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Background.

We have a project running in production on Google Cloud (GCP) that is used to monitor hundreds of wind turbines and scores of solar plants scattered across 8 countries. We have control centers with wall-to-wall screens with dashboards full of metrics that are monitored 24/7. Asset Managers use this system to monitor the health of individual wind turbines and solar strings in real time and take immediate corrective maintenance. Development and Forecasting teams use the system to run algorithms on data in BigQuery. All these actions translate directly to revenue. We deal in a ‘wind/solar energy’ — a perishable commodity. If we over produce, we cannot store and sell later. If we under produce, there are penalties to be paid. For this reason assets need to be monitored 24/7 to keep up/down with the needs of the power grid and the power purchase agreements made.

What happened.

Early today morning (28 June 2018) i receive an alert from Uptime Robot telling me my entire site is down. I receive a barrage of emails from Google saying there is some ‘potential suspicious activity’ and all my systems have been turned off. EVERYTHING IS OFF. THE MACHINE HAS PULLED THE PLUG WITH NO WARNING. The site is down, app engine, databases are unreachable, multiple Firebases say i’ve been downgraded and therefore exceeded limits.

It’s a lonelycloud.

Customer service chat is off. There’s no phone to call. I have an email asking me to fill in a form and upload a picture of the credit card and a government issued photo id of the card holder. Great, let’s wake up the CFO who happens to be the card holder.

We will delete project within 3 businessdays.

What if the card holder is on leave and is unreachable for three days? We would have lost everything — years of work — millions of dollars in lost revenue.

I fill in the form with the details and thankfully within 20 minutes all the services started coming alive. The first time this happened, we were down for a few hours. In all we lost everything for about an hour. An automated email arrives apologizing for ‘’ caused. Unfortunately The Machine has no understanding of the ‘’ caused.

You just can’t turn things off and then ask for an explanation.

I understand Google’s need to monitor and prevent suspicious activity. But how you handle things after some suspicious activity is detected matters . You need a human element here — one that cannot be replaced by any amount of code/AI. You just can’t turn things off and then ask for an explanation. Do it the other way round.

This is the first project we built entirely on the Google Cloud. All our previous works were built on AWS. In our experience AWS handles billing issues in a much more humane way. They warn you about suspicious activity and give you time to explain and sort things out. They don’t kick you down the stairs.

I hope GCP team is listening and changes things for better. Until then i’m never building any project on GCP.

UPDATE (2-July-2018): Thanks to the people from GCP support team who have reached out and assured us these incidents will not repeat. Here’s a direct message from them… “there is a large group of folk (within GCP) interested in making things better, not just for you but for all GCP customers.”
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Musings
By Sam Fels 6670

I know, I know. We’ve been labeled as the Eeyore of Chicago sports blogs, or hockey blogs, or just the world in general. It’s something I’m sensitive to and try to change as best I can. Then again, when we try and point out the good points of this Hawks season or why things might not be as bad as they seem, we get called fucking idiots then, too. Maybe you just can’t win. But this has stuck in my craw, wherever that is, all season.

The Vegas Golden Knights are an embarrassment to the National Hockey League, and the NHL would be wise to look at it that way.

Not the Knights themselves. More power to them. They rolled sevens with just about every pick they made, had a coach who knew exactly how to maximize what he had, and took advantage of just an awful division. They’ve certainly established themselves in a new market that wasn’t a guarantee to work, and their success probably buys them more years of stability than they would have had otherwise. That’s all fine and good.

No, their success is an indictment of the league as a whole.

Because you shouldn’t be able to literally make a team up and then have it be competitive at first asking, even with everything going right. As Barry Petchesky pointed out on Deadspin today , the Knights are the first franchise in any of the four major pro sports to have a winning season in their first season. It’s not supposed to happen. Yes, sure, it makes for a unique, underdog story. But what does it say about the league as a whole? It says your product is so fucking watered down by a salary cap freezing for a few years and you have enough dumb GMs around torpedoing their own teams that really you only need a couple guys to shoot the lights out for a season and some goaltending and not only are you competitive, you’re a division winner. What a fucking gauntlet this league is!

Think about it. You’ve seen Erik Haula for years. You know he’s not a 30-goal scorer. He’s a good player, and one we hated seeing because he killed the Hawks. But this isn’t him. They had Dale Tallon have an utter brain bubble in trying to erase what the GM before did because they were stupid NERDS with their spreadsheets and book-learnin’! So he just gave the Knights two of their leading scorers, and more to the point two OF THE PANTHERS LEADING SCORERS. The Oilers should have been making this division tougher on the Knights, and yet Peter Chiarelli has spent a few years sticking the club’s tongue into whatever electrical socket he could find. The Flames stalled out.

And that’s really all it takes. The Knights success means that almost every team is so unremarkable other than three or four that you can just roll the dice and win. You don’t need great players. You don’t need a revolutionary system or tactics. You just need a couple things to go your way, and it won’t hurt if every team that visits you is still actively drunk because hockey players are so rock stupid they’d never heard of what goes on in Vegas until the night before a game. The Knights stuck to having speed, which isn’t a hard concept but one that a lot of teams still can’t figure out, and play to it. Get up and down as quickly as you can. It’s not rocket science, because it’s what the Penguins have been doing for two years. And yet teams watch the Knights skate past them on a nightly basis and treat them like they imported something from space. Quick, let’s give Guy Fucking Boucher another job!

We’ve joked about it a lot, or I have but it’s Slak’s joke, that the only league that has this happen is MLS. And MLS is a joke. Their single-entity system ensures that no team every really stands out except for the destination spots of LA, NY, and Seattle I guess. This why Atlanta United can slide in with one or two signings and be a playoff team, because they don’t have to beat much. It’s why the Fire, a clueless and indifferent organization if there ever was one, can sign one guy in Schweinsteiger and have a forward score with every shot for a couple months and secure a playoff spot while being pretty putrid for the other four months of the season.

And hey, weird things happen in other sports too, I get it. There was that year the Cardinals hit like .310 all season with men on base. The NFL is basically whoever gets hurt the least plays the Patriots in the Super Bowl. I understand that.

But parity isn’t good. It’s not how this is supposed to work. You may point to the NFL but that has so many other factors it’s not a fair comparison. And you may hate the Patriots, but they’re box office. And they’re bigger box office when playing the Steelers, because people know the Steelers are also almost always good.

We may bitch about what the Hawks did the past couple years, but in the end the Hawks were punished for developing and having too many good players. The Bickell and Seabrook contracts aren’t the gallstone they became if they didn’t cost the Hawks so many players they drafted. And the same happened to others. Which leaves a scorched landscape for a limited team like Vegas or whoever else to appear better than they are, or they or other teams to scrape up the talent that well-run organizations had to shed simply because. You don’t have to be that smart to get talent in the NHL, you just kind of have to stand still and let it fall to you.

The Knights themselves are a good story. What they tell us about the league though is that’s it’s shallow, stupid, uncreative, and bland. And I can’t see past it.

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For each campaign or newsletter you’re sending through Customer.io, we allow you to set a conversion goal: mark a user as ‘converted’ when they enter or leave a particular segment. This allows you to attribute a conversion to a specific message or action.

In Customer.io, it’s both a goal and a metric. First, you set your conversion goal segment — then, when a customer enters or leaves that segment (for example, they paid for a plan and entered a ‘premium’ segment), Customer.io looks for the last delivery before the conversion goal was met, and attributes a conversion to that delivery.

last delivery

There are a couple of limitations to this, though:

This is because we don’t know the nature of Slack, Webhook, and attribute update actions. These are often internal or used for analytics purposes, and aren’t always sending messages to end-users. For that reason, we don’t attach conversions to them.

Take a look at this example workflow, and assume we’ve set a conversion goal.

If a user enters our conversion segment and the last delivery was Welcome Email #1, then the conversion is attributed to that email.

If they enter the segment after receiving the Twilio SMS, the conversion is attributed to the SMS.

However, if they enter the segment after the Trello card is created, the conversion goes to Email #1, and if they entered the segment after the attribute was updated, Email #2 gets the conversion.

: We do not retroactively count conversions! Our conversion numbers will only include people who convert you add the conversion goal. They do not include people who previously met that goal.

The first opportunity to set your goal occurs when you’re first setting up your campaign. Or you’ve already started a campaign, you can set its conversion goal under the Goal Exit tab of the campaign overview.

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When you choose to Define Goal , you can choose which conversion segment a user should enter or leave, and optionally define a time window for that conversion.

Define Goal

For that time window, our default is to convert any time after they receive any email from your campaign . You can be a bit more specific, though, and let us know if you want that conversion to be marked after they open or click any email from that campaign, within a specific time window. Check out this example:

For newsletters, you can only set your conversion goal during setup:

Conversions are shown on the Overview page for triggered campaigns, like this:

If you want to see the specific users who converted, you can:

click on the Converted bar in the campaign metrics, seen in the above screenshot.

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