"I'd like greens with dinner.""Yeah, I should eat more greens. But I'm usually happy to just make them once or twice a day, instead of three times. I just don't always feel like cooking them, you know? I don't really want to cook them tonight.""I wasn't asking you to cook them. I'll cook them.""Funny, I had this whole conversation with you in my head where I got annoyed about cooking greens when I didn't want to, except I'm not actually annoyed, because that'd be silly, it was an imaginary conversation, and I don't have to cook greens.""That...that's it? That's the best you can do for creating conflict?""Yeah, sorry."
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
"I can go get those to show them to you.""It can wait until after breakfast.""They're right downstairs! I can just go get them.""Do it after breakfast."She starts to get up. "I'll be really fast and come right back."No-Nonsense Parental Command Voice. "Sit down."
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
"So, do we not have psyllium husk?""Why on earth would we have psyllium husk?"
"Because you're a fucking hippie."
[shocked] "I am not a hippie!""Do we, or do we not, have flax seed in the house?""WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?"
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Our internal state is in harmony with the external state of the world around us.
- As best we can, we're accepting the reality of events. For J, this would involve abandoning his conspiracy theories about how I failed to bring the iPhone in the car because Mama and I don't want him to have his rightfully-earned time playing games.
- We're interacting with other people in a way that they can listen to and feel as comfortable about as possible. This commonly means not punching them (though not universally, even here), but also, in our culture, taking bites, using silverware, and not walking around with food covering your face and hands.
Friday, February 11, 2011
The job is called "Site Reliability Engineer" (SRE), for which Google is the most famous. At Google, there are two kinds of SREs. Sysadmin-SREs (SA-SRE) work more on the systems administration side of things: automating SA tasks, making them scale. Software Engineer SREs (SWE-SRE) have to understand things broad and deep, to debug and modify complex multiple-service architectures with many moving parts. They also communicate with regular software engineers (SWE), or as an SWE-SRE friend at Google says, "mostly consult with product teams to make sure 200 million people can use their crap at once. I think it's a pretty good deal actually ... regular SWEs have to write features and ship products, all an SWE-SRE has to do is make them faster and more scalable."
"If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?"Honestly? Invest it. I have everything I need.""Okay, say you had to spend it within a week, it would all go away.""Hmm...buy a house, give the rest to charity.""That's it? No insane trip to Vegas? Amsterdam?"
"I do want to see Amsterdam. But I make enough money to have a pretty awesome trip to Amsterdam. And I don't even know where to start with spending that much money, the most expensive hotels are still just $6000 per night.""Nope, you can find them for $50,000 per night."
"Well, I know myself well enough to know that the enjoyment I'll get from a $6000 hotel room versus a $50,000 hotel room isn't enough to justify it. I'd rather just give the money to people who need it more than me.""You sure? They'll deliver anything, right to your room. You can say 'I want a Bentley delivered' and it'll happen.""Enh.""Do you have any vices?"
"Hmm. Whole Foods has these grain-sweetened chocolate-covered raisins--""That's not a vice!"
"Sure it is.""No, I mean like drinking? Gambling? Snorting coke off of hookers? Those are vices.""Nope.""[writes] Chocolate...raisins..."
"What are volts, watts, and amps?""The electrical grid in the U.S. and most other countries, is it direct current or alternating current?""Why is alternating current used for long-distance transmission instead of direct current?""About how big is 22-gauge wire?""1-gauge wire?""How much current could you put through a 22-gauge wire?"
"Okay, next section...""Just a second, if I could. Why is that important to you?""Working with data centers, electricity is important.""Okay. Did they tell you I'm not a sysadmin?"
"They mentioned that, yes.""Okay, cool. Carry on."
"How does traceroute work?""What's the DF bit in an IP packet?""What is ICMP used for?"
"What's the most important technological development of the past three centuries?""Public sanitation.""Huh!""I mean, I guess it could be the germ theory of disease, though that's not necessary for sanitation, that doctor made a map of London showing cholera outbreaks focused on public wellheads. I think Pasteur was in the 1700s and the map guy was early 1800s? All you really need is to see that water-borne disease exists. So, yeah, the biggest thing is the idea that streets should not be flooded with human feces."
"Any questions for me?""Do you like working here?"
"It's awesome.""Why?""The people are awesome. And I come in at 5 and no one cares." [They made him get up early to come to the interview at 1 PM.]"How do you envision this role? What do you think I should be doing in this job?""Deal with engineers and tell them they're doing stupid things.""Anything else?""Write things to make my life easier."
"How do you think you did?""I think I did all right."
"You think so?"
"Yeah, I made you smile a few times, even though you didn't want to."
"HR made me stop using the word 'douchebag' in interviews."
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
- Go to the Mail section of the Desktop Interface.
- Start a new message to yourself.
- Click "Attach vCard." This brings you to the Contacts screen, where it will show your "A" contacts.
- Under the "Attach Checked vCards" button, there's a "View" selection. Select "All."
- Click the checkbox column header to select all your contacts.
- Click "Attach Checked vCards." This brings you back to your email in progress.
- Send the email to yourself (give it some time to send).
- The email will have one vCard for every contact.
- Assuming you don't want to import them by hand into anything, GMail will let you download them as a .zip file.
- I then merged them (using
catin the command-line shell) into one giant .vcf file.
- The only thing on Linux or OS X I found that will sensibly parse a multi-contact vCard is Google Contacts.
- Google can then export the list in Outlook or other formats.
- I only exported 130 contacts. I don't know what happens if you have the limit of 2,000. Should be fine. Will definitely be slow.
- Plan to do some hand-editing. There's all kinds of crazy "CLASS: PUBLIC" notes and weird wrong birthdays and stuff in the vCards.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Saturday, February 5, 2011
James: yeah the job thingI hear the "talent shortage" story all over, and not just from employers, who are usually trying to justify either outsourcing overseas or an increase in H1-B work visas. I asked a recruiter about it, and he said it was mostly people complaining that they couldn't find engineers who were good at both server infrastructure and user-interface programming--not surprising, since those people are like unicorns. At no point in computing history have there been a meaningful number of people who were good at both those things, and no one has ever thought it a reasonable strategy to try and find one. So mostly I think the recruiter was an idiot.
James: see here's the thing
James: THERE ARE NO GOOD ENGINEERS LOOKING FOR WORK RIGHT NOW
James: you're like, the only one.
James: in the whole bay area.
Chris: yeah, it seems to be a problem.
James: I mean I admit that the work my company does may not attract as many applicants.
James: but we still have 3-5 coding tests per week.
James: and everyone fails them.
James: and deservedly so, given what I overhear them asking.
It is true that Google and Facebook have taken their piles of money and perks and vacuumed up vast quantities of area tech people. We're also in the middle of a startup bubble, where stupid companies are once again getting too much money from venture capitalists, at excessive valuations. I give it another 6-12 months before something bad happens; some of my risk/reward calculus on my job offers involves finding a stable place where I won't have to change jobs for a few years.
The warm weather is supposed to continue, sadly (I dislike bright sunlight, and thus most of California's weather). Tomorrow afternoon is a housewarming barbecue, and on Monday I'm interviewing and lunching at Mountain View #2. Their office admin says:
"Should be a beautiful day, too (we usually eat on the balcony)."
- Interview in SF.
- Give my dharma talk.
- Phone call about the sudden new opportunity of Mountain View #2.
- Job offer from San Francisco. Recruiter gets all snippy at me when I don't accept immediately. I have a negative emotional reaction to the recruiter, and try not to transfer it to the company.
- Casual interview with a couple of the tech guys at MV #2, to see which of 2 jobs I should be applying for. Didn't realize this would count as an interview, really.
- Free! Except for prepping for Friday's interviews. I went to my favorite bar, did a little reading, but mostly had a couple drinks and hung out with some nice geeks from Electronic Arts.
- Discover, with tremendous surprise, that there are a couple decent duplexes, at reasonable prices, in a neighborhood where I would actually want to live, and the mortgage payment could be 60% of the rent we're looking to pay (and the rents would pretty much cover that). The idea of buying a house in the midst of all this other life change, let alone being a landlord, is insane. And yet. And yet. Things will settle a bit once I have a job, and then...
- Interview at Mountain View #1, 10 AM - 1:30 PM, then chat with the hiring manager for a bit.
- Meet the founder/CTO and VP of Engineering for Mountain View #2.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
- More responsibility.
- More need for independent motivation.
- Roles that are not well-defined in the work they'd be doing, either because engineers pick from a list of business priorities, or it's a new role that no one has done yet.
- Really fantastic opportunities to learn new skills and build and fix cool and/or important stuff.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
- How do we perceive what's happening? In the situation, and in our own thoughts and feelings?
- What does it mean to practice with that? How do we respond?
- What happens when we practice with it? What changes?
- How does this relate to [insert passage from some Buddhist text here]?