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Rovatron Self Portrait: a Bid for History  One Bid, Two Bids, Three Bids More: My Bidding Engine Has a Breakup

(Continued from home page)

The reason I knew I had found a good home was because the person who bought me was a huge sniping dude, and because of something else. Remember how I was a Visual Basic program when I was born? Visual Basic is a Microsoft programming language. The new proprietor, Tom Campbell, had been the Program Manager for the Visual Basic language compiler at Microsoft when I was born! However, he had a serious question about my health. There was only one computer running eSnipe. What would happen, eBay be Praised, eSnipe broke down or... or... I got sick?

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Sniper Auctions Bid Adieu?

Furthermore, what if I remained too busy to do the job? Because the truth is, I was already dominating one entire server and steam was starting to come out its ears. We all saw the end coming. Within days of buying eSnipe Tom realized bid sniping was serious bidding business, so he quickly hired a brilliant programmer named Stephen to do all the hard work. Just in the nick of time. There were times when I could barely place a bid and had to take a rest. Stephen helped me out by performing major surgery. He separated my bidding engine into QueueBids and AfterBids. The bid breakup was amicable; we all got along great. Visual Basic breathed a sigh of relief. However, the Access database keeled over and was replaced by a more muscular SQL Server database.

If a Tree Fell in the Forest and No One Was There to Snipe

My new owner decided that one of me just wasn't enough to place bids reliably. He wanted to have at least 2 eSnipes and 2 Rovatrons available at any one time, so if one eBay sniper went down, the other eBay sniper could bid on it. He also decreed that those computers be sniping in different parts of the country. Run by different hosting companies. On different Internet backbones. He wasn't fooling around. I had to be cloned, heaven For... Bid (sorry). 

Rovatron Self Portrait: a Bid for History  One Bid or Two? Controversy Breaks Out Before the Bidding Wars Begin

Here's the funny thing. Stephen, my new programmer, thought Tom, the owner, was wasting his money by having two eSnipes and nearly refused to implement the double sniper auction auction sniper bidding extravaganza. Stephen said "No one does this! It's too expensive!" Tom asked, "So what happens if the site goes down?" Stephen said "It will take a few hours to fix it at the most." Tom asked the obvious question: "What about all those bids?" "Well... we just miss some sniping."

If a Bid Got Bashed, Who Would Do Your Bidding?

Not for the first time, Tom the bid meister made a rash decision and decided to go ahead with the auction sniper cloning switcheroo and insisted Stephen put two identical eBay sniping sites... sniping from two different parts of the country... with two different ISPs to bid from... bidding from two different Internet backbones. And so it goes. Snipers everywhere rejoiced, or at least would have if they knew what was going on in eSnipe's giant underground sniping research facility.

Rovatron Self Portrait: a Bid for History  MISTUS Means Business... And Something else: Bidding in Concert

Stephen pointing out something to Tom. Having two different eSnipes meant they had to update each other all the time. If Bid Site 1 went down, Bid Site 2 couldn't exactly be bidding accurately unless it knew what the other eBay sniper had been bidding on. This is a problem called database synchronization, and normally only much larger companies bother with this kind of thing. But Tom was an eBay user, and he was doing the technical support for leading auction sniper eSnipe, and it was clear we would all have to face that problem. Enter MISTUS.

Double the Pleasure, Double the... Bidding Expense!

MISTUS was the name Stephen made up for his bid database sniping synchronization system. He had given Tom a choice: synchronize using computer hardware (very expensive) or software (inexpensive, because Stephen would write the software and let Tom use it). Tom is a software guy and a cheapsake so the eBay sniper bid backup question was easy to answer. It was still way more expensive than just having one site, but Tom thought it was more than worth it to have that of peace of mind. Now if the bid engine busted, bidding would continue in 20 minutes or so.