Ubuntu 16.04 LTS upgrade notes

Early today morning I decided to update my NUC to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. It was a very easy upgrade and I am pleased to report I do not have to ensure nomodeset is set during boot. Dropbox, CrashPlan work just as designed. Its time to move this to the office and ensure that it has a regular monitor attached to it; its my Linux desktop.

I updated the Lenovo ThinkPad X240 as well over a wired Ethernet connection, and to my dismay, the rtl8192ee bugs still plague it. (previously, bug).

Since the Fedora Project released Fedora 24 yesterday, I’m downloading the ISO now. But as a backup, I have also downloaded the Windows 10 ISO (yes, this might be the first Windows I end up using since 3.1, but maybe I’ll do things normal people do with a laptop going forward).

Homebrew and opensource analytics

Today I ran a quick brew update, and noticed the following:

==> Homebrew has enabled anonymous aggregate user behaviour analytics
Read the analytics documentation (and how to opt-out) here:
  https://git.io/brew-analytics
Updated Homebrew from  to .
Updated 2 taps (caskroom/cask, homebrew/core).
No changes to formulae.

Its well worth reading the document: Homebrew’s Anonymous Aggregate User Behaviour Analytics.

I’m in support of this move, after all Homebrew is valuable for me, and the volunteers need to know where to place importance of their time. I guess its also important to know if they should support many versions of OS X (as of this writing, I am still running OS X 10.10 instead of having upgraded).

Being non-server software, this is turned on by default. Imagine if we could do that with MariaDB Server and the feedback plugin? Its opt-in, and you don’t get statistics that “match reality” so to speak. E.g. some 12k servers out there, or how 88% of users are using Microsoft Windows. This number is wildly different from the quoted 12 million users in a recent press release.

Opensource projects, especially venture backed opensource projects/products, are always looking for metrics and usage statistics. The old adage at MySQL was that you were a user for about 3 years, before you even bought services. Its clear that we all need better metrics instead of download numbers. Kudos to Homebrew for being so brave.

On numbers and getting out there for business

Sidney Toledano (a student of math & engineering, now boss of Dior Couture), via Lunch with the FT:

‘If business is not good, don’t stay in the office’. Some people try to find out what’s wrong through the numbers. But if you stay in the office, nothing will change.”

For a mathematician, Toledano is casually dismissive of too much financial analysis. “My father taught me it’s better to have no explanation for success than a lot of explanations for a failure. Success is intuition, action, decision and take some risks. Frankly, numbers; I see them every day when I get the worldwide update. I can see every single figure for every single piece. But I don’t spend more than 10 to 15 minutes on it because I follow them every day.

“It’s like a good doctor. They see the numbers very quickly — temperature, whatever — but they talk to the patient. I’ve never seen a doctor fixing a problem with a thermometer. And you never fix a problem with the numbers. Don’t look and you miss everything.”

Tips from Paul English on work & management

Via The Way I Work: Paul English of Kayak.

I get about 400 to 500 e-mails a day, and I probably send about 120. At any given moment, I’ll have only 10 items in my inbox. When an e-mail comes in, I read it and decide immediately: Delete, reply, or delegate?

Customer emails? Let everyone see them. Because when an engineer sees the same query coming in a few times, they’ll stop and fix the code. This makes a lot of sense – which is why in traditional organisations, the support organisation needs to be tightly coupled to the engineering organisation. I’ll throw in the sales engineering organisation to this too.

Diversity of success, style, thinking and language – hire for that. 

A lot of companies have the “no assholes” rule. So if the greatest programmer ever is also a jerk, he’s fired. Our rule is “no neutrals.” So when the new guy walks down the hall, is my team drawn to him? Or do they divert their glance? If they divert their glance, we fire that person. I call it the hallway test, but it’s more of a conceptual thing. The idea is when you put superstars together, you can ask, “What did you do today that excited the people around you and made them better at their jobs?” If you can’t give examples, I don’t want you here.

Favourite metric? Revenue per employee.

Speaking in June 2016

I have a few upcoming speaking engagements in June 2016:

  • Nerdear.la – June 9-10 2016 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – never been to this event but MariaDB Corporation are sponsors and I’m quite excited to be back in Buenos Aires. I’m going to talk about the MySQL ecosystem in 2016.
  • SouthEast LinuxFest – June 10-12 2016 – Charlotte, NC, USA – I have a few talks here, a bit bummed that I’m going to be missing the speaker dinner, but I expect this to be another great year. Learn about MariaDB Server/MySQL Security Essentials, the MySQL ecosystem in 2016, and about distributions from the view of a package.
  • NYC MySQL Meetup – June 27 2016 – New York, USA – I’m going to give a talk on lessons you can learn from other people’s database failures. I did this at rootconf.in, and it was well received so I’m quite excited to give this again.
  • Community Open House for MongoDB – June 30 2016 – New York, USA – I’m going to give my first MongoDB talk at the Community Open House for MongoDB – My First Moments with MongoDB, from the view of someone who’s been using MySQL for a very long time.

So if you’re in Buenos Aires, Charlotte or New York, I’m looking forward to seeing you to talk all things databases and open source.

Ad blocking

I know I run ads here, but I really don’t think Google AdSense is bad. What is really annoying me? Video, animated graphics, heavy ads, even on sites that I’m paying subscriptions for to read. I’m happy with a subscription and AdSense, but they’re not doing just that! They are consuming my CPU cycles, ensuring that when I’m working on the battery, these tabs are just taking away precious power.

I thought of using AdBlock Plus, but I recall there were some issues with it in the past (maybe around being paid to be whitelisted). So my solutions of choice in the Chrome browser now:

I’m whitelisting some sites, logging into some others (e.g. Forbes), or finding out that some extensions like Buffer is broken (easy fix: on the first site that you try to use the extension on, just whitelist it in Privacy Badger and things will “just work”).

I’ve been on the Internet for over 20 years, and this is the second time I’ve decided to use ad blocking software. Maybe when we’re respected as readers (see: going back to Google AdSense), I will disable the above extensions. Till then, I’m more productive on a battery for just that little longer…


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