FQDN in Solaris 10

The ‘hostname’ command should return an FQDN, that is, fully qualified domain name. For example:

$ hostname
foo.your.domain.com

How do you set it up? Google search doesn’t return much of a useful information. And no, putting stuff into /etc/hosts doesn’t solve the issue. The solution is to edit /etc/nodename and put the FQDN in there and reboot.

echo foo.your.domain.com > /etc/nodename
shutdown -g0 -i6 -y

I have a hunch that reboot is unnecessary, but I haven’t figured out which service needs restarting for this change to take effect.

David Allen: Getting Things Done

David Allen gave this talk when I was in Google campus in Mountain View. It was one of the most popular tech talks, the room was really filled up.

Basic ideas of GTD are simple.  After you get them, they seem to be just common sense.  But it takes a while to figure out what we’re doing when we’re doing stuff.  And also, doing stuff becomes collecting, processing, organizing, reviewing and doing.  Myself, I’ve merely gotten to the stage of organizing.  But at least I started to collect and process.  If you’re curious what that means, sit back, relax and enjoy the talk.

Excuse me, we got a fire alarm

An engineer from Google was supposed to call me on Tuesday but he didn’t. Recruitment coordinator apologized and rescheduled the call to Friday. On the scheduled time I’ve sat by the table gripping firmly my fountain pen and staring at my mobile phone’s display. The phone kept silent. After a quarter I’ve e-mailed the coordinator telling her I’m ready and waiting. The mobile rang few minutes later and I got grilled.

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Genetic data in PostgreSQL

People get usually famous for the things they’ve done. Well, that’s not entirely true. They usually get famous for the things they’ve done, when they were successful. You don’t get famous for attempting and being unsuccessful, now do you?

It works the same way for the scientific publications. All scientists work hard trying various things, and when they finally succeed, they publish a paper. But what happens with all those hours spend on unsuccessful attempts? Nobody seems to be proud of blowing a whole laboratory up. Or whatever didn’t work for them. This means that other people can never learn that something was unsuccessful and they’re likely to get the same, unfeasible, idea and repeat the same research. Needless to say, unsuccessfully.

Not that I’m proud of what I’ve done here, but I will at least allow other people to find this post on Google, when searching for genetic data and relational database. I’ll describe what I did, so they at least don’t do it the way I did.

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The word “should” at workplace

Blogging in English seems to be closely correlated with using English. Despite living in Ireland, I don’t use as much English as I wish to. Luckily, it is getting better. Every single coffee break with Irish people makes a difference.

There’s one word which has started to annoy me lately: “should”.

“This should go there.”
“One should do this.”
“You should avoid that.”

The word itself seems to be innocent; the annoying thing is the way it’s being used. Especially, when the information that “something should” is the only thing one has been told, without explanation of any reasons behind it or a chance to express one’s views on the matter.

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Code over the phone

Two weeks of waiting for it have built it up pretty much. When the phone finally rang, for some reason it felt surprising. No more waiting? Interview begins?

“I would like you to dictate me some code” said the engineer. He was describing tasks and asking me to write code that solves them. They were not daunting; could be easily decomposed into basic operations. Recruiters surely understand that people get nervous when being interviewed. The fact that one is being interviewed, not “just” asked to write some code, makes them make stupid mistakes all the time. Interviewers try to give simple tasks to people. It’s also interesting that the questions were not strictly theoretical, but more like “how would you…” followed by something to find out or to calculate.

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Prisoner’s dilemma and bullying

Prisoner’s Dilemma is one of the classical games in game theory. It’s an interesting abstraction of a whole class of situations, where two parties can choose between cooperative and non-cooperative behavior. It’s a kind of game where win-win and lose-lose result can be achieved. It doesn’t apply to situations like negotiating a price, where one party’s loss is another’s gain; prisoner’s dilemma applies to situation where two parties form a team and work together.

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