The Screwdriver Test

A year or so after we launched canada.com, Pete and I found that we were spending just as much time administrating the server farm as we were developing new features.  Our boss at the time once joked that Pete was the only Director he knew of that walked around with a screwdriver in his pocket.  Little did we know how important that screwdriver would become.

Although we had a great (small) team surrounding us, it was just myself and Pete looking after the hardware and developing the software for canada.com.  With a small team, you end of doing whatever it is that needs to get done.  The two of us carried pagers hooked up to automated monitoring systems that would alert us if and when things went wrong and needed our attention, 24×7.  (Even after we put additional support in place, we didn’t give up those pagers until many years later.  Now we just have Blackberrys to keep us up at night)

Continue reading The Screwdriver Test

Writer’s Block

I’ve been thinking long and hard over the past few days about what to write next.  I feel I owe it to my adoring readership (yes, all three of you) to post something so insightful that it will blow your minds away.  You know, something so revolutionary that you’ll ask yourself “why didn’t this genius start this blog years ago?”

Problem is, I’m not sure where to start.

Yes, I have plenty of ideas, opinions, and stories to share but I’m finding it difficult to pick just one. So I’ve decided to divulge some working titles for my upcoming posts.  I’ll then allow you to decide, via comments, what I should write about next.  (Be forewarned,  I’ll likely ignore the lot of you and just write about whatever the heck I want, but like true democracy, it’s the illusion of choice that matters.)

Continue reading Writer’s Block

Hello World

Ok, let’s have it out. The “Hello World” title is a bit tacky. If you don’t have a clue as to why, you’re obviously not a geek, so read up on it here. Say what you will though, I feel it’s rather appropriate. Here’s why.

I “googled” myself the other day, and it appears I don’t really exist. That wasn’t always the case. About 7 years ago I was a finalist for the CNMA Programmer of the Year award and was quite proud to find that mention at the top of the search results. But alas, that honorary mention has slipped away over time and a few more Edward de Groots have decided to show up online. As it stands today, if you work hard at it, you will come across my LinkedIn page, but that’s about it.

You may ask yourself, who cares? There are plenty of people out there who can’t find themselves on Google (or Bing, they matter now.) What makes you better than them?  And you’re right. For the longest time it didn’t bother me. In fact to be totally honest it still doesn’t. But I did come to the realization that somehow I have spent the last 12 years working for the online world, and somehow during all of that I have failed to provide even a blip on the radar screen. Well, here’s my blip.

Continue reading Hello World