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Episode 2 Is Out Now

Our second episode is out now, get it!


In just two weeks, we are already closing in on 50 downloads. That may not sound like a lot to you, but for me that is already a small miracle. Life is good, thank you for your support! We have a lot of distribution channels that are just opening up - Google Play, and Apple Podcasts, just started distributing us, so those numbers should start coming in soon, and I am excited about that.

For the moment, I am producing an episode every other week, but if the numbers get big enough I could certainly be convinced to go weekly. Time will tell!

If you have any suggestions, be sure to visit us at podcast.chillfiltr.com.

My first acceptance

So if you have been following me at all recently, my new music blog is taking all of my spare time right now. It's a labor of love, and things are just perfect right now. For the first time in my life I feel like I am making a very real, if small for now, difference in the lives of other musicians. And that makes me feel good. It's really nice to think that I might help someone connect with a song they wouldn't have heard otherwise, and help an artist connect with a fan they might not have found in some other way.

I started out just wanting to do playlists on Spotify, but I quickly realized that I really like writing about the songs I get. it occurred to me yesterday that as a poet, a decidedly non-academic one at that, it makes a lot of sense that I enjoy writing song reviews. The way I write them, it feels a bit like poetry, because music description is fraught with opportunity for metaphor. It just feels natural for me.

So I would like to announce that after 28 days of being a blogger for SubmitHub, I have been accepted into their "Really Good Bloggers" program (#RGB), which just means I get a star next to my name, I get to feel cool about it, and I make slightly more money.

Perhaps the first recognition I have ever had as a writer. They just put lil star next to your name.

And I get to do things like this: write a review that gets top listing, and help my artist climb the chart a bit. It's not much, but it's something.

Top 3 listing of 8 blogs.

Top 3 listing of 8 blogs.

If you are on the charts when your piece posts, I will vote for you.

If you are on the charts when your piece posts, I will vote for you.

And the best part is the thanks I get for the blogs I do. I feel more appreciated right now than I ever thought possible.

Thank you.

it is all about the Javascript

So there I was, on an interview with a cool company called Clevertech, with a pleasant lady named Rena, and the question of Javascript came up, and I mentioned that I saw basically most of their dev team was Javascript developers, and I said something like 'I guess they are doing a lot of front-end'... Not sure why I said that, knowing full well that we already live in a world where Javascript is taking over the back end, but you know sometimes things just come out, and I probably won't get that job anyway but at the end of the day I'm never sure which is which in terms of good vs. bad. Quite to the contrary - when I think I've done well, I've often done rather poorly, and when I think I messed up a bit that is often when I get an offer. But either way, JS is taking over the world, and unless I want to hang my hat on being a Rails dev forevermore (please, no?) -  then I had better get with the program. And now I am doing a little 'code project' for a prospective employer, and pardon my French but I love that shit, because no one ever says no once they see my code. I am a poet who writes code, and that means I care about every line.

So anyway I am working my way through a Node.js proof of concept, and seriously I am having more fun than I remember having in a long time (Node + Express + EJS). Coding is fun, anyone will tell you that, that is how we all get hooked; but if you keep your head down long enough you may forget it is art at the end of the day. I can't tell you how excited I am to get started on something new. I've got a lot more interviews coming up and it all just feels really good right now.

It is really strange to be back on the market, so to speak, it has been almost a decade now since I've been looking for full-time work. But I feel really ready right now for whatever comes my way. And I have until next Friday to deliver on a pretty simple POC in Node.js, and I'm telling you, that app is going to fart rainbows by the time I'm done with it. :)

the reverse interview

So after 20 years of doing this, I've learned a few things about the interviewing process. One of those things is the concept of a reverse interview.

For my example, I am going to use the interview I did for a company called Recurly (in San Francisco), they were based in the Mission near where we used to live and I was excited to finally get one of those 'warehouse' dev jobs, like I used to pine for in LA when I used to live east of Hollywood with my view of the downtown skyscrapers. So I get the interview, I talk to Scott, their lead dev, my prospective 'boss', and we hit it off like gangbusters. Seriously. I was super-excited to work for this guy.

And then he says, one last thing - we need our boss to sign off on you. He's going call you tomorrow. He's going to do an online 'code' interview. We'll call Scott's boss Steve. So Steve gets on the phone, hey how you doing, I am going to ask you how to code a binary tree, we need a left method and a right method and some sort of object. Pick a language. We were using a screen-sharing service, it might have been a shared google doc or something. I could type and he could see it. And I'm saying to myself, 'sweet! I just learned about data structures at Stanford - this is going to be easy'.

I had just finished a class about structures and algorithms at Stanford with Cynthia Lee, and although we used C++ for that I decided to write something with Ruby, because that's my go-to. And I decide to write an implementation using recursion, because had just finished that section with Cynthia and I was excited to show off.

ME: Ok, well the first thing we need is a base case.

STEVE: can you start with the left and right methods?

ME: OK...

and it all went downhill from there. Basically, if you don't understand recursion, it can't be explained to you in a few minutes. It's like the concept of limits - you need some time to wrap your brain around it. And it became clear that Steve did not really understand recursion, or worse yet, thought he did but hadn't put it into practice.

I did not get that job, and for a while I was angry because I really liked talking to Scott, but then I realized, that Steve guy is running the ship. And he was a mess. Put simply: he decided to veto a candidate that his own manager had already approved, based solely on his own limited understanding of Ruby, and recursion, and his inability to see his own limits (pun intended).

So that's what the reverse interview is - if you are not paying attention, as an interviewEE, to all of the details available to you in terms of what kind of culture exists at the company, then you are missing a huge opportunity to vet the organization before you are tied down. I believe great organizations are easy to spot - as are uneasy ones. Most of the time all we have to do open our eyes, and pay attention.

EDIT: I was shooting for something like this implementation but I didn't think to rope in the enumerable module.