• 10(+) years in the Labs

      At the beginning of the year 2021, Qrator Labs is celebrating its 10 year anniversary. On January 19 our company marks the official passing of a formal 10 years longevity mark, entering its second decade of existence. 

      Everything started a little bit earlier - when at the age of 10 Alex saw the Robotron K 1820 - in 2008, when Alexander Lyamin - the founder and CEO of Qrator Labs, approached the Moscow State University superiors, where he worked as a NOC engineer at the time, with an idea of a DDoS-attack mitigation research project. The MSU's network was one of the largest in the country and, as we know now, it was the best place to hatch a future technology.

      That time MSU administration agreed, and Mr Lyamin took his own hardware to the university, simultaneously gathering a team. In two years, by summer 2010, the project turned out to be that successful. It courted the DDoS attack of a bandwidth exceeding the MSU's upstream bandwidth capability. And on June 22 MSU superiors gave Mr Lyamin a choice - to shut down or find money to incorporate.

      Alexander Lyamin chose to incorporate with his own means, which effectively meant that the needed infrastructure must be built from scratch. The initial design should be distributed instead of concentrated within one network, which resources were not enough for this specific task. And by September 1, 2010, those first server sites were ready and running.

      Flashback with us
    • Self-Development: How I Couldn't Wear Two Hats and Found Third One



        Hi all! I lead antispam team and several machine learning teams at Mail.ru Group. The subject of this article is self-development for team leads/managers. But in reality many techniques and recipes do not depend on the role at all. This really concerns me because machine learning is developing extremely fast, and it takes a lot of time to stay up to date. So the question about what should be done for development and how is quite topical.

        Of course, the content of this article is not the ultimate truth but just a description of the results of my continuing quest. It tells about approaches based on books and workshops, trials and errors, which have worked for me. It'll be good to have a discussion with you in comments.
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      • Google Interviewing Process for Software Developer Role in 2020


          Hello! I just finished interviewing with Google and wanted to quickly catch you up on some interesting and frustrating steps of the process so that you can understand what to expect from Google interviews and the steps involved. I will also share some tips on how to prepare for the interview and mistakes to avoid.

          If you’re looking for a success story, this is the wrong post for you. I actually failed the interviewing process, but the whole experience was pretty interesting for me and leads me on to another stage of my career. I will share more details on this at the end of the post. All names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of Google employees.
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        • Nginx's office is being searched due to Rambler Group's lawsuit. The complaintant press service confirmed the suit

          • Translation
          According to one of the employees Nginx's Moscow office is being searched due to the criminal case brought by Rambler Group (the official response of the company's press office to this issue and confirmation of claims against Nginx is below). The photo of the search warrant is provided as the evidence of the criminal case initiated on December 4, 2019 under Article 146 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation 'Violation of Author's and Neighboring Rights'.

          Nginx search warrant


          It is assumed the complaintant is Rambler, and the defendant is still an 'unidentified group of persons', and in the long run — the founder of Nginx, Igor Sysoyev.

          The point of the claim: Igor started working on Nginx as an employee of Rambler and only after the tool became popular he founded a separate company and attracted investments.

          It is not clear why Rambler revised its 'property' only 15 years later.
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        • Handling Objections: Static Analysis Will Take up Part of Working Time

            bugTalking to people at conferences and in comments to articles, we face the following objection: static analysis reduces the time to detect errors, but takes up programmers' time, which negates the benefits of using it and even slows down the development process. Let's get this objection straightened out and try to show that it's groundless.
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          • Configuration of the Warnings Next Generation plugin for integration with PVS-Studio

              Picture 4


              The PVS-Studio 7.04 release coincided with the release of the Warnings Next Generation 6.0.0 plugin for Jenkins. Right in this release Warnings NG Plugin added support of the PVS-Studio static code analyzer. This plugin visualizes data related to compiler warnings or other analysis tools in Jenkins. This article will cover in detail how to install and configure this plugin to use it with PVS-Studio, and will describe most of its features.
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            • How Protonmail is getting censored by FSB in Russia

              • Translation

              A completely routine tech support ticket has uncovered unexpected bans of IP addresses of Protonmail — a very useful service for people valuing their Internet freedoms — in several regions of Russia. I seriously didn’t want to sensationalize the headline, but the story is so strange and inexplicable I couldn’t resist.


              TL;DR


              Disclaimer: the situation is still developing. There might not be anything malicious, but most likely there is. I will update the post once new information comes through.


              MTS and Rostelecom — two of the biggest Russian ISPs — started to block traffic to SMTP servers of the encrypted email service Protonmail according to an FSB request, with no regard for the official government registry of restricted websites. It seems like it’s been happening for a while, but no one paid special attention to it. Until now.


              All involved parties have received relevant requests for information which they’re obligated to reply.


              UPD: MTS has provided a scan of the FSB letter, which is the basis for restricting the access. Justification: the ongoing Universiade in Krasnoyarsk and “phone terrorism”. It’s supposed to prevent ProtonMail emails from going to emergency addresses of security services and schools.


              UPD: Protonmail was surprised by “these strange Russians” and their methods for battling fraud abuse, as well as suggested a more effective way to do it — via abuse mailbox.


              UPD: FSB’s justification doesn’t appear to be true: the bans broke ProtonMail’s incoming mail, rather than outgoing.


              UPD: Protonmail shrugged and changed the IP addresses of their MXs taking them out of the blocking after that particular FSB letter. What will happen next is open ended question.


              UPD: Apparently, such letter was not the only one and there is still a set of IP addresses of VOIP-services which are blocked without appropriate records in the official registry of restricted websites.

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            • I ruin developers’ lives with my code reviews and I'm sorry

              • Translation


              Once upon a time there was a guy on my team so weak that he was going to be fired (a developer! Fired!). Every comment of mine was another nail in his coffin. I could almost hear the bang of the hammer every time I clicked “Submit review”. He was a nice person and I almost felt bad for him, but it didn’t stop me from tearing his work to shreds. I had an inalienable right to criticize his work, right? I’m a better developer, therefore I’m right. No one wants to say that bad code is good, right? He was eventually fired, not before leaving him without the customary bonus for a couple months.

              I said to myself: “I’m not going to do his work, right? He was taking the place of a more talented developer. I did everything right”. But then I received another pull request for a review, and something changed. Drastically.
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            • PVS-Studio ROI

                PVS-Studio ROI

                Occasionally, we're asked a question, what monetary value the company will receive from using PVS-Studio. We decided to draw up a response in the form of an article and provide tables, which will show how the analyzer can be useful. We cannot prove absolute accuracy of all calculations in the article, but we suppose the reader will agree with our thoughts, and it will help to make a decision in the matter of getting the license.
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              • $10 million in investments and Wozniak's praise — creating an educational computer for children

                  We interviewed Mark Pavluykovskiy — the creator of the Piper educational computer. We asked him about immigrating from Ukraine to the US, how he almost died in Africa, graduated from Princeton, dropped out of a doctorate in Oxford and created a product that deserved a praise from Satia Nadella and Steve Wozniak.



                  In mid-October the Sistema_VC venture capital fund hosted a conference called Machine Teaching, where creators of various educational startups assembled to talk about technical advancements.

                  The special guest was Mark Pavluykosvkiy, the creator of Piper. His company created an educational computer — a children’s toy that, using wires, circuit boards and Minecraft teaches programming and engineering to children. A couple of years ago Mark completed a successful Kickstarter campaign, got a couple of Silicon Valley investors on board and raised around $11 million dollars in investments. Now he’s a member of Forbes’ “30 under 30” list, while his project is used by Satia Nadella and Steve Wozniak, among others.

                  Mark himself is a former Princeton and Oxford student. He was born in Ukraine, but moved to the US with his mother when he was a child. In various interviews Mark claimed that he doesn’t consider himself a genius, but simply someone who got very lucky. A lot of other people aren’t so lucky, however, and he considers it unfair. Driven by this notion, during his junior year he flew to Africa, where he almost died.
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