Archive for October, 2012

Responding to Recruiters: Priority List

Posted in default on October 28th, 2012 at 22:39:50

I get a handful of recruiters who are looking to find me a role in their companies. (Sometimes they are also looking for people who aren’t me to fill roles — which I usually pass on to others by saying “Anyone looking for a job?”, getting a chorus of “Nope”, and moving on.)

While responding to one of these recently, I ran down the checklist I have in my head for what is important to me in looking at a new job. I think that the list of items on this list are essentially a log-scale order of binary predictors for how likely I am to consider a switch to another position; for example, I don’t think that it’s plausible to imagine that I’d consider any position that didn’t have the first two conditions met.

  • Work from Cambridge, MA, ideally in a local office or some other employer-sponsored working space. (Things that are close enough: Cambridge, Boston. Things that are not close enough: Lexington, Waltham, Billerica.)
  • Working in a working environment which supports flexibility in work schedule, and is supportive of work/life balance.
  • Working on projects that I don’t personally consider dishonest or immoral.
  • Working with user data — the bigger the better.
  • Working on projects which are visible to the public.
  • Working on interesting new technologies, especially technologies which can be open sourced and shared.
  • Working with maps, or geospatial data.

(Compensation also plays a role, but I don’t think I’ve ever not responded to a recruiter based on that fact.)

I’m not actively looking for a job — despite Nokia’s overall poor performance, I work under the ‘Location and Commerce” group inside Nokia that is still making a healthy profit on our overall activities. Most importantly to me, I work with the same team I’ve worked with for more than 6 years now, so switching jobs would be a painful transition that is unlikely to be enticing without a really strong offer.

That said, I often read the engineering blogs of places like Yelp, Netflix, and Foursquare and think “Man, wouldn’t it be cool to work someplace where maybe I couldn’t put out fires all the time? Where occasionally, I could actually work on cool stuff?” (Note that my brief research into Netflix indicates that it fails *both* of the first items on my list, so it’s evident that “Companies doing cool things” is not synonymous with companies for whom I would want to work.)

I just miss the days of MetaCarta when occasionally, I got to put together something interesting without spending 75% of my time fighting against people inside my own company, and I dream that somewhere out there, there must be other cool companies to work for where that’s not the case. I’m not convinced this isn’t just a ‘grass is always greener’ thought, though. 🙂

(If you are looking for a senior software developer, and think your company can meet all of the criteria above and be cooler than where I work now, feel free to drop me a line.)

Some comments on EC2 instance heterogeneity

Posted in default on October 24th, 2012 at 20:39:50

An article (Exploiting Hardware Heterogeneity within the Same Instance Type of Amazon EC2) linking to a paper from HotCloud ’12 has some information about mixed instance types for Amazon EC2 machines. I found it interesting, so browsed through the article. Here are some observations I had when looking:

– “Furthermore, the high-memory instances use identical Intel X5550 processors” — Not true, from what I can tell. E5-2665 processors are used across at least us-east availability zones for all m2 instances sizes — m2.xlarge, m2.2xlarge, and m2.4xlarge. In fact, in several thousand instances spun up, it seems that these instances are used up to 70% of the time in one availability zone (though almost not at all in another.)
– The CPUBench test was done across 20 instances, but the Redis test appears to have only been done against one of each type, as far as I can read. I’m not totally convinced — given the variability in performance between node types — that this is entirely explained by instance differences — though given the CPUBench scores, it’s clear that some of the variablity could well be coming from that.

Anyway, I primarily wanted to comment on the high memory instances all using X5550s — since it’s clear that they don’t, at least not in US-East 🙂