Neil Pomerleau

Neil Pomerleau

Software Engineer, Comedian, Musician

NextPlay featured in an episode of Office Hacks

The music program at LinkedIn is definitely one of my favorite perks, and our company band was lucky to be featured in an episode of Office Hacks.

The modern workplace has many perks, but this one might call for a standing ovation. Professional social network giant, LinkedIn, not only has a dedicated space for employees to connect musically, it even has its own house band. And they’re good!

Secret story behind this: we had to do an original song but we’ve never performed it together. Our drummer picked this up in minutes and I’m singing it for the first time!

February 8, 2017 at 4:12 pm · Leave a Comment

LinkedIn Desktop Redesign

This is what I’ve been working on at LinkedIn! I’d like to specifically call out the new Messaging features:

With our new real-time messaging interface, you can message a connection wherever you are on LinkedIn. We’ll also start serving up insights across the site to help you break the ice in any conversation and connect you to your next opportunity. For example, if you see a new job posting you’re interested in, we’ll suggest someone within your network who works at the company.

January 19, 2017 at 9:25 am · Leave a Comment

The 12 Days of Christmas

Happy holidays from InTune! Here’s our Christmas song this year: The 12 Days of Christmas as arranged by Straight No Chaser, performed live at Techapella 2016 in San Francisco’s Curran Theatre.

More videos from Techapella coming soon.

December 25, 2016 at 9:00 am · Leave a Comment

An interview with the “Brains On!” science podcast

How does the internet get to us? In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio’s “Brains On!” science podcast, I discuss what it was like connecting to the internet with dial up and why it was done that way.

When we all first started wanting to get connected to the Internet, we had to find some way to get everybody’s computers connected using whatever technologies we already had. And what did we have? Well, it turns out – and this was especially true before cell phones – that just about every home already had a dedicated phone line for the shared house phone.

Listen to the full interview below (starting at 18:02):

And be sure to check out!


December 21, 2016 at 11:30 am · Leave a Comment

Mitigating a brute-force login attack via telnet backdoor

I have a VPS through Linode that I use to host dozens of websites (including this one). Securing your server against brute-force login attempts is one of the first steps you should take when setting up a new server, and Linode details this fairly well.

However, one day I was surprised to notice that my CPU usage, though steady, was hovering at close to 90%. A peek at the historical usage showed this this had been increasing steadily for over a week now, but went under the radar.


A look at top revealed accounts-daemon (the service that handles user authentication) to be the culprit, and my /var/log/wvmb file (which logs failed logins) was draining my available disk space to nearly nothing.

Okay, easy enough. Let’s cut off SSH access until I have time to figure out why the usual defenses weren’t working. However, the attack continued. How could this be?

Turns out the attack was happening with an old authentication method called telnet. Every article I read about telnet suggested using SSH instead for its superior security when authenticating yourself, but I couldn’t find any resources about securing telnet against malicious login attempts.

I was able to successfully mitigate the attack by turning off telnet authentication completely. In my case, I commented out this line in /etc/inetd.conf:

telnet		stream	tcp	nowait	root	/usr/sbin/tcpd	/usr/sbin/in.telnetd

December 11, 2016 at 4:00 pm · Leave a Comment

Conversation Starters on LinkedIn Messaging

Here’s one of the features of LinkedIn Messaging that I’ve been working on this year!

We know that reaching out to reconnect, ask for advice or network for potential job opportunities can be intimidating. How do you start a conversation with someone you haven’t spoken to in months?

To give you authentic ways to reconnect, we’ve added personalized conversation starters in LinkedIn Messaging to help break the ice.

Read more on the LinkedIn blog.

December 6, 2016 at 10:00 am · Leave a Comment

Instant Messaging at LinkedIn

Very proud of the work done by my team to bring instant messaging to LinkedIn!

We recently introduced Instant Messaging on LinkedIn, complete with typing indicators and read receipts. To make this happen, we needed a way to push data from the server to mobile and web clients over persistent connections instead of the traditional request-response paradigm that most modern applications are built on. In this post, we’ll describe the mechanisms we use to instantly send messages, typing indicators, and read receipts to clients as soon as they arrive.

Read the post on the LinkedIn Engineering blog.

October 24, 2016 at 4:40 pm · Leave a Comment

Pure CSS Star Rating Input

This weekend, I ventured to find a simple star rating input for a personal project. There are many implementations floating around that are not semantic, not accessible, or needlessly complicated.

Below is my implementation that uses the semantically-appropriate HTML radio inputs needed by keyboard users, includes Unicode text labels for both display and screen readers, and avoids use of JS.

See the Pen Pure CSS Star Rating Input by Neil Pomerleau (@neilpomerleau) on CodePen.

October 16, 2016 at 3:29 pm · Leave a Comment

Group Messaging on LinkedIn

Here’s the Group Messaging feature on the LinkedIn iOS app that I worked on earlier this year!

October 4, 2016 at 1:00 pm · Leave a Comment

Smarter LinkedIn Messaging with Bots

Check out what my team has been working on!


“Our focus is really to help our members unlock the power of their networks through smarter and more productive conversations,” said Mark Hull, head of product for the LinkedIn messaging team, in a presentation.

If a user is looking at a company where they’d like to work, LinkedIn’s messaging box will show that user a list of friends who work at the company whom they could connect with. If the user doesn’t know what to say initially, “we give them the words to say to help them with that conversation, just to kick things off,” Hull explained. The smart messaging system would also add a link to the relevant job listing, giving more context to the conversation.

Now that they’re in a conversation, these two friends can call up a bot to scan their Google calendars and find a time that works for both of them, without leaving the messaging box. LinkedIn will also look at where both parties have gone previously and suggest a location for the meeting.

Read the full article on ZDNet, or watch the entire presentation below…

September 22, 2016 at 5:19 pm · Leave a Comment

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