Archive for the 'hardware' Category

Facebook in Prineville, a slightly different view

Oooh! Pretty blinkenlights!

On Friday, Facebook’s Senior Open Programs Manager, David Recordon, took a group of us from the OSL on a fantastic behind-the-scenes tour of the new Facebook data center in Prineville, Oregon. It was an amazing experience that prompted me to think about things I haven’t thought about in quite a few years. You see, long before I was ever a server geek I spent my summers and school holidays working as an apprentice in my family’s heating and air conditioning company. As we were walking through the data center looking at the ground-breaking server technology, I found myself thinking about terms and technologies I hadn’t considered much in years – evaporative cooling, plenums, airflow, blowers. The computing technology is fascinating and ground-breaking, but they’ve been covered exhaustively elsewhere. I’d like to spend some time talking about something a bit less sexy but equally important: how Facebook keeps all those servers from melting down from all the heat they generate.
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Thanks, Gateway … NOT!

There are days when I worry about the status of intelligent life on this planet.

I have a Gateway laptop. It’s OK. Not great, but it gets the job done. Last week while I was putting the laptop in my bag a CD in a paper sheath slid between the lid and the body of the laptop and popped the “\” key off the keyboard. After muttering a few dark things about weak-ass construction I dropped a line to Gateway tech support and requested they fix it. After confirming my street address twice and asking for an on-site repair, they said they’d fix it. Cool.

So I get to my desk this afternoon after running some lunchtime errands to find a suspiciously keyboard-shaped UPS box on my desk. Hmm. Must be hard to fit an on-site tech in there, thinks I. Sure enough, opening the box reveals a disembodied laptop keyboard, a packing slip and a short form letter saying, “Please find enclosed the part that you requested along with easy-to-read installation instructions.”

Except there were no instructions. Nor was there the promised on-site support technician to install it.

Oh, and did I mention that the keyboard in the box already had its “Alt” key broken off of it inside the packaging?