Michael J. Radwin

Tales of a software engineer who keeps kosher and hates the web.

Currently Viewing Posts in Yahoo!

Working on my OSCON talk

It dawned on me recently that I’ve only got about 2 weeks before my One Year of PHP at Yahoo! talk at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention in Portland.

Here’s the section title slide for one of the parts of my talk:

Scaling PHP slide

I like talks that have lots of graphics, even if they’re a little goofy. I hate it when folks just put slide after slide of text. Those bullet-points communicate a lot of information, but they are really unpleasant to read.

[Update 8 July 2003: Slides for the talk are now available online.]


If you’re a Unix geek, you know about /usr/games/fortune.

If you know much about Yahoo!, you know that we like to name our software things that start with “y”. For example, my Making the Case for PHP at Yahoo! talk mentions our legacy yScript language.

Today, a rather clever co-worker of mine suggested a list of mantras that our engineers should repeat frequently to reach enlightlentment.

“Check in your code.”

“Document your APIs.”

“Have you written unit tests recently?”

“FreeBSD is just as good as Linux (for our needs).”

“Make sure to search devel before asking devel-help.”

“Microsoft sucks. But our users don’t care.”

Heh. Looks like a good start on yfortune.

BusinessWeek on Yahoo!

BusinessWeek June 2, 2003 - Cover Photograph by alanlevenson.com The cover story of the June 2, 2003 edition of BusinessWeek is entitled Yahoo! Act Two.

As an insider, the article seems pretty accurate to me. It does a pretty good job explaining what’s changed about the corporate culture since Semel came on board. Our stock price is up almost 70% since the day he became our new CEO.

In the past two years, things have certainly changed a great deal. To remind yourself of the old Yahoo!, read the BusinessWeek cover story from May 21, 2001.

Dump the Junk Day

Yahoo! Mail Dump the Junk Day Today is Yahoo! Mail Dump the Junk Day in the United Kingdom.

If you’ve got a friend or colleague who bombards you with joke emails and “wacky” attachments, nominate them for the The Dump the Junk Award.

Apparently, you’ve gotta be a Brit to enter the contest.

Ask Yahoo! RSS release

ask1.gif Ask Yahoo!, a daily column that features Q&A with Yahoo!’s expert team of Surfers, is officially syndicating its content via RSS.

As reported here back in April, RSS support for Ask Yahoo! had previously been available as a Beta release only.

This week, Ask Yahoo! marks five wonderful, question-filled years. To celebrate this momentous occasion, we’ve given the site a fresh look and some cool new features. So click around, read up, and ask away!

The Most Popular Questions page is my favorite of the new features.

To subscribe to Ask Yahoo!, click the green XML Sub button: Subscribe to "Ask Yahoo!" with your favorite aggregator.

Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web

akebono.jpg At lunch today we were talking about trademarks and whether Yahoo! is a brand name or a generic term. Since it’s used in Chapter 1 of Gulliver’s Travels, it clearly pre-dates the web company. And the first use with an exclamation point probably comes from the Erasure song which was released in 1988 on The Innocents album.

We never quite sorted it out, but the discussion morphed into the history of the company. We wondered how many links there are still pointing at akebono.Stanford.Edu.

Now there’s one more. 🙂

Capturing Tribal Knowledge

Someone at work today mentioned the problem of capturing “Tribal Knowledge” in an electronic format and making it easily accessible to new or remote employees.

When some new engineer joins Yahoo!, how are they supposed to know that they should build a website using Apache and PHP on FreeBSD? How do they know to use Nagios and not Big Brother for monitoring? MySQL and not Postgres? (Not that there is anything wrong with Postgres, but our Network Operations Center folks have familiarity with MySQL, so sticking to similar technology makes their lives easier which means you gets paged less frequently.)

We’ve got all of this information in our heads or maybe even in an email archive, but we need to distill it out and come up with a website that can capture it so other folks don’t waste time and energy research options that aren’t a good fit for our environment.

What’s the right software for this job? Some sort of Wiki system? A message boards package? Blogging software? Maybe just a bunch of .txt and .html documents checked into some well-known place in CVS?

ask.yahoo.com RSS beta

ask1.gif Ask Yahoo!, a daily column that features Q&A with Yahoo!’s expert team of Surfers, is now syndicating its content via RSS.

Here’s the link to the RSS file: View the raw XML source

[Update: the XML now validates correctly.]

Resume Overload!

I mentioned yesterday that Yahoo! is hiring engineers. One of my open reqs just hit the join.yahoo.com site.

Our recruiter just sent me 7 resumes of potential candidates in the last 20 minutes!

I guess this is why they say that it’s close to impossible to be a manager and still have time to write code.