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Category: Work

Seven years Eyjafjallajökull eruption

In 2010, between April, 15 and April, 23, Air Travel was disrupted because of the ash cloud generated by the icelandic Eyjafjallajökull eruption.

Air travel disruption after the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption

That meant a lot of travellers could not reach the beds they had booked, while approximately the same number of people could not leave their beds to return home. On the first day, the volume of calls making it into the call center (not counting dropped calls) was nine times the normal volume. We added a lot of personal (three times the normal staff, IIRC) to call centers, upgraded servers to handle the increased churn on the databases, and added licenses to the phone system to cope – all in all an extremely busy time.

Also, many hoteliers realized that it is actually ok for customers to cancel, as long as the beds are warm (and paid for). Travelling became a lot more flexible in the aftermath of this incident.

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Network Devops Engineer at

You know Python and Networking? We do have a platform based on Django that automates network and data center management, and we need to invest in this.

We are going to do a lot more with this, and with many other interesting toys.

Want to play? Check this out.

“Empowering people to experience the world…”

“… and working with people from literally all over the world.”

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Infrastructure development

Think like a dev, but code as if you are on call.

Are you an infrastructure developer? Do you think like a developer, do you understand developer tools, but think like an infrastructure person? Are you more interested into worst case behavior than new best cases? Do you shoot trouble before it happens?

Here is an opportunity for you:

Go Away Or I Will Replace You With A Very Little Shell Script, Video: Kristian Köhntopp, Froscon Talk

Go Away Or I Will Replace You With A Very Little Shell Script, Slideset

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The Interview in the Enterprise

See also an earlier article in the blog, and Why I Don’t Talk to Google Recruiters mentioned in the comments.

Where I work we have regular round tables, in which you can talk and ask questions to middle management from other departments than your own. I had the opportunity to talk to a person who manages development priorities and staffs teams, and who of course has some insight into hiring and the interview process. That was very enlightening.

For example, finding people to hire in a large organisation is a hard job. Hiring rates are quite fixed, so in order to find people to hire you need to go through a relatively fixed, larger number of resume reviews, phone screens and face to face interviews. Assume that for each three people you would want to hire you need to sift through 100 resumes – that’s 10.000 resumes to look at for 300 people to hire. And it can not be automated.


Uber, Culture and Susan J. Fowler

A few weeks ago, Susan J. Fowler wrote about her very strange year at Uber. Basically, she experienced sexual harassment, HR covering up and a poisonous corporate culture. Apart from her personal experience, she characterises the culture like this:

In the background, there was a game-of-thrones political war raging within the ranks of upper management in the infrastructure engineering organization. It seemed like every manager was fighting their peers and attempting to undermine their direct supervisor so that they could have their direct supervisor’s job. No attempts were made by these managers to hide what they were doing: they boasted about it in meetings, told their direct reports about it, and the like.


Hello, I am interviewing people…

Hello, I am Kris (Article about a Twitter meme in english). I was a Database Scalability Engineer at

When interviewing people for my replacement, I have been looking for a “sense of cost” in architectural decision making. I have been giving people rough problem descriptions of what others or I am currently working on, and asked them what they were thinking about the problem.

Since I did not have a solution to the problem yet, my goal was more observing the idea-discovery process and the reasoning about consequences of various approaches in terms of load, toil, network communication and so on, than an actual solution for the problem.

Oh, and I have been a MySQL consultant and database person since 2005, and still google ALTER TABLE syntax.