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Brad Fitzpatrick

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Scalable Internet Architectures [Jul. 21st, 2004|01:55 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
I was "surfing" the intarweb yesterday and ran across this:

http://www.lethargy.org/~jesus/archives/26_Scalable_Internet_Architectures.html

Theo Schlossnagle's cool. He's been involved with the Spread and Backhand projects for a long time and helped us with mod_backhand back in the day when it was kinda new and we were finding bugs.

I was kinda flattered to read he was writing a book in which he intends to discuss memcached, even if it is just in comparison with similar tools.

I've gotten asked twice now by two different publishes if I had any more article or book ideas, most recently just today. I'd write the type of book Theo's writing, if I hadn't seen Theo's already writing it and is probably much more knowledgable in all of it than I am.

A book would be fun if I had somebody to co-write it with, but it's probably a huge project. I think I should just write some more articles. That memcached one has brought quite a number of people into the memcached mailing list and I'm enjoying a lot of the feedback.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: scsi
2004-07-21 01:58 pm (UTC)
ORilley book on LJ! Then mad props to DeadJournal! That would make me as proud as the time InReach got into the Orilley Stopping Spam book (they used mail headers from a spam originating from our mail server)..
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[User Picture]From: mart
2004-07-21 02:06 pm (UTC)

“LiveJournal: The Definitive Guide” — Configuring and deploying a scalable personal journal site

It's a sure-fire hit!

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[User Picture]From: scsi
2004-07-21 02:32 pm (UTC)
Includes helpful tuning for:
1. Apache
2. mod_perl
3. mod_proxy (eh, maybe)
4. MySQL

Plus useful tidbits about:
1. memcached
2. BML
3. mogilefs
4. perlbal
5. scaling large services across multiple machines
6. big/ip's
7. Managing/absorbing DDoS, and what to do..

I'd totally help out by writing a chapter or too, mai engrish is very good lol!@#!@#
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[User Picture]From: mart
2004-07-21 02:04 pm (UTC)

I like writing. It's a shame I don't have a whole lot to write about! I also find it hard to sustain a readable structure for more than a short article or maybe a whole chapter, which is why my numerous attempts to write S2 “books” have all ended unceremoniously. (Recently I've actually been thinking about getting suck into the S2 manual again, just to get away from programming for a bit.)

You should definitely write more articles. You've pushed the available open-source software further than most, and Danga's produced a tonne of useful things itself, so I would say it's your duty to share your experiences with everyone else, for the good of humanity! (or something like that :))

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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-07-21 02:09 pm (UTC)
I'd have you co-write with me if you didn't have such colourful wording of words like tonne. heh.

just kiddin'. nothing a few regexps can't fix.
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[User Picture]From: mart
2004-07-21 02:22 pm (UTC)

Joking aside, I have become very good at “writing American” over the last few years, just because in a lot of cases it's better to just pretend to be American online than to deal with the whole “Ha ha ha he said favourite”. Other than that, though, when I'm writing things like the S2 manual, I realise that most of the English-speakers are going to be from the US, so writing it in UK English would be silly.

British people are a lot more used to dealing with US spelling than Americans are British, anyway. That's just a symptom of our massive consumption of US “culture”. :)

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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-07-21 02:25 pm (UTC)
I don't much care. I just like to bug ya.
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[User Picture]From: olliejeff
2004-07-21 02:27 pm (UTC)

A better way...

Most submitted articles for magazines are actually "ghost written" by hired authors. We use them all the time and it works out pretty well. We have our writer do an in-depth interview with the person whose name will actually be listed as the author. Then they write it and give it back to you for your edits before it is sent off to the magazine. Instead of hours upon hours of writing the article yourself, you spend about 1-2 hours for the interview and then maybe just one more for the edits.

I can pass along the names and numbers of a few writers if you are intrested.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-07-21 02:35 pm (UTC)

Re: A better way...

Man, that seems so lame.

I got $600 for my last (er, only) article. How much do people end up paying ghost writers?

It also seems more work to explain to somebody everything than just writing it, but maybe not. I guess if they're technical enough.
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[User Picture]From: olliejeff
2004-07-21 03:49 pm (UTC)

Re: A better way...

Yeah, it seems a bit weird, but that is how it works in the trade magazines. Anyone who is worth having their name attached to an article usually doesn’t have the time to write it. Some magazines though have strict policies against ghost writing.

Our clients usually pay about a dollar per word, which seems expensive but is much cheaper than advertising. Usually a difference of tens-of-thousands of dollars if you compared the space in the magazine that the article takes up.

Of course you really aren't writing the articles to promote yourself, rather just spread the word about what you are doing.

And, your topics might be too technical, but these writers are pretty good at taking a transcript of an interview and turning it into an article.

The magazine paid you to write your last article? Did you approach them about the article, or did they approach you? How long was it?

If a magazine comes to you, especially to write something so specific, then ethically I would say you need to write it yourself.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-07-21 03:58 pm (UTC)

Re: A better way...

The magazine paid you to write your last article? Did you approach them about the article, or did they approach you? How long was it?

If a magazine comes to you, especially to write something so specific, then ethically I would say you need to write it yourself.


Yeah, they approached me. I think it was about 1000 words.
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[User Picture]From: erik
2004-07-21 02:46 pm (UTC)
Would you want to co-write with someone who lended a secondary set of technical knowledge, or someone to sort of keep you organized and on-track by developing structure and editing the content? Cause if it's the latter, you know, *points to self*. If it's the former then *definitely does not point to self*.
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[User Picture]From: rahaeli
2004-07-21 03:51 pm (UTC)
If you want to write a book, outline it and write it one chapter at a time, with each chapter as an "article". You didn't have much trouble coming up with the word count for the memcache article -- I don't think you'd have much trouble filling a chapter at a time. You have plenty to talk about :)

Just dump stuff into a chapter-type structure, and then give it to someone who's got experience in technical editing to let them rearrange and tighten it, and then they give it back to you and you proofread for final accuracy, etc. It's how a lot of technical books are written, and publication of things like that is good for the ego and the CV if nothing more. (It'd also be good publicity for LJ.)

If you do it like that, I bet you'd find that you had an entire book without much trouble. Even if you planned it as a series of unrelated articles at first, you'd probably manage to find enough of a common thread to make a book.

As for me, I'd love to write a book about LJ's social structure someday :)
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From: jamesd
2004-07-21 04:09 pm (UTC)

So, do it in pieces...

Use a wiki and get everyone who was involved to write a history of the evolution of the LiveJournal systems, in painful detail, including things like tuning database settings, what went wrong, how it was fixed and so on. There's nothing quite like a wiki for spreading the writing workload around.
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[User Picture]From: marksmith
2004-07-22 08:34 am (UTC)
Heh. Writing a book would be fun. It's one of my life goals. I haven't figured out what kind of book, though.

They are huge projects, though. Although, other people here have had the good idea of just outlining a loose framework and then writing "articles" about each section. Seems less like a daunting task if you go at it that way, I think.
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