Not a secret: I’m terrible at interviews

I’ve been interviewing in many places lately. Mostly for software developer, web developer positions. I consider myself to have plenty of knowledge, but having 1-2 hours to exhibit said knowledge can be one of the most challenging parts of an interview. If the interviewer doesn’t like your answer, even though you could be technically right, that’s it for you.

If I get too nervous I tend to forget things. No matter how basic they are, it’s just that moment that gets me when they ask me an specific question. I know I have used it before, but it doesn’t matter; I can’t answer the question.

My journey on trying to master the secret arts of interviews isn’t much on the technical part. Sometimes, it’s just the administration part of it. The leadership questions that for some reason are popular.

It doesn’t matter if I can show code or not. If you don’t answer the questions, or at least mention what they want to hear then there’s another possible job down for you.

Now I can see what Hacker News people have been saying all along. The interview methods for hiring developers is broken to tiny little pieces. I’ve gotten to the point that I blame myself for not knowing enough, but never considering that the style of the interview, the interviewer, and whatever question is carries incredibly impacts the screening process. For all we know the person interviewed is the true answer for that job, but the style of the interview doesn’t let him or her shine.

So, for now I’m getting more misses than hits. You just never know what kind of crazy thing they are looking for in a person. So I stopped blaming myself and decided to keep my chin up until I find a place that can value the knowledge and skills I have. A place that can value you as a human being and not a thing you can put checklists on.

All said. I gotta keep trying.

What’s next in programming?

So basically I’m at my wits end. I haven’t had the time to finish my application. There are two things that have demotivated me greatly. First, the overhead of QML is too much to the point that I might have to drop it. This means I’ll have to come up with a way to build a new interface out of html/js/websockets.

I’m up for the challenge, I really am, yet I feel awful about it because I’m scrapping a large portion of the presentation for something that takes time to do. I don’t think the Qt team can optimize the QML Engine in less than two months. The original schedule was to release at March, yet due to circumstances (doing internship, loss of motivation due to the fact that I have to scrap code) I haven’t sat down to work on the app.

I think at worst this is the part I’m just banging my head against the wall since I don’t want to lose my work in vain.

I hate reformatting.

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I messed up my Windows 10 installation a month ago. Basically, the booting time was 2-3x times slower because Windows 10 decided to

  • Installing the boot loader in HDD 2
  • Installing/Configuring the BCD files in HDD 3
  • All so it can load SSD 1

It feels like it doesn’t make sense at first but it does. I tried to fix it myself but the task was pretty much daunting. I don’t know how it ended up like that.

So today, mostly because I could no longer turn an eye at it I decided to fix the issue. I went ahead backed up my three storage devices because I was also planning to use Bitlocker. Basically, once I backed up the files I unplugged the HDD cables and made the installation on the SSD.

Boot loading time has now been fixed!~

Onto Bitlocker

Now, plenty of you will probably scoff at the idea of using Bitlocker. Bitlocker works, obviously, the present problem is a trust issue with Microsoft itself. I analyzed the situation, and my conclusion was pretty much this:

It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t, really. First of all I’m no Edward Snowden, I don’t do any questionable activity that requires me to hide my data (that doesn’t mean I don’t want to keep my privacy & protect files versus keeping questionable data). I simply don’t have that type of thing going on for me. Rather, I’m just a normal person wanting better security for my devices. Bitlocker solves that and it has ongoing support with Microsoft.

I have bigger threats to worry about. Social engineering, computer or storage drives stolen, and the list goes on. These things are a major threat that we ignore in exchange for giving in to paranoia.

If someone stoles a USB Flash drive and I have it protected by Bitlocker or any encryption software; I know I won’t worry because I was responsible enough to put a lengthy, complex password. It makes sense.

NSA, and whatever sort of evil is out there is keeping tabs on… people that are threats. I’m pretty sure that a guy that watches anime, tv series, does a lot of gaming, etc isn’t a major threat. The people around me, however, will always be a major threat as you never know if they have ulterior motives.

So yea, my reasoning may not be the greatest thing ever. I WILL keep my files encrypted and protected. I just wish that Microsoft had more guts; but also, their business would be hurt badly if they piss off Big Bro.

So do yourself a favor, evaluate your encryption options. If you have a Windows device with Pro edition, check out Bitlocker. If you want something else, there’s Veracrypt.

Updates, updates everywhere!

I’ve been watching Microsoft’s Build event, been doing so since last year and this year has been pretty darn exciting. I’ve yet to dabble into C# mostly due to most of my energy going to C++, it’s apparent that I want to work with C#, after working with Qt I feel like the reach for “easy mobile development” is a mere pipe dream. I feel… disappointed? I guess. The truth is that I’ve spent my time doing more workarounds and hack-ish solutions that actually working on my application. QML is a very, very insanely powerful language, the things it brings to the table is just awesome. Yet, the price to pay is having poor documentation on many QML elements.

Putting my feelings aside on Qt/QML for a moment. I think that I will eventually push for C#, in all honesty I just want to stay with one, maybe three languages to work with. Right now I’m just a jack of all trades, and I don’t like it that much.

Anyway! More updates

Recently I bought an SSD, a 256GB drive and it has been a huge step for me. I usually had to wait 5-9 minutes for a full boot in a normal HDD. Now it boots completely in 20-30 seconds.

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I also bought off a 970 GTX from a friend. I’m way behind games, and well, hardware in general. Once I installed it on my PC it blew my mind after playing games like Witcher 2 in pure 60FPS, Call of Duty: Ghosts was the one that called my attention the most with insane level of detail. I plan to snatch Advanced Warfare eventually too.

2016-03-26

Both hardware pieces have contributed greatly on my PC. The boot time is no longer a problem and Visual Studio opens in less than 10 second. Meanwhile games I had problem playing due to framerate issues are no longer an issue.

Now… there’s only one big worry I have. Software development interviews and getting hired. These are possibly my biggest challenge, as a person new to the industry I just don’t know what to expect.

Graduation around the corner

It’s been an awful week for me, sort of like a roller coaster. Like two weeks ago I got the notice that I qualify for graduation, there’s only two courses left that I have to take, that is the internship (which isn’t much of a course) and a history course. Time has passed, year after year I just wanted to get that degree already so I can finally drop my applications to U.S-based companies.

Obviously programming is a very competitive field. I already admitted myself that I will make mistakes and that “I know that I know nothing”. I hope that all the time I spent studying, tinkering, practicing with different programming languages comes to fruit. I’m thrilled and terrified, really.

I’m finally there though, these past three years have been hard, painful, agonizing even on multiple levels, ranging from family issues to profession issues. That said, it’s no use of thinking of the past, it’ll get you nowhere. Usually I just severe anything in between and carry on, for the better or worse.

Just three months more. o/

Support

Yesterday, one of the most beloved wrestlers in the WWE, Daniel Bryan, announced his retirement followed by one of the most passionate, honest goodbyes in the WWE. Daniel retired due to medical reasons he was set to the final slot yesterday in Raw followed by the WWE Network for an extended time.

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It was heartbreaking.

I love wrestling, really do. Seeing one of the wrestlers you cheered for go down for whatever reason hurts to some extent. Today though, I was reflecting on some of his words, his interactions with his family, and so many other things that made question, “what am I doing?”.

My interactions with people hasn’t been the best; I feel like most of the time I have spent has been wasted. I’ve been ungrateful. I seldom smile honestly, it’s something that I have taught myself to do over the years. I want to learn how to “act” normal, while missing the point of being yourself.

I wish I could say I tried, but this isn’t the case. I have given up so many times without trying, yet you see this guy, Daniel? He’s a fighter, he kept pushing on even with all the injuries. I didn’t. I always come around, really late, pick myself up and push once again.

Which is why it was never a matter of “trying harder” but having the desire to want it. There’s a lot of issues I want to resolve… I guess time heals old wounds. I did learn a lot yesterday, I just don’t think I can put it into words.

Back to business

So I’m finally back from my one week break. I’m somewhat disappointed with my lack of exercising these days, and much of it boils down to my sciatica interfering when I start working out. That aside, it’s been a roller coaster of emotions.

screenshot
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For starters I moved my laptop to use elementaryOS, and so far I have no regrets. It’s been a delightful experience. I think the next iteration of it is around the corner (maybe?) with the next Ubuntu LTS and it’s going to be a hell of an upgrade. What I worry at the moment is the lack of updates in Spotify I hope that when Ubuntu LTS kicks in they finally update their client to use a recent version of libgcrypt.

As for my application. I’ve been pondering for a while what to do with the user interface as it’s been a very stressful task of bringing something good to the table. My fault lies within the need “to be original”… sadly original these days is incredibly hard so I’m going to focus on bringing a sane and solid experience even if the design in the end reeks of “boring”. It really stresses me as while part of me want to provide something really solid I can’t come up with a good interface without sacrificing something. Well, tomorrow I’ll be sitting once again sketching a new and predictable design.

I’m no designer though… so all I can do is just try.

Spotting a minty taste

My family threw a party, but due to age, and humidity’s tag team partner, dust, it has decimated a lot of the music CDs over time. Plus my family track of music hasn’t been updated for decades so I was at my wits end since I refused to be exposed to more christmas music… seriously over the year it just…. gets unbearable, to know I have the potential to be grinch, huh.

Well, I came with the idea of connecting my Linux Mint powered laptop to the audio system but I didn’t have the cables to do so either. Luckily there was a stereo jack to 2RCA cable in my room–that I didn’t even know about–so basically the result became this:

mintyspot

Linux Mint, being a derivative of Ubuntu LTS release, I didn’t have to follow my own guide of fixing Spotify in Ubuntu Vivid… which makes me wonder if Spotify finally fixed their build. I’m a happy Spotify user, and I’d like to use the client in linux, not the weird web interface. Heck, you know, you might as well release the web client for linux.

I’ll elaborate:

I installed Fastmail’s Android application to access my mail weeks ago, and I noticed that their client is actually the web application embedded with a browser so all it does is API calls to the main servers and store whatever offline data it needs to.

It’s an option, only if providing the client to linux is hard for them. [avoid ranting about mostly clueless users who think cross-platforming is easy] (it’s almost a taboo to rant about users, it seems. Well, mostly counterproductive.)

In conclusion, Spotify is incredibly awesome. I’ve discovered a lot of artists thanks to it. Recently I have found that their Discover section is getting better and better, meaning we get to discover even more musicians that might be your cup of tea. There is a need for applications/services like Spotify for linux. Especially to premium users, we can sync our playlists and keep programming without a worry, or maybe sync music to your phone and go to exercise.

The fruitful summer of 2015 to now

Screenshot from 2015-12-29 11:43:42

Basically the graph here has been my progress so far. Back in June and July I conceived the idea of creating an application. In August I made my first commits using Qt Widgets but as it stood it wasn’t easy to provide animations and transitions with widgets so I contemplated about using QML/QtQuick, to tackle two different languages took a toll on me I had to take breaks for a few days. I barely knew C++, heck, I still don’t know much about it but most of its syntax I can recognize and digest compared to when I started. And QML is sort of like a this weird technology that is so implicit in nature it drives you insane, at the same time the more you use QML the more you realize that your whole application can react to practically anything, it’s like using Qt’s connect on steroids, seriously.

And that’s what so scary about QML in a way. When I started writing QML I always overdid my QML types to the point I had to refactor or rewrite it again. Now in December I use less built-in types and do more in a way because I’m aware of QML’s behavior and how most of the anchors/layouts lays/positions itself.

If you notice, there aren’t almost any commits in the month of November I’d say I was taking care of personal issues and dealing with college that kept me away from programming. I was also really burnt out due to dealing with two languages so there’s that.

Well, I hope I can start this January of 2016 with a bang finally releasing my app.

Paths

You know, never in my life I considered myself a classical music (using the term as macro) guy in the term that I never spared a thought about it. These days I would take my time going through the various artists Spotify lines up in their “Related artists” section. Amusingly all began in a “silly way”, I was binge watching Your Lie in April and some of the works that were performed during the series were to my liking. I should say that when I say “silly” I think there’s this preconceived notion that if you are inspired through a medium that is meant to be pure entertainment somehow it makes your experience “less” than others.

I say this because obviously I wasn’t raised listening to many classical figures–that at a mere second of playing the tune many in the scene would recognize it–no, nothing of the sort. I got interested in it because I watched a anime series, which I recommend to anyone with an interest in the medium.

In the past though, I have shown great affinity to progressive metal, jazz… so thinking about it it might not have been as incidental as I previously thought, or maybe it was. Who’s to know.

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I started cleaning today found textbooks lying in my shelve and on the floor I was quite surprised that there were some I’ve forgotten about like Mastering Regular Expressions and Guide to Japanese Grammar. At some point in my life I do want to learn Japanese, like any language it’s overwhelmingly complex; I know there are people born with that gift of learning any language in a short time, sadly I wasn’t born with a gift like that. This year my goals strays far away from learning Japanese, sadly, mostly because I have to focus on other matters I want to take care of.