My thoughts on DevOPS on the REA Engineering Blog.


It should not be marketed as position to slot one person in, or even rotate people through. A software developer who writes the code should be as concerned about his/her code working in production as he/she is in development. Definitely operations are more experienced with deployment and maintenance of products in production like environments, but that does not mean a developer should not base his software decisions before being aware of implications of deploying it in production, or be unaware of the status of his code after it passes quality assurance. The thinking behind devops is the critical bit of software development.


Deep in the history of the world, when Earth was no longer a child in the solar system, its denizens will ask, how did we get here! How did we let it take over, despite all that Arnie told us. And the answer will be, because it came under another name and another guise. Because we let it, and because it was awesome. It was not called Skynet, but Android.

Back in 2011

Today was fun. Woke up way too early in the morning because my body is in pay back mode for putting it through God knows how many time zones. So at 0300 hrs, found myself at my laptop talking to my parents on Skype because for them in Kashmir, it was 1900 hrs. At about 0830 hrs, went to the Moscone West center to the conference and was immediately greeted by this

What I had not realised until then was that this years conference was going to be attended by about 5000 people. And all of them had decided to attend the keynote speech this year. It was packed but the arrangements were very nice and the keynote was very engaging and hands on. My favourite axiom is “Show, don’t tell”. And that is exactly what most of the keynote was. Demos! And they were awesome!

We started with what Android had done in the last year or so, the facts and the figures, the adoption and activation rates. Then they began showing a bit about the honeycomb roadmap, announcing Honeycomb 3.1 and how they were bringing it to Google TV as well. They unveiled their plans for the next iteration of android OS, Ice Cream Sandwhich.

The Keynote also had highlights about the new Open Accessory Standard and it was wonderful watching demos of how android devices integrated with exercise bikes, and game boards and lights etc.

It was very nice as well hearing from the development teams about what they had done and also where they were taking android. Movies for rent across devices, music in the cloud (BETA) and android across devices; allowing developers to write apps for Google TV as well. It was great fun.

Also, all 5000 developers got given a Samsung Galaxy Tab. 😀

After the keynote, the session began and the ones I attended the one called Honeycomb Highlights where they presented what was new in the OS and how to go about using it. They demoed some of the stuff and also showed how to use Render Script, for both graphics and computation.

After that I found my way to Secrets and Surprises of Geo APIS’s but sadly it was not much of a surprise.
They were still demoing most things which I had seen at last years dev fest in Sydney. The one thing that was new though was the ability to create heat maps on the fly from Fusion tables layered on maps or earth.

After that I attended a session where the presenters put Java Puzzlers and it was very interesting. I learnt about type erasure, bridge methods and how varargs and collections do not go well together.

After that attended a fire side chat with the Android team

And then after that attended a developer sandbox with the Chrome team. It was good fun.

Looking forward to tomorrow!

15 hours. Thats how long it takes for a direct flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles. You can break it down to 8 movies full length, God knows how many glasses of orange juice and packets of peanuts. Add to that about 15 minutes of waiting in the plane after we landed as the customs hall was overflowing with people. Add to that a personal time of one hour trying to clear customs as this was my first time to the United States. This lengthy delay ensured that I missed my flight but managed to get a connecting one to San Francisco and finally arrived at my hotel at about 3:00pm PST. I had had lunch and therefore decided to take a walkabout downtown San Francisco and garner impressions.

It feels different. People open doors for others but no one says thanks. You achieve eye contact but no one smiles. There are lots of people and many of them are lying on the street. There are street evangelists yelling at about everyone loudly, people with signs saying “Need $1 for weed” and what not. Its very different.

It is expensive as well. The Australian dollar is definitely better at the moment but that does not help you escape the fact that things are definitely expensive here. This is based on the one subway and power socket converter I bought. Prices displayed also do not include the GST at times and you are definitely supposed to tip. It is the unwritten rule.

There is a shopping centre close by called “Westfield” and it reminds me of Highpoint. Replace Myers with Bloomingdales, DickSmith with Radio Shack etc and you get the idea. The accent is not that pronounced but then I have not really stuck up conversation with anybody yet, except the people at the hotel while checking in. Who knows, maybe I might strike one up tomorrow at the first day of the conference.

The US Flags on near the hotel.

Went back to my hotel, and I slept, and slept, and slept. Woke up then in the middle of the night, had a cup of coffee and spent about 6 hours browsing the internet on free wifi. At about noon, headed to the conference centre to register in and currently am sitting there using the free attendee wifi provided by Google to do some Android coding on Blamer

To quote Lawrence of Arabia, “It is going to be fun”.

Long time ago, on reddit I had seen this search engine Duck Duck Go and I had thought, “Nice, but I will stick to Google”. Only today, did I ask myself, why! Why am I sticking to Google? What exactly is it about Google that is great! So, comparison time.

The first search I did was for the text “Once upon a midnight dreary”.

Google gives me:

DDG replies with:

Wikipedia features high on google’s list whereas DDG gives preference to the actual words of the search query. To me, this implies that Google probably have more sophisticated contextual search algorithms. The wikipedia page is bound to have links to both the text of the full poem, whereas the links offered by DDG are more related to the text itself. Still, I had wanted the poem itself, not the history! But thats just me.

Second Query is developer concerned and considering my recent work involving iOS, it was for “UIKit”.

Google gives me:

DDG counters with:

Google gives me cocoadev, apple and sourceforge. The most popular, then the official one and then someone from where I can get examples. DDG gives me the holy grail of open source software, github and then cocoadev and other links. Apple’s Developer Site does not even feature in the top three. And frankly, since the whole code documentation is embedded into XCode, I could not care less.

Last, I ask for one of my favourite books, “Bal-E-Jibreel”.

Google finds:

DDG finds:

This was the clincher. Google gave me Wikipedia again and some link to the same text. Look at what DDG gave me! *insert huge smile*.
They gave me links to the wikipedia page for the book, the author and found out some other books by the same author, and unlike Google, did not give me one link which had it all, but categorised the links and presented them to me. And thats what I wanted.

DDG, however, still feels a little bit sluggish compared to Google and the fact that it automagically searches into youtube and other such sites. It does self computation whereas DDG bases itself on wolfram (which might not be a bad thing. Why do something that someone else already does very well!).

I have however decided, in the interests of competition, to use DuckDuckGo from now on. Lets see how this rides goes, and how long it lasts.