Friday, September 24, 2010

I shall not return

Sorry for the confusion I caused when I mentioned on Twitter that I am filling in
a NomCom Questionnaire. I didn't say for *which* IETF Area, did I?

So, I need to set the record straight. I am retiring from the Apps Area Area Director
position, sort of (see below).

I was delaying making the public announcement on this for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I had to admit that I had a moment of "ego massaging". When a friend told me
that "people are discussing rumors behind my back", I felt flattered.
I am not nearly as important and not nearly as interesting as many other people
on this planet. But I still have an ego, you know. So, I actually wanted to know
if anybody would notice that I am not running for another term and if anybody thought
I did something useful during my IESG term as an Applications Area Director. If nobody is willing to renominate you for another term, than it is a sure sign that you shouldn't do that again.

Secondly, I didn't want to make the rest of my IESG term ineffective. When I was replacing
Chris Newman on IESG he half jokingly said "I am an outgoing AD, nobody wants to talk
to me anymore: I am not important". While this is likely to be unavoidable, I still
have some plans remaining for my current IESG term and I still have time to implement them.

On the other hand, I actually believe that it is important for the community to know
that I am not running for another term as an Applications AD. So this is my public

People might be interested to know my reasons for not running for another term in Apps.
After all, I am running for another IESG position, which means I am still interested
in being on IESG. And it is much easier to stay on IESG by running for the same Area again
(unless one made lots of enemies, which hopefully isn't the case for me).

There are several reasons and some of them should remain private. But here are the main
reasons I can tell you:

1) I am reviewing tons of documents for IESG telechats every 2 weeks. Finding all typical
Apps Area related errors people make is becoming fairly mechanical and I want to do
something new, move on to new challenges.

2) I checked my NomCom answers from a few years back to see what I wanted/promised to
do in the Apps Area. I realized that I've done or at least initiated most of the things
I was planning to do and I have a bit of a hard time thiking of new goals. I am sure I can think of something, but nothing comes to mind right away. So it looks like it's been a productive 1.5 years.

3) I've looked at what I have been doing on IESG for the past 1.5 years and I can see
that most of the things I was doing are quite remote from what my employer is doing.
Isode is doing lots of email related things I am responsible for in Apps (as well as
some security related things (S/MIME & PKIX) and Instant Messaging [but this is RAI Area
and I am not running for RAI :-)]) and most of the new things in the Apps Area are related
to the Web. While Web is cool, Isode is not doing active Web-related development,
and I would like to keep my standards work in close alignment with my day job.

If you are still reading this than I can tell you that I am running for the Security
Area Director position this time, but I also would be thrilled with getting an IAB position. But of course this all is for NomCom to decide.

"Fake Answered Questions":

Q: What will you do if you don't get selected by NomCom as a Security AD?

A: I still have some projects I would like to finish (both related to Applications
and to Security Areas), I also keep a list of Working Groups I would like to chair ;-).

Q: Is this an elaborate plan to subvert NomCom process to make IESG self selected?

A: Gosh no. Don't you dare to think that. This is entirely my decision. People wanted to talk me out of this. Thing is that I have been volunteered for Security Area before, so I wanted to try.

Friday, September 17, 2010

About myself

Where are you from?

I always pause when asked this question these days, because I am never quite sure
whether people are asking because of my funny English accent, or because they really
want to know where I live. So I typically answer "I am a Russian living in London, UK"
to answer both questions at the same time.


I hardly believe it myself these days, but studied in a Specialized French school/high school. (In Russia the system is a bit different, typically one attends the same school for 10 years.) My French is not very good now, but I can still read and mostly understand when people talk.

When I was young I wanted to be a cosmonauts (well, most of boys in Soviet Union wanted to be cosmonauts when I was growing up). So I ended up being interested is astronomy and sci-fi. I still like sci-fi (both books and movies) to this day. Yes, I like Star Wars, Frank Herbert and Isaac Asimov, as well as some Russian authors like Strugatskie brothers, Stanislav Lem (Polish), but this is not all I like in sci-fi.

I actually almost ended up working for the Russian Mission Control, but at the time I was given the last opportunity to get a job there I was already quite obsessed with computers and in particular with email. Yes, that is right: email. If somebody would have called me Postman I would have been proud of such nickname, but naturally in childhood I had many other nicknames I didn't like.

But if we rewind back a bit. When I was about 10 or 11 I didn't have a hobby. My parents were taking me to different activities to see if I get interested in anything, but nothing was quite to my liking. I was actually quite upset that I didn't have a hobby back then, because any serious man of my age *had* to have a proper hobby. Then it hit me: programming computer programs became my thing. Not just playing games, but making computers do wonderful and sometimes stupid things.

My parents realized that this is to become my way of earning money, so they hired a teacher to help me enter Moscow State University (Applied Math and Computer Science Department). You know, I tend to think that I am not particularly stupid (even though slow sometimes), but entering one of the best math/computer science departments in Moscow, after spending extra hours studying French in school, without a proper math training is hard. My parents have my eternal gratitude for that, because back then the foresee what I needed/wanted before I actually knew it myself.

One more thing. I always wanted to be an Engineer. Both of my parents are Engineers and some of the grandparents are. Well, I ended up becoming one, but I cheated. I am a Software Engineer, that is.

What do you do these days?

Despite boring aspects (as in every profession) and occasional stress due to handling support issues, I still like being a programmer. So I work for a small company in London called Isode.

The other side of my job is an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF, Area Director (AD). This is half technical and half management job. The technical side consists of reviewing (and nitpicking on) Internet Drafts before they get approved as standard documents (also known as RFC), as well as helping people with advice on good protocol design, etc. The management side is to manage the Application Area with another Application co-Area Director, which includes about 16 Working Groups (each working on its own technical topic). Each Working Group has 1 or 2 chairs, which means I manage 12-16 part time volunteers (Working Group Chairs), who manage other people like document editors to do the actual technical work in Working Groups.

My technical background in IETF is email (No, sorry, I can't fix spam for *you*.) and some application protocol security, but my interests are much wider now that I am an AD.

I absolutely love being both an AD and a programmer. Just doing one type of thing for very long drives me a bit crazy, so I like to have a balance. And I am very lucky to have such a supportive employer as Isode. Not many employers would let one of their engineers to spend nearly half of their time doing work on standards.

How did you end up in London?

Well, this is a bit of a long story, albeit one of my favorites. I tell you if you buy me some cider. Or maybe I tell it some other time when I actually have free time from fixing bugs in my code and IETF related stuff. But the gist of it is that I got hired to work in Canada while attending my second IETF conference. While I liked Canada (and still like to visit), after spending almost 2 years there I was happy to escape from Edmonton to London, UK by transferring within the company I worked for back then.

Are you in London for long?

Hmm, this is a tough one. One never knows. I stopped predicting this kind of thing.

Other interests?

I like to travel. I like to fly somewhere and then visit new places. I like both man made things and natural wonders.

I like meeting and talking to people. I like asking people questions about what they like, what they believe in, etc. I like to observe people. I think I am a good listener. A teacher in school said I should consider studying psychology, but I never did. I suppose that is another hobby of mine.

And finally, I like downhill skiing.