Je me souviens
Everything here is my opinion. I do not speak for your employer.
April 2007
June 2007

2007-05-01 »


Okay, anybody willing to take a video of me doing a presentation, and then only show the good part is at least worth a backlink.

(Scroll down. Search for "avery." Be amazed!)

2007-05-02 »

Why doesn't netselect do reverse name lookups?

Someone asked via email about a slightly odd behaviour of netselect: when you give it a hostname that has only one IP, it'll return the hostname as the result (if that host wins the contest). If you give it a hostname with more than one IP, it'll return just the winning IP, not the hostname. Why not do a reverse lookup on the IP and get its "real", unique hostname?

The main reason I didn't reverse-resolve the names is that I didn't want to get into an endless loop of ->, -> If the starting name has more than one IP, there's no guarantee that the reverse name lookup will have only one IP associated with it (regardless of commonly accepted practices with DNS, which say you should never do that), so I'd have to forward look it up again to be absolutely sure I wasn't lying. This could end up tripling the time netselect spends in DNS resolution when you run it.

In the end, netselect works by choosing the fastest IP address from the list. DNS names exist so that people can move their servers around on the network without you noticing, but chances are if they do that, your netselect results will change anyway, so using the DNS name hasn't helped you. Besides, is seeing a name like actually better than It tells you the host is in Germany, but as we learn from running netselect, choosing servers based on physical geography is extremely ineffective. that's my excuse. The real reason is that I was too lazy to implement the parallel DNS lookup code twice (or three times), and the existing implementation is pretty function-specific. Doing it would probably increase the code size of netselect by 50% or so.

2007-05-03 »

Link bait article about link baiting

Okay, so I realize how gullible I have to be in order to link to an article about link baiting that's pure link bait, but he's followed his advice so well, and it's all so well written, that I can't help it.

In much the same way that understanding propaganda helps you both manipulate other people and avoid being manipulated, this article is a good read precisely because it helps you learn what people are doing (very successfully) to make you do stuff.

Keep this in mind next time you're thinking about "voting up" an article designed specifically to attract attention. In other words, do what I say, not what I do :)

2007-05-09 »

BarCampWaterloo 4

Time flies when you're having fun, so this came up sooner than I expected. I'm signed up to attend BarCampWaterloo 4 this Saturday in Waterloo, Ontario, from 11am to 5pm. If all goes well (it's a BarCamp, so you never know :)), I'll be demoing Versabox, in which I install Linux (Nitix), another Linux (Ubuntu), VMware Server, Windows 2003 Server, and MS SQL on a completely blank server in about 15 minutes or so. And if I screw up, at least you can laugh at me.

Also, rumour has it that lkosewsk will be demoing his new startup's formerly top-secret product. Unlike certain other products likely to be present at BarCampWaterloo, I've heard it runs a 2.6 Linux kernel.

2007-05-21 »

What to do when you find people are pirating your movies

I know! Cancel all your publicity screenings! Because that will make it more likely for people to want to go see your movie. Right? I mean, once they hear about it, of course. Oh, wait.

2007-05-22 »

Newsflash: rich people can be smart

A co-worker mentioned to me that Warren Buffet (aka Very Rich Person) has an annual newsletter that's worth reading. The 2006 letter to shareholders is written in a totally understandable, straightforward style that offers lots of insights into the business world. Check out the boring accounting notes, which remind you to eat your broccoli; be amazed by the spectacular decline of his stamp-collecting operation, acquired in 1970 and still in business (barely) today.

And here are some interesting quotes.

On government overspending:

    I want to emphasize that even though our course is unwise, Americans will live better ten or twenty years from now than they do today. Per-capita wealth will increase. But our citizens will also be forced every year to ship a significant portion of their current production abroad merely to service the cost of our huge debtor position. It won't be pleasant to work part of each day to pay for the over-consumption of your ancestors. I believe that at some point in the future U.S. workers and voters will find this annual "tribute" so onerous that there will be a severe political backlash. How that will play out in markets is impossible to predict - but to expect a "soft landing" seems like wishful thinking.

On long-term charitable foundations:

    Even if the people above ground make their decisions imperfectly, they should be able to allocate funds more rationally than a decedent six feet under will have ordained decades earlier.

On paying money to financial planners:

    Even so, the 2-and-20 action spreads. Its effects bring to mind the old adage: When someone with experience proposes a deal to someone with money, too often the fellow with money ends up with the experience, and the fellow with experience ends up with the money.

On investment strategy:

    When Walter and Edwin were asked in 1989 by Outstanding Investors Digest, "How would you summarize your approach?" Edwin replied, "We try to buy stocks cheap."

On business school:

    After all, if you are in the shipping business, it's helpful to have all of your potential competitors be taught that the earth is flat. Maybe it was a good thing for his investors that Walter didn't go to college.

On airline security:

    Stop by the NetJets booth at the Qwest to learn about viewing these planes. Come to Omaha by bus; leave in your new plane. And take all the hair gel that you wish on board with you.

On fairness:

    Charlie and I are extraordinarily lucky. We were born in America; had terrific parents who saw that we got good educations; have enjoyed wonderful families and great health; and came equipped with a "business" gene that allows us to prosper in a manner hugely disproportionate to other people who contribute as much or more to our society's well-being.

2007-05-23 »

David Taylor @ Internetwork London

My venerable employer, David Taylor (though maybe not the David Taylor you're thinking of), will be the presenter at Internetwork London on the evening of Tuesday, June 5. He'll talk a bit about his main company, Pacific & Western Bank of Canada, but I suspect it'll be mostly about the Versabanq initiative that I'm helping with. Admission is free. Why not check it out? I will. Who knows what I might learn!

April 2007
June 2007

I'm CEO at Tailscale, where we make network problems disappear.

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