Stay Curious!

Ultima Online and the History of Sharding

Mon, Apr 21, 2014 - 400 Words
Have you heard of sharding a database? Of course you have. Do you know where the term comes from? Someone asked me this at a cocktail party recently. I gave it my best shot. “The earliest I remember was Google engineers using it to describe the architecture of some things,” I said. “That would have been about 2006.” “Nope. Much earlier than that,” said my new friend. I pondered. “Well, I guess there was the famous LiveJournal architecture article about MySQL.

Switching from Sublime Text back to Vim

Tue, Apr 15, 2014 - 300 Words
I’ve used Vim for as long as I can remember, but when I started to work with Go at VividCortex, for some reason I started to use Sublime Text instead. It does make a very nice GUI-based editor, but I never felt that it was as powerful as Vim. Ever notice how the Vim logo looks a little like Superman’s logo? No? Squint a little harder, then. I think the thing that made me start using Sublime Text was the nice IDE-like code completion and other features, which are easy to install with a package called GoSublime.

Slides From Percona Live

Sun, Apr 13, 2014 - 100 Words
Embedded below are slides for the two talks I gave at Percona Live. The first one is titled knowing the unknowable. It illustrates the special regression technique we developed at VividCortex for computing the amount of CPU, IO, or other resources a query uses within MySQL. The second one is on building MySQL database applications with Go.

Replication Sync Checking Algorithms

Sat, Apr 12, 2014 - 600 Words
I was interested to see the announcement of a MySQL replication synchronization checker utility from Oracle recently. Readers may know that I spent years working on this problem. The tool is now known as pt-table-checksum in Percona Toolkit, but the original work started in 2006. I would say that I personally have spent at least 6 months working on that; adding up all the other Percona Toolkit developers, there might be several man-years of work invested.

Percona Live Recap

Fri, Apr 11, 2014 - 400 Words
I had a great time at Percona Live. I think this was the best MySQL conference I’ve ever been to. (The food was excellent too. The fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.) The talks I attended were very good. Jay Janssen’s tutorial on Percona XtraDB Cluster was impressive. I can’t imagine how much time he must have spent preparing for that. I was very happy that Oracle, MariaDB, and WebScaleSQL had a strong presence, too.

Time-Series Databases and InfluxDB

Sun, Mar 2, 2014 - 1700 Words
Time-series databases are of particular interest to me these days. Not only is VividCortex working with large-scale time-series data, but it’s a growing trend in the technology world in general. What’s perhaps most surprising is the dearth of native time-series databases, either commercial or opensource. The World is Time-Series The data we gather is increasingly timestamped and dealt with in time-series ways. For the last 10 years, I’ve worked with “roll-up” or “summary” tables almost constantly.

The Barnes and Noble Nook HD+

Sat, Mar 1, 2014 - 700 Words
I consider myself a very slow adopter with regard to tablets. I’m too picky. I think the iPad is inconveniently large, and there are a lot of devices that have the same screen size, which eliminated many of the popular ones from my consideration. Many of the devices out there are 7-inch screens, and that’s too small. A while ago I tried using a 7-inch device but after a while I stopped using it.

MySQL falls with the decline of PHP

Wed, Feb 26, 2014 - 700 Words
Sometimes people’s perspective can be so interesting. I mean this with absolutely no irony. Josh Berkus wrote recently in a post about upcoming JSON improvements in PostgreSQL 9.4: MySQL largely rose on the success of PHP, and it fell as PHP became marginalized. This is an aside in the blog post, off-topic. But it’s interesting to discuss because it reveals the completely different things people see when they look at something.

Respectful Introductions and Recommendations

Sun, Feb 23, 2014 - 2300 Words
In the last few years of my career, I’ve increasingly been involved in meeting people. This often involves requests or offers for recommendations, introductions, and so forth. I’ve learned to be very careful about making or accepting such offers or requests, and I’d like to share my current thoughts about that with you, because a lot of trouble can come of a seemingly innocent request or offer. The Stakes Are High “Martha, that’s so great that you are starting a business in the diabetes care industry!

Amber Alert: Worse Than Nothing?

Wed, Feb 12, 2014 - 500 Words
In the last few years, there’s been a lot of discussion about alerts in the circles I move in. There’s general agreement that a lot of tools don’t provide good alerting mechanisms, including problems such as unclear alerts, alerts that can’t be acted upon, and alerts that lack context. Yesterday and today at the Strata conference, my phone and lots of phones around me started blaring klaxon sounds. When I looked at my phone, I saw something like this (the screenshot is from a later update, but otherwise similar): I’ve seen alerts like this before, but they were alerts about severe weather events, such as tornado watches.