Category Archives: work

It’s Been a While

I just realized it’s been over a year since I last posted. I’ve been thinking I need to get back to posting about technical things I’m working on either on my own or at work.

Some areas I’ve been spending more time in and that I’ll try to post about are Spring 3.1, especially around the new @Configuration options and how they can impact testing, Mongo for fun data management and document storage, and the figuring out the right workflow for our development team in moving towards Git away from Subversion.

On the work front I’ve been to China twice in the last year with most of my time spent in Shanghai.  I was lucky enough to spend a few days each in Beijing, Hangzhou, and Seoul (took a weekend jaunt over to South Korea on the way home).  I’ve also visited a few customers domestically in New Orleans, East Chicago, Northern Indiana, and North Dallas.  It’s pretty amazing to see how our software is being used to help kids learn.

During this last year we’ve also been working furiously towards moving the company’s delivery from on-premise to on-demand and managing to keep a code base that is almost identical in the process.  It’s been interesting to say the least.  We work towards a lot of automated testing wherever possible.  That’s where some of the changes that are coming as part of Spring 3.1 come in handy.

That’s about it for now on the technical update front.


A New Gig

I recently took a new job at (warning: not safe for work) to manage the software development team.  I had managed a software development group in the past but for the last few years I was really more into just building software and staying heads down.  If there’s any constant in the software field, though, it’s that things always change.  The change for me was that I wanted to get back into leading a software group and working more with other groups inside a company.  Just building the software wasn’t enough for me anymore.  I’ll probably write about this more at another time but I’ll just leave it there for now.

One interesting aspect about working at a company like this is that the place has an amazingly positive vibe to it.  People just don’t go and work at companies in this industry unless they want to be here so I think that is one of the things that really contributes to it.

We’re also hiring so send me a resume if you can work in San Francisco, know Java well, work with and like Hibernate (we run it as our EJB3 entity provider) and have some usable XHTML/CSS/JavaScript skills you might be a good fit.  You have to take the quality of your work as a matter of personal pride to do well in this group, also.  We tend to mostly run on Macs and you’ll usually have a 30″ monitor to work on.  I can also pretty much guarantee that we have one of the most unique work environments you’ll ever experience.

Embarking On A New Adventure

On Monday I’m going to be starting at a new gig. The company is called TeeBeeDee. I just noticed they have a special invite-only signup right now. Before that it was just their logo. I can’t go into any real details right now but they’re really early stage and I like the energy I sensed when I interviewed there a few weeks back. Stack wise it’s a Java open source stack for the most part so it’s right up my alley as far as technical tools go.

Why did I leave NorthStar? I went to NorthStar about 19 months or so ago and it’s been pretty good. I’m not leaving because of the people or anything but rather I just kept feeling the pull to go back to a really early stage company. I like being there in the beginning and building the platform out. It’s why I came out to the Bay Area in first place. Now that Myleene’s job provides all the benefits I have the ability to take on more risk and hopefully the reward that can come with it.

Hopefully my new Thinkpad has been delivered by the time I start on Monday. I had the choice of laptops and went with the Thinkpad. I thought about getting PowerBook but both of the other guys have them and it’d probably help to have a Windows machine to help with platform testing. More than that, though, I’ll be much more productive in the short and medium term on Windows. The PowerBook was very compelling and I almost pulled the trigger on it. A Unix based OS with a really nice windowing system on top and then there is the 1″ thick machine itself with all the toys. What’s not to like?

Why Spare the Air Days Suck

It means it’s usually really hot. I can deal with that, though. The reason it really sucks is that BART is free on those days (like today!). And when BART is free you get lots of homeless people that ride it for the air conditioning. I got on a train this morning and the car I was in had at least 4 homeless people asleep/passed out in that end of the car. Luckily the next car only had one in the first half so I sat there but the smell was still pretty overwhelming. BART probably hopes that the extra people that try to take advantage of the program will start using the system more often but I can tell you with pretty much certainty that it’s not going to help matters. They need to find a way to boot non-destinational riders for riding the system and enforce them not taking up 2-4 seats while they sleep, even if the cars aren’t full.