keep thinking about how it will feel to see Janine show up in that white dress... oh man, I really can't wait. It's going to be so amazing.

That's all for now. I'm really beat. Going to sleep!

we did it

Apr. 30th, 2009 11:08 pm
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
We fucking did it.

Dreamwidth is up, didn't fall over during the launch, and things are moving along. I'm... quite happy. Really quite happy. Some bumps were encountered, but we (mostly Janine!) fixed them pretty fast.

Yes, happy happy.

Let's see how the night/morning goes. Site traffic just about hit 20Mbps right at the launch. It dropped down to about 13Mbps an hour later, but it's climbing pretty quickly again... things are holding up okay for now, though.

Gotta wait until more people are on the site. We gave out some 10,000 invite codes an hour ago, and in the morning will be giving out thousands more. Whee!

so uh

Apr. 30th, 2009 04:52 pm
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
Apparently we're releasing to the general public some sort of blogging site thingy today. That's pretty neat, and I'm pretty excited. You can't really tell from this entry because I'm trying to enjoy as much of the calmness that I can before things go nuts in a few hours.

Calm, breathe. Listen to the fan, twirling twirling, blowing air around. Hear the faint sounds of the city outside the windows. The peck peck peck of people typing, of everybody in the loft working together.

This is pretty neat. I'm intensely proud of the site that we have put together. And I say we, I mean we -- the entire group of people (dozens and dozens and dozens!) who have worked together to make this happen. The number of hands that have touched this project... it's just amazing. To see people excited for it and to think that in a few short hours people will be using what we have built...

Yeah, that's really damn cool.

We have done a lot and come a long ways from where we began. We sure as hell have a long way to go, though. Lots of features need implementing, bugs need fixing, lots of stuff. And tonight we go a long way towards finding out if people really want to give us the chance to do that, to build this thing.

I'm pretty excited. I hope you are too!
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
Well, this IS a business trip. I used the company card to buy some Internet access here in the Salt Lake City airport and then used said Internet access to look through the bugs filed in the last few hours. Investigated and resolved as appropriate, too!

Okay, so maybe it's just me, but I find it kinda somewhat awesome that we actually have a business account. With debit cards. That we can use for business expenses. Speaking of, I need to figure out how best to handle reporting that. Even if it's expensed, I think I still need to keep receipts and file them to get properly counted...

Omg, paperbag.

Also, omg about 1.5 hours of sleep! Sleep is good, but I really need some more. Looking forward to the next flight as it's longer and I should be able to get a few more hours before invading Maryland with my sleep deprived self.

PS, swine flu omg.
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
Airplane takes off in 6.5 hours. Have to fit some DW work in and a code push, get packed, get some sleep, and go flyyyyyyyyyyyy to Baltimore! It promises to be a fun (if exceedingly stressful!) trip.

Open Beta is now in less than two days. I'm pretty excited.

Tonight I was in Fry's and found they had a MacBook Air (first-gen, returned, demo model) in pristine condition and I talked the guy down to just about $1,000. By comparison the second-gen models are $1,799 right now, so I felt this was quite a steal. Woo!

Anyway, back to work. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh~~~
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
In honor of [personal profile] hkellick, whose import has seriously been the strangest one I have encountered yet.

# figure out which items we should try to get, based on the logic that we
# should get at least 10 seconds or 20 items, whichever is more.  the former
# for the case where mass privacy breaks us, the latter for the case where
# the Howard Predicament* bites us.
# * the Howard Predicament has only been observed in the wild once.  the
#   noted behavior is that, no matter what lastsync value we send, the
#   remote server chooses to tell us we're broken.  this should not be
#   possible, but it happened to my friend Howard, and I couldn't solve
#   it through any other means than bypassing lastsync.  sigh.
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
I want to be like Jim Buckmaster:


If you are ever really confused about Dreamwidth's business model? Yeah, that. Focus on the users and on making a site that they want to use and be a part of. The rest will sort itself out.


zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
Mark Smith

April 2017

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