Is yak shaving a good idea?

There is a common story told in computing circles. You’re trying to get some work done, and before you can finalise it you find that you need to fix a small bug in a library you use. On the way to fixing that bug, you find that you need to improve something else as well, and so on. Eventually you look up and discover that you’re shaving a yak, and that it’s somehow needed to deliver that first project.

I have a theoretical interest in DDoS attacks and especially how they relate to SMTP servers on the Internet at the moment. Somehow that ended up with me reading a bunch of academic research from the ACM portal about email worm behaviour (hence the interest in the recent tech talk from Vern Paxson about the witty worm) and content delivery networks like Akamai.

Reading up on Akamai lead me to discover Planet Lab, which is insanely cool. I’m left with all these wild ideas for side projects to pursue from there.

Bring on the yak.