Monthly Archives: January 2007

Technical interviews

27 Jan 2007
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  Comments Off

Over the years, I’ve sat in my fair share of technical interviews, both as the interviewer and the interviewee.  As an interviewer, everyone has their own style.  Some people like to do whiteboard exercises, some like pencil and paper, some just want to hear about projects and some want to find out if you know the nitty-gritty details.  Personally, I like to just shoot the breeze and try to get a feel for the person AS a person, but that’s neither here nor there right now. 

Over the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to sit in two tech interviews as the interviewee.  One of the interviews was a good mixture of pencil and paper and talking about projects while the other was a pretty intense detail-oriented interview.

The detail-oriented interview was actually the “secret” phone call I had last week during CodeMash.  On Thursday morning, I had a tech interview for Pillar Technology.  The interviewer was none other than Dave Donaldson.   To say I was a bit intimidated would be an understatement.  Dave drilled me pretty well on .NET internals.  By the time I was done, I thought for sure I had totally blown the interview.  Five months on the “bench” hasn’t been the best thing to happen to me, so I definitely felt a bit rusty and there were several questions I absolutely should have known, but either struggled with or just plain couldn’t answer.  Ugh.  Not a good thing.  The interview lasted just over an hour.  When I realized this, I felt a bit better because if I had totally sucked, I’m sure he would have ended it after 10 minutes or so.

Anyway, after the interview, I talked to the recruiter, who BTW, is very cool.  She had just gotten off the phone with Dave when I walked up.  Surprisingly enough, I got the thumbs up.  I talked to a couple more Pillar people, but earlier this week, I was sent a contract and a bunch of HR paperwork.  Woohoo!  Granted, it’s going to be 1099 work, but hey, that works for me.  I’m all for keeping some semblance of independance.  I’ll be working on some cool projects with some really smart people, so I’m happy.  Best of all, there’s not much travel involved.

One thing I learned through my years as an indy has been do NOT put all your eggs in one basket, so last week during CodeMash I accepted an interview for this past Monday.  I didn’t want to make any assumptions about an offer coming from Pillar, so I jumped all over the opportunity for an interview.

The second interview was for a contracting company that’s doing work at Northrop Grumman.  This time around, the tech interview was a bit less detail-oriented, but still tough.  They asked about the projects I’ve worked on, the technology I’ve used, etc.  They had me review some code and explain what it was doing.  They also had me write some relatively simple HTML as well as some SQL.  Overall, I feel like I hit this one out of the park, but because the contract company I was dealing with is 3 layers down from Northrop, I haven’t heard anything back yet.

Regardless, it was nice to have a couple of interviews after such a long time on the bench.  Dave definitely made me realize those areas I need to work on and I’m definitely thankful for that.

Update on my New Years resolution

26 Jan 2007
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  2 Comments

The whole pushup/situp challenge is going really well.  26 days and 351 pushups/situps into it, I’m feeling really good.  I’m already noticing some changes which definitely helps keep me motivated.

I have made one change, just to keep things interesting though.  On any “even” days, I’m replacing the situps with 4-count flutter kicks.   I’m almost at my goal weight of 190…in fact, I’m down to 194.  I think around Thanksgiving I was around 205…maybe even 210.  I’ve said for a long time that once I hit 190, I’d lose the goatee, so hopefully i’ll be updating the picture on my blog soon.

CodeMash Wrapup

20 Jan 2007
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  Comments Off

CodeMash Wrapup

The organizers of CodeMash did an oustanding job.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the venue was great, the speakers were awesome and the sessions were jam packed with good stuff.  As I told Jim after his “Open Source” talk on Friday, this was definitely another home run.

If you missed CodeMash, you missed a great opportunity not only to learn about cool technology, but to network with peers.  While I’m not necessarily a social butterfly, it was nice to talk to Jim, Jason, Dave and Dan again.  The guys and gals from Pillar were great (mmm…..gotta love a booth that has Hershey’s miniatures) as were the guys I talked to from Sogeti

I can’t wait for CodeMash 2008!  Of course, I’m really looking forward to Code Camp in Dayton-Cinci again too.  And hopefully there’s gonna be another Day of .NET in Ann Arbor (after all, we can’t let the guys from Ohio have all the fun).


CodeMash Day 2

20 Jan 2007
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  2 Comments

CodeMash Day 2

I meant to get this up on Friday, but the day got away from me. 

The morning keynote by Scott Guthrie was good, but I have a tough time getting excited about stuff like LINQ.  Yea, it’s cool technology, but until it’s “real” and in a released form, I’ll stick with what currently works. 

Mary Poppendiecks session on Lean Software Development was cool.  What she presented was mostly common sense, but I found the history to be quite interesting.  I think it’s funny how we tend to do the same thing over the years but give them different names.  At the book giveaway at the end of the day, I scored Mary and Tom’s book “Implementing Lean Software Development“, so I’m hoping to dive into that soon.

I missed out on the second session of the morning to deal with some business.  After my meeting ended, I talked more WoW with Jason Follas.  At one point, I even fired up WoW and showed him my main “toon” and a little of the Outland (new areas opened up with the recent expansion pack). 

After lunch I sat in the “Real World Continuous Integration” session given by Dan Hounshell and Joe Wirtley.  It was a good session, but I couldn’t help feeling it was missing something.  I’m not sure what exactly…maybe I was looking for more of a best practices session, but I still enjoyed it.

The final session I attended was given by Jim Holmes.  The couple of times I’ve seen him speak, he’s always entertaining and he certainly didn’t disappoint this time.  He’s given me some inspiration to look at mbUnit (again…my first experience with it sucked) and to also check out Rhino Mocks. 

The giveaway was good, but dammit….I wanted one of those Xbox 360s.

Windows Developer Tools Day — My favorite tools

19 Jan 2007
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  1 Comments

I’m sitting at the morning keynote at CodeMash being given by Scott Guthrie from Microsoft.  He’s talking about LINQ  and the evolution of data access code.  I’ll post more about the keynote in a bit.

Before I forget I wanted to blog about my favorite development tools

Hi, my name is Mike and I am a ViM addict.  In order to maintain my sanity while working in Visual Studio, I use viEmu.  This is a great Visual Studio addon that let’s me use Vi commands from within the VS editor.  Wanna move the cursor around the screen and not take your fingers off the home row?  try j,k,l,m.  Wanna quickly and easily search your code?  Simply type / and then enter.  To navigate between the results, hit n.  Highlight a block
of code?  Esc, v, move the cursor to select.  Awesome addon that was definitely worth the price.

Other tools that are high on my list:
CodeSmith – excellent code generation tool.
NUnit – I tried mbUnit, but keep coming back to NUnit.
TestDriven.NET – Let’s you easily run your tests from within VS.NET.
Reflector – Look inside compiled assemblies.

CodeMash Day 1

19 Jan 2007
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  Comments Off

CodeMash Day 1

Note: I decided not to lug my laptop around to “live blog” today, but will probably try it on Friday.  Also, I’m having connection issues, so I haven’t put any hyperlinks in this post yet.  I will get to that Friday morning.

Well, after a terrible night of sleep, I headed down to the conference center around 8am.  I knew I had an hour to kill, but figured I’d run into some people I knew.  There were a lot of familiar faces from the Dayton-Cinci Code Camp and the Ann Arbor Day of .NET. 

I saw Jim Holmes, who as usual, was running around making sure things were just right. :-)   I have to give the organizers a lot of credit because they’ve done an outstanding job setting this up!  I talked WoW with Jason Follas for a bit and then headed into the morning keynote about “Domain Specific Languages and Their Role in the Evolution of the Programming Paradigm” given by Neal Ford. The talk was very good and I found Neal to be a very engaging speaker.

Unfortunately, I had to leave the keynote a few minutes early to head back to my room for a phone call (more on that in a future post).  The phone call lasted until just after 11.  When I got back to the conference area, I met up with a friend of a friend at the Sogeti booth.  We both headed to the “SOA as a conversation”, which turned out to be a pretty good session.  In the end, it really seemed like all he was saying is “don’t complicate stuff” and that it’s all about interpretations.

Lunch was spent at a table with 5 strangers. :-)   The discussion centered around Java and .NET.  Then it happened….

Bruce Eckel started his afternoon keynote session titled “The World is Dynamic”. Wow.  Not only were his slides really entertaining (pictures from The Burning Man festival), but the overall content was right on the money.  He is a very engaging speaker and I couldn’t help but think, “Damn, he’s really good”. :-) Of course, I do own a couple editions of his “Thinking in Java” book and subscribe to his blog, so I may be a bit biased. 

After the keynote, I caught up with Dan Hounshell at Ben Carey’s session on TDD.  Dan and I discussed the “pushup/situp challenge” a bit after which I filled him in on my still “secret” phone call from the morning. :-)   I can’t wait to sit in on his CI session Friday afternoon.

Ben’s TDD session was good, although since I already do TDD, I can’t help but think I should have sat in another session.  Don’t get me wrong.  Ben was a great speaker and the content was good, but there was nothing new in it.  What I found most interesting is the perspective he has on testing given the field he currently works in (medical).

Final session I attened was the “Networking for Nerds” given by Brian Prince.  While I know a bit about networking, it was a good session that was made even better by Brian’s great sense of humor. 

So, overall, the first day was awesome!  Again, Jim and the other organizers have done an outstanding job.  The speakers have been top-notch, the sessions very informative and I can’t say enough how great the venue is.  Even though my wife and kids couldn’t join me on this trip, they’ve heard enough about this place and have convinced me to bring them for a family weekend. :-)

CodeMash arrival

18 Jan 2007
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  3 Comments

I arrived at the hotel around 6:45, and after walking the 1/4 mile (I’m joking, but it pretty damn close) to my room, I registered and snagged my goodie bag.

Turns out that while there’s gonna be wireless in the conference area, the rooms are wired.  Guess what Mike forgot to bring with him?  Well, forgot isn’t really the right word….I mean, c’mon, it’s 2006 and I expect my hotel rooms to have wireless. :-)   Anyway, I made a quick trip to Wal*Mart and picked up an ethernet cable.

The connection kinda sucks.  I tried to play some WoW tonight, but had to quit.  Even surfing to my blog was slow.  Hopefully the wireless access in the conference area will be a bit better.

Session List

I’m gonna hit the keynote in the morning, but have to skip out on the first session to take a phone call (I may blog about that later).  My plan is to hit either “SOA as a Conversation” or “What makes Rails Possible: An intro to the Ruby language”.

After lunch another keynote followed byeither “Beyond TDD” or “Building Enterprise Smart Clients using a Service Oriented Architecture”.  The final session is probably gonna be either “Source Code Management with Subversion” or “Enterprise Python Architecture.”


CodeMash here I come

17 Jan 2007
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  Comments Off

CodeMash here I come!

I’m heading out about 4:15-4:30pm today.  Mapquest is saying about 2.5 hours, so hopefully I make it about 6:30-7p.

Looking forward to taking in some great technical content, meeing people and making new contacts over the next couple days!

More CodeMash goodness

11 Jan 2007
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  Comments Off

There is now a CodeMash group on Google:

10 more days!

My Upcoming Schedule

10 Jan 2007
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  Comments Off

I’ll be at CodeMash starting on Wednesday the 17th.  I plan on arriving around 5-6 so I can catch the panel discussion at 7.  I’ll be staying through Friday night and leaving early Saturday morning.  If anyone wants to hook up, let me know!

On February 13, I’ll at ‘The Ready for a New Day Launch Event’  (Office 2007/Exchange 2007/Windows Vista) in Detroit.

And finally on March 24, I’ll be at the Cincinnati-Dayton Area Code Camp 2007!  I had a blast at this event last year.  Good topics and great speakers!  Definitely worth the 4+ hours I have to drive to get there.