Sunday, November 17, 2013

Datamung won Netflix Cloud Prize award for best datastore integration

On Nov 14th, in AWS re:invent conference day 2 keynote, Netflix announced 2013 Cloud Prize award winners. I was very lucky and my project, datamung, is one of the ten winners. Datamung received the award for best datastore integration.

Datamung is a Java open source web application that backs up RDS MySQL database into S3 using AWS Simple Workflow and EC2. It's a RESTful service and website on top of it, a single installation allows multiple AWS users to backup their database living in their own AWS accounts. The fact that it uses mysqldump command indicates that the backup result in S3 is a SQL file ready to use across AWS accounts, regions, VPC, or outside of AWS network. If you are interested please jump into the Datamung project wiki to find out more.

Ironically, in the same keynote session where winner list was announced, 40 minutes later Werner Vogels announced a cross-region RDS replication feature which targets the same problem that Datamung attempts to solve.

Netflix flew my family to Las Vegas to attend 2013 AWS re:invent conference and accept award. I was horned to meet the judges, some of which are basically my career changers. For example Martin Fowler, when I talk to people about things he wrote, I got job offers so I could pay mortgage and send daughter to school. I wouldn't restart on open source development after 3 quiet years without Adrian Cockcroft launching the Cloud Prize program, not mentioning Netflix system had me watch hundreds of movies via internet. Anyway, I had good time in sin city and so did my wife and daughter.

Lastly, Chinese food in Vegas is surprisingly good as it turns out. I even found an authentic, in fact the only authentic Xi'an restaurant after 10 years of searching in United States. Having grown up in Xi'an myself, I was pleased to taste childhood food, and suffer from stomach pain of overeating once again.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

July 4th Navy Pier

Finally, it's July 4th when everyone comes to Navy Pier, pays $20/hour parking to watch exciting fireworks, despite the fact that the exactly same fireworks happens every Wednesday and Saturday night here all summer long.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A week in Istanbul

Ömer Aşık had a decent season in Houston Rockets and my wife's best friend is getting married in Turkey. Therefore Yilin, my wife and I decided to spend a week in Istanbul, which turned out to be the most amazing and memorable vacation we ever had.

Way too many things to do

If I ever going to visit Istanbul again, I would definitely reserve at least a month. There are way too many interesting things to do in Istanbul for a week-long vacation.

Heaven of food

Restaurants cover every inch of the old town. I wonder if people here ever need to cook at home. The restaurants look good and cheap. Then later we asked a Turkish friend if she cooks, she said not really since restaurants are good and cheap.

Being a Chinese picky eater, I felt dubious about the quality of food from these "good and cheap" restaurants. Finally we had chance to have a bite, from which point we couldn't stop. If I were born in Turkey, I would be a happy Turkish programmer who never cooks.

Kind, kid-loving people

It's a shame how much U.S. defames Muslim for all the time. By far Turkish people are the kindest people I've met. Every time my car stops and opens window, people walk to me and ask if I need help. Every 5, 10 minutes Yilin walks on a street, people hug, kiss her, take photo with her or give her gifts. During the stay Yilin received free gifts from random people every single day.

Here's another story about how nice Turkish people are. We were walking down a street with a dozen restaurants where people sell food aggressively. To pass through the area, we told a guy that we just finished lunch, maybe we could come back for dinner later. The person was nice enough and gave us his card, saying he would gave 15% discount if we back. We did back to the area again at dinner time and this time a different man came to us to sell food. We showed him the card and said someone promised a 15% discount. What surprised me was, instead of convincing me how good his food is or giving me a price match, this man took us to the address on the card and said "have a good lunch". Can this happen in U.S. or China? Hard to imagine.

Jaw dropping wedding ceremony

My friend's wedding ceremony took place in Sait Halim Pasa Yalisi. For people who don't know what it is, like myself, it's a big waterfront house with about 20 rooms, a separated 6000-squarefoot ball room and granite lions at gate. Big shots used to live here, obviously. Now it's mostly for events like wedding ceremony. The level of luxurity here is absolutely jaw-dropping. Guests dressed up in the way I've only seen in Oscar, not in Golden Globe. Again, Turkish strangers showed great hospitality to me, the only person in jeans, the only yellow family in ceremony.

The ceremony was about 6 hour long, during which bride and broom spoke, ate and danced all the time until midnight. Only marathon runners have competency to do what they did. I kept telling my self, getting married is for young people.

Monday, April 08, 2013

I'm not funny because I don't watch Family Guy

This morning Yilin and daddy was having a little conversation while having breakfast

Daddy: Who's the best?
Yilin: Me
Daddy: Who's smart?
Yilin: Me
Daddy: Who's strong?
Yilin: Me
Daddy: Who's funny?
Yilin: Hmm.. you are funny, daddy.
Daddy: You are funny too, you are a funny little girl
Yilin: No, I'm not funny because I don't watch Family Guy
Daddy: (Running to bedroom hysterically) Honey, did you hear what Yilin said?

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Lucky order from Snarf's

Like many folks here in the building, every noon I order sandwich from Snarf's online and pick it up from store to feed my starving tummy. But today is not any day, today I received my lucky order.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

From Seattle to Chicago

Having lived in Seattle for 6 years, I thought Seattle is the one with notorious weather. Turns out I was wrong.

Shopping experience



Working environment









Driving to home

Seattle: 2158 miles, 31 hours
Chicago: 96 miles, 1 hour 39 minutes