Happy Sysadmin’s Day!

It is the last Friday of July once again, which means it is Sysadmin’s Day. Congratulations to all system, network, and database administrators.  Have a short day and a long pint!



Everyone else should take this opportunity to appreciate the work done by system administrators.  The nature of this profession is such that most people only notice the existence of system administrators when something is broken and doesn’t work.  If you network is running smoothly, if can’t remember the last time your computer gave you trouble, if your inbox is clear of spam and viruses – there’s a sysadmin somewhere making sure of that.  Things don’t just happen by themselves.

Huge Thank You!

I wanted to take this opportunity and say a huge Thank You to everyone who made yesterday a very special day for me.  It was truly one of the greatest birthday celebrations I’ve ever had.  You are all truly the best!

Since the early morning till late night I’ve received countless phone calls (from several countries), text messages, emails, Skype, Google Talk and Facebook messages.  I’ve got a few awesome presents and cards.   I had a surprise party at work, which included a chocolate cake with my name, and a case of German beer (unbelievable!).  I’ve also had plenty of drink – enough to kill a small army, I think – at Ship Inn in the company of friends.

It was an absolutely amazing day!  Thank you everyone!


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

The old fat man dressed in red, with a long white beard just visited my home.  He said that I was mostly good this year, and left a whole bag of presents.  He only had a few moments to spare, so we served him with a ginger beer and a few cookies.  (Apparently, he is lactose intolerant and doesn’t particularly like the taste of milk.) He then rushed away, promising to visit us again on the New Year’s Eve in about a week.  He also left a message for me to pass on to all of you.  Here it goes:

Merry Christmas everyone!  Best wishes to you and your loved ones!

Happy 10th birthday, WordPress!

Today is the WordPress Day.  Thousands and thousands of people gather in hundreds of cities and towns all over the world to celebrate WordPress’s 10th birthday.  In 10 years, WordPress went from just another PHP application for bloggers to a feature-rich platform that runs a huge chunk of the Web.  WordPress came a long way, grew and matured.  As did the community (of which I am a proud member) that developed, designed, translated, documented, optimized, argued, sponsored, tested, troubleshooted, and generally improved the system in so many different ways.

wordpress 10 years old

A big thank you goes to each and everyone involved in WordPress.org, Auttomatic and all those gadzillion projects.  But, I also want to specially thank Matt Mullenweg, without who, I think WordPress wouldn’t be the same, if it would be at all.  Thanks man, you are an inspiration to many.  Keep it up and happy birthday.

P.S.: As I was writing this post, I realized that there was no meetup organized in Limassol, so, albeit with a very short notice, let’s get together and have a pint at Alio Olio after work.  I’ll be there from around 5:30 until whatever.  Here is a quick link to Meetup event.

Happy Programmer’s Day

My brother reminded me that today is Programmer’s Day, an official holiday and appreciation day for those hundreds of thousands of people who spend their days teaching computers new tricks.  I know that not many people think about it, but I do and I find it totally fascinating, that everything, every tiny little thing that we see on a computer screen is thanks to someone who programmed it in.  Just think about it.

What are you staring at now?  Probably a web browser.  That’s a large and mighty complicated program that was written over a few years by hundreds, if not thousands of programmers.  Your browser runs on top of an operating system, which again was written by many programmers over lengthy periods of time.  The browser, through operating system, communicates with the server that runs my blog.  All those communications go through a number of networking devices (routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, etc), which run software written by more people.  My server runs Apache web server software.  Which runs PHP software.  Which runs WordPress software.  Which connects to MySQL database.  These are just a few major pieces of software involved in the process.  There are probably thousands of smaller applications that nobody ever thinks of, that still do their job to deliver this content from me to you.  Like TinyMCE editor that I am using inside of WordPress to write this post.  Or like Google search engine that you probably misused to get to this post.

Do you like any video games?  Those are software applications.  How about YouTube videos?  For you to be able to waste time at work this inefficiently, a lot of software had to be written by a lot of people.  Oh, are you working then?  Doing some calculations in Excel or drafting up Word document?  Maybe you are working through some customer data in the CRM application.  All those are software applications too.  They didn’t just grow on trees.  Someone somewhere had to think them up, design them, implement them, and maintain them.

Oh, and do you know what’s even crazier?   Programmers are using software applications created by other programmers.  Operating systems, text editors, compilers, linkers, debuggers, and more!

Software industry is very young.  I’m not sure when was the first program ever written, but, according to Wikipedia, the first theory was proposed by Alan Turing in 1935.  That’s not even 80 years ago.  And if you look around you now, the amount and the complexity of software applications created to date is immense – from operating systems, through games and business applications, to all the things online and mobile.

But that’s just the job, right? All those people were paid for it, right? Wrong! Very wrong!  While many did indeed get paid, there is plenty of contribution from amateurs and enthusiasts.  Those are the people who push the technology, ask hard questions, and try to make the world a better place not necessarily for their own greater income, but out of pure curiosity and for the love of science.

Anyways, I’m getting carried away.  All I wanted to say is that it’s important to pause once in a while, look around, and appreciate what we have and people who brought us all that.  Computer software is not the single most important thing around us, but it is one of those things that we rarely notice, until it breaks.  So, have a thought about what software you use, what role does it play in your life, and how did it get there.  And then, find a programmer and buy him a beer.  Because there is someone somewhere not just using his software, but enjoying and/or depending on it, and not thinking about it.

One last thing I wanted to mention.  Of course, I knew about Programmer’s Day for a while now.  And, of course, I knew that it is an officially recognized holiday in Russia.  But what I didn’t know is that I actually know one of those people who worked to make it an officially recognized holiday.

This particular day was proposed by Valentin Balt, an employee of Parallel Technologies web design company. As early as 2002, he tried to gather signatures for a petition to the government of Russia to recognize the day as the official programmers’ day.

Valentine Balt currently works in FxPro, here in Cyprus.  And we had a few drinks together.  Well done, Valentine!

To all you programmers out there – happy Programmer’s Day.  I wish you faster computers, shorter compile times, fewer bugs, better APIs, clearer specifications, more pull requests and patch submissions, and more appreciative users.  Enjoy!

Happy SysAdmin Day!

Today is the last Friday of July, which means that it is System Administrator Appreciation Day.  To all my friends and colleagues who spend days and nights and servers rooms or on shifts, who works remotely even when on holidays abroad, who’s mobile phones constantly buzz with SMS notifications of devices and services going up and down, who remember more numbers – IP addresses, network masks, port numbers, RFC numbers, etc – than any mathematician, who can troubleshoot a problem even with amount of alcohol in their blood lethal to mere mortals, to all of you guys – Happy SysAdmin Day!  Have a good one!

10 year anniversary

10 years ago today I got married to my beautiful wife Olga.  Sometimes, it feels like it was only yesterday.  But more often, I look back at everything that happened since, and I think that our wedding was in a previous life or so.  Regardless, I am very glad that we found each other and that we are still together.

Here are some of the pictures from our wedding party.

Before and after : aging celebration

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who called, emailed, tweeted, facebooked, skyped, or sent me birthday best wishes via any other means.  I got all of them, and it means the world to me.  One thing all my birthdays have in common is they remind me of all the wonderful people that I am surrounded by.  Thank you all.

Secondly, a few of my younger friends, inquired as to how is being 34 years old different from being 35 years old.  As easy as the question seems, the answer is quite complex.  To ease up with the explanations, I’ve decided to create the visual aid that you can see below (excuse my poor skills of a graphical designer).

As poor as the image quality is, I think, the illustration does answer the question.  Please feel free to let me know if you need any clarifications.

Thirdly, please don’t think bad of me for not inviting you to my birthday party.  There was none this year.  With Easter coinciding on the same Sunday, I felt it was slightly inappropriate to compete with religious celebrations.  Especially given the rainy weather and out-of-country trips for a few must-be-there guests.  Excuses, excuses, I know.  I was just too lazy to arrange all things in time.  Until the next year.

Once again, thank you all for warm words and wishes. I had a good one!

The wedding

For the last week or so I’ve been particularly silent and offline, except, maybe, for my Foursquare check-ins.  The reason for that was my brother’s wedding.

A lot of family flew in from Russia and Urkaine.  They stayed for a few days and we had to show them around.  Gladly, everything went through OK.  All we need now is a week or so to get back to the routine and detox.

P.S.: Official wedding pictures and images aren’t out yet, so I had to shamelessly steal the above image from Facebook.