Monday, December 28, 2015

Look Henry I Got Glue Stuck on My Skis

After a grueling climb and ski of Little Bear I had a decent amount of pine needle and sap on my skis, so I took some white gas and cleaned up the bases nicely and put the skis into storage for the summer.   Fast forward to next year and my brother Mike and I are on an early season tour up to Berthoud Pass, at the top of Lift Ggully I go to pull my skins off and there is a whole lot of skin glue stuck on my skis.  Skiing down with that much glue on the skis felt like skiing with your skins on, if your skins were on backwards.  After that run we were done for the day and I was left with my skis in shape best described as no good.  

I did a little research on how to remove skin glue from ski bases, one post on TGR had a few ideas, one was to heat the glue up and scrape it off, another was to use white gas and just clean it off.  Starting with the heating and scraping idea, I was unable to make much progress at all, so I switched over to the white gas approach.  There was a lot of glue on the bases, but eventually by using a bunch of steel wool and white gas, I was able to get it all off.  It took several passes to get rid of the glue, then I switched to a t-shirt rag to do the finishing touches.

The before
 photo 1FD76F0D-FCC6-4F28-B34B-376A20F2B2B7.jpg

and the after
 photo FBFA7F60-DC99-42D1-B26D-3861589510F1.jpg

Will it work?  I'm hoping to take the skis and skins out for a little tour up in Breckenridge to find out. I definitely don't want to get on anything too committing or lengthy without knowing for sure the glue stuck to the skin debacle won't happen again.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Learning to Program Course

Here's the basic chapter outline for my new "Learning to Program" course that should be coming out on coursera sometime soon.  Let me know if you want to see any additional chapters.

Chapter 1: How to brew coffee
Chapter 2: How to google for solutions to your problems
Chapter 3: How to paste solutions into your IDE
Chapter 4: How to make more coffee
Chapter 5: How to commit your changes to source control
Chapter 6: How to find the nearest bar to your office
Chapter 7:Learning how your perceived value coincides with how much you complain about other people's software

Friday, November 13, 2015

10 tips for technical interviews

There's lots of advice out there about how to interviews, but after going through about 100 resumes and conducting dozens of interviews over the past 6 months I'd thought I'd share my thoughts.

  1. Make sure you resume prints on one page, include all the positions you've had but "built an ecommerce app in a .NET/SQL stack that supported 100,000 users" is enough.
  2. Do include links to your social profile on your resume: linkedin, github, etc.
  3. Do be knowledgable about the company and if you're not passionate about the business don't bother showing up.
  4. When you're asked about how you work through conflicts don't answer "I've never had a conflict with another co-worker", because then it's obvious you're either lying or delusional.
  5. Do not be afraid to answer any question "I don't know", nothing is worse than listening to someone stumble through a domain that they don't know.
  6. Do ask questions throughout the interview.
  7. Remember the WAIT acronym, "Why Am I Talking", brevity is the key to answering questions effectively.
  8. Be on time, and if you can't, let the company know ASAP, there is grace for people who communicate effectively.
  9. Remember the non-verbal skills: eye contact, dressed appropriately, etc, it's obvious but you'd be surprised.
  10. Lastly, for the hiring managers, hire for passion, train for skills.

Friday, April 3, 2015

What makes a good software engineer

A good engineer cares about all the aspects of coding as well as the complete SDLC, they should be extremely passionate about and proficient in at least one area.  Writing good code is important but is only a small part of what makes a good engineer.  A good engineer will be knowledgable and care about the following:

  • Testing
  • Coding
  • Analytics
  • Monitoring
  • Deployment
  • Operations
  • Performance
  • Scale
  • Patterns and Best Practices

In addition to caring about all aspects of coding and the SDLC, a good engineer stays up to date on the latest trends in the industry.  You can tell a lot about what a developer cares about by who they follow on twitter, their RSS feeds, and the podcasts that they listen to. Also, a good engineer should care and be knowledgeable about the products and business that their efforts are serving.

Lastly a good engineer takes pride in everything that they do, remembering that whoever can be trusted with little can also be trusted with much.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Spring ski season is upon us

The warming weather and lengthening days can mean only one thing, spring season is now upon us.  When this time of year descends upon us many reach for their clubs or bikes, not me, I reach for my Salomon Pocket Rockets with my Fritschi Freerides, slap on my G3 skis and head for the Colorado high country.

Over the past 15 years I've been out and about summiting the high peaks and skiing down during the prime ski mountaineering months of April and May.  I've been tracking the list of 14ers, here and on  I've ventured in and around the Indian Peaks and Fall River range as well, skiing many of those high peaks as well.

There is simply no better way to enjoy the mountains of Colorado, nothing beats a long snow climb to an airy summit, clicking in and holding on for dear life as you descend 4000 vertical feet of every imaginable snow condition.  Back to the camp in the afternoon, you can kick back, enjoy a beer and relish in the satisfaction of a thrilling climb and descent.

Going from the list of 58 14ers, I have 15 left to do, whether or not I finish them all doesn't matter all that much (although it'd be nice).  What does matter is getting out, climbing and skiing on velvet corn and enjoying the warm weather with great friends immersed in the incompressible beauty of the Colorado Rockies.