March 22, 2006

Napping at work

Posted in: Sleep

There was a thread on the uberman list (a yahoo group for folks interesting in polyphasic sleeping, i.e. six 20min naps every four hours, and nothing else) about napping at work and that reminded me of my last job: it sucks sleeping sitting up in a bathroom/toilet.

So when I was being interviewed by Google I made sure it was going to be OK crashing every few hours for 20mins. Not a problem.

Paul On Gmail Beanbag

The beanbags are fantastic!

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 05:32 | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 19, 2006

Magic weekend

Posted in: Dublin

Euroburner (European Burning Man) crew Lady C and John put on a house-warming in Malahide (20km north of Dublin) and folks from as far as London showed up and partied - including a very cool folk band, complete with accordion and bizarre upturned metal tub cello. Was fab catching up with friends and meeting new ones. Especially keeping an eye on (and helping out where I can with) Ian, the Irish Burner agitator's ambitious plans...

Fortunately, I got lost and ended up scootering to Howth along the coast road, rather than inland. Once corrected by a helpful drunk local I got some more twisty coastal road to Malahide, and then to party. Late next day, giving a lovely new burner native Dubliner friend a lift back we rode back down along the coast as the sun was setting and took a night tour of Dun Laoghaire and Dalkey, with its "Bel Air" of Irish real estate (Neil Jordan, Damon Hill, Enya, etc). Evening finished extremely pleasantly with a roast duck dinner and fabulous Irish hospitality chez Billings, and an invite to go sailing, land yachting, and paint boats in Galway!

Time to drag me and my grin to bed.

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 23:19 | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 17, 2006

Happy St Paddy's Day!

Posted in: Drivel

Happy St Pats Day

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 21:58 | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 16, 2006

Google interview questions

Posted in: Google

Today I had the full monty of Google interview training which makes a Googler a member of the Hiring Squad (comes with free t-shirt!).

I've had quite a few people ask me about the interview for tips etc. There's not really much I can say on this besides all the usual things like be well rested etc. I must admit, I didn't realise there would be four interviews strung together when I took mine.

Here's some info on the process. Apart from an initial phone screen by the technical recruiter the engineering interviews are conducted by engineers: two phone interviews then the famous four hour back-to-back experience. So even just for a potential hire that six engineers doing 45min interviews (in practice most of mine were longer), plus all the time writing feedback, etc. Pretty demanding on us too.

The interview training covers the range of areas we're looking for from coding ability to cultural fit, and how to structure questions that probe for these areas. We even built our own questions as part of the process, based on what we thought were particularly important aspects for the positions we'd be hiring for.

The interviews I had were hard, but fair, and having done the full training I can see how that was built in.

FWIW, there are sample questions online easily available. I haven't seen any of the questions I was asked as an SRE online however, so don't worry, you won't be bored ;-)

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 04:48 | Comments (13) | TrackBack

March 1, 2006

Segway: actually pretty neat

Posted in: Drivel

I remember having two reactions to the Segway shipping, after all its hype. First was "wow, that's really technically impressive". Having a computer balance like that is seriously neat, and from an engineering perspective quite an accomplishment. The other was a sort of disappointment in a sense because I had a feeling it wouldn't catch on even though I wanted it to. They're really expensive. It's quite rare to meet people who've even tried one.

So there's one as an office toy here, on the secretive fourth floor. And after mucking around with it I'm even more impressed. It's one of those experiences where the real life physical experience goes way beyond the intellectual understanding of it. Also, it goes alarmingly fast. 12.5mph is not particularly fast on a bike, but when you're standing on it and can get up to that speed in almost no time, in an office, it's ... fun :-) I don't think I'm breaching any Google confidentiality by revealing there's a waaay dented metal plant pot on one of the back straights, er, office corridors.

One of the engineers here is rumoured to have hacked the starter key to release its speed restriction beyond the three factory settings. The plant pots and photocopier no doubt aren't delighted to hear this...

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 21:50 | Comments (0) | TrackBack