December 21, 2002

Zeroconf and Multicast DNS

There's a good article at O'Reilly Net that introduces Zeroconf ("Rendezvous" for all you Apple fans), Mutlicast DNS, and talks a bit about Microsoft's push for Universial Plug n Play (UPnP).

From the sound of things, Rendezvous has a chance of becoming the standard. But it's a bit too early to know anything for sure.

Posted by jzawodn at 03:54 PM

Weblogs pinging Google?

So I've been wondering why Google doesn't setup a URL that weblog software can "ping" each time a new entry is posted. I already ping and each time a new entry is posted. Why not rig up Google to do nearly real-time weblog indexing?

Now, I already know from my own stats that Google crawls my blog daily. Certainly we can improve on that.

Why does this matter? Simple. Virtually all of the traffic coming to my weblog that is not the result of someone else pointing at my weblog is from a Google search. I'd guess that Google generates 80-90% of my non-directly-linked hits. (Yahoo is a distant second place.)

Sure, Dave has suggested that Google use the info available at to do this, but why not eliminate the middle-man entirely? (No offense, Dave.)

Hmm. This gives me an idea for work that's sorta related to another idea I had after a co-worker showed me something that is best described as the opposite of Google Sets. Well, sort of. Lots of fun stuff to hack on there.

Posted by jzawodn at 02:11 PM

The Coolest Lego Set Ever

The Star Destroyer has to be the coolest lego set ever. And it's big too--3,000 pieces. Kasia pointed me at this the other day and mentioned that someone at work got one. The instruction manual is literally a book. It's roughly 200 pages long.

Oh, how I want one. But I still think I'd rather buy an iPod with that money.

Posted by jzawodn at 01:51 PM

In the Tecnorati Top 100!

Wow, it would seem that I'm #61 in Technorati's top 100 list. Strangely, I'm one slot above The FuzzyBlog (hi, Scott!).

I'm rather surprised that I'm in the top 100 at all, let alone being ahead of Scott.

Oh, here's my cosmos link. It's interesting to see some of the links there. Lots of stuff that I've missed in looking at my referer data.

Posted by jzawodn at 01:02 PM

Linux-based Confernce Registration

There's a good story over at NewsForge about a Linux-based Conference Registration System. It uses LAMP, iOpeners, LTSP, and some custom-built Java code. Very cool.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:55 PM

Russell Pavlicek's Linux Scorecard

Over at Infoworld, Russell recounts his predictions for 2002 to see how accurate he was. While he was pretty good for 2002, I'm really interested to hear what he thinks 2003 will bring Tux fans.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:48 PM

Grocery Store Cards

This has been bothering me for a long time. Ever since my local Albertson's starting suggesting that I get one of their little tracking cards so that I could still get low prices. What they didn't realize is that I'd just walk across the street--literally, and shop at the local chain rather than big, bad Albertson's.

Well, I was glad to see that Phil Windley felt the same way:

Doing the Thanksgiving shopping at Albertson's, I was once again slightly enraged to find I'd picked up something, thinking it was a great price (in this case a 12 pack of soda for $1.99), only to find out at the check out stand that I only got that price if I used their "value card." The regular price was $4.50. Of course, that's just a way to convince me to let Albertson's add my purchases to their collection of marketing data.

And now there's a long discussion forming on Brent's weblog as well. He mentions and says:

Remember, folks, fighting the future begins with your local grocery store.

Note to Albertson's: You lost a customer for life. I liked your store util you told me how little you value my business by asking me to do your dirty work for you..

Posted by jzawodn at 08:40 AM

Phil announces his new computer:

This week, my new 1GHz, 1Gb RAM, Gbe, Powerbook arrived. I've spent a few days moving all my data and work from the XP machine I used. I'm now pretty much completely switched over and the XP box has been relegated to a single purpose: Groupwise for the few remaining emails I'll get from the State. The week after next, I'll return it to the State and bid it good riddance.

I can appreciate that. I haven't booted my XP machine in a few weeks. I just keep using the TiBook at home and my Linux box at work. Maybe I should sell that ThinkPad T23 rather than let it collect dust? It's such a nice machine. I could put Linux on it, but what's the point? If I add a bit of RAM to this TiBook, it'll totally rock.

Posted by jzawodn at 08:18 AM

December 19, 2002

Made it to 14,000 feet today!

Normally, I won't post all my flying stuff here (most people who read my blog are into computer geeky stuff, not flying geeky stuff--at least I think so), but I wanted to mention that I had a blast flying this morning before the storm rolled in. We made it up to 14,000 feet and had enough lift to keep right on going. If only our glider had an oxygen system.

What a blast! :-)

The full story is in my flying blog.

Posted by jzawodn at 03:18 PM

Derek on NPR

As I was driving down to Hollister this morning to go flying, I heard Derek's e-mail feedback read on NPR's Morning Edition.

Note that Derek mentioned it in his blog and Michael Radwin did the same in his blog.

Posted by jzawodn at 03:13 PM

December 18, 2002

Speaking at MySQL Users Conference 2003

I just wanted to briefly plug the MySQL User Conference. It will be held at the Doubletree in San Jose from April 10th - 12th 2003.

I'll be giving a couple talks as will many others. Check out the lineup here. Based on the talks and speakers, I'm really looking forward to it. I personally know many of the folks presenting. It should be a lot of fun and very informative.

The site is currently a bit out of date (it has me down for three talks rather than two), but I'm going to be giving two talks: MySQL Optimization, and Scaling MySQL. The first is a greatly condensed version of my 3 hour tutorial at OSCON this year. The second talk is completely new. It'll be about the various ways you can try to scale MySQL (many users, many connections, tons of data, high query rates), the bottlenecks you run into along the way, and possible solutions for them.

By the way, I should also mention that the MySQL web site recently got a new design that I think works very well. Great work, guys.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:52 PM

Packing My Office

Ugh. I have to pack up my cube into boxes today so that the moves can move all my stuff from building B to building A tomorrow. Ugh. I have a lot of stuff to pack. A lot.

There goes productivity for today and tomorrow. But at least I'll get to have my weekly flying lesson tomorrow. Maybe I'll even do a double lesson since I don't have to be back to work. My stuff won't be available (including computers) until Friday morning anyway. Hmm.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:34 AM

December 17, 2002

An Apple Chistmas for me?

So I've been using the TiBook a lot recently. I've found that when I need to type a lot, the keyboard doesn't kill my fingertips as much as some other machines. So now I'm thinking about getting an iPod for my music. The cool thing is that iSync can talk to the iPod as well as my Palm (I'll need a new cable of some sort) and there's even a native Palm Desktop for OS X now.

I just have to convince myself to spend the cash. And I'm quite close to doing so...

Posted by jzawodn at 11:08 PM

Too Many Domains

Apparently I control 45 domain names. I didn't realize I had quite that many registered. I'd have guessed 25.

No, they're not all for me. Many, like are for friends and family. But still. That just feels like a lot. I still remember when NSI wanted to rape you for domain registration. I'm so glad it's a comodity now. :-)

Posted by jzawodn at 09:53 PM

VIM on Mac OS X

I put VIM on the TiBook so that I can hack on the XML for the book. Thanks to this site, it's working pretty well. It's not terribly hard to find using Google, but hey, I felt like saying "cool, it works."

Posted by jzawodn at 09:48 PM

Java, day #2: Eclipse

I spent a fair amount of time today reading about and playing with IBM's Eclipse. My reasons for investigating Eclipse are twofold: (1) I'd like to see if it is compelling enough as an IDE to make me switch from GNU Emacs. (2) I was tasked with learning about plug-ins and what Eclipse was really designed for. We were wondering about using it as the framework on which to build some Java GUI tools.

On the first count, I've found Eclipse to be rather frustrating as an IDE. I have a project that lives in CVS today. I was hoping to point eclipse at this directory and begin working with the files. So far I haven't determined how that can be done. The wizard-like things that attempt to guide me thru the project creation process aren't terribly helpful in this regard.

Furthermore, my interactive response with Eclipse it less than I'd hoped for. On my Pentium 3 866 with 768MB RAM and a Voodoo 3 3000 running Debian Linux, it just feels sluggish. If I type a bit too quickly, it can't quite keep up with me. And some of the UI stuff just takes a bit too long to be pleasing.

Don't get me wrong. Eclipse is an amazing piece of software design. I just don't think it's for me. I should probably spend some time checking out what the Emacs world offers for Java programmers. If it's even half as impressive as the C/C++ tools, I should be just fine.

As to point #2, after reading the white paper, it's pretty clear to me that Eclipse was designed for software development. While it is a relatively generic framework, I'm not sure that it's appropriate for building the sort of tools we envision (data browsers, query interfaces, and management tools). Anyone have counter examples? Stories to the contrary? I'd love to hear/see 'em.

Tomorrow will probably be Avalon day, while Friday and Monday will focus on JDBC and MySQL connectivity.

Posted by jzawodn at 06:03 PM

Java Blogs

Matt notes that there's a thriving java.blogs community. I must say, I'm impressed and surprised. Impressed at the amount of good Java stuff in the blog community and surprised by the "Yahoo using Avalon" headline that's currently on the site. Thanks for the linkage, Chris.

I guess I need to make a few new additions to my blogroll...

Posted by jzawodn at 07:43 AM

December 16, 2002

Java, day #1

Well today was my first day in my new job and it was time to get reacquainted with Java. My first task was to get the existing code base working on my Linux workstation (rather than fight the Java on FreeBSD demons). I downloaded the JDK from Sun and installed it. Checked out the appropriate code from CVS. Ran the compilation process. It all compiled. Ran the script to start up the server. It started. On the first try. No tweaking.

So I guess this Java stuff really IS multi-platform, huh?

My next task was to modify the command line interface to the server (you telnet to a funny port and issue commands to it). I added an echo command, so you can telnet in and type echo foo at the prompt. If it works, the server says: foo

Yeah, this is high-tech

Anyway, that was hard that I thought it might be. If memory serves, I created 3 new classes and modified as many configuration files. I'm a little surprised at the amount of code necessary to do something that trivial. I hope it's not a sign of things to come. Maybe Perl has spoiled me a bit too much?

My next task is to learn more about the server framework we're using: Avalon from the Apache project. According to the Avalon site:

The Avalon project is an effort to create, design, develop and maintain a common framework and set of components for applications written using the Java language.

Lots of docs to read. And I need to brush up on my language skills. This whole "everything is an object" mentality is going to take some getting used to again.

Oh, I suspect there's gonna be a lot of Java commentary spewing from me in the near future. I'll create a Java category in my blog for it.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:29 PM

Silver Lining

As previously noted my DSL is going away. But there's a silver lining. My soon-to-be new provider, Raw Bandwidth tells me that there's now a remote terminal in my area. That means I get the DSL from it rather than the "local" central office. So instead of having 384kb/sec down, I should be able to get a more respectable 1.5Mb/sec.

As Mr. Burns would say: Excellent.

(Just don't get me started on how Direct TV is screwing their existing DSL customers. That's a story for another day...)

Posted by jzawodn at 10:13 PM

AOL To Offer Weblogs?

As noted by a co-worker... an interview with AOL's VP of Community Products:

Q: AOL is getting into weblogs?
Weblogs, over the last several years, have migrated to replace, in some cases, people's home pages. It's natural that the blog and the home page would combine. And when you remember that AOL has the largest collection of home pages in the world, it kinda gets interesting.

Hmm. I'm trying to decide if that's good or not. Anyone else remember when AOL first gave their users Usenet access? *sigh*

UPDATE: The url is fixed now.

Posted by jzawodn at 04:56 PM

New Job

Today's my first day as part of the search team at Yahoo. As mentioned earlier, I've spent 3 years working on Yahoo Finance.

I can't say a lot about what I'm working on, but from the sound of things I'll be playing with Java, MySQL, and Oracle a fair amount. It should be interesting. I haven't really touched Java since 1996.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:56 AM


Well, the rain is mostly done. Power is still out in many places. I saw police at several intersections directing traffic on the way to Yahoo today. Lots of broken trees and crap all over the roads. There were some mud slides in the hills.

All in all, we've seen quite a bit of rain in the last few days. It sounds as if we're getting a bit more later today and then again on Thursday. (Hopefully later on Thursday so that I can still make my morning flying lesson.)

Posted by jzawodn at 09:05 AM

December 15, 2002


It's that time of year again: annual performance reviews (aka, "how big is my raise?")

It happens every year, just before the holidays. However, things are different this year. A few months ago, it was suggested that managers tell their employees that raises would be small for the coming year--part of an effort to keep expenses low. That's good. No, not the small raises. The part about telling employees in advance. It helps to set expectations and make employees feel a bit more involved in keeping the company financially healthy.

But it seems that many managers did not. I'm hearing a lot of complaints from co-workers. They're pissed off about their reviews. Some are suprised by the numbers, while others are surprised by their actual performance review. Some of the second group feel like their managers are nit-picking them on their reviews as a way of justifying the lower increases.

That's just not cool.

The way I see it, if a manager has negative things to say during your year-end review and they surprise you, there's a real problem. You manager isn't doing his/her job by saving up all their complaints for the end of the year. You really ought to be hearing about them during the year so that you have a chance to work on them and show improvement.

Be open and honest with your employees. Try not to surprise them with bad news. Expectations matter. A lot.

(No, I'm not unhappy about the process. I've always had a good relationship with my manager, so I had no problems with it this year. But I appear to be in the minority, at least among those I've discussed it with.)

Posted by jzawodn at 12:39 AM

Seeing Both Sides

We take it for granted that many hi-tech workers (often software engineers) have a very hard time seeing their work from a business point of view. To many, it's just technology. They're building software, not business tools. Creating hacks rather than solutions. Companies hire them to work their magic and hope that their managers will keep them in line with the company's goals.

It's a rare engineer who can see both sides of the coin: the technology and its application toward achieving a company's business goals.

However, there's a stranger breed that I've encountered: the engineer who has somehow forgotten how to look at things from a traditional software engineer's perspective. This odd creature has little trouble explaining how his work supports the company's broader goals. Yet he has difficultly communicating with the more common engineers--those who mainly see technology.

I'm really not sure what to make of this.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:24 AM