What Powers Instagram

This is an excellent article on Instagram’s engineering blog. You’ll appreciate this if you’re a server nerd like me. I found a summary of the technologies they write about here, as well. This is rather impressive. With three engineers they they run 100+ servers including a dozen PostgreSQL servers and 25 Django application servers.

A couple things I found particularly interesting:

  • SSL terminates at the Elastic Load Balancer, which lessens the load on nginx.
  • Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) was the most stable thing they could find. It’s what I run as well, but I always thought I would feel safer with 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) as it is the current LTS. I suppose you still only need to do a full distro-upgrade every three years or so even when you’re not on an LTS.
  • Guincorn instead of Apache. This doesn’t necessarily surprise me, just interesting. Apache is a memory hog, though you can probably fine-tune it if you’re interested in that much configuration.

Facebook Hackathon

Last week I competed in a hackathon at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California and I feel like I’m ready to write about my experience here.

This started in late September. I had been hearing for a few weeks that Facebook recruiters were going to be on campus to hold a hackathon. The idea was intriguing, but I wasn’t all that interested in staying up all night to work on a “hack”. Facebook didn’t seem like the type of company I would like to work for and it didn’t really seem worth my time. Yeah… I was wrong.
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Twitterfeed + Ping.fm + Facebook

I just setup another twitterfeed of the blog to get posted to under “blogs” to ping.fm. It will go to my wordpress.com site as well as a few other things, but what I really wanted to set it up for was Facebook. I turned ping.fm off for facebook last week, but I still want new blog posts to update the status there. So hopefully this ends up working.