March 29, 2003

Headline of the Week

From Reuters Health comes the headline of the week: Sudden, Unexplained Death May Kill Many Adults.

Gee. Ya think that sudden, unexplained death might have similar affects on non-adults, too?

Posted by jzawodn at 08:03 PM

March 28, 2003

Sun gets a clue!

Well, I'm not sure if this is real progress or not, but at least they're not bothering with their own Linux distribution anymore.

I still wonder if Sun really gets Linux or not. When they announced the LX-50, I thought they'd finally come around. But that wasn't the first of many things I hoped to see.

Oh well.

Maybe they're just destined to become the next SGI.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:27 PM

Sunnyvale Acura Needs WiFi

I'm sitting here in the waiting area while some work is being done on my car. It'll only take about 1.5 hours, so it's not worth taking their shuttle to work and trying to find someone to bring me back here at the end of the day.

I popped open the TiBook and checked to see if AirPort could find a wireless network I might be able to leach. No dice. (Obviously, I'll be posting this a bit later.)

Considering how inexpensive it'd be, I'm sort of surprised that the dealership doesn't have 802.11b available for customers in the waiting area. This is Silicon Valley, after all. Let's show some geek pride here! :-)

I shouldn't complain, though. The service department here rocks. Plus, sitting in the waiting area with no network connection pretty much forces me to work on the book--something I've had trouble finding enough time to do this week. Too many distractions and unexpected things kept popping up.

Now if only I had bothered to install MySQL on the TiBook, I wouldn't have to keep writing "TODO: insert SQL here later" in the text.

Later: Grr. Apparently my car has decided that a leaky radiator is more fun than one that holds onto all the coolant. I'll have to arrange for another visit soon so that I can part with $700 or so. As the first major expense in the three years I've had it, that's not too bad I guess.

Now that I think about it, the radiator replacement will probably take three hours or so. Maybe I'll just force myself to sit in the waiting area then too. That should keep me relatively free of distractions so that I can get more stuff done.

Posted by jzawodn at 01:29 PM

Interviewing at Google

A friend of mine has been interviewing for a job at Google. So far the tale has proven both interesting and amusing. But the thing that strikes me most of all (of that which I'm allowed to hear about, of course) is how many interviews--or rounds of interviews have transpired so far.

I think the count is five or six so far.

I used to think that three was the norm. One or two via phone and then one or two on-site. But it seems that Google (at least in this case) is a bit more extreme than some companies. In this case it's something like 3 by phone and 3 on-site.

I may have the numbers off by a bit, but you get the idea. I wonder how much time, on average, they spend interviewing each person. It's gotta be pretty high.

Oh, wait. I remember reading about that somewhere recently... Wonder if Google can help me figure out where.

(time goes by)

I give up. Can't find it. I know it was a magazine piece. Maybe Forbes, Fortune, Wired, Fast Company... Someone like that. But I'll be damned if I can come up with the right keywords to locate it again. And I use too many browsers to try going digging through the history on each of 'em.

Anyone know which article I'm talking about?

Well, just don't think too hard about the fact that I can't find a particular piece of information about a search engine using that search engine--even though I know it's out there somewhere.

Update: That was fast. As you'll notice in the comments, Gregory Williams found the story I was remembering.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:05 AM

March 27, 2003

It's nothing, really...

An amusing tale that begins:

In March, 1999, a man living in Kandos (near Mudgee in NSW) received a bill for his as yet unused gas line stating that he owed $0.00. He ignored it and threw it away. In April he received another bill and threw that one away too.

Is over in Jim O'Halloran's weblog.

That's almost as good as the story about the guy who cashed a junk mail check and got away with it.

Posted by jzawodn at 11:53 PM


All the Inktomi folks are on campus today. I guess this is the first day of assimilation. At least there's a big party tonight to welcome them all to the collective. :-)

On a related note, someone just introduced me (passing in the hall) to a small caravan of Inktomi guys by saying "This is Jeremy. He's the one who shows up when you search for Jeremy." I responded "at least on Google I do..." Then a 5 second discussion ensued about that fact that it probably works on Inktomi now too.

As the caravan passed, someone at the end asked "are you the MySQL Jeremy?"

Hmm. I guess that in this context I am.

Posted by jzawodn at 01:12 PM

Time Evaporation

Time appears to be evaporating. I'm really at a loss to understand where it is going.

Maybe I'm stuck in some sort of twilight zone reality--you know, the kind where time accelerates when you're not looking. A cat jumps into my lap. I pet it for a few minutes. It jumps down. I look at the clock and 2.5 hours have gone by. If I didn't know any better, I'd be rather paranoid, assuming that it was a classic case of missing time and that I had been abducted by aliens as part of some grand experiment.

Or maybe it's just this damned computer. A blessing and a curse all at the same time.


I'll be so glad when this week is over. I've had better. I mean it's not like the Year of Hell episode of Star Trek Voyager, but still. There was much gruntle and little progress.

The again, maybe a temporal incursion is just what I need. Yeah, where's a Krenim Timeship when you need one? You know, the one with Red Forman on a quest to make things right again.

Or... Maybe temporal incursions are what seems to be sucking all the time away.

Nah. It's probably just dark matter. It fucks up everything.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:13 AM

March 26, 2003

Unintended Advertisement

Apparently some "sponsored matches" are bought on a parameterized basis. When a user searches for $something, the ad code constructs an ad based on a template that replaces $something where appropriate.

Sometimes, however, that can lead to unfortunate messages. Take, for example, the image on the right. (Click for a large version.) By searching Yahoo for "shit", you get a mySimon Sponsored Match that begins with "Shit on mySimon." It then goes on to extol the values of comparison shopping.


No, I wasn't searching for shit. I'm often looking for shit on-line, but rarely am I literally looking for shit. Someone noticed this at work and simply had to tell the rest of us about it (as you can imagine).

Update: Kalyan notes that "pee" and "puke" also provide some entertaining matches.

Posted by jzawodn at 05:54 PM

Parking Spaces

Damn. Apparently we've hired enough people in the last 6-9 months that it's hard to find a parking spot one those occasions when I get to work late.

I really hadn't expected to drive all over the parking lot looking. I guess this will motivate me to stick to my relatively early schedule.


It's too bad I don't have my own parking spot anymore. :-(

Posted by jzawodn at 11:34 AM

Gruntle Abounds

Driving home late last night from a meeting about an undisclosed topic at an undisclosed placed with a small group of undisclosed people, I started to realize how annoyed I am about my current work situation. Then, I got home and read about Craig's frustration. I thought, "wow, that's timely." Apparently neither one of us are terribly happy right now.

The first and only time I met Craig, we had lunch together right around the time that he was getting Deersoft rolling. Seems like just the other day. He was happy about life, excited about building his new company and their flagship product. After that lunch, I knew good things were in store for him. He was doing the right thing at the right time.

Now that he's been working for Network Associates for a while (they acquired Deersoft a while back), he's increasingly frustrated and annoyed by the environment, politics, and scale of a large organization.

I suspect that what Craig needs to do is get out of NA and take a break. A small one. During that time, he'll figure out what to attack next. He just struck me as the kind of person Silicon Valley needs--the tech entrepreneur with a passion for his idea, product, and potential customers. Working at NA really doesn't allow him to be himself. He's a round peg in a square hole. He's not doing what he'd hoped to be doing. Probably not by a long shot.

Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with me. In a way, I'm in the same boat. Roughly 4 months ago, I left the job I had been doing for 3 years to move into a different group.

The motivation for doing this was really two fold. First, having been doing mostly the same work in the same group for a while, it was time for a change of pace. New people, ideas, systems, and so on. The second motivation had to do with my own evolution. In the months and weeks leading up to the switch, I had been spending a fair amount of my time working with other groups at the company. They'd come to me for consulting, support, Q&A, and tuning advice for MySQL. In fact, I'd developed a reputation for knowing a bit about MySQL and made it clear that I enjoyed with it and wanted to continue doing so. The folks in Y! Finance were kind enough to let me do this, since it was clearly good for the company while also being good for me.

One of the people involved in convincing me to make the switch to Y! Search told me on a few occasions that the group I'd be moving into "could really use your MySQL expertise" (or something very close to that). That, along with the whole change of scenery/people/etc sealed the deal for me. A new job where I'm "recruited" partly because of the fun I have with MySQL and told there'd be lots more of it. Great.

That was the theory at least. We all know that in theory, practice and theory are the same. But in practice, they're not.

Here we are four months later. As I've looked back over the time, I've thought about the projects I've actually worked on. The other groups I've worked with. The time I've spent doing various things. In the end I realized that little has changed. I'm still using more of my "MySQL expertise" with groups other than my own. I'm still doing the same old support, consulting, troubleshooting, and tuning for other groups that I used to do. The truly MySQL-specific stuff that I've encountered in my new job hasn't been that substantial at all. Aside from the recent full-text search stuff, I really can't think of anything notable.

It's clear to me that as a whole, the company needs my passion for MySQL. And a lot of folks know this. We're using it all over the place and it's continuing to grow.. But the job I'm currently in really doesn't. The job I was doing in Finance probably made more use of it, now that I think about it.

I could get into specifics, but it really wouldn't add much to this one-sided discussion. And, given my luck, it'd just end up pissing off the wrong people anyway.

So where does this leave me? Was I the victim of a bait-and-switch routine? Or maybe the "sales pitch" I got last year was simply a best guess of what they thought they wanted and/or needed at the time? It's hard to say.


Writing about this has helped to clarify things for myself. Craig's post partly got the ball rolling, as did the undisclosed meeting.

I supposed the next step is to figure out who to talk with about this. There are a few other factors involved--very recent development, but they are more speculation at this point. I really don't know what they'll lead to. Perhaps I need to try accelerating that process, if I can.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:53 AM


I've been meaning to write about procrastination for a while now, but I've kept putting it off. Seriously.

This morning, Russell's post prompted me to finally do it. The great thing is that I don't need to do much more than refer you to his post and say "me too."

I can total sympathize with Russell, Joel, and Jim.

Not that I'm happy about it, of course. But at least I know I'm not the only one.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:09 AM

March 25, 2003 mini-rant

I've been using for a few months now. It's nice being able to download NPR programs to my iPod and listen to them later. But recently I've not been using it much and decided I ought to cancel my subscription rather than spending money for a service I really don't use enough. I figured I might sign up again someday.

I poked around on their web site and couldn't find a way to cancel my monthly membership (and the associated charge to my credit card). So I e-mailed to ask how I can cancel on-line.

You can't.

We have received your request to cancel your AudibleListener membership and are prepared to do so. For the safety of our customers, it is our policy that we get positive confirmation of the identity of our customer before performing service requests that involve a change in the financial status of an account.

What bullshit! They have no problem at all allowing me to increase my charges by using their web site. I can add subscriptions, purchase book recordings, and even MP3 players.

But now I want to send them less money per month and they suddenly start caring about "a change in the financial status of an account."

I'm now on hold waiting to speak with a human.

Screw you, You've lost a customer for life.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:57 AM

March 24, 2003

Busy doing nothing...

Wow. I just spent an entire day either in meetings, answering e-mail, or doing other people's work.

How exhausting. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to get some of my work done.

Posted by jzawodn at 06:43 PM

NetFlix + Porn =

Heh. Gotta love the free market. is like NetFlix but for, uh, adult entertainment.

I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't come up with the idea. It's so obvious, in hindsight.

Thanks to the cynical one for the link. :-)

Posted by jzawodn at 02:37 PM

March 23, 2003

MySQL 4.1 Alpha Builds Available

Enough folks on the MySQL mailing list have asked for 4.1 builds, that I'm providing them for Linux. They're unsupported. They're untested. I build them when the spirit moves me. I may build them nightly if there's demand. I've already automated the process, but I still kick if off by hand. (I've been doing this for ages, but I never made 'em available.)

You'll find them at:

The filenames should be pretty clear. Note that "cow" is the machine on which they're built. It's a Debian "testing" box. The binaries are configured to be unpacked in /home/mysql and run from there. That way they don't get in the way of your vendor-provided install.

Have fun.

Oh, if you want FreeBSD builds, let me know. I've got those automated too.

Posted by jzawodn at 08:07 PM

I'm Stupid

According to Russell:

ANY company/person who wants to ignore M$ is being stupid.

I'm being stupid. It's not that I want to ignore them, I simply do.

Ya know what? I'm fine with that. I really don't care what they're up to. Microsoft is largely irrelevant for me.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:37 AM