Gangplank Mondays@4: Machine Learning with Chris Murray, October 10, 2016

Can we build never-ending learners? Can machine learning theories and algorithms help explain human learning?

Join us Monday, October 10, 2016, 4PM at Gangplank Chandler for a talk about Machine Learning, exploring the study and construction of algorithms that can learn from and make predictions on data, with Christopher Murray of Gangplank resident company Hiring Solved. The talk is part of our Gangplank Mondays@4 series of business talks for startups, entrepreneurs, makers and freelancers.

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HiringSolved makes it faster and easier to find the right person for any job. Its people aggregator gathers data from across the web and filters the most relevant information into a database of candidate profiles.

Chris will discuss HiringSolved’s artificial intelligence tools as recently profiled in FastCompany as well as address the future of machine intelligence for small business.

Refreshments, Q&A and networking follow the talk.

Upcoming Gangplank Mondays@4:

Pokemon Go, Augmented Reality & the Gamification of Business with Carol Stambaugh of FreeUp WebStudio, and Kameron Williams of Lillimedia, October 17, 2016.

Gangplank Mondays@4: The Business of Podcasting, October 3, 2016

Join our panel discussion with local podcasters: How do I get started podcasting? How can I use podcasting to highlight my business or passion project?

Join us Monday, October 3, 2016, 4PM at Gangplank Chandler for a panel discussion with local podcasters, part of our Gangplank Mondays@4 series of business talks for startups, entrepreneurs, makers and freelancers.

Our panelists will include:

Jason Gunn of Gangplank anchor company, Attribytes. Jason produces the Talking the Plank podcast;

Garret Godfrey of the Crowdfunding Christian Music Podcast, “On this video and audio podcast, I cover active crowdfunding campaigns and pre-orders for bands & artists worth backing & believing in so you can find and fund the music you love. Great music doesn’t ‘just happen’. I help you get involved;”

Robert Tabb of ConAirRadio, a podcast for friends of conventions. “If you’re into ComicCons, SciFi Cons or Media Cons, this is the podcast for you. “

Gangplank Chandler provides a podcasting studio and equipment for public use as part of the Gangplank Studios Initiative. The Studios Initiative strives to build culture and vibrancy in cities, creating cities where people desire to live, work and play.

Refreshments, Q&A and networking follow the panel discussion.

Upcoming Gangplank Mondays@4:

Machine Learning with Christopher Murray of HiringSolved, October 10, 2016.
Pokemon Go, Augmented Reality & the Gamification of Business with Carol Stambaugh of FreeUp WebStudio, October 17, 2016.

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Gangplank Mondays@4: Dynamic Equity with Diana Wilson, September 26, 2016

How do you divide the startup sweat equity pie? What’s fair and how do you keep your decisions transparent?

Join us Monday, September 26, 2016, 4PM at Gangplank for “Dynamic Equity” with ProFile Sports Founder Diana Wilson, part of our Gangplank Mondays@4 series of business talks for startups, entrepreneurs, makers and freelancers. ProFile Sports develops technology tools designed to showcase athletic achievement and promote continuing education.

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Diana draws from Mike Michalowicz’s Profit First and Mike Moyer’s Slicing Pie to power Dynamic Equity, a concept for startup and other businesses to use when deciding how to value sweat equity, cash investments and profit sharing. Diana will discuss how she uses time trackers with remote teams as well as banking products to organize an early stage startup.

Diana has worked with several Fortune 500 companies including Adidas America, Hewlett Packard, Disney and Intel. Over 25 years at the helm of Media, Design firms and Live Corporate Events. She is passionate about helping families afford higher education and athletic opportunities for their children.

After the presentation, we’ll have Q&A, discussion, light refreshments and networking.

Upcoming Gangplank Mondays@4:

Podcasting for Business with Jason Gunn of Attribytes, October 3, 2016.
Machine Learning with Christopher Murray of HiringSolved, October 10, 2016.
Pokemon Go, Augmented Reality & the Gamification of Business with Carol Stambaugh of FreeUp WebStudio, October 17, 2016.

August 2016 Events & Meetups at Gangplank Chandler

Wednesday, August 3

Community Meeting, 12pm, Main Space
Join us to discuss whatever comes up living the Gangplank Manifesto and co-working together. Interested in desk space at Gangplank Chandler? Drop in and find out what it’s all about.

Hacknight, 6pm until last keyholder leaves (late-ish), Main Space
Day job keeping you away from co-working out of Gangplank during the day? Our weekly Hacknights are project time, an open house, jam space and brainstorming session all rolled into one. Hacknight is an opportunity to connect, share ideas and launch new ventures in the community. It’s a great time to come work on a side project or pursue a hobby.


Freelancers Meetup w/Spark Phoenix, 5:30pm, Conference Room
This month, we’ll swap inspired ideas around questions like “What makes a brand memorable?” and “How can an email build loyalty?” Think you’ve got insight to share? Find emailing to be a painful process? Join us to brainstorm what makes for email strategy success. RSVP here.

Thursday, August 4


SouthEast Valley .NET Newbies Group
, 6 – 9pm, Main Space
Revisit Dependency Injection, SOLID, MVC5 application.

Women Who Code PHX: HTML/CSS Study Group, 6 – 7:30pm, Conference Room
Study group open to women working with or learning HTML / CSS. Beginners always welcome.

Saturday, August 6

East Valley Job Seekers, 10am – 12pm, Conference Room
For more information, contact: LuisWongCampos@cox.net.

Monday, August 8

global_430588742Digital Storytellers Meetup, 6 – 8pm, Burgundy Lounge
Looking to tell your story online? Whether you are a filmmaker or a video blogger or building your business, it all begins with the story.

  • Discover, Define and Refine you stories and work with others to find the best way to share your stories with your audience.
  • Open to all levels of experience
  • Learn new techniques and best practices for creating your story and using tools like YouTube to share with the world.


Craft Hack: Craft Supply Swap,
6 – 8pm, Conference Room
Feel free to bring fabric, paper, yarn, notions, or other craft/art supplies you’re not using. Even if you don’t have anything to bring, come hang out, craft, and see if anything catches your eye. There’s no demo this month, so just bring your own project to work on.

Wednesday, August 10


GP Community Meeting, 12pm, Main Space
Hacknight, 6 – 11:30pm, Main Space
Guilt Free Book Club, 6 – 7pm
We will discuss Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett. Guilt-free because you don’t have to read the book to join the discussion.
GP Software Engineering Reading Group, 8 – 10pm

Thursday, August 11

Arizona WordPress Group, 6:30 – 8:30pm
The Arizona WordPress Meetup group is a statewide community of WordPress professionals, hobbyists and users who come together to share knowledge, learn together, and strengthen the community. Free, all welcome.

Saturday, August 13

East Valley Job Seekers, 10am – 12pm, Conference Room

Monday, August 15


Women
Who Code Show Your Stuff – JavaScript
, 6 – 7:30pm,
Study group open to women working with or learning JavaScript. Beginners always welcome.

Tuesday, August 16

FileMaker Pro User Group, 6 – 8:30pm, More info.

Wednesday, August 17


Community Meeting, 12pm, Main Space
Hacknight, 6pm until last keyholder leaves (late-ish), Main Space
GP Software Engineering Reading Group, 8 – 10pm

Friday, August 19

Monthly Momentum Meetup, 1 – 4pm
Formerly “Bookkeeping and Beers,” this is a monthly productivity session with other Gangplankers. Get stuff done you would normally put off. (It doesn’t have to be bookkeeping.) You’re welcome to bring beverages and/or snacks.

Saturday, August 20

East Valley Job Seekers, 10am – 12pm, Conference Room


Monday, August 22

Digital Storytellers Meetup, 6 – 8pm, Conference Room
Looking to tell your story online? Whether you are a filmmaker or a video blogger or building your business, it all begins with the story.

Wednesday, August 24

Community Meeting, 12pm, Main Space
Hacknight, 6pm until last keyholder leaves (late-ish), Main Space
GP Software Engineering Reading Group, 8 – 10pm

Thursday, August 25


Southeast Valley .NET User Group
, 6 – 8pm,
Visual Studio Cordova Tooling by Justin James
Are you already a web developer and want to create a mobile application? Come learn all about the Ionic mobile framework and how to use it with the Visual Studio 2015 Cordova Tooling. With technologies that we already know and love like Html 5, Javascript, CSS 3, and Angular we can easily create a mobile application that targets Android, iOS, and Windows 10 Phone.

Saturday, August 27


Analytics.Club, Phoenix
, 9am – 12pm,
Open Hack Kaggle Challenge: Are you ready to join the exciting world of Kaggle challenges to learn and help your fellow “geeks”? Set sail with us on an amazing adventure through data analytics, machine learning and a whole lot more.

Code Sisters, 10am-3pm
Learning to code together on personal and collaborative projects with mentors.

East Valley Job Seekers, 10am – 12pm, Conference Room

download (2)Wednesday, August 31

Community Meeting, 12pm, Main Space
Hacknight, 6pm until last keyholder leaves (late-ish), Main Space
Desert Blockchain Meetup, 6:30 – 9pm
Desert Blockchain is a community interested in distributed trust technologies.

Chandler Innovations, city-wide business incubator, seeks inventors, builders and creators

Christine Bailey, Executive Director, Chandler Innovations

Christine Bailey, Executive Director, Chandler Innovations

Guest post by
Christine K. Bailey
Executive Director
Chandler Innovations

Have a business idea? A prototype? A minimum viable product? Or perhaps you’re getting ready to sell or trying to sell into your target market. Struggling with the next steps? Have you found that your product (be it hardware or software) or service isn’t quite getting the traction, interest or investment dollars you were hoping for? We can help.

Chandler Innovations is a city-wide business incubation and entrepreneurial development program that helps engineers of all kinds turn their ideas into successful businesses. Additionally, we partner with entrepreneurial-minded organizations already supporting business growth and development in Chandler; for example, Gangplank, the Maricopa Small Business Development Center, Arizona TechShop and the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.

Our clients are inventors, builders and creators who have developed innovative new technology to solve some of the biggest problems we face today. But, they’re not quite sure how to bring these new solutions to market. Simultaneously, they’re also learning how to be entrepreneurs rather than an employees. That’s where we come in. Our four-track incubation program helps our clients:

  1. identify and solve a problem for a specific target market;
  2. evolve their ideas into minimum viable products, test them with the right customers and users, and prepare for investor interest;
  3. create and execute a go-to market strategy that achieves their financial goals; and
  4. grow their startup into a sustainable business.

Plus, our one-on-one coaching and mentoring, carefully-designed workshops and programs, and a network of mentors, investors and technical advisors support each of our clients as they become the entrepreneurs who will lead their businesses to success.

We, too, are entrepreneurs, and have learned from our successes and even more from our own failures. And we’re here to help you navigate the often rocky path of a startup business. If you think you’d like to join our community, check out one of our upcoming events, reach out with any questions via email, or, if you’d like to get started: apply today!

A Budding Entrepreneur at Gangplank Chandler: Amena

Amena, one of our Gangplank regulars, is launching her own business: An educational game for kids.

Over the last year, she’s create a business plan, designed the prototypes and built her own website. To get her business to the next level, she’s started an IndieGogo campaign as well:

Link to IndieGogo campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/celebrate-the-salah-game-pre-beta-campaign#/

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She explains:

The Heart Story

As a Muslim growing up in America, I learned my faith through the traditional methods of watching my parents, relatives, family, and friends. I remember watching my mom helping people in a selfless way. I remember vividly witnessing my father’s interaction with people with a warm and welcoming smile. However, as I didn’t have that interaction, I  learned my faith by watching my parents. Having that connection with my mom and dad while learning my faith was missing.

So when I became a mother of two beautiful children, I wanted something different. I wanted to offer something for my children that will build a bond around my faith. Like any mom out there, I bought DVDs for my children to watch at home, or in the car. I also purchased many books about being a good Muslim, and to understand the basics of Islam. My children did learn, but buying books and DVDs still had the disconnect I once felt when I was a child. These ways of learning did not help me as a mom to interact in a fun hands-on way with my children.

That is the heart of how my venture began to start a company called Aspire Learning Tools,  that creates mindful games for spiritual kids. I wanted something engaging, fun, and interactive, while learning their faith! I wanted my children to experience making their own connection with Allah (God). I wanted them to understand their faith and how to practice their faith.

The Project

I began developing the Salah(Prayer) Matching Game around December 2015. I did so with one goal in mind, to bring more fun faith based games for Muslim families, Islamic schools, homeschoolers, and anyone who wants to learn more about who we are as Muslims and what Salah (Prayer) is in Islam. Since then a lot of work has been done to the game…both the physical box and visual design. Also, this two-year journey has lead to much traction in Arizona and all over the USA. I have worked with two schools in Arizona, created 20 prototypes that where sent out in the USA, and worked with local families. I have also created a Facebook Page to allow awesome folks like you to rate and write a review about the game. After hundreds of surveys and interviews from a speech therapist, Muslim, Non-Muslim educators, and families, the game is ready to go to the next level!

Community Podcast Studio fundraiser, Fundraver, June 10, 2016, Gangplank Chandler

Join us, Friday, June 10, 2016, 7:00PM to Saturday, June 11, 2016, 1:00 AM for Fundraver, an Electronic Dance Music event to raise funds to improve the Gangplank podcasting studio. The podcast studio is part of Gangplanks Studios Initiative which strives to build culture and vibrancy in cities, creating cities where people desire to live, work and play. Fundraver features bass music artist Viperactive.

“We want to build a better sound environment at Gangplank. Gangplank’s sound studio has brought together some of the best groups, podcasts, and solo vocal artists in Chandler,” said Julian Gooden, Viperactive. “Many artists have used this collaborative space to cut their first album in all kinds of genres from EDM and house to rap, R&B and even classical guitar. Many artists have been able to cut their first album thanks to this immeasurable resource.”

fundraver

“The space has been an incredible help to many artists and collaborators who had the talent but needed a place to make their first professional-level recording,” said Christopher Murray, Gangplank volunteer and Marketing Analyst with Gangplank anchor company, HiringSolved. “Our fundraising goal is $2200 for this project.”

“It’s about time we upgraded the aging equipment at Gangplank studios and create a sound-proof space to encourage more sonic collaboration and creation,” added Gooden. “Our goal is to upgrade the studio by constructing a sound-dampening roof and adding soundproofing material to the studio walls.”

Buy tickets or donate to the cause via the Eventbrite page.

Digital Life Skills for Teens & Young Adults, November 7, 2015, at Gangplank Chandler

You would be hard-pressed to find a teen that isn’t on social media. It’s all fun and games when they begin using it, but did you know there’s another step? When teens enter their upper-class years in High School and early college, how they present themselves online could be the difference in getting an internship or job.

8571247015_b60b0feb92It’s a great time to begin separating the personal from the public, and this event will show you how. We will discuss about how your brain reacts to social media and the science behind it.

Dani Cutler, digital content creator, will also discuss ways to keep public and personal items online separate, and why now is a good time to think about setting up a more professional profile with LinkedIn.

Ruth Carter, attorney who specializes in social media law will discuss privacy online, safety, and the legalities about social media and what potential employers ask for and seek out on their own.

The presentations will be in discussion-format, and there will be time at the end of the event for Q & A. This event is geared toward juniors and seniors in high school and freshman in college, but all teens and their parents are welcome. Join us!

Get Reel Documentary Film Series Summer 2015

The Get Reel documentary film series is back at the Downtown Chandler Public Library this summer. The free Get Reel documentary film series runs every Tuesday evening starting June 9th through August 11th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

Location:
Downtown Library (Copper Room on 2nd Floor)
22 South Delaware Street
Chandler, AZ 85255

Get Reel Documentary Film Series

“We are excited to screen 10 first-run documentary films this summer, with several being exclusive premieres before they are shown on PBS in prime-time this fall,” said Chandler Librarian Ted Liebler. “Our renovated Copper Room has been enhanced to truly optimize the film watching experience with upgraded audio & video equipment and controllable room lighting for a real cinema experience.”

The Get Reel film series is made possible by a partnership between Chandler Public Library and POV (Point of View), Public Television’s premier documentary series. Since 1988, POV has been the home for the world’s boldest contemporary filmmakers, celebrating intriguing personal stories that spark conversation and inspire action. It is produced by American Documentary, Inc.

“This year’s films feature strong individuals that viewers won’t easily forget,” said POV Executive Producer Chris White. “Intimate and urgent, these are the stories of our times. We are proud to present a slate of films that challenge, enlighten and inspire.”

The complete film schedule, including descriptions, is below:

June 9
The Overnighters (by Jesse Moss)
Desperate, broken men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local pastor risks everything to help them.

June 16
Cutie and the Boxer (by Zachary Heinzerling)
An Oscar®-nominated reflection on love, sacrifice and the creative spirit, this candid New York tale explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of famed “boxing” painter Ushio Shinohara and artist Noriko Shinohara.

June 23
Tough Love (by Stephanie Wang-Breal)
This moving film accompanies two parents as they navigate the often-murky waters of the foster-care system, trying to reunite with their children and prove that they deserve second chances.

June 30
Art and Craft (directed by Sam Cullman & Jennifer Grausman; co-directed by Mark Becker)
The jig is up for art forger Mark Landis, who has donated his expertcopies to museums for 30 years. But stopping isn’t simple. This caper uncovers the universal in one man’s search for connection and respect.

July 7
Tea Time (by Maite Alberdi)
Tea Time visits with five well-heeled Chilean women who have met monthly for tea and pastries for 60 years, offering an intimate view of life’s joys and difficulties—and the enduring power of friendship.

July 14
Web Junkie (by Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia)
In China, Internet addiction has been declared a national health crisis. With extraordinary access, Web Junkie delves into the treatment regimen for teenagers in a three-month military-style rehab program.

July 21
The Storm Makers (by Guillaume Suon)
This chilling exposé of Cambodia’s human trafficking underworld weaves the story of a peasant girl sold into slavery at 16 with that of two traffickers who use deception to funnel a stream of poor and illiterate people across the country’s borders.

July 28
Beats of the Antonov (by Hajooj Kuka)
Beats of the Antonov explores how music binds a community in the war-ravaged Sudan region, where people celebrate their survival and battle to maintain their heritage, even as bombs drop all around them.

August 4
Neuland (by Anna Thommen)
Neuland (“New Territory”) immerses viewers in a Swiss integration class, where for two years adolescent immigrants struggle to learn a new language, prepare for employment and reveal their hopes and dreams.

August 11
Point and Shoot (By Marshall Curry)
Two-time Oscar® nominee Marshall Curry’s Point and Shoot rides shotgun with Matt VanDyke, who films his self-transformation from a timid 26-year-old to a motorcycle-driving rebel, fighting in the Libyan revolution.

My HiringSolved Away Mission to Phoenix NAP

Getting Going

My trip to the NAP Datacenter was an unexpected journey. I wasn’t supposed to go, actually. Trevor had invited me to go months ago and I couldn’t make it that time, but when I heard HiringSolved was going on another field trip, I asked if I could join.

Shon was enthused about the outing for a moment, but then realized I couldn’t go. “You need two forms of ID, so it’ll have to be next time.”

“It just so happens I’m carrying two!” I was back in on the away mission.

Arrival

 

Photos of Phoenix NAP facility.

Photos of Phoenix NAP facility.

We parked at a building that I had passed many times before. A very nondescript and boring building from the outside. I had driven past the corporate art and boring block architecture many times on my way to Arizona State University back in my college days.

We exited at the boring building and walked up to a tinted glass door–a common accent for the hot Arizona sun. Nothing impressive so far.

“This is by design,” Shon told me. “Notice how there are no logos or labels of any kind on this building”

Now that you mention it, this building is pretty nondescript… I was thinking. Has anyone even moved in? I see the cars around and everything but surely they’re just here for the Waffle House across the street.

Nope. This is NAP. And despite the cozy name, the security here never sleeps. We got up to the nondescript door of the nondescript building and Shon hit the nondescript buzzer on the nondescript pole in the nondescript cement.

A nondescript voice answered: “Bed—fft ba—ft and be—-ndfssf”

I didn’t really hear it.

“Shon Burton, HiringSolved,” Shon said into the speaker.

Click. The doors were unlocked. We walked over and Shon was saying, “See? There’s nothing signifying what this place is. Again, that’s by design. I’m surprised they even have numbers on the door. Usually they try to hide even the address at these things.”

Clearly this wasn’t Shon’s first rodeo.

Entering the Center

I sheepishly walked in with my hands firmly at my sides. Then clasped behind me. Then crossed in front of me. I didn’t know where the hell to put my hands.

The two security guards were wearing kevlar vests and a bulletproof pane of glass separated them from us.

One of them started grilling Shon on what hard drives he was taking in.

“Brand X,” Shon said.

“How many gigs?”

“X gigs.”

“How many drives?”

“Just two.”

“And your guest?”

“This is Christopher Murray. He’s new and we’re giving him a tour.”

They looked at me and said, “Two forms of ID please.”

I fumbled around in my Beatles wallet and pulled out my green card and Arizona driver’s license.

“Wait, you have a green card?” Shon said.

This was the first time I explained my Irish heritage and how even after living in the USA for 26 years (since I was 2 years old), I am still an Irish citizen. I saved some of the hairier details for later.

The mission that day was to infiltrate the data center, remove the failing drives, and replace them with newer, more reliable ones–some real cyber-punk shit!

The guards handed Shon and I a pair of badges to get us into the data center.

Behind them, I noticed a grip-ton of TVs set up to surveil the surrounding campus as well as the hallways of the complex. They probably had them on display like that to remind people they’re being watched.

The place was a fortress.

Data Meditations, Scorpoyotes, and Porn

I started to think about how malleable data is.

The Pirate Bay, for instance, has node accounts at data centers all over the world that activate in the event that one is taken down. It doesn’t matter if their building blows up because there will always be another backup of the data somewhere else.

For Gangplank startups like HiringSolved, however, this building blowing up would be quite a different situation.

If this building exploded, imploded, burned down, fell into the swamp, was raided by scorpions, coyotes, scorpion-covered coyotes, or giant scorpion-coyote hybrids that stabbed all the security with their scorp tails while half of them ran high powered magnets through the complex to wipe everything; all the startups would be doomed.

Or at least you’d think so.

When I brought forth my Scorpoyote concerns Shon showed me how I shouldn’t be so concerned.

“Technically, at least for us, it’s inaccurate to say we would be doomed. We securely replicate our data to [web server]. So in the event Phoenix NAP becomes a smoking crater, we would be back up and running in a short amount of time (minutes not hours).” Shon explained.

15 years ago I would have been right on the money. Multi-datacenter replication was so expensive that only the very top companies could afford it. Today, thanks to OpenStack, Rackspace, and most of all AWS, if your startup is taken out because your DC goes down, you’re not doing it right.

As it turns out, most of the security was there to prevent theft and non-destructive intrusion. Not destruction. Data and infrastructure are fairly easy to replicate today. Theft or worse, subtle infiltration is a much more significant risk for most. Again, replication and virtual hardware took much of the destruction risk away.

CC Bill, the emperor of porn payment processing, dedicates an entire floor of NAP to process transactions but they are no better off than the smaller startups housed there. Despite their massive scale and tenure in the digital space, they use a lot of the same data techniques that younger organizations use to mitigate destruction risk.

The Value of Data

Bits… they’re just a bunch of 0s and 1s. All theoretical, yet valuable. It’s a lot like how we value a person for their personality. It’s not the mass of the person that makes them valuable, it’s the synapses and electronic messages firing through the brain. The memory signature of a human being is quite like the data in this building. Really it’s just an extension of our own brain, isn’t it?

Perhaps that thought progression is what’s driving Trevor the astrophysicist, engineer, and CTO of HiringSolved to consider a possible future in neuroscience one day after he makes his buh-zillions.

 

Script Kiddie Danger

scriptkiddie

Not many people get to see this kind of thing. When I was a kid they took us to go see the factory where they made Coca Cola. Sure the assembly-line machinery was pretty cool, but nobody was carrying a taser.

They never take kids to things like data centers. Well, they never did in the 90s. There weren’t as many of them, in their defense. I have no idea where kids are field-tripping to these days, but if we really wanna trip them out we should take them to a data center.

On second thought, I’m not sure a group of rowdy kids could be trusted in a place like that. With things as fragile as they are, there isn’t much a kid couldn’t destroy.

Even with everything is locked away in black lockers like a goth Saved By the Bell.

Servers are just like your tower or laptop at home really, they need a power strip to plug into and an operating system to run their programming.

If a kid got in there and pressed the red button, they’d muck up the ongoing processes that the software company was performing. Right?

Wrong.

It does not work this way. Dennis the Menace could literally go into the datacenter, open the locker, plug in a Makita and start drilling holes in servers while our users happily went about their business.

Also, before Dennis could drill enough servers to make a difference, he would have been tazed in the head by one of the Kevlar-clad heroes.

If he turned everything off, yes, things would go down. HiringSolved would have to fire up the web server nodes until NAP security fixed the issue.

As a side note, HiringSolved’s entire cluster has in fact been completely powered off before. Not by a menacing kid, but by a clumsy ASU Computer Science intern and his stray elbow. Guess what happened? Nothing! HiringSolved powered back up to crawl sites and serve users like nothing happened.

We have a highly available redundant design. A datacenter being taken out is rare but if it happens we’re ready. If we weren’t, we would be morons.

Security Upon Security

After the security check and being processed, we walked through a glass door on the right that clicked to unlock and we went down a narrow hallway.

Halfway down the hallway there was a wall made of glass where we could see a bunch of tech security experts looking over their monitors right into our eyes as we passed.

They were seated on a series of graduated steps much like the bridge on a Starfleet C-class ship or some kind of secret nerd council or tribunal.

Their demeanor was very serious. A curly, long-haired ginger one I looked at gave me a stoic glare that sent chills through my soul.

I shuddered and kept walking, keeping my mouth shut so as not to set off some kind of security lip-reading software that detects stupid people.

When we got to the end of the hall we arrived at the most interesting part of the technology. The airlock room. Or whatever it was. It’s an airlock in the fashion that it was a room you entered and could not progress through until the doors on both sides had been locked.

Trouble in the Airlock
Airlock-Testing

There was a guy in there fumbling with the communication device on the wall. He seemed flustered and I couldn’t hear what he was saying through the door but it didn’t look good.

All of a sudden a green gas poured through hidden vents in the ceiling and in flew two automated drones with mounted machine guns and quadcopter flight.

They pointed their lasers at him and started firing. The portly young man in the death trap started trying to fight them off immediately and started coughing as the green gas started melting his skin. The gas billowed through the room until it was fully opaque. We couldn’t see anything.

Then *boom* we saw his disfigured bullet-ridden face smack against the glass door. He slumped to the ground and a giant spatula lowered from the ceiling to scrape his body from the floor and into a vacuum opening that had appeared on the far wall.

He was swiftly brushed into the vacuum where him and all the green gas flowed into the abyss. A pipe came out of the floor in the middle of the room and sprayed a solution everywhere. Squeegees dropped out of the ceiling to clean up the remaining specs of human. It all ended with a chirpy *ding* sound and the glass door slid open.

“They just murdered somebody,” I said.

“Shhh,” Shon said.

Shon badged first and motioned for me to follow.

I began to walk in and a piercing horn sound filled the air. Red lights flashed at the door’s entrance.

Shon whipped around and grabbed the badge on my neck to put it on the sensor. “You have to badge in too!”

But it was too late. We hit the deck as bullets went flying all around us.

What actually happened:

The befuddled gentleman in the enclosure finished whining into the speaker. We heard another voice come through our speaker and say, “Okay. You two can badge in and get in there with him now.”

“Alright. Back up,” we heard the loudspeaker say. By that time, Ian had caught up with us. I looked at him for some reciprocation and said “Dude, this place is badass.”  He nodded. It wasn’t his first time here, but he couldn’t deny the coolness either. (He tried).

“Yeah, your first time visiting one of these things is usually pretty intense. It gets less so when you’re running in and out to change hard drives all the time, but I have to admit it’s still pretty cool,” he said.

What I didn’t realize until after the trip is that the ‘airlock’ room we were in was actually measuring our weight down to a fraction of a gram and our weight while exiting would be compared to the original. Just another security measure to ward off theft.

That must be why the guards needed to know the brand and capacity of the drives we were bringing in as well as taking out. Hmm…

I exited the airlock totally ignorant of my weigh-in and entered the actual farm. The farm is a habitat for many a scurrying nerd. I spotted a silverback neckbeard, the duckbilled hipster, and even a water buffalo.

There are vents on the floors between each stack of servers. If left alone, servers can generate quite a bit of heat, actually. They’re kept to an appropriate temperature by a cycle of cool air that blows up from the floor on one side, then up and over the lockers to the other side where the hot air is vented out. So, if you get too cold, you can go to the hot side or vice versa.

I found this useful as I hadn’t dressed for either cold or hot weather. I was kind of in the middle (t-shirt with slacks). I found myself making the rounds once or twice.

Delicate Handling

Every part of the process was delicately and carefully handled. Removing a drive and replacing it is a serious undertaking for a business that relies on data. Each drive was handled like a newborn. It was clear that this server meant their livelihood. It was like defusing a bomb.

Ian added some nice-to-know stuff as I checked out the digs. Such as how the yellow housings that tracked along the tops of all the servers in the farm were the hamster highways where hamsters delivered written network codes from one side of the farm to the other.

Trevor explained how segments of each drive’s data was copied throughout the other drives, so if you lost one it was easy to recover from the other. With limited resources as a startup, this method serves very well and has prevented any major catastrophes at HiringSolved.

The guys joked about a marketing piece I wrote about our “thousands of servers” when in fact we have a much fewer number.

When it was time to go, I had soaked in the importance of data centers like this and the reason security is so important for them. When HiringSolved’s data does eventually need the capacity of thousands of servers, we’ll look back on this moment and think of how cute things were back then.

headshotAbout the Author: Christopher Murray is a growth hacker at HiringSolved. He’s also a Gangplank Chandler community member and volunteer where he supplies a weekly newsletter; edits blog posts; and handles community promotions. He started with HiringSolved in November 2014, and has immersed himself in the knowledge of sourcing, HR, and Recruiting. Christopher has a background in freelance writing, hacking, and marketing. His duties at HiringSolved include site content growth, writing patents & press releases, conducting email blasts, and charting their trajectory in the new media landscape.