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George Takei Helps Facebook Troubleshoot MySQL

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the good-work-sulu dept.

Facebook 86

miller60 writes "Actor George Takei recently helped the Facebook infrastructure team troubleshoot issues with its MySQL databases. Takei, a veteran of the original Star Trek series, now has more than 1.2 million fans on Facebook. Takei recently noticed that some status updates were missing or appearing inconsistently. That led to a dialogue with the Facebook Engineering team, which gave Takei a shout-out on its latest blog post, which also included some technical discussion of Facebook's challenges in scaling MySQL (a topic of previous discussion here at Slashdot)."

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Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparently (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39281927)

People have been reporting these problems for months, if not years.

Re:Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparen (4, Funny)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 2 years ago | (#39281973)

But they weren't Sulu.

Re:Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparen (0)

MichaelKristopeit420 (2018880) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282033)

they weren't gay. #zarkfuckerberg

Re:Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparen (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282145)

But they weren't Sulu.

George is a little odd (from my point of view; see the Shatner roast), but that's allowed. Besides, he looks great wielding a katana.

Re:Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparen (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282327)

He's not "a little odd", he's openly homosexual. Why do you have such a problem with a man inserting his penis into another man's (willing) asshole? Or two men performing an ass-to-mouth 69 on each other?

Re:Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparen (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282691)

Seriously? Anyone knows 69 isnt ATM... it's P2P... DUH.

Re:Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparen (2, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283237)

He's not "a little odd", he's openly homosexual. Why do you have such a problem with a man inserting his penis into another man's (willing) asshole? Or two men performing an ass-to-mouth 69 on each other?

I have always found him a little bit odd as well, and that was before I even knew he was gay. Odd is not bad, at least I don't take it to be that way. Besides, hes fucking Sulu. He rocks man.

As for your ass-to-mouth 69 comment..... I think somebody would flunk "spatial mechanics" on the Starfleet entrance exam. I suggest you get a couple of dolls and try to work out your "theory" there.

Find me a great actor that is not a little odd anyways....

Re:Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparen (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285615)

Besides, hes fucking Sulu.

No, he is Sulu.
It's the other guy who's fucking Sulu.

Re:Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparen (2)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287129)

Time travel man, Time Travel.

Re:Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparen (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289631)

Indeed, I'm certainly an oddball (if you're reading this you probably are too), but I'm not gay.

Re:Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparen (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39283675)

I guess I've been doing it wrong. When I do 69 with another man, I usually have his dick in my mouth, and mine in his.

Re:Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparen (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282161)

But they weren't Sulu.

There's something to be said for celebrity - it get's your messages noticed more often than us ordinary slobs.

Re:Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparen (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39283023)

There's something to be said for celebrity - it get's your messages noticed more often than us ordinary slobs.

failing celebrity status, you can get extra attention to your messages by using apostrophe's.

Comment Subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282693)

Interesting thing going on here. After over an hour, First Post has not been modded at all yet. Your post is modded funny even though FP said same thing. My personal opinion is that this has occurred from the interaction between the First Post Phenomenon [google.com] and putting the 'being famous sentiment' in his subject.

Re:Comment Subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282837)

great link, fyi - very informative

Re:Comment Subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284141)

Awwww... What a cute way to spell "404".

Re:Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparen (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284667)

Sulu would have fixed the bug himself and used his sword to cut the head off the person who created it.

Re:Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparen (3, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282535)

No, they noticed Takai's posts, because they liked his page. They apparently either ignore your page, or openly hate it. Either way, they don't read what they don't read.

Re:Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparen (4, Insightful)

Jesse_vd (821123) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282605)

George Takei has a lot of fans with us and since we've all Liked his Page, a while back some of us saw an update from him about an inconsistency in his Facebook experience. We realized what he was experiencing was an issue we were already trying to fix on the database side, so when we saw him post, it gave us more information that helped us get closer to resolving the issue. This allowed us to improve his experience, and in turn, the experience of everyone else on Facebook.

They were already aware of the problem and working on a solution

Re:Facebook only listens if you're famous, apparen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39283125)

You also have to have a real page.

What the heck, they might even listen to me, if my page didn't just say "this page intentionally left blank."

Worst association ever... (5, Insightful)

arse maker (1058608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39281945)

He helped troubleshoot? Seems like devs were just following him and reading his posts saying something was wrong.

Not only that, they only took interest because they knew of that issue and were already working on it.

In that case every user on facebook is helping to troubleshoot MySQL.

Re:Worst association ever... (2)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282065)

agreed, this headline is absolutely stupid. the real story was a day-in-the-life of facebook's engineering team, and in passing, toward the end, Takei is briefly mentioned. and he's only mentioned because this particular engineer recognized Takei apart from the other millions of users. and if it wasn't Takei it would have been some other celebrity. as he said, they were already aware of the issue. this headline is a cheap pandering to sci-fi tastes to get attention, because any headline with the word facebook in it better be justified. this one wasn't. notice how the blog's headline doesn't mention Takei at all. without reading it you'd never know, and probably still don't care.

Re:Worst association ever... (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282121)

What they didn't mention, for competitive reasons, are the parts of their datacenter now running MySQL on 23rd century technology, helpfully provided through some sort of plot hopefully less lame than that one with time-travel and whale extinction...

Re:Worst association ever... (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282323)

Oh, come now, Sulu was helmsman, not engineering.

Re:Worst association ever... (4, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283369)

Oh, come now, Sulu was helmsman, not engineering.

He want fixing the problem, just pointing them on the right direction.

Re:Worst association ever... (3, Interesting)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283069)

I'm pretty sure the whole whale plot was intentionally silly. I view Star Trek IV as an experiment in something different and funny/oddball ("Nuclear Wessles", "Cap'n, there be whales here!", "[Said into mouse] Hello computer", etc.). It contrasts well with Star Trek II and III which were both very serious/dramatic (especially II).

If you want a truly flimsy TOS-era plot, there's always Spock's Brain and its many ridiculous moments [youtube.com]

.

Re:Worst association ever... (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 2 years ago | (#39286001)

Well, call me when Brent Spinner helps debug MySQL

Re:Worst association ever... (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282315)

He did what technical people WISH more users did: He reported the probvlem clearly, characterizing exactly what was going wrong and didn't throw in a metric assload of obvious irrelevancies. That *IS* quite helpful.

"It doesn't work!" = not terribly helpful.

"I entered xyz test in the title box, abc in the body box, and clicked submit and it said error 2343" (and none of that is correct) = not at all helpful.

Same as above, but the information is correct = very helpful

Same as above but add (for about 30 minutes) "I think it might be because I gave my car beefy delight instead of seafood surprise! He's not as fond of beefy delight you know, I think it's definitely fish related. NO, wait a minute, I had a tuna sandwich on wheat bread, so that's not it, do you think I should try rye bread tomorrow? Or maybe I should give Jake (he's my cat you know, it's kinda funny because my best friend's uncle's auto mechanic's brother is named Jake, but I don't think that caused the bug) Well, anyway, should I try giving Jake Chicken? Do you think that will help? I could try another mouse, I think Jake batted this one off the desk yesterday, I tried washing it in the dishwasher, but I'm not sure that helped. I can ......." = *REALLY* not helpful! Just get a life PLEASE!

Re:Worst association ever... (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283695)

If I had users who were half as helpful in reporting problems as Mr Takei was in this instance, I might like my job.

Re:Worst association ever... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285689)

Same as above but add (for about 30 minutes) "I think it might be because I gave my car beefy delight instead of seafood surprise! ...

Car analogy fail!

Re:Worst association ever... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282441)

The great thing about George is you actually think for a second that maybe he knows MySQL, and are disappointed. If the headline was "Chuck Norris Helps Facebook Troubleshoot MySQL" then you'd know it wasn't with the code.

Remember that: George Takei beats Chuck Norris.

Re:Worst association ever... (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283247)

It reminds me of him being a project manager (PM) in the previous/last Celebriity Apprentice [nbc.com] episode. :P

Actually Takei just called Scotty, who said.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39281955)

Mr. Sulu, the database, she canna take no more of this stress!

And Sulu said "The Captain says you fix it or we all die!"

But fortunately, Spock was there, for some reason, to help. Unfortunately, it was also Pom'Far time, and well, Ensign Rand was on her period, so...

Re:Actually Takei just called Scotty, who said.. (4, Informative)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282113)

Pon farr not Pom'Far.

Re:Actually Takei just called Scotty, who said.. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282211)

Jamie Farr

Re:Actually Takei just called Scotty, who said.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284011)

Porn Star

Re:Actually Takei just called Scotty, who said.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282439)

I'm vaguely disturbed by your knowledge of Vulcan sexuality.

I'm even more disturbed by how you got a +4 informative.

Re:Actually Takei just called Scotty, who said.. (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284107)

+5 LOL :-)

Re:Actually Takei just called Scotty, who said.. (3, Funny)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284291)

I'm vaguely disturbed by your knowledge of Vulcan sexuality.

I'm even more disturbed by how you got a +4 informative.

I find your lack of faith in the +4 th disturbing.

Re:Actually Takei just called Scotty, who said.. (1)

Lije Baley (88936) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283019)

I thought it said "Porn'Far" and I was OK with that.

Re:Actually Takei just called Scotty, who said.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39283083)

Rand was a yeoman.

Re:Actually Takei just called Scotty, who said.. (2)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284169)

Rand was a yeoman.

She started out as one [memory-alpha.org] , yes...

Re:Actually Takei just called Scotty, who said.. (2)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284275)

Mr. Sulu, the database, she canna take no more of this stress!

And Sulu said "The Captain says you fix it or we all die!"

But fortunately, Spock was there, for some reason, to help. Unfortunately, it was also Pom'Far time, and well, Ensign Rand was on her period, so...

Later Spock served spaghetti. Its the logical thing to do.

Not so much (4, Informative)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282019)

From reading the links, it sounds like Takei had some problems, and reported them to the Facebook team with some helpful to-and-fro exchange of information (i.e. giving them a useful bug report) before they fixed them in the usual manner.

No disrespect to him intended, it just sounds like someone is trying to make this story sound like a bigger deal than it is. The Slashdot headline doesn't help, compounding the misleading impression (probably intentionally) that Takei was sitting alongside the Facebook techies debugging nested right joins.

Re:Not so much (5, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282129)

Do you know how rare *good* bug reports are?

Re:Not so much (2)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282277)

Sure I know how useless bug reports (and reports of problems in general) can be coming from the man on the street- hence why I mentioned the word "useful", realising that Takei still probably has more technical competence than most people. (Assuming they didn't slant the story that much and his bug reports *were* useful!)

Still, the angle of this story is a somewhat poor attempt to give a misleading impression.

Re:Not so much (4, Funny)

dubbreak (623656) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282279)

Mod parent up. Good bug reports are rarer than good sex (for most slashdotters).

And if you think you maybe had a good bug report but aren't sure.. then you haven't had a good bug report before.

Re:Not so much (2)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282411)

Don't forget the ability of someone with a million followers to draw attention to a problem and ensure everyone knows about it, not just the dev team, such that it becomes an embarrassment to the company that they have to fix to save face.

Think of accounts like George's as being those of the president and board of the user's union...

Re:Not so much (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289497)

Do you know how rare it is for a web company to respond to any bug reports? I gave up on Yahoo years ago. No matter how detailed the bug report, it was either ignored or autoresponded to by a cut and paste from an irrelevant FAQ that had a few words in common with my report.I cancelled my "mail plus account" and moved on. And good luck to even find in an address to make a bug report to Google. I never did.

good bug reports are incredibly important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39283277)

to any successfull software project. programmers mean nothing without testers and bug reporters. often times the lines between those three blur. its like you need hydrogen and oxygen to make water.

As Takei might say.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282031)

Oooh myyy

Re:As Takei might say.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282143)

Oooh MyyySQL

FTFY

Re:As Takei might say..OBLIG Star Trek quote (1)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282319)

Helmsman Lojur: She'll fly apart!
Captain Hikaru Sulu: *Fly her apart then!*

Re:As Takei might say..OBLIG Star Trek quote (2)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283133)

Captain Hikaru Sulu: *Fly her apart then!*

I swear there's a gay joke in there somewhere....

Talented (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282039)

Swordsman and technical troubleshooter: a potent combination, particularly when done shirtless.

Re:Talented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282049)

Oh myyy.

Re:Talented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39321483)

And thus we receive a concise and convincing explanation for your username.

Facebook uses MySQL? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282087)

Too stupid for Postgres and too cheap for Oracle?

Re:Facebook uses MySQL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282159)

They invented Cassandra, actually.

Re:Facebook uses MySQL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282209)

I've only ever used Mongo for NoSQL work, so I didn't know that they developed Cassandra. Previous snark semi-retracted!

Re:Facebook uses MySQL? (2)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282595)

Yes, they are too cheap for Oracle. Who the hell on their scale isn't? Also, They're the ones who manage Facebook's data. What is the largest size of database on Postgres? What minute fraction of Facebook's data is it?

The reality is they're on mysql, because they started with mysql. Mark Calligan ( the author of the post) has said in the past, that it was just what people picked up due to its easy setup and easy built in replication. Oracle was/is expensive, and Postgres was more difficult to setup.

Its better to be easy, understandable and quirky, than difficult and correct.

FYI, they invented Cassandra, but don't really use it anymore. I think they migrated to Hadoop for facebook messages.

Re:Facebook uses MySQL? (1)

Coriolis (110923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285265)

Yes, they are too cheap for Oracle. Who the hell on their scale isn't?

Of course, you're joking. The cost of Oracle licenses for their infrastructure would in all probability be dwarfed by the cost of the person-hours they've put into developing and supporting Cassandra and their Heath Robinson MySQL setup.

Re:Facebook uses MySQL? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290177)

No, I'm not. Oracle is expensive as hell aprox 36,000 per standard edition dual cpu socket server. And Facebook has a hell of a lot of database servers aprox 60,000. So thats what 2. 1 Billion? Vs what ever the costs were to do what they've done now, where they have the software experts in house and on call 24/7. I think they chose correctly. Feel free to update me on the real costs of Oracle, its sort of tough to find accurate pricing on the web.

VoltDB? (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282635)

Maybe a new DB technology like VoltDB would be better...

I can only imagine the pain and horror their DBA's experience. But what do I know?

Should have simply used a better DB (1)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282097)

I hear Mongo DB is web scale [youtube.com] .

Re:Should have simply used a better DB (4, Funny)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282727)

MongoDB may be webscale, but /dev/null is even higher performing. Facebook should just switch to writing to /dev/null for the best possible performance; it's not like their users are going to notice that much.

Re:Should have simply used a better DB (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284357)

Facebook should just switch to writing to /dev/null for the best possible performance...

Now that you mention it, MySQL has had this option for years [mysql.com] .

Duh everyone knows this is what happened (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282117)

1. Takei posts a picture of him bashing typical left wing boogymen like Jesus, Republicans, and now Rick Santorum
2. 1.2mil people blindly hit share
3. Half of those people click like
4. Facebook is overwhelmed
5. ?????
6. PROFIT (Fix the problem by forcing Takei to pay a monthly fee for 1.2mil of his subscribers- you would pay to host 1.2mil people in a large event right?)

Re:Duh everyone knows this is what happened (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285781)

Actually, usually if you could host an event considered likely to draw 1.2 million people you'd have people lining up to pay you to market to them, from commercial sponsors down to hotdog vendors.

Absolutely ridiculous (-1)

hydrofix (1253498) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282135)

Just because an actor was in a sci-fi TV series doesn't mean they automatically excel in advanced computer science.

I never thought Trekkies were the sharpest pencils in the box but this just tops anything I've seen so far.

Re:Absolutely ridiculous (2)

Megahard (1053072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282185)

They had to resort to Takei because Kim Jong-il is no longer available.

Re:Absolutely ridiculous (2)

Zorque (894011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282283)

He wasn't looking through their databases or anything, he was offering them in-depth details of the errors he was getting. Nobody said he knows the slightest thing about SQL.

Re:Absolutely ridiculous (0)

Larryish (1215510) | more than 2 years ago | (#39283891)

Maybe if the "S" stood for Sucking.

And the "Q" stood for Queer.

But I'm not sure what the "L" would stand for.

Lads, maybe!?

Re:Absolutely ridiculous (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284969)

Lube.

Re:Absolutely ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287291)

Tee hee! You're the first person to allude to George Takei being homosexual with a hilariously clever comment.

Oh wait... you're not and it's not.

Re:Absolutely ridiculous (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282295)

Troubleshooting MySQL is advanced computer science?

Re:Absolutely ridiculous (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282443)

Nope. All you have to do is press the "Upgrade to PostGreSql" button ;-)

Re:Absolutely ridiculous (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282397)

Just because an actor was in a sci-fi TV series doesn't mean they automatically excel in advanced computer science.

But he knows who to ask to get the warp-drive to reroute the MySql signals thru the deflector dish using aluminized tribbles disguised as phaser-cannon cleaning brushes while nosy Klingons are onboard. Not your average user.

Re:Absolutely ridiculous (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282449)

Dude, people stop actors who play medical roles on TV and ask them medical questions. They have to explain they're not real doctors.

OOOhhhhhh (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282229)

MMMyyyyyyyyy

Dammit, Jim (1)

caywen (942955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282335)

I'm an engineer, not a navigator!

Why use mysql? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39282347)

Why does anyone use MySQL any more? You have to choose between fast or accurate, and there are plenty of DB's available that aren't as flakey as it is.

Oh my sql (1)

itsybitsy (149808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282475)

Getting accurate reports from users is always helpful navigating the bugs to get to reproduce them. Mr. Sulu warp eight, enage!

Ahh, I see how this works... (5, Funny)

tool462 (677306) | more than 2 years ago | (#39282533)

This just in--Slashdot helps load test web servers.

Oblig (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287257)

Full query ahead Mr. Sulu.

In something totally unrelated why is the only thing I've seen George in been Star Trek and Heroes? I've always thought he was a good actor.

I can imagine the message exchanges... (1)

Tomsk70 (984457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288359)

"The new screens held!"

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