The android and I


I don’t talk much on this site about what I do at work. There are a couple of reasons for that — what I do is somewhat too specialist to describe easily (I am a member of the Site Reliability Engineering Group, who are tasked with making the most reliable site on the Internet), somewhat technical (you see, if we tweak the thingie on that cluster just a little, we can decrease the doodily by 15 milliseconds!), and frankly I’d rather not spend all my time talking about work at home.

On the other hand, sometimes something makes me so proud that I just have to say something. Previous examples are the open sourcing of Slack, Google open sourcing patches for MySQL, and describing how we deploy MySQL servers at the MySQL Users Conference, and the LCA 2007 MythTV tutorial that Google went out of its way to help with.

This week’s proud moment is the launch of Android. I’ve been coding on and off for the platform since August last year, and have had a Dream handset in my pocket since July this year. Frankly, I don’t bother to power my blackberry on any more. However, the point of this post isn’t to convince you to go and get yourself an Android handset — I’d like to think people will do that on the handset’s merits alone. The point is however to say that its very cool that Google has worked so hard on an open source mobile platform, released the source code as promised, and that it largely went off without a hitch.

Astute observers will note that I’ve change job at Google a few times — I was hired as a Linux system admin and supported our customer support email system for a while, I then went and turned up new serving clusters for a year, and now I am a mobile reliability engineer. That level of movement inside the company is entirely normal, and I think is probably one of the best perks of the job. In that last capacity I have been helping the Android guys with the launch of their server side for the last month or so. That’s my final excuse for taking the Android launch personally.

So, there you go.