Many people have asked (via IM, email, Twitter) how my new job is going, what craigslist is like, etc. So here are a few thoughts about my first two weeks in the new job.

The Commute

Despite what folks said in the comments of my little announcement, the commute really isn't that bad. Taking I-280 from Willow Glen (San Jose) up to near Golden Gate Park is about 55 minutes from pulling out of the garage to parking in San Francisco. And I've been able to find parking on Lincoln each time I've gone up--usually within 4-6 blocks from the office.

So 55 minutes of driving plus about 10 minutes of walking (which is good for me anyway) is very manageable if you're not doing it every day. If I did, I'd be less up-beat about it, I'm sure.

Having said that, I am going to experiment with the mass transit options as well. I'd like to give all the reasonable options a fair shake.

The Hardware

My laptop, a Lenovo ThinkPad T61 running Ubuntu Linux is performing quite well. It's had one lockup that I cannot attribute to anything in particular. But other than that, it's a joy to work on--especially with Emacs Snapshot and it's most excellent font rendering. (Learning VIM is still on my todo list...)

The biggest hassle so far has been VPN related. Every once in a while my laptop decides to reconnect to my wireless router at home and when it does it replaces the custom resolv.conf file with my "normal" home one. That results in a VPN that sort of works and sort of doesn't. I'm getting better at noticing when this happens and fixing it, but I really need to find a way to keep that from happening at all.

The Culture

In two weeks, I've only had one experience that I would come close to classifying as a "meeting." There really aren't conference rooms (yay!) but it did involve a whiteboard. However, unlike meetings I'm used to, it involved only the most essential people, had a clearly defined goal, and was very useful to me.

The engineering team has a great old-school Perl and Unix mentality (and sense of humor) to it that I really dig. Our private IRC channel is filled with a mix of useful information sharing and old fashioned joking, complaining, and ranting. It reminds me a lot of Yahoo in the 1999-2000 time frame.

The Food

Unlike Yahoo, craigslist has an abundance of nearby eating establishments within very short walking distance. I suspect that it'll take months of time before I've sampled what's nearby.

The Work

What am I actually doing?

Well, it's a mix of things at this stage. Since I know only a little bit about how things actually work, I'm asking a lot of questions and trying to get a sense of what's what and where. That always takes time in a new environment and with a new code base. But eventually the day does come when you suddenly realize that it's not an issue anymore and you must have things mostly figured out.

I'm also playing with alternatives to our current search. I've spent a week or so getting to know Sphinx, the open source search engine by Andrew Aksyonoff. People often use it as a replacement for MySQL's full-text search capabilities.

So far I'm quite impressed with it's speed and capabilities, not to mention Andrew's willingness to offer advice and suggestions. I've also been using Jon Schutz's Sphinx::Search Perl module. I've had to slightly modify the code of both to get them to perform the way we'd like, but that modifications aren't terribly extensive. As is often the case, what took the most time was figuring out what I really wanted to do and then how to do it.

I may have more to say about all this later.


It looks like we've got a bit more room at craigslist. As Jim mentioned on the craigslist blog:

Worth mentioning that the CL tech hiring bit remains set to "1" for star LAMPerl developers, systems heavyweights, and networking wizards.

If you're a great Perl hacker, amazingly skilled networking geek, or someone who really knows systems and data center stuff, we may be waiting for you.

Ping me if you're interested and we'll get the ball rolling.


Anyway, that's the story so far.

Am I happy in my new role? You bet.

Do I miss some of my old colleagues at Yahoo? Of course. In fact, I missed Chad's going away party due to a sick cat, which is a whole separate and sad story I need to tell.

See Also: Settling in to a New Environment at Craigslist

Posted by jzawodn at August 02, 2008 09:08 AM

Reader Comments
# Scott Gatz said:


One of my favorite restaurants is just across the street from your new office. Nan King Road Bistro has got good chinese food and a really friendly staff. I like their 5 spiced tofu and I'm not a tofu person at all! If you haven't already, try it out.

on August 2, 2008 10:20 AM
# Jeffrey McManus said:

Jeremy, careful about parking on Lincoln after dark. GG Park is the principal residence of an unfortunate tribe of people who think nothing of smashing car windows to obtain items inside vehicles that may seem to you to have little to no value.

on August 2, 2008 11:40 AM
# Peter said:

Congrats on the new job. Having worked a ta small place that got very big (AOL from 1995 to 1999) and then at a few much, much smaller places (Vindigo, Meetup) I know how refreshing the change in scale can be.


on August 2, 2008 11:42 AM
# Dmitriy said:

Re preventing /etc/resolv.conf from being overwritten - I solve the same problem by chattr +i /etc/resolv.conf. Hope this helps.

on August 2, 2008 12:17 PM
# said:

Look in /etc/dhcp3/dhclient.conf look at the prepend and request settings. (Lines 18 and 19 in the stock Hardy config)

prepend: Uncomment and set your DNS server IPs. (Comma delimited)
request: Take out the "domain-name-servers, ".

That will use custom DNS globally for dhclient. See the sample at the bottom of the dhclient.conf manpage for more adaptable settings that you can use per-interface, etc.

on August 2, 2008 12:27 PM
# ArtZ said:

Ubuntu on a T61 sounds great. I've been running Ubuntu on a T60 for over a year and love it. Do you have trouble with pasting from the Linux/Gnome copy buffer into Emacs? It doesn't work for me.

-- Art Z.

on August 2, 2008 01:54 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Art: I don't recall any problems like that, no.

on August 2, 2008 02:22 PM
# Charles said:

Sure you're coding, but what are you doing? I hope it's something that will solve the spam problem on Craig's List.

on August 2, 2008 03:59 PM
# Tyrone Slothrop said:

How does one install something from a debian repository onto a Ubuntu machine?

Still kind of new to Linux so thanks in advance.

on August 2, 2008 07:31 PM
# Yousef Ourabi said:

Take a look at Apache Solr -- I don't know if the fact that is requires Java will be a big deal at CL -- but it's worth a look.

on August 2, 2008 08:49 PM
# Kristian Nielsen said:

Re /etc/resolv.conf, as another comment suggests it is probably dhcp overwriting it when the lease is renewed. This is a common problem with VPN over DHCP connections.

An excellent solution is to set up dnsmasq. It is simple to set up. Add 'prepend domain-name-servers;' to dhclient.conf; then dnsmasq will be used for name lookups. Then you can configure dnsmasq to use whatever name servers you need, eg. use VPN name servers for the VPN-connected domain, and whatever DHCP put in /etc/resolv.conf for the rest.

on August 2, 2008 10:51 PM
# pwb said:

If you can work in SF, LIVE IN SF!!

on August 2, 2008 11:56 PM
# Glen Solsberry said:

I'm trying to push our search over to sphinx as well. Is all of CL running on Sphinx (if you can say)? I'm trying to justify to my boss spending the time to do it.

on August 4, 2008 07:24 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Right now I'm just experimenting with Sphinx, but I'm hoping that it'll prove to be significantly better than what we have today. So far, I'm impressed.

on August 4, 2008 07:32 AM
# Karsten Self said:

For /etc/resolv.conf, there are a number of tricks, some covered.

I keep a number of resolv.conf- variants in /etc and repair the active file as needed depending on circumstances (cat resolv.conf-foo > /etc/resolv.conf), if I need to do manual intervention. Usually that involves my VPN and/or WiFi nets bouncing, so yeah, common complaint.

You can postpend specific commands to an ifup/ifdown command with the "up", "down", "pre-up", and "pre-down" directives. man interfaces(5) for more info and examples, see also /usr/share/doc/ifupdown/examples/ for several example files. network-interfaces.gz should be a good start.

on August 4, 2008 12:13 PM
# Ecommerce Solutions Seattle said:

Very good read and thanks for sharing. Always kind of wonder what it's like at places such as Yahoo and CraigsList. Congrats on the new job!

on August 4, 2008 05:21 PM
# Fred said:

hi jeremy,

my name is fred and i'm a former yahoo gooey from 1998-2001 somehow caught on to your blog recently. been living in the inner sunset for the past 6 years so thought i'd give my recs on...

Arizmendi Bakery is excellent
Howard's Cafe is my favorite place to get breakfast and lunch
Cafe Gratitude is weird (and not that filling)
the Beanery is excellent
Ebisu is expensive and not really worth it anymore
Darla's is good
Art's Cafe is cheap hole-in-the-wall but tasty
Park Chow is very good


on August 13, 2008 08:08 PM
# said:

I'm relatively new to Craig's list and looking for p/t work on Craig's List. I have come across some interesting postings. There are two I have seen which say they need a driver to pick up their daughter from thw airport and drive her to her new apartment and then drive her to and from school three times per week. They are offering good money for doing so...but something does not feel right about some sort of scam. they say that they will send me two weeks pay in advance and travel expenses for their daughter, from which I am expected to deduct my portion. please let me know what you think and if you feel like this is legitimate. thank you much! George

on March 1, 2009 04:28 PM
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