It was my first real job outside of the university system, so it is safe to say that I was rather green. This job basically involved being an apprentice to someone who oversaw the code supplied by vendors that sorted a tremendous amount of non machine readable mail, i.e. it assisted humans using chord keyboards sorting mail with pneumatic arms and big chains and slots. Back then, a fair amount of mail traveled this way - stuff your grandmother wrote that couldn't be OCR'd, postcards, etc. The whole apparatus was similar in size to a semi trailer . Each station dealt with a piece of mail every second (give or take), with two fifteen minute breaks and a half hour for lunch. This was around the time of the postal shootings .
Two weeks into the job, my boss quit. Just never showed up again. Not exactly sure what happened. Apparently, I had become the most knowledgeable person in the organization on this software which was currently being rolled out widely.
Unsurprisingly, there were some serious code quality issues. This was QNX real time sorta unix in C and ASM with RTOS daughter boards. The vendor's code jockeys, apparently, had become unavailable.
Main takeaways: Systems seem to keep working despite everything looking very fragile. Read tons of code. If it's working, don't poke it.
A year later I was able to make some form of industrial dance music by coordinating the openings and closings of the mail slots and the chain with the software. Bad situations can sometimes lead to greater clarity and new opportunities.
I'd love to hear some of the music that came out of your experience - anywhere to listen to it?
But for now I think their tech team is full, so they won't be needing my services. :)
Yes, very much. We would like to make the open source software MUCH easier to run, so that it is easier for others to develop on. It will probably be one of the first projects for a new hire, because it will make it easier for THEM to develop too.
Now if we are talking devops, I can agree. Engineering teams this small need to wear many hats; I think jedberg has been said to have helped in development efforts, if my memory of past blogs serves right.
A lot of our sysadmin time is spent tracking down bugs in the stuff we use (like Cassandra) and doing tuning and automation.
Also, I do a lot of the other business stuff, so at best I'm a part time sysadmin right now.
We do pretty much do "devops" though. A lot of the work of Neil, our programmer, is tracking down bugs due to data inconsistencies due to hardware problems.
* He was hired in November.
* He works on code, and didn't get woken up during
the last major downtime until the end (from their post
mortem, presumably due to the DB eating itself). The
word 'even' in "we *even* woke up spladug" is telling,
that indicates to me that he doesn't wake up often.
* Reddit is pretty much a done product, and the last
features I can think of were meta (Gold comes to mind)
Doing operations for a site the size of Reddit with a staff of 2, on AWS, is far more impressive to me. Keeping an operation like Reddit afloat in front of that many uniques must be a pretty significant challenge. There's not a lot of depth for on-call, so I feel for their sleep.
On top of that, jedberg is the sole voice actively fighting for Reddit's reputation in public, since (let's be honest) the exodus looks a little suspect. Watching his comments in the face of a perceivably sinking ship -- not to mention former employees who are saying quite a bit in front of an impressionable user base -- is interesting, to say the least.
They're definitely undergoing a challenge, and I'm interested to see how they come out of it. (Aside: Today has apparently been discuss-Reddit day, looking at my threads.)
Is Conde just going to run off to Elance or something?
I can't even find a jobs page on Reddit.
At least it's open source.
My guess is this may have repelled some experienced devs that, otherwise, might have applied.
If your resume identifies you as a badass programmer, you just toss them a copy of your resume. You know how it works, and they know that insisting that you do a programming challenge before setting up an interview hurts their chances of landing you, so they'll give you an in-interview test instead.
It's the same with Facebook and all the other places that have programming challenges -- they're there to qualify leads.
Not sure why an org like Reddit, which maintains a small team, would be interested in hiring inexperienced devs.
No, it is not a coincidence. Please don't sensationalize a comment about an article that clearly explains what went wrong. Go to Reddit for that.
They always seem to have an excuse (usually about something being screwed up with Amazon), but frankly "not my fault" only works so often.
I would definitely not invest that much time into a job application, especially before an initial interview to know if I even want to work there.
From the application:
Well, first off, it's supposed to be fun. If you don't see the joy in either of these puzzles, please don't apply.
Seems fair to me.
Set high standards. You can always lower them later.
If the filter were genuinely indicative of that, that would be great. However, my guess is that working there is quite different from doing makework puzzles for no pay (I hope, at least!).
I don't think you get a good idea of what a place is like until you sit down and talk to the people involved and see the code. At least that much is possible.
The puzzles are in the links provided, why didn't you just go read them?
* You have the time to post on HN strongly implying that these "puzzles" are likely not that great (they're not even puzzles to start with)
* You have the time to purposefully misread replies (I suggested that you go read them before judging them, not that you go work on them) and reply yourself
* But you don't have the time to click on a link and read 20 lines of text?
The point is not whether I clicked through or not, the point is whether I'm going to spend my free time on my own projects, or completely useless projects for some company - they're not even things the company needs!
I'm more than happy to be judged on the merits of what I've produced, both proprietary and open source, rather than fooling around with invented puzzles.
Nevertheless, programming puzzles are like catnip to me, so I don't mind solving them as part of a job interview process (or at least, I didn't mind the last time I was actually looking).
I would NEVER say that I have a superior strategy to you, or that you have a superior strategy, or that programming puzzles are an excellent filter, or a terrible one. Just that some people will like them, and some not.
You don't, that much is obvious. Or at least, you don't in the context of a job application. Fair enough, and nobody should ever suggest that (a) This is a bad idea on your part, or (b) on the basis of your anecdotal evidence, this is a bad idea on Reddit's part.
I thought it was just me being a primadonna, but I'm glad to find someone else thinking the same way. After all, my resume (which is full of all the things they ask) should be enough for at least an initial impression on their part.
They never did bother to reply after I sent them the code. I actually now see that they have deployed a new FAQ system with commenting and CAPTCHAs, although it was simple enough that I don't think they'd just use my code.
I told them as much too.
My experience is that most people that try to get reddit running in the first place give up because it's such a gargantuan monstrosity. reddit will take any reasonably-sized personal VPS entirely over -- I was running on a 1GB slice and had to login every few days to restart Cassandra and paster (after the Oct. push). Reddit is just not well-suited for anything except reddit.com, and I think new developers would have some difficult maintaining that, and that most people aren't going to do it without getting paid. It's a big, ornery project, certainly not easy to jump into.
My guess is that there are leaks that have lingered for quite some time.
It is a fantastic site, but I have the feeling that leaving it has been a relief for those that have. I might be wrong. A bit drunk.
(Incidentally, what a scam. Bloomberg terminals cost some insane monthly fee, and they have ads! And all I've ever seen anyone do with them is check sports scores and read celebrity gossip. Google should have put them out of business years ago.)
In the right hands they are mind-bendingly powerful.
Also, a large part of the cost of the terminal is the data feeds.
Reedit has many more sophisticated load issues to about. The two aren't really comparable it seems.
Note that this is just speculation based on what I've read, I don't have any inside knowledge.
See the big reddit thread on this topic, or HN's thread about that reddit thread.
I think that's actually one of AWS' biggest strengths. Once you get a corporate card in the account it's easy for the devs to buy what they need.
And he is a kick ass sysadmin.
Also, I don't have any idea what to make of your comment "...and if it is, it needs to go.". Are you just trolling or do you really suggest that they shut the site down because it's complex?
I'll know it when I see it.
I was a daily user of Slashdot from 2001 to 2006 and then I found Reddit. I completely abandoned Slashdot less than a year later.
What could beat reddit? Well, if there was a facebook-y site which allowed me to associate with people who had my interests (rather than family, friends, and people I went to college/high school), I'd be down with that. (I love my mom, but I don't think she cares about Minecraft, old-school RPGs, French pop songs, Asa Akira, and Jules Verne novels.)
Twitter is close, but the character limit, url shorteners, and "twitter-speak" (intentional bad spelling/grammar in order to "get under the limit") just make my teeth itch.