Monthly recap (October 2018)

 

Wings, wand, and glow-rings

 

Major updates:

  • Ran a 10K! (Stevens Creek Trailblazer at Shoreline Park)
  • Fun weekend trip to Seattle
  • Visited the Monterey Aquarium and finally saw the Giant Pacific Octopus moving around!

Minor updates:

  • Updated my older Series 1 Apple Watch to the newer one
  • Halloween fun

Watched/read:

  • Disney on Ice … not bad
  • Listened to The essential guide to NLP
  • Couple of episodes of Altered Carbon
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Plumbing adventures

About a month ago, the faucet in one of the bathrooms started leaking. I ignored it, until I couldn’t … and then I turned off the water supply to the faucet, thinking I’d get to it later.

All I was able to figure out was that I needed replacement cartridges. I bought these on Amazon, and then they sat around, since I had no clue how to proceed.

Luckily, Youtube is full of helpful videos on all sorts of little topics, and I found lots of “cartridge replacement” videos. But this wasn’t too useful, since there are (as I now know but hadnoidea earlier) manytypes of cartridges, with not a lot in common.

Luckily again, I was able to find a video about my specific cartridge type… phew!

Now I just had to follow the steps and … one of the steps involved two wrenches. I dug up my extra wrench, but it was no good, I needed something much larger. Okay, now I had to go buy a large wrench.

Wrench in hand, I was able to get the previous cartridge out, put the new one in and … the faucet wasn’t leaking anymore! Except now the cartridge assembly was leaking. I took everything out, put everything back in and … still leaking.

Eventually, it turned out to be a washer that either never existed, or must have fallen out when I first took the cartridge out of the packet. Either way, I reused the washer from the old cartridge, and … everything just worked.

I ended up spending an hour and half on all this today, but … totally worth it! 😀 (and not just because I have a working faucet now).

Why you should join Pure

I thought I’d share a few thoughts about why Pure Storage is a good place to consider working.

There’s no “one size fits all” answer for everyone, I’m not really aiming this at everyone … but I’m sure there’s somone out there who’ll benefit from it, so it’s worth writing. I can share my own experience, and let you decide where to take it. Pros and cons abound here, but that’s okay: there are things that seemed important to me earlier that I don’t care for now, and vice versa.

Pure occupies some of the rarified middle ground between small startups and the FAANG giants. I feel the “storage” tag is a bit unfortunate, it gives the impression of being boring, but there’s a lot of interesting technology behind the scenes here. For more context: within Pure, there is the larger, more mature, FlashArray division that has the “just replace hard disks with flash” mandate, which I know less about, and my notes apply more to the smaller, newer, FlashBlade division, where I work.

FlashBlade is still in the “everyone-can-fit-into-a-large-room-for-all-hands” stage, so it definitely feels small, since you can get to the “knowing everyone on a first-name basis” in a couple of months.

The product itself has some non-intuitive technical challenges: it is effectively a “mini-cluster”, effectively a set of server racks in the form factor of a large microwave, and so has all the interesting distributed systems challenges you might typically only associate with “cloud” systems.

Features we work on are usually those that are desperately needed to sell more of the product, or to improve its reliability/performance — which means there is a strong sense of purpose, and also a drip-drip-drip of “real” feedback, from sales and the field, as we do demos, roll out beta versions, etc.

So, my own experience:

(Pros)

  • I have an amazing team to work with, an amazing manager, and an amazing director.
  • Teams are constantly shuffled around as we work on features, so the answer to “can I switch teams after a year?” is “you must switch teams before a year”
  • Working with Slack, Git, Stash, Jira
  • You get to build whatever tools you need
  • You get to write/re-write/modify docs and processes as you see fit
  • You can change any part of the code, at any level of abstraction, ownership of the code isn’t tied to people or teams

(Cons)

  • Limited free food
  • No fancy decor
  • Generally fewer creature comforts
  • Development experience is less than perfect
  • Some wikis/docs may be missing, you need to write them
  • Some tools you may be missing, you need to build them
  • Ownership of the code isn’t tied to people or teams, you might need to read/write/rewrite code you haven’t seen before (notice the pattern here? 🙂)

As you might guess, none of the Cons listed above bother me, but I have felt differently about that in the past (and may feel differently about that in the future), but like I said right at the top, that’s fine — this isn’t for everyone, but hopefully it helps someone out there take a good look at Pure and decide to come in for an interview. If you like hard challenges, working hard with a like-minded team, a lot of control over your work, building out new features/tools, you’ll like working here.

Interesting links: September 2018

 

Ancient cities in northern Guatemala, discovered through jungle-penetrating LIDAR.

 

New movie trailers!

Decided to relax a bit tonight and catch up on trailers of upcoming movies, here are the ones I’m excited about:

Monthly recap (September 2018)

 

Coral and fish, seen from a port window of the submarine

 

Major updates:

  • Fun times in Maui! (Spent a lot of time in the pool, half of the road to Hana, small submarine tour(!), a Luau, lots of eating)

Minor updates:

  • Spent most of a week alone with Tara; went much better than expected
  • Tried out fasting for the first time ever (three days! Will do it again!)
  • Got myself a Ukulele (inspired by Hawaii; now to see if I actually end up using it)
  • First ever 10K, and the first run longer than a 5K since my leg injury (went to the “Trailblazer” run at Shoreline; it’s near enough that it’s worth making into an annual thing)

Watched/read:

  • Finally finished (over two-and-a-half years!) all 19 seasons of Midsomer Murders
  • Watched Myths and Monsters on Netflix (meh)
  • Read Go in practice (nice tips)

General interesting links: August 2018

 

Five hundred meters across, with four-and-a-half thousand active panels.

 

Last month’s bunch of interesting links: