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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Update on all things

I haven't posted in a while, haven't really been in the mood to do it. I got the call a few days ago, and I didn't get the job. Bummer. It wouldn't have been such a hard blow if I hadn't gone up to MA and seen how cool of a place it was. However, during the technical interview it was becoming apparent that they were looking for somebody with a different core competency then I have. Prior to the interview, I was told on more then one occasion to "brush up on your C programming". I did this, and was disappointed when I was only asked two simple C questions out of about 50 questions total. Because of my resume, the interviewer said he was going to ask me a few questions on embedded software too: What is an RTOS and what is an ISR. Even though I am disappointed in the rejection, I take solace in the fact that I would not have been pursuing my specific interests as closely as I might be able to in a different setting.

In all, I have absolutely nothing negative to say about The MathWorks. The interview was quick and seamless. The whole process was efficient, they were responsive and helpful, and I got the final decision in less then a week. It took Agilent months to call me back to say they had gone with another candidate, long after I had already assumed the result myself. I do recommend that all engineers who have used MATLAB and would like to be part of a cool software company should put in applications.

Geoff headed off to the airport no less then 10 minutes ago. His flight leaves tonight at 7pm, although they have to drive to New York, dropping Kara off on the way, find the airport, and make it through security. He's gone now for about a month, is home for a whole two days, and is off again to Mexico for the semester. It is going to be a cool experience, but it's a lot to do in a short period of time.

I've been focusing my energies on my work this week. The key to me getting any job at this point may depend on me producing a quality peice of software for my portfolio, and networking with the like-minded people that I'm meeting through this experience.

Progress on my GC project has been rapid and dramatic this week, my extra level of focus and determination is paying off. It mostly builds (except for some memory-intensive libraries), and I'm passing most of the test suite (about 7000/7700 tests). This is a huge improvement over my progress last week, where I was bearely building anything, and passing only half the tests (3800/7700 tests, about). It's worth keeping in mind that a large portion of the tests are system configuration tests, build tools tests, and coding standards tests which don't require parrot to be functional at all. So, passing 3800 tests from the suite is akin to saying that Parrot isn't passing hardly any tests whatsoever. The bugs that I'm tracking down now are nasty little critters though, and I can only hope that some of them ever get resolved.

Debugging is the real measure of a programmer. Anybody can write code, but not everybody can make wrong code right. Even if I do fix problems, there is always the pressure to fix the problems correctly with a mind to efficiency and maintainability. These requirements are often contradictory, however, and a good engineer must find the perfect balance between them.

There's a lot of work for me to do today, including more blogging in different fora, more work on my GC project, some cleanup to do before the weekend, and a new cable box to install (the old one fried, I suspect heat-death). So, without further adieu...

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