Wednesday, January 25, 2012

GitHire spam again...

Just keeping this around for posterity since they deleted the HN posting and maybe others will want to see the truth if they are googling around for why you are getting spam from these guys.

I called them out for being a the spammers that they are, and I got a rather odd response:
Hi LatchKey,
I'm really sorry that we sent you that email. We just launched a little over a week ago with this crazy idea, and were extremely surprised at how quickly we were overwhelmed with orders.
We made a bad judgement call in sending some emails to people asking if anyone is interested in jobs.
If it makes you feel any better, you can see that we aren't finding very many talented engineers, and we will likely need to refund a lot of money in a few days.
We are honestly trying to be a great service for software developers and employers. We need feedback from people like yourself to learn how we can be the best service possible to reshape the hiring industry.
We actually sent you an email, but never heard back. Please let us know if you're interested in continuing this discussion further on or off of a public message board.
Thanks for keeping us honest.
The HN thread goes on with a lot of people pointing out their own issues with GitHire and I have my response to the above quote here:

Sorry, but I just don't have any tolerance for spammers or people trying to profit off my profile without my permission.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Scalable System Architecture Comedy

I was reading Scaling a PHP MySQL Web Application, which is a technical document published on the Oracle website. As I was scrolling down the page, I saw the typical Load balancing Figure 1 that you always see in any PHP/MySql web application.

But then, as the article goes on, it gets more entertaining. It goes on to Figure 3, showing Multiple MySQL Slaves, which is now 4 machines.

But wait, there's more. Now you need a dedicated database slave for each Web server, so the picture expands to even more lines and arrows in Figure 4. A total of 8 machines.

As you keep scrolling, you get to Figure 5. A real gem of an image. Arrows in every direction. Arrows jumping through other arrows. 8 machines, but a completely incomprehensible image.

Ok, now we've randomized the connections between all the web servers and database slaves.

Could you imagine one of these machines going down or throwing errors and trying to figure out which one it is or how it connects to the other machines?

We all know that as systems grow, they get more complex. That said, if you draw an incomprehensible picture of your architecture, it is a clear sign that you are doing it wrong.

Monday, January 16, 2012 is a spammer

I've kept up with all the recent HackerNew articles on GitHire. They seemed like a rather interesting service because I believe that hosting your projects on a site like GitHub, is the best kind of resume a software engineer can have.

That is, until they just spammed me with a whole list of completely random and unrelated jobs. I could understand it if I signed up to their site and requested spam (aka: LinkedIn), but I'm definitely not interested as I'm in the middle of starting my own company!

After checking out their site, I realized they've also got a profile up for me that I had no hand in creating, nor desire having. Apologies if that link stops working, hopefully they will remove my information soon. Maybe I should be pissed that I'm only in their Top 50%? ;-)

Since I wanted to remove myself, I clicked the "Opt out of Githire" link, which then takes me to a page on Github to authorize their application?!?

Hell no, I'm not going to authorize your application, just so I can opt out of your website. That is wrong on so many levels.

Anyway, I cc'd [email protected] on my response to 'Steve', so hopefully they will be going away soon. I can't see how GitHub is allowing this company to exist, when they so clearly violate their terms of service policy.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Going on 6 months now...

Here is a bit of a status update for the new year:

We've been working full steam ahead on Voost, going on 6 months now. In that timeframe, Jeff and I have accomplished an impressive amount of work for just two people. I've been putting in 10-15 hour days, seven days a week, of solid coding and Jeff has been doing the same. When he or I are out of town, we sit on Skype all day (and night) long working through any issues we have and bouncing ideas off each other. It has been a hugely productive cooperative development effort.

I've become a much better UX/UI designer than when I started. It had been years since I had worked on this side of things and it has been a lot of fun picking it back up. I've also become an absolute expert in CoffeeScript, JQuery, Less and all of the other hot front end technologies that are out there. On the back end, we've integrated with BrowserID for secure sign in as an option to Facebook Connect. We've also switched to Objectify 4 which is the most advanced way to interact with the Google AppEngine database backend.

The sad face news is we have nothing public to show for all of this hard work quite yet. I could go on with a list of reasons, but they aren't really worth going over in detail. Suffice it to say, we just aren't ready to launch. I'd say that we are about 85-90% of the way there. Hopefully not more than about a month or so. For a few of my friends, what we have is enough and they are pressuring me to just put something out there, even if it is incomplete or buggy. I'm pushing back on them.

While I realize the cycling season is quickly picking up, I'm not in a huge hurry. Thankfully, after years of penny pinching, I have enough savings left to last me until we do launch. I really want to do this right. I want all of my cards on the table. I want people to wonder why nobody has done a site this good before. As cheesy as it sounds, I expect something close to perfection, even if it isn't absolutely feature complete. I think of how the original iPhone disrupted the cell phone market. We went from the clam shells and keyboards to touch screens overnight. It may sound silly, but I'm passionate about doing something like that with the event registration market.

Even without all of the features that other companies have, our application is light years more advanced than any other registration product out there. I know this because I've seen their systems, analyzed everything wrong with them and spent the time to come up with a vastly better designed user experience. This takes a lot of hard work and this will be a huge differentiator in the marketplace for us. I'm very proud of that fact. It will be very expensive and nearly impossible for our competitors to hire enough engineering talent to catch up with us.

A question I get a lot is: do you have any customers? Well, we don't. Not yet. I'm ok with that because I do have enough contacts and relationships to get the word out there to promoters. I think that people also really want this product, so when we launch, it will almost sell itself. I can't tell you how many times I've heard 'I hate XYZ's excessive fees!' and 'This XYZ registration site is so difficult to use!'

Besides, the cycling community, our initial target audience, is very small and I don't want to really start pressuring promoters to try out a system that isn't launched yet. I sure wouldn't trust anyone who doesn't have a live product. On the flip side, if I was a competitor, I'd be really scared of us right now. We are going to be very hungry for customers and it will be that much harder to compete when we have a better product with better pricing.

A bit of good news is that we are close to having a great company logo. We put a bounty up on one of those crowd sourced websites full of designers and got a number of excellent designs, out of over a hundred submissions. We are in the process of choosing the final one over the next couple of days. I look forward to announcing it.

Thanks for listening. Thanks to all my friends and family for the encouragement and advice. Thanks to my wife for putting up with me working all the time. Thanks to everyone who has offered to help. Expect another update soon. This is going to be a lot of fun!