At last, we reveal ourselves to the Jedi... ;)
- What's ThinkGeek all about?
- Who are the folks that work at ThinkGeek?
- Dogs!? You have dogs @ the office?
- Does ThinkGeek have office webcams?
- What kind of software does ThinkGeek.com use?
- What kind of hardware does ThinkGeek.com use?
- I need to contact the folks @ ThinkGeek
What's the deal with this whole ThinkGeek thingy?
ThinkGeek started as an idea. A simple idea to create and sell stuff that would appeal to the thousands of people out there who were on the front line and in the trenches as the Internet was forged. ThinkGeek started as a way to serve a market that was passionate about technology, from programmers, engineers, students, lovers of open source, to the masses that helped create the behind-the-scenes Internet culture.
Three out of the four founding ThinkGeek members started an ISP in the Northern Virginia area way way back in 1995. We couldn't afford Solaris, learned about a free UNIX-like OS, and spent almost an entire day downloading it onto over 50 floppies for installation on an old 486 laptop with no cd-rom (thanks Slackware!). After a few years with the ISP gig, the ThinkGeek idea popped into our heads, and, operating out of a spare room at the ISP office we setup shop and launched the site on Friday the 13th, 1999...
All the founding members are still in town, and we've continued to grow our product line, expand our staff (including several canines) and enhance the way we interface with customers. Who would have thought...
Who are the folks who work @ ThinkGeek?
Despite our inane hatred of profiles, the ThinkGeek staff follow in ascending order of random, from the top: (BTW we actually have way more people than this, but the zombie attack has delayed us updating this page.)
Dogs!?!? You guys have dogs at the office?
Yep, Two Of Them. Dogs are great deterrents against solicitors. At ThinkGeek we used to have a great NO SOLICITING SIGN on our front door (download your own pdf copy!). Luckily we now have a keyless entry system so that's no longer an issue, but the dogs can help as a backup. They also provide emotional release during 'puppy play sessions' that occur promptly at 4:30 pm each day. In order of appearance and dysfunctional behavior they are Cisco (border collie mix) and Rangeley (labrador retriever). You can check out their profiles right here:
Does ThinkGeek have webcams at its office?
Do Perl coders drink caffeine? Of course they do. Sheesh. Check out the cams right now. That's an order, monkey.
What kind of software does ThinkGeek run?
ThinkGeek runs a homegrown system developed primarily in Perl, all written by one of our founders (Jon), and maintained by our resident code monkeys (Jennifer and Jacob). Requests are served up through a heavily customized combination of Apache, mod_perl and mod_ssl. The actual pages served to visiting web browsers are handled by our custom Apache modules that take over the entire content request/response phases of Apache, allowing us to make use of caching and load balancing features of our software. We get a pretty good amount of traffic, so your average setup just won't do for us--heck, we can survive a Slashdotting (though, we weren't always able to). All of our production servers run RedHat Linux (but transitioning to Centos); our development servers are all Gentoo.
The front-end of the site is designed and implemented by Jen, Carrie and Matt, using HTML templates that interface with Jon's (and Jennifer's, and Jacob's) magic Perl. All of the templates (and the occasional non-templated pages) are written from scratch in HTML and a bit of Template Toolkit (no icky WYSWIG editors here!), and for the most part we stick to the 4.01 Transitional standard. We opted for a balance between forward-thinking design and support for older browsers. There's a few browsers that look a little funky, but we did our best to make the site usable in as many browsers as we could get our hands on! Also, we have to give thanks to the Photoshop and Wacom Gods who helped us along the way.
Our WarpSpeed checkout is based off the AJAX web application framework OpenThought developed by Eric Andreychek. Eric was invaluable with his extensive assistance, debugging, and consultation during our development of the new checkout applications. Thanks again, Eric, for responding to all those late night messages!
What kind of hardware is ThinkGeek using?
Our triskaidekaphobic readers will be unhappy to learn that ThinkGeek uses 13 Linux quad-core front-end webservers that deliver our website to you using Perl, Apache, and Varnish. If you're really superstitious, you'll be relieved to know we have 3 other webheads for administrative, testing and staging purposes. Our databases run MySQL on 6 more quad-core Xeons that are mostly the slaves, and a pair of 16-cores as redundant masters. A frighteningly powerful router handles load-balancing and firewalling, and encrypts your SSL connections in hardware. We also share a 1e14-byte SAN with other Geeknet websites for backups and such. All this goes through dual 1 Gbps pipes that we share with the other Geeknet websites.