Erik Kastner and John Goulah on Deployinator: How Etsy removed the pain and fear from deploying code

Reblogged from the NYLUG Blog.

Erik Kastner and John Goulah
– on –

Deployinator: How Etsy removed the pain and fear from deploying code  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 @ 6:30 -8:00 PM
** Please note important information about this meeting **

As Etsy grew in traffic and engineering resources, fear crept into the deployment process. At one point, code was only being deployed once every 2 weeks; with planned outages! As of March 2010, Etsy is deploying to production up to 40 times a day with almost 70 engineers – all of whom can “push the button”. How did we get here? How do we manage it? Are we nuts??

We will be covering:

  • Deployinator – our internal deployment application
  • Communication and coordination
  • How monitoring and dashboards enable this velocity

More Information:

About John Goulah:
John Goulah has been working in New York City over the last several years for a number of web sites in both technical and management roles, as well as the co-founder of several startups. Having spent much of his youth touring in rock bands and hacking from the road, he is no stranger to crowds, be it a smoke filled room or presenting to the company board. He strives for non mundane tasks and has automated himself out of his last few endeavors, which has landed him in his current role as an Engineer at Etsy, the leading marketplace for
handmade goods.

About Erik Kastner:
Erik Kastner has given presentations large and small, from the international Rails conference to informal company brown-bags. He strives to find the laziest way to get things done – even if it ends up being a lot more work. Automation, exploration and the simple joy of building underpin just about everything he does. Other than a couple of strange and dream-filled years in San Francisco, Erik has lived in New Jersey his whole life. He works at Etsy in Brooklyn hand-crafting code, arts and tools.

TGI Friday’s
After the meeting … You may wish to join up with other NYLUGgers for drinks and pub food. This month we’ll be over at TGI Friday’s (677 Lexington Avenue & 56th Street, second floor, northeast corner), but we are also evaluating other options for the future and welcome your suggestions.

Book Review: The Poverty & Justice Bible

The Poverty & Justice Bible (PJB) is the English-language edition of the Protestant Christian canon that I want to love, but cannot. The major problem is the translation.

An attempt to literally highlight (in orange) the over 2000 verses of Scripture that address issues of poverty and justice, revealing God’s heart on these matters, this edition of the Bible is a good idea in my opinion. It’s sort of like how in my teens I read the Bible countless times but never grasped the very obvious part about baptism by immersion being part of the process of becoming a disciple of Christ. Once I was shown the verses, in context, it was as plain as day. Much the same can be said about the poverty and justice passages of Scripture. God has a very clear agenda in favor of the underdog and the oppressed, but more often than not we miss it. The PJB could provide a wonderful corrective to this enormous blindspot in modern Christianity, but I’m afraid the version selected is a near-complete blocker.

The version is the Contemporary English Version (CEV), published by the American Bible Society. As I’ve written elsewhere, I have no particular problem with paraphrase versions (which the CEV is technically not), but the rendering of the CEV in many places is just so awful that often while reading I find myself shaking my head in disgust.  Here are some examples:

“Then you will lead the two goats into my presence at the front of the sacred tent, where I will show you which goat will be sacrificed to me and which one will be sent into the desert to the demon Azazel.” – Leviticus 16:7-8 CEV

Who is this “demon Azazel”? If you read the footnote in the CEV you’ll find: “It was believed that a demon named Azazel lived in the desert.” Well, actually, no. It’s believed by some nowadays that some back then believed that a demon named Azazel lived in the desert. The word could have meant “for absolute removal.” Most modern translation wouldn’t dare interpolate the meaning “demon” into this text, given that there’s no clear consensus on the topic. The English Standard Version’s (ESV) rendering is fairly standard:

“Then he shall take the two goats and set them before the LORD at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for Azazel.”

Moving on to Deuteronomy 4:19 we find this gem provided by the translators of the CEV:

“And when you see the sun or moon or stars, don’t be tempted to bow down and worship them. The LORD put them there for all the other nations to worship.”

If you believe the CEV, God is in the business of encouraging the Gentile nations to worship the works of His hands. Again, the ESV gets it right:

“And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.”

Turning to the New Testament, we find the familiar story in Acts 12:15 of the apostle Peter’s miraculous liberation from jail. He arrives at a house where other disciples are staying, knocks on the door and calls out to Rhoda, the woman who went to open the door. She ran back to the others without opening the door and declares that Peter is outside. The others laugh, saying “It must be his angel.” So far, so good. Just check the footnotes in the CEV, though, and we find, “Probably meaning ‘his guardian angel.’” Umm…no. Now, this isn’t an error of translation, but it is bad footnoting.

A final and particularly irksome example of the shoddiness of the CEV can be found in Acts 22:16, where Ananias tells the repentant Saul what he must do to get right with God:

“What are you waiting for? Get up! Be baptized, and wash away your sins by praying to the Lord.”
There are two very blatant problems with this rendering of the text.

First, it gives the very false impression that the washing away of sins takes place through prayer. That isn’t at all what the text says, and any decent translation can give us the correct meaning. Again, the ESV:

And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”

Second, notice the part about “calling on his name.” This is entirely lost in the CEV, but any other accurate translation provides this vital phrase here and elsewhere. In fact, this is a very important theme in Scripture. “Calling on the name of the Lord” refers to invoking his name for salvation, and it involves not merely a “sinners prayer” but a sincere turning to God. This can be seen in Joel 2:32, which says:

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.” (ESV)

Beautiful, isn’t it? This thread about “calling on the name” runs throughout the canonical Scriptures, appearing many times. It does not turn up at all in the CEV, however, which gives us the verse from Joel in a very muted form:

“Then the Lord will save everyone who faithfully worships him. He has promised there will be survivors on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and among them will be his chosen ones.”

This is not a complaint against simplifying final text of a translation to be more widely accessible. My complaint is against the way that the translators of the Contemporary English Version went about it. In places they provided a dubious opinion either in the text itself or in footnotes, and in other places they removed verbiage that is key to understanding great themes of Scripture. The examples I’ve provided here are merely the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

As I set at the beginning of this post, I wanted very much to love this edition of the Bible. The verses highlighted tend to be very good (with some exceptions, such as the story of Achan in Joshua 7) and on-topic with the ideals of helping the poor and promoting justice. Further, the section of devotional readings on topics like “children,” “land” and “toilet, ” inserted in the middle of the Bible provide a wealth of topics for personal reflection and group discussion (and action).

It’s a shame that such a good idea for a justice-oriented Bible edition was combined with the flaky text of the Contemporary English Version. I can only guess that the fact that the American Bible Society owns the rights to this version made licensing easy and cheap in comparison to virtually anything else.

In summary, The Poverty & Justice Bible is a good idea that fails entirely because of the version of the Bible selected to use in the project. Perhaps it would be good for those interested in the themes of poverty and justice grab a highlighter and a better translation and make their own homemade poverty and justice Bible.

Come to think of it, I believe I will.

See Also:
Book Review: The Hole in Our Gospel

World Discipleship Summit 2012

The World Discipleship Summit is scheduled to take place in San Antonio, Texas on July 5-8, 2012. Later that same month the World Convention of Christian Churches, Churches of Christ and Disciples of Christ will be held in Goiania, Brazil. Needless to say, it’s going to be a busy month!

The World Discipleship Summit is a major event for the International Churches of Christ (ICOC), bringing together multiple distinct conferences (The ILC, Youth and Family,  Teens, Campus, Singles, Marrieds, Spanish, Worship and Deaf) into one location.

The ICOC Evangelists Service Team last December 2010 decided to name the event 2012 World Discipleship Summit. They have added the Lila Cockrell Theater (2300 capacity). It will serve as the home for the Spanish Track of the conference. The Lila Cockrell will be the venue each night for different concerts. They also upgraded into the larger Exhibit Hall C (8000) and Ballroom C (4000). These will be the homes for the marrieds and singles (Exhibit hall C) and the campus conference (Ballroom C).

While they are publicly expecting around 10,000 to attend, they are prepared for 20,000, with no additional venues needed. They are working on Exhibit hall B as a big carnival or block party area.

Mike Taliaferro is the Director of the 2012 World Discipleship Summit, and there is a designated coordinator for each of the conferences.

Registration is now open at Billed as “The Spiritual Woodstock of Our Generation,” excitement is building and an enormous turnout is expected.

General Schedule



  1. Morning Opening Sessions – 10:00 am  (Gonzalez Convention Center)
    Leadership Conference Begins
    Singles Conference Begins
  2. Afternoon Opening Sessions – 1:00 pm  (Gonzalez Convention Center)
    Marrieds Conference Begins
    Campus Conference Begins
    Teens Conference Begins
    Worship Conference Begins
    Spanish Conference Begins (Hilton Palacio Del Rio)
    Deaf Conference Begins (The Westin Riverwalk)
  3. Classes for Leadership Conference – 1:00pm   (Grand Hyatt)
  4. Evening Worship – 5:30pm    (AT&T Center)

FRIDAY, JULY 6, 2012

  1. Morning Sessions
    Classes  9:00 -10:00am
    Classes  10:30 -11:30am
    Kids Zone  8:30 -11:30am
  2. Afternoon Sessions
    Classes  2:00 –  3:00pm
    Kids Zone  1:30 –  3:00pm
  3. Evening Worship – 5:30pm    (AT&T Center)


  1. Morning Session 1 –  9:00am
    Women’s Program
    Campus Men’s Program
    Single Men’s Program
  2. Morning Session 2 – 11:30am  (Gonzalez Convention Center)
    Married Men’s Program
    Teen Men’s Program
  3. Evening Worship – 5:30pm    (AT&T Center)

SUNDAY, JULY 8, 2012

Sunday Worship Service – 10:00am  (AT&T Center)

For more on World Convention, the other Stone-Campbell Movement event taking place in July 2012, check out these other posts:

A Gathering in Goiania

About World Convention

World Convention 2012 – Registration Information

Tom Limoncelli on “You Suck at Time Management and It Isn’t Your Fault”

Reblogged from the NYLUG Blog.

Tom Limoncelli

– on –

You Suck at Time Management and It Isn’t Your Fault

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 @ 6:30 -8:00 PM

** Please note important information about this meeting **

Tom will present his “Top 5” time management tips for better time management, and take Q&A about time management, system administration, and what it’s like to work at Google.
More Information:

About Tom Limoncelli:
Tom is the author of O’Reilly’s “Time Management for System Administrators” and co-author of “The Practice of System and Network Administration” (Addison-Wesley). He is an internationally known author
and speaker on many topics, including system administration, networking, security, and grassroots political organizing. Tom lives in New Jersey and works for Google in NYC.

After the meeting … Join us around 8:30 PM or so at

TGI Friday’s
After the meeting … You may wish to join up with other NYLUGgers for drinks and pub food. This month we’ll be over at TGI Friday’s (677 Lexington Avenue & 56th Street, second floor, northeast corner), but we are also evaluating other options for the future and welcome your suggestions.

String Interpolation in Ruby

Going through Chris Pine’s Learn to Program tutorial on Ruby I learned to assign variables as follows:

var1 = “Hello ”

var2 = “world!”

puts var1 + var2

That’s all well and good, but for longer strings it can get pretty clumsy with all those pluses and quotation marks.

Hello! What’s your name?“

name = gets.chomp

puts "Your name is ” + name + “? What a lovely name!”

puts Pleased to meet you, “ + name + .”

Thankfully, there’s another way to do it, so simple I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before.

puts “Hello! What’s your name?”
name = gets.chomp
puts “Your name is #{name}? What a lovely name!”
puts “Pleased to meet you,#{name}.”

It’s good, right? No annoying extra plus signs or quotation marks. Just drop the variable straight into the string.

My thanks to Michael Hartl’s for pointing this out to me.

Faith-Rooted Organizing Introductory Training

Not long ago while at New York Theological Seminary to hear Kent Annan speak I had the privilege of meeting Lisa Sharon Harper, Executive Director of New York Faith & Justice, a Christian group committed to advocacy and community organizing for a more just society. She invited me to a training session to be held just a couple of weeks from that time, on a Friday. Although I had to take a day off work to be there bright and early at Judson Memorial Church, I did it. I’m glad I did.

Although I heard nearly 200 signed up online to participate, I have no idea how many were there. It was easily over 100, though, and 150 would sound completely reasonable from what I could see. The group was large enough to impede us from having 100% participation in all of the activities, but I don’t think that took anything away from the training at all. We all saw the methods and had everything clearly explained. Besides, it was really just an “introductory training,” the full, regular training takes a week.

The training was co-lead by Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, the executive director of C.L.U.E. (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice) and by Lisa Harper. From what I understood, the latter has been apprenticed to the former, learning the “faith-rooted organizing” methodology in order to teach it to others and implement it more fully in New York.

A few explanations need to be made before I share more about the day and the content of the training.

First, the difference between benevolence, community development and community organizing.

We’ve all heard the old saying: “You give a man a fish, he eats for a day. You teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.” Giving the fish is benevolence. Many churches do that with a food bank. Teaching someone to fish is community development. That’s what I’m talking about when I discuss teaching tech to poor and at-risk youth in Brazil. But, what if the man goes to the lake to fish, and there’s a wall keeping him out? That’s when community organizing is called into play.

Second, “faith-rooted” organizing seeks to call together people of like faith to take action. This may be as broad as interfaith or as narrow as a single faith, like Christianity. It is not standard, secular organizing with an “us vs. them” mindset. Faith-rooted organizing sees people and their institutions as fallen but redeemable. Rather than weakness in those viewed as adversaries, this approach calls for seeking common ground and common interests.

Third, understand that I do not endorse all that is called “organizing,” in much the same was as not all that is called “church” seems correct to me. Some agendas I simply do not endorse. The principles of faith-rooted, community organizing do find a basis in Scripture. No only do the prophets call for justice, but Jesus himself taught methods of non-violent resistance, as Walter Wink pointed out in several books, including in “The Powers that Be.”

What follows comes from my notes taken that day:

Components of Organizing

  • goal
  • analysis
  • strategies
  • recruitment
  • leadership development
  • leadership sustaining

Gifts of Faith to Organizing

  • vision
  • values
  • hope
  • practices
  • texts, symbols, rituals, music
  • holistic community

It was also noted at this point that this model is “open source,” meaning it’s open to adoption by other groups that can modify and adapt it at will for their purposes, so long as due credit is given.

Most community organizing begins with private pain in communities that goes public. Something in life isn’t right, some people deal with it alone, but then when it’s brought to light it’s found that many share that same problem. The community at this point has the right to define its own common values and goals. It’s seeking power for a purpose, and not for power’s sake. This is not only in solving the immediate problem, as power is a means to a much broader end. This “big picture” has been identified by some with the “kingdom of God” or, as Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, “the beloved community.” This is the much broader goal of more narrow, focused efforts.

A long view is needed. Even if in the short term we can’t solve everything with a particular injustice, we can and must do what’s possible now to contribute toward achieving it someday.

At this point a story was shared of women on a plantation who worked from dawn until dusk, received very low wages and had little to feed their children. They took some of the banana starts and planted them around their homes to provide extra food. The company, an American corporation, found out about this and sent men in to rip out the banana trees. A missionary who was there visiting this saw what happened and asked an organizer if this was worth it, if things would ever really change. She said, “Soon.”

“Soon? How soon?”, he asked.

“Soon. In the time of my daughter’s daughters, soon.”

One of the key lessons I took away from the training was identifying the lies in society. It’s a matter of framing the issue.

First, ask: “What is the lie that most people believe that justifies the issue?” Put differently, seek the core lie.

Second, “What is the spiritual truth in response to this lie?”

Third, “What are the clearest manifestations of these lies.”

Taking those steps helps clarify the issue and provides ideas for where to begin taking specific action.

Vocation was defined in the training as being “where the world’s deep hunger and your deep gladness meet.” Further, the point was made that during his earthly ministry, Jesus called individuals, not groups. Although there’s a place for a “general call,” we should really work to forming teams coherently and individually.

One of the more inspirational stories of the day, at least to me, was about Archbishop Desmond Tutu during the days of South African apartheid. He preached every Sunday against apartheid, and one Easter Sunday the government sent soldiers to surround the building. Clearly, it was an attempt to silence him on the subject. Would he speak against apartheid or not? People were afraid both that he would and there’d be violence, and that he wouldn’t and the government would win. Standing before the congregation, he began to hop and laugh. Laughter is infectious, and pretty soon not only the congregation but even the men with guns are laughing out loud. Finally, Tutu says something along the lines of, “Friends, we are celebrating. We see the day when we will be free, and we rejoice. Come and celebrate our freedom with us, because we have already won.”

There was no violence that day.

The point of the story is that there is prophetic power in hope, and hope involves bringing the future into the present.

While I have many more notes from that day, there is simply too much to share in one blog post. This is already too long for most people to read. Perhaps in the near future I can type up the notes and share them online. Even better would be if I could find a copy of the powerpoint slides from the presentation.

As I mentioned above, this one a one-day, introductory training session. There is talk of a full series of lessons either during a week or over the course of a few week in the summer. I certainly hope they opt for Saturdays so I can attend. There is much to be learned that can be applied on the ground in Brazil.