We host IP Street’s SAAS product at Rackspace. We’re finally taking the plunge and upgrading from python-cloudfiles to pyrax. We didn’t have any big issues with python-cloudfiles, but I was tiring of getting the brush-off from Rackspace when we asked for help with an API failure.
The benefits of keeping a technology up-to-date far outweighs the costs, unless you’re in an extreme corner case with a very unreliable vendor. Better performance, bug fixes, better capabilities, better support… all good stuff.
At IP Street, most of our technology stack is open-source. Something happened last week that threw our components’ different design philosophies into stark relief.
We use Solr (with Zookeeper) for many of our search and pivot tasks, and Redis as a Swiss Army Knife. They do different things and have different consistency requirements. You can easily critique any juxtaposition as comparing apples to oranges. I think it’s instructive, because Solr and Redis are both high-performance, production-quality, and powerful tools.
Working on them within the same day, I experienced exact terminal opposites in configuration philosophy!
Let’s meet contestant number 1
Solr is a powerful search engine. Their Cloud feature lets you shard and scale your index, and Solr will do the internal shard and node routing. Or you can direct your queries to the appropriate node for a small performance win. Being
short-handed understaffed frugal with our peons worker bees people, we let Solr do the routing. “Here’s a document, store it.” “I want this document.” “Here’s a pivot within a search, do it and assemble the results for me, pronto.” Etc.
Solr nodes are peers, though internally there are leaders and replicas. Solr uses Zookeeper, an Apache technology for distributed persistent configuration. Nodes do the right thing when other nodes come and go.
I just found my ninth-grade science teacher online. I e-mailed him to say how great he was, and how much I appreciated his influence during my turbulent adolescence. So there’s that.
I didn’t claim my “swag bag”. I wasn’t even tempted. I don’t need another meh coffee mug or pen. I don’t need a small stack of paper brochures I’ll only discard.
It’s time for conferences to retire the swag bag!
This anachronism should have perished years ago. Anything I want to discover, I can discover on the web 1000x faster than I can in a swag bag. You expect me to flip through the paper collateral? If I’m interested in web-based analytics, Python IDEs, or “live chat” technology for web pages, I’ll search online. I know the swag bag is a tiny and unrepresentative subset of my options. If you’re expecting me to think, “Ooo, I’ll use their product, they’re in my swag bag!” your model of how brains work (well, my brain, anyway, but then again mine’s the archetype) is wrong.
Back in the day, you looked forward to finding the latest copies of software, or interesting trial/demo/crippleware, in a swag bag. Trial copies of Visual Studio, or a Linux distribution, or the like. Or, going way back, new products that you never heard of. None of that is true anymore.
I know swag bag material helps sell sponsor slots, and that’s how conferences defray costs. But they’re still nigh useless, and bad for the environment. It’s a matter of time before vendors wise up to how little return they get on their swag dollar. Conferences should move now to kill this ancient custom!
Every attendee received a Raspberry Pi, Model B unit. Very cool! I didn’t have any interest, so I didn’t claim mine. All the unclaimed units are being donated to charities and schools, so my Raspberry Pi will go to some worthy cause somewhere. I hope some girl or boy is inspired by it.
I wanted to take in some evening events, but except for the first night, my control rods went in around 6:30 pm and I chilled instead. On the plus side, I got lots of sleep and woke up refreshed each morning. In fact, I noticed myself dragging less on the conference’s last day than I normally do at this point in a conference. Getting good sleep is good. Who woulda thunk it?
I’m enjoying myself more this year than last. I think it’s because my head’s in a better place than it was last year. Things are better at work, a dim light may be visible at the end of the tunnel, etc.
I’m attending PyCon again this year. The tutorials and the main conference.
In past years, I posted commentary about the sessions I attended. I won’t do that this year. Don’t feel like it. Not sure why.
My dead Drobo saga’s conclusion…
- Grades: Drobo customer support: A+. DiskWarrior: F. Disk Rescue 3: A-.
- Don’t consider your Drobo to be hot-swappable. Ever.
- Buy Disk Rescue 3 and have it on hand.
- Run Disk Utility and do a Verify Disk once a month. If that’s too often for you, do it once a quarter.