The year so far

I haven’t blogged in quite a long time. In fact I haven’t blogged since I joined Slideshare at all (except for the speakmyname post). However, this is one of those days when you take stock of how the past few months have been and reminisce, particularly since you have a few days away from work for Christmas and the New Year. Disappointingly the world didn’t end yesterday and I have to continue with my life.

So here is how it has been in the past few years

  1. I joined Slideshare, now a part of Linkedin. Got in through the interviews and all and remember thinking, this is going to be crazy. It was scarily exciting when I joined. Still is. Never a day when what you expect of the day actually happens. One challenge solved and a couple more crop up. Funnily enough, everyone seems to be tackling exciting problems of their own. Shaving off a few seconds in database polling time by moving to Queues. Machine Learning for Spam Detection. Garbage collection issues in Solr. Collaborative recommendations. And many more. Makes you jealous and want to switch to a different team every day.
  2. Hackdays, hack days and more hack days – The first hack day was scary. My first thought was ‘omg, how are people going to judge me’. Would I be able to do justice to the hack. Turns out thats not the biggest challenge. The game is in delivering. That sets you apart from those you don’t and you are halfway though. Funnily enough I never won the first prize in any of the internal hack days (I participated in 3). But since the judges make it clear that they are evaluating hacks as any investor would, I guess I should have shaved for the demo ;) Still, nothing matches the craziness and fun of a sleepless few nights followed by nerve wracking demos. Since slideshare is now a part of Linkedin, we now have Indays. And then there was the Yahoo Open Hack 2012. A fun and tiring 36 hours of adrenaline fueled coding ending with bookmafia (stay tuned). Did I mention I spend another all-nighter with the Developher hack day teams ending with me all cranky by the time the final demoes ended. @beachbrake and @chefschatter and abhineet won the second prize so it ended with me borrowing their prize iPads for a while so it was great.
  3. Dizzying razzle dazzle – A few moments that stand out in these years
    • Refactored over 2k lines of JS in a couple of weeks and found it surprisingly worked fine on IE7 as well. I still savor that
    • The moment when I patched a ruby gem and fixed a bug. Was too shy to send a pull request though. And can’t find the change I made anymore.
    • The day before the html5 launch at slideshare when I found that slides after a certain number wouldn’t be styled properly in the javascript player That took a while to understand and lead to some under the breath swearing at all things microsoft.
    • Frond end performance stuff. Where milliseconds matter and its is all about network latency, parsing, async loading, caching, compression and page speed scores. Add process queues, web workers, automated jslint checks, jasmine tests, scores to the mix and my thoughts are all about browsers at the moment. A bunch of jumbled thoughts with me wishing traffic from IE8 would go down. Which I struggle to communicate via words when asked about updates by the result oriented. ;)
    • Push out fixes for security vulnerabilities reported by users in hours, push out a ad disabling feature in a day when adsense warns about shutting you down, design and implement a user mapping store which two services with millions of users are going to use in a week,
    • Start out with a macbook at work, get upgraded to a macbook pro a year later, and then a macbook air a year later. Miss the macbook pro a lot.

It has been a fun year and come to think of it, I am happy it wasn’t doomsday after all!

Amazing Linux User

A Ladakhi person with his laptop running fedora

A Ladakhi person with his laptop running fedora

A ladakhi person using fedora on this toshiba satellite is not something I expected to see, but here he is typing away in ladakhi. Apparently his friend installed fedora on his laptop for him to use and he has not yet had any problems with it. Linux is now really user friendly considering that this use is so completely not a technical person. I now have renewed respect for Jammu and Kashmir.

Old/New Fedora 10 Server

There was an old machine lying around in the basement which noone wanted.  I had my eyes on it for a long time but it had only about 64 MB of RAM. Finally I begged for some RAM and got it from Binoy. And installed Fedora Core 10 on it the same day. Actually I had a lot of webapps and servers lying all over my network and wanted to put up all my personal and experimental stuff on one system.

Just the default install, then httpd, trac, subversion and glpi and it is still working like a charm. I backed up all data from my office servers and moved it there.

There were however a few issues that needed a quick sorting out. Hope it helps someone.

Most servers, even after install do not autostart on boot. You need to set the appropriate chkconfig entries. I had trouble with apache and mysql. However sshd starts automatically.

chkconfig –level 2345 httpd on
chkconfig –level 2345 mysqld on

Also the firewall port for http was disabled by default. Opening


and enabling the port fixed it quickly.

Everything looks hunky dory. Now for some actual coding.