April 12, 2006

Some heavy stuff

Posted in: Drivel, Food, Google, Sport

Whoa. According to the gym scales here I weigh 84kg / 186lb / 13st 3lb. This is the heaviest I've been in my life, and that was when I was training and eating like a freak at Gold's in California in '01-'02 (and I definitely don't have the body I did then). I haven't really done any aerobic work since my accident last year, and no strength work for a few months. Coupled with the free & decent food in google.ie this weight gain is looking like it has some solid foundations...

The food here in Google Mountain View is exceedingly good. It's mid-range restaurant quality, sometimes better, and there's a strong emphasis on using organic produce. The cartons you can use to take food away are recycled cardboard. I've come away from meal times feeling stuffed, which is very rare as apart from the occasional fried breakfast in London I tend to eat small meals.

So combined with the gym here and free, excellent meals I think I'll train for size & strength and leave the slimming to somewhere where the food's not as good :-) Ireland, for example.

As a random aside, I dropped by a local supplements shop and I was reminded the stuff you can buy in America is pretty amazing: over the counter hormones, powerful stimulants, and a range of "ordinary" supplements that boggles the mind. I stuck to a tub of blended protein and some glutamine (a particularly "good" protein). Leave the endocrine experiments to the freaks...

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 23:45 | 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

February 25, 2006

One week in Dublin

Posted in: Google

Wow, this week's really flown by. Monday was entirely admin & induction, Tues through Friday starting the immense amount of learning required for my job, interspersed with completing various legal admin stuff like getting a PPS number. The bummer for the week was getting food poisoning Monday night which inflicted itself on me throughout the week and only just now (Saturday) seems to have cleared itself up.

Well, Google seems to be a great place to work so far as I've seen. Fun team, super friendly, accommodating, and the company seems to provide just about what ever you want, including free beer. From a technology standpoint, it's just surreal. Beyond what I had even imagined. The learning curve is however quite demanding - the figure going around is about 2-3months before being substantially useful.

In other news, looks like I'll be in Dublin for four weeks and MV four weeks, part of an attempt to bring more training locally than in the States.

new wheels

I have a bicycle and a scooter (Aprilia Habana '05) too, which has made life a lot more fun. The Aprilia is way nippier than my Skipper, heehee. I've variously heard that about half Irish drivers have never sat a test after the government cleared its waiting list of driving licenses simply just issuing them to everyone who was waiting! On the flipside, the waiting list for a bike license is about two years. Yikes. Good job my UK one's valid...
Posted by Paul Makepeace at 18:54 | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 11, 2006

Google start date: 20th Feb

Posted in: Google

Spoke with Google today and we made my start date official, it's 20th Feb, a couple of weeks after my originally proposed date (didn't feel like I could fit everything in). It's amazing the shift in perception when there's a firm date to aim for versus a vague provisional figure as there was before. Now to box this place up... *slits wrists*

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 23:07 | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 22, 2005

Dublin ho! Google job accepted

Posted in: Google, What am I up to

Following what has probably been one of the toughest decisions I've ever made I'm leaving London after four years and moving to Dublin to work at Google doing this. Pencilled-in start date is Feb 6th. There is some contractual addenda to ensure there's no conflict of interest between Google's and Real Programmers' projects but otherwise it's on.

The only thing I know for sure so far is that I'll have a Mac laptop and Linux desktop (I got to choose), and that the training will be in Mountain View, California for about three months.


Posted by Paul Makepeace at 17:02 | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 29, 2005

Google and Scientology

Posted in: Google, Travel

I think I'll nominate my Google interview for a 24h adventure status. It's got the ingredients: travel, pressure (waking up <10am, come on!), and something a little random...

The interviews went from 11:15 to 16:00, and there was no lunch break. That's right, no Google Lunch. Renowned throughout the Bay as the premier place to snag a free gourmet platter, it appears this junket doesn't apply to candidates being hammeredinterviewed in Dublin. Oh well, it was a nice chicken sandwich anyway.

There were five interviews, mostly back to back. Identical formats, 'simple' questions ("how do you unmount a hung NFS partition without a reboot") followed by longer on-the-whiteboard questions. 5 x 50mins or so. The five were prefaced by a disclaimer that "even if you think you do badly you probably did OK; this is Google and these are hard questions overall" or words to that effect.

It was definitely tiring; the fourth one actually got into some gnarly stuff that was working me quite hard. In the fifth I suffered that effect where you can hold three buckets of info in your head but actually need to be able to hold four so one keeps falling out either end. It was all good and the guy was sympathetic. Everyone seem stoked to be working there and it was refreshing to see a job where they want both sysadmin and programming skills. So far, my skills in both have been a hindrance or confusion getting work: recruiters and employers can't decide which I am, and whether, if I'm both, how I can be any good at two things. (Answer: don't own a TV)

So, we'll see... couple of weeks for a result from the search engine now.

Entering the Church

I have a few hours to kill before my late flight out (Google kindly accommodated my request to poke about Dublin a bit). So what better way to spend 20mins than in the company of Scientologists? "Lured" by a free stress test I went up and tried it out. I was honest about my aspirations, blockages, relationships, and so on. The conclusion: the needle was hardly twitching so I'm just not that stressed and there weren't really any products to sell me. That was it. Apparently I'm basically sorted as far as my Dianetics consultant was concerned. If I wanted to learn some more, here's a leaflet. Ah well, curiosity satisfied!

Right then, dinner time. At least this one's on Google's tab...

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 17:56 | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 12, 2005

Google jobs

Posted in: Drivel, Google

Four years ago I applied for a job at Google and never even heard a reply. Turns out however my email stayed in their system and a few weeks ago they invited me to apply for a senior sysadmin position. (As Nik said, four years is a long time for a search engine company to return a result...) Anyway, after two hours of the most in-depth and technically demanding job interviews I've ever experienced they're flying me out to Dublin for five more hours of interview in a couple of weeks.

Would it be a CV/résumé entry that would render all the others as so much printer ink? Absolutely. Would it be a unique, incredible, and probably life-altering experience? Almost certainly. So do I actually want to work for Google? Don't know yet. Life is incredibly sweet right here right now. Besides they haven't actually offered me it yet anyway ;-)

Posted by Paul Makepeace at 17:48 | Comments (5) | TrackBack