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My Next Step

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After leaving my CTO role at Etsy this past May, I took the summer off to spend time with my family, enjoy New York summertime, and give my mind time to refresh and recharge. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do next; the last time I took a new job was […]

Cognitive Systems Engineering

Invited article in IEEE Software – Technical Debt: Challenges and Perspectives

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Earlier this year, I was asked to contribute to an article in IEEE Software, entitled “Technical Debt: Challenges and Perspectives.” I can’t post the entire article here, but I can post the accepted text of my part of the article here. Misusing the Metaphor John Allspaw All technical disciplines (not just software development) require different […]

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Abstract As A Verb

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The New Stack has an interview with me on various topics here. I think the following part of the interview gets at what I think is an under-investigated bit of language and meaning: TNS: At the same time, I imagine that you’ve abstracted a lot of the supporting infrastructure away from the engineer. They don’t have […]

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Ops Meta-Metrics: Velocity 2010 Slides

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As expected, Velocity was excellent this year. What an awesome time to be in this field. Caveat for those who didn’t see/hear my talk: the graphs and numbers in the slides are, for the most part, made up. But they’re also in line with what I’ve seen at Flickr and Etsy. Ops Meta-Metrics: The Currency […]

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Some WebOps Interview Questions

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It can be difficult to evaluate web ops candidates, for a couple of different reasons. One is that the breadth of knowledge needed for the field can be pretty wide, so spending too much time on any particular technical area can be a waste of time. Another reason is that it can be difficult to […]

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We’re hiring ops folks at Etsy!

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We’re hiring web ops engineers at Etsy.  Here’s the gist of it…. Responsibilities Building and maintaining Etsy’s infrastructure, from installed iron to production Taking part in a 24×7 on-call rotation Tightly cooperating and collaborating with development, product, community and customer care Requirements Experience with configuration management systems and concepts (Chef, Puppet, Cfengine, etc.) Experience in […]

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Pigz – parallel gzip OMG

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Pigz is basically parallel gzip, to take advantage of multiple cores.  When you’ve got massive files, this can be a pretty big advantage, especially when you’ve got lots of cores sitting around. Taking a 418m squid access log file, on a dual-quad Nehalem L5520  with HyperThreading turned on: [jallspaw@server01 ~]$ ls -lh daemon.log.2; time gzip […]

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Agile Executive Podcast

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Yesterday I was on a podcast with Andrew Shafer and Michael Coté, and we talked about development and operations cooperation. I rambled a bit, like I tend to do. Andrew brought up something that’s disturbing, and I’ve seen elsewhere, which is that after seeing our presentation last year at Velocity, some folks decided that we […]

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Need some FUDforum consulting done

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I’ve been helping out a friend for some years with running a decent-size discussion forum. It’s running on a little (512mb of RAM) dedicated server and it’s outgrown the box it’s on. It needs to move to a new machine, which is all ready to take it. Problem is, it’s in a twisty-maze of dependencies. […]