Life & Career Lessons – 2012

Life and Philosophy, Midnight Ramblings
Music: Angels and Airwaves - Diary I'm always a little late on the 2012 lists, stick with me, this'll be worth it. Executive Summary of 2012: I started 2012 by taking a bit of a risk careerwise, where before I had been the enterprise huge-company guy, I ventured into mid-sized startupish culture, pushing myself out of my personal comfort zone in terms of commute and direction. I was getting into mobile (IOS) development in my spare time, but still wanted to fill in some experience gaps I'd missed in previous opportunities. I had a good 10 month run at a great 'startup' in downtown Austin, was laid off, felt my world was upside down for a little while there, and came out of the tailspin - righted myself and found…
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Great Interview Questions

Interviewing, Life and Philosophy, Lists, Tips
Interviewing is not a one-sided conversation. If you land a job by only worrying about successfully impressing interviewers, you will almost certainly be surprised, and you may be unhappy once you start the job. It is critical that you understand that an interview is not about making the company happy and fitting their mold, it is about finding a good match for both you and the company. How do you make a good choice in choosing the next place to work? Simple, you ask questions! And how do you make the best possible choice? You put some effort in and come up with some great interview questions. Don't do what some of your crappy interviewers will do and google something random right before going to the interview, actually take some…
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Users aren’t stupid, your UI is.

IOS Product Development, Life and Philosophy, Midnight Ramblings
tl;dr; version: Get your head out of your ass, stop adding complex features that 90% of the world won't care for. Instead, learn to stop, breathe, and make your software products simple by focusing on usability consistently. Users aren't stupid, your UI is. In a big bad world of federated software product development, Usability is usually a bullet item way down at the bottom of a list of priorities for anyone but designers, at best. When your entire product team (including designers, developers, qa, etc) lives and breathes a particular software product for a period of months or years, *any* product becomes easy to understand. It's easy to understand because you're paid to think about, live, and breathe that product for 8 hours a day or better, for very long…
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The story of Freddie Kreuger, the brave three-legged cat.

Life and Philosophy, Midnight Ramblings, Photo Posts
This is the story of Freddie Kreuger, the cat who taught me what patience and love are, and what it means to be brave. Freddie Kreuger and her 3 siblings were born in a neighbor's backyard in May of 2010. The four kittens were born to a feral mother, who we mistakenly named "Mr. Bond" before we realized she was a she. Mr Bond was named as such, because she was very sneaky and clearly feral and scared. She would only come to our back porch to eat in the dead of night, and only when other animals were not around. One evening Mr Bond failed her mission, and a neighbor's cat, named Cinderella, fell in love with her and gave her babies. Cinderella, a sweet male cat, was jokingly…
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Finally on GitHub, you should be too.

Bash, Cool Stuff, Life and Philosophy
I've finally started migrating/publishing code on GitHub. Coder cowboy git code will be here: https://github.com/codercowboy For starters, I'm migrating old World's Worst Software code there, so I can retire WWS. I highly recommend publishing your own open source code and projects on GitHub or SourceForge, or on a blog or website of your own. You don't need to be a coder to put something great out there (or even on GitHub), sharing your creative efforts with the world is almost always a good idea. Designers can share photoshop templates, writers can store and show their book writing/editing process, source control and sharing your efforts is truly for anyone. When you share your efforts, you are doing the following: you're saving other people time; you're inspiring other people to share their…
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Correctness in the Real World

Interviewing, Life and Philosophy
Music: Glitch Mob - Drink The Sea I failed calculus in college. I'm an applications guy, in that, if I can't see the point, if I can't see the payoff, I have a lot of trouble convincing myself effort is worthwhile. What happened was this: It was my first semester in college, and I took my professor at his word. He said there would be no curve at the end of the semester. The day of the final, I had two finals, one at 8 AM (calculus) and one at 11. Never quite a morning person, and making a 37 grade in calculus thus far, I slept past that one and instead got an A on my CS recursion final. I could see the point in recursion, it was real…
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The Trouble With Information

Life and Philosophy
The troubling thing with professors not allowing students to cite wikipedia is the underlying truth that the debate hints at: everything you read anywhere has spin, misinformation, and exaggerated half-truth built into it. You can't trust anything you read, unless you can prove the truth behind it. If your proof is Google PageRank style "Well these four authors say its true, so it must be..", then you're standing on a house of cards. The troubling part is that some authors dare to claim they author non-fiction. The truly troubling part is that we listen to such "news" and accept hearsay/spin as fact. We then internalize it, compile it into belief, and then act on belief, retelling the story to our peers via the grade school telephone game. History is (re)written…
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The worst salesman ever.

Life and Philosophy
Fair warning, this post is filed in the 'life & philosophy' file, and it's going to seem a bit tangental, but stick with me. I have a feeling many a programmer and otherwise intelligent readers will be able to relate. I hate funerals. It’s probably safe to say most people are not fans of funerals, so let me be more specific: I hate funerals in the south. Your average funeral has a few friends, coworkers, and perhaps family members say a word or two about positive aspects of the deceased. Then, if the deceased was religious, or more specifically, if the person running the funeral proceedings is, a preacher will say some words and hopefully leave everyone with a little bit less pain and sorrow. The thing about funerals in…
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Personal Success

Life and Philosophy
I saw a pretty great movie today that inspired me. The past year or so has been an interesting one in my personal and professional life. In that year it feels like I've really honed in on what I really want in career and what personal success truly is. Personal success is not a dollar figure, or freedom from putting in your dues. Personal success, for me, is making something bigger than myself, that makes the world just a little bit better than it would be without me. I wouldn't say coming to that conclusion for myself has been easy. The journey from the past couple of years to here, today, has not been a story of well-calculated steps as much as a story of trying, failing, iterating, learning, and…
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