Yahoo! Alerts not updating RSS feeds?

I have been using Yahoo! Alerts to alert me to changes in my custom RSS feeds, crawled from CalTrans, for changes in the status of Interstate 80 over the Sierra. I noticed today that although my RSS feed has picked up the recent changes, Yahoo! Alerts doesn’t seem to be crawling it, and their view of it is 5 days stale at this point. There is no “refresh” button on Yahoo! Alerts, but I can see their list of items matches up with 5 days ago in my feed. I have it set to send me changes “as they happen”, since I need to know the road conditions to drive back and forth to Reno. Anything else is kind of worthless. What’s up with that?

Yahoo! Mash: Officially Lame

A week ago I got a useless invite for Yahoo! Mash — useless since the service wasn’t open even by invitation yet, and required a Yahoo! Backyard (employee only) login. The service has now officially launched, so I gave my invite a try again, and it worked! It’s invitation-only, so forgive me if you can’t follow along.

There seems to be a damn good reason it is invitation-only… it is totally lame. It is nowhere near ready for the public, embarrassingly so. It’s kind of amusing actually. Lots of things are broken, several things want you to type in e.g. size of pictures in pixels. The lameness comes from many things, not the least of which is that it comes with a “Mash Pet” which is kind of a Tamagotchi composed of pictures of a whiteboard smiley face.

The service overall is like a mix between MySpace and Facebook, and overall pretty lame. Actually, the only thing that it seems to have that is innovative (and a feature people have been wanting for YEARS) is a “this is fugly” link to turn off the custom styling of a profile. Yawn.

Leaving Yahoo!; storage, consulting

As many of you know already, I’ve decided to leave Yahoo!. Today was my last day. I’ve had a great time at Yahoo! and worked with a bunch of brilliant people. I will miss you all!


Where am I headed? That’s actually a complicated question. I’ll be working part time at Pivot3, a mature startup that’s doing great things in the storage industry. Contact me if you’re interesting in cutting storage costs, getting some amazing management tools, and some awesome performance. I would love to tell you more! MySQL will absolutely rock on this platform.

Yes, I said part time. I have a startup of my own, Proven Scaling, providing advanced MySQL consulting and training services. Looking to get more performance, scalability, or reliability out of MySQL? Need help with replication? Designing a database solution that really scales? Need help interviewing a candidate for a MySQL position? We can help.

New York, not the police

When you try to dial a number in area code 212 at Yahoo!, it’s really easy to end up trying to call the cops.

A number like “9 1 212…” is easily misdialed as “911…” by missing the first 2. Of course, they intercept “911” calls even though they are not fully qualified. (You’d have to dial 9911 to get the real 911, although I think they intercept that here, too.)

So it goes like this:

Jeremy dials 9 1 212 but misses the first two, notices, and hangs up to try again.
Phone rings.
Mission Control: Mission Control, 911 was dialed from this phone.
Jeremy: Ooops, I was trying to call 9 1 212 …

They must get that a few times a day…

He’s Not Moving

We’re moving cubes tomorrow. All of us but the manager, it seems… hah.

Manager: [exasperated] I’m not moving. I’m not on the move list!
Employee: Isn’t that a good thing?
Manager: No! I’m supposed to be moving! I don’t want to be the only one left over here!

I’m sure they’ll sort it out. :)

Grenoble Hotel Fiasco

I mentioned the snafu with our hotel in Grenoble in my last post, but I thought I’d expand on things. First, for some background:

Yahoo! has a new internal travel system, in order to reduce the volume of people booking with the travel agents at the travel desk. I figured I’d give it a try for this trip. Man, did it suck. It’s outsourced to KDS International, and internally re-branded as “Yahoo! U-Book”. It takes hours to do the simplest of things. I booked a single hotel from my trip with it before giving up and using Expedia, Orbitz, and HRS. I kept my sanity.

The hotel that I booked on U-Book was for Grenoble, France. We arrived into Paris on Saturday, and took the SNCF TGV train to Grenoble on Sunday afternoon. When we arrived at the Grenoble train station, I checked the map, but couldn’t find the address of the hotel on it. I asked the person at the information desk, and after some scratching his head, all he could initially tell me was: “far, very far”. Not good. I asked if I could take the tram or bus there; “No, only taxi, very far” was his response.

The hotel was in Saint Rambert d’Albon, which is really far from Grenoble. He knew that initially from the postal code—the hotel’s postal code is 26140, while central Grenoble is 38000. He was willing to figure out how I could get there, but I told him, no, if it’s really that far, I need a different hotel. He pointed me to the IBIS Grenoble Gare hotel, right down the road. The guy at the front desk of the hotel spoke excellent English and helped me cancel the other hotel without penalty and rebook there.

I got back in the office today, so I checked the U-Book system to make sure that I’m not crazy, and that it really isn’t my fault. I was right. Here’s a screen shot of the U-Book’s map of hotels, with my mouse over where it thinks the hotel I booked is:

You can see Kelkoo on there, which is the Yahoo! office I was headed to. Nice and close, right?

And now, where it really is, courtesy of Mappy. The hotel is on the left, Grenoble on the right, and the driving directions between. Click to get a bigger version. It’s 138km to drive this route:

I reported the problem to KDS today, by phone, so hopefully they’ll fix it.