When Worlds Collide

This evening Arah and I attended an UXPAMN event at DevJam in the basement of their offices in Minneapolis.  This was weird for me, because normally when I’m downstairs, it’s for Fight Club for Geeks.

I always learn a lot when Dave Hussman talks about his experiences with various clients, and tonight the focus was on user experience and product development: very timely.

Lots of tension between story or experience-based product development versus task or delivery-based development. It was enlightening to get the perspective that so many of the practices I’ve been using recently are a function of trying to solve the problems with product delivery, mostly because so many organizations struggle to deliver product.

I told myself aloud that I wasn’t going to engage in my typical compulsive note-taking, so I left my iPad, my SmartPen and my microdot notebook in the car. And I see I’ve taken two pages of notes on my phone…

Some things I need to dive into later:

Overlapping Cache TTLs

Hoisted myself with my own petard last night. Without getting into too much detail, at ib we acquire contextual data from the Palm Beach Post, add some elections data, and serve it to the public.

Not wanting the contextual data acquisition process to be too expensive for the Elections Engine, I scheduled it to occur once an hour.

Not wanting the contextual data delivery process to be too expensive for the Delivery Network, I also cached the results of the process for an hour.

The acquisition and caching processes run asynchronously – which leads to unpredictable TTLs for the resulting content.

Long story short, PBP was updating their context rapidly, and sometimes the processes lined up just right and their updates appeared in minutes, and other times the processes lined up just wrong and the didn’t see their contextual changes for hours.

There must be some anti-pattern that describes this async cache strategy: I should try to find it online, if only to warn others of the dangers of over-zealous layered caching.

Do we really need another blog?

Certainly not, especially not one that takes its title from an Andrew Marvell poem.

Still, I need a place to exercise writing. As my prose descends to the darkest depths of “IT English” and as I begin to “prepend” and “grep” more than I prefix and search, we begin to see the need for writing outside the boundaries of IT.

Of course the subject matter of this blog will probably revolve around that world, so let’s just tag this post with a category for IT or Information Technology or geek or whatever, and get back to work!