JOB TOWNE: JOB HARDER

I am looking for work! If you’ve been browsing my blog long, or not, you’ll know that I’m primarily a backend-focused Python developer with config management, virtualization, and documentarian bents. My peopling & coworking is LEGIT and I love mentorship and thinking about information transmission. I’m also interested in tech writing, if it’s for something good and chewy that I personally want to see more documentation on (read: everything complicated), and I’d consider a dip into devops/SRE too.

Some of my musts include the following:

  • An established team of at least several years. It seems like between 5-10 years is a very good sweet spot for the kind of growth I’m looking for.
  • You use the Agile development strategy, or something similarly modern. Sprints, clear work assignment and tracking, post-mortems.
  • You use safe, modern Git practices.
  • You have other women in the company.
  • You have onboarded people before.
  • You, as an organization, have made an attempt at writing internal documentation.
  • I am happy to work remotely, but I do not want to be your only remote worker.
  • I am happiER to work in Portland, and require the flexibility to work from home a few times per month, once onboarded.
  • A semi-dedicated resource of whom I can ask friendly questions for the first several months.

Some of my wants:

  • To not be the first woman engineer you hire. This has been very difficult to find.
  • To primarily use Python, with the flexibility to learn new languages.
  • To have the time granted to write great documentation along with the features and fixes I write for you.
  • To be part of a rich code-reviewing team, where everyone’s commits are reviewed, even architects’.

Leave a comment or email me at rkellyalso aat gmail and I’ll shoot you my resume. Let’s doo thiiis.

Advertisements

Setting up my Fedora workstation

Please note that this post contains content not suitable for those who give no craps about the way a Linux box can be set up for an end-user. I do not blame you, those who give no craps.

So leaving Puppet after 18mo (on great terms! hi friends!) I find myself in need of my own real development machine. I begrudgingly find myself admiring macs after all, but after two minutes of looking at craigslist and finding $700 MBPs from five years ago, concluded that that Just Isn’t Going To Happen, much as I love iTerm2. I’ll buy myself a new computer soon but in the mean time a friend of mine had an Ubuntu 12.04 ThinkPad X220 she said I could borrow for a bit, and oh my god, I am in LOVE. This machine is great and zippy and POWERFUL. I might.. I might just buy a clone when I’ve got the bucks, even though you can pretty much only get them used at this point.

Rather than jump back into Ubuntu which is pretty familiar ground, I wanted something slightly different and my friend Amy has been extolling Fedora’s virtues for years. Further, at Puppet, we virtualized nearly all our testbeds in CentOS using the amazing, moooostly internal (but totally available!) Puppet Debug Kit created & maintained by my brilliant former coworker who is still doing phenomenal work over there. Ok, so I will definitely miss my buds there!

So because I spent about half my time on the job in CentOS & Fedora is the closest end-user version of that with a UI (sorry I’m not hardcore enough to only run a server for my dev box haha!), I grabbed the instructions & made a Fedora-specific bootable usb drive with their (prev linked) docs. After formatting the drive, writing the .iso to it, and plugging it in, I had to fiddle with the BIOS, which on the x220 was incredibly easy – first, on bootup it tells you EXACTLY how to get into BIOS, and it gives you the option to do a one-time boot via USB, rather than having to muck around with boot order! Fabulous!! Then with a bit of wiggling (had to get into a babby command line rq to tell it to choose the Linux0 option which kicked off the install, please, friends, do not ask me why) the installation went off without a hitch, with LITERALLY NONE HITCHES.

It was after rebooting that I started to learn how powerful this little machine really is. It’s fast, despite having 1/4 the memory of my old work MBP (though I really don’t know how that scales), and the trackpad uses all the gestures I’m used to from working on macs.

Then I set up my prompt, and without wanting to get toooo too deep into the oogly bits of bash formatting, I had to try and test and try and test and finally settled from:

export PS1='\[\e[0;36m\]rk\[\e[m\] \[\e[1;37m\@ \w \[\e[m\] \n $ '

which threw a non-ASCII character, and when I fiddled, lost the ability to shut off the bold white text, haha, to:

export PS1='\[\e[0;36m\]rk\[\e[m\] \[\e[1;37m\@ \w \e[m\] \n $ '

Huh. That’s only one [ different. Just bless ya, monospace blog draft.

Anyway, then I got ambitious. I wanted to see if I could run Spotify outside a webapp, because that makes it IMMEDIATELY less likely to be used and I rely pretty heavily on it, during and outside the workday. Using these set of instructions which state a requirement of RPM Fusion as installable here, I got going. These are for Fedora 20 & I’m on 23, but I knew I could get it going. I was so excited for this, I LOVE a new Linux system’s first sudo yum(or whatever) update, so I ran that & a few minutes later tried to get RPM Fusion itself installed with the following command:

su -c ‘yum localinstall –nogpgcheck http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm’

But it griped at me about there being no localinstall user – it was griping because we’d told it to perform a command with a specified user with the su command, but it had received no user. Usually this should result in its just using root, so it’s close to the same as just using sudo in front of important things you run in the terminal, but my bash version 4.3.42 was having none of it. So I peeled out the su -c (the -c just means you’re passing it a command to execute immediately, then return to the normal user after execution, rather than switching wholly into the specified user). The issue I ran into thereafter was still localinstall, which my machine still couldn’t find. I made a few attempts at installing localinstall (so meta) but it escaped me. I found this Stack Overflow-ish post asking about basically the same difficulty I was having, and more or less someone says that yum install and yum localinstall accomplish the same thing and the only reason the other still exists is for backwards compatibility. So I changed localinstall to install, removed the su -c ' ', added a sudo since the yum install would want it, and BAM, RPM Fusion on Fedora 23!

sudo yum install http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm

Then, all there was to do was run the lil commands to actually get Spotify since RPM Fusion’s installed! The “dnf” of the Fedora package manager command cracks me up – sounds a lot like “do not f****ng” before “install blahblahpackage”, and I refuse to look up what it means because I laugh every time.

dnf config-manager --add-repo=http://negativo17.org/repos/fedora-spotify.repo
dnf install spotify-client

And that’s all it actually took, which, haha, looking back at what I’ve written, I guess is slightly more complicated than “that’s all it took” might warrant.

Next I need to find a terminal I’m happier with! I seriously miss iTerm2 so if you have any Fedora-flavored terminal loves let me know in the comments. I need tabs, man. I need ’em.

Employment and Education

Hello friends! TIME HAS PASSED. But here you are again! This day finds me employed, after a long struggle. Really, I’ve been job-seeking since January, though well in advance of when I needed to, as my graduation date was March of this year. Believe me, I am still fuzzily post-graduation, extremely happy to have no far less homework than while earning my degree (en français, bien sûr !).

Understanding that confirmation bias makes fools of us all, about two months ago I changed my resume (do I write résumé? seems soooo new yorker snobbish, though it is correct) in what may have been a crucial way. My tech recruiter friend gave me some terrific and honest (read: intense) feedback on my R/CL and told me to cut out the “References available upon request” line, because duh, everybody knows that and it just takes up space. For a few weeks, I had it removed entirely. Then, I did something rather bold, and added the following snake-oil-style pitch toward the bottom of my cover letter:

“But don’t take my word for it! Just ask person_1, the leader of the free world, or person_2, the founder of Mars, or even person_3, the inventor of Post-Its! Every one of these folks is happy to -brag about- be a reference for me, so please, contact them!”

And I got a call, from an awesome company that I have always been too afraid of applying to, thinking that the folks that work there are a special kind of brilliant & that I wouldn’t have a chance in hell at actually working there. One of the reasons, other than my qualifications, that they said they called, was because of one of those people who I’d listed in that section.

Typically, references are a very late game process in the hiring world. Why bother calling references, a time-consuming and very personal (and personalizing!) process, if your candidate hasn’t even made it through a phone screen and an interview or two? In other words – why call references unless everybody is serious? But the fact that I put a few folks on there who wanted to vouch for me made a huge difference. And Portland is really so small and the scene is so focused that the names are fairly well-known. That wasn’t an accident, but I met these great people naturally, by getting out, participating quite heavily (and earnestly!) in PyLadies, and making friends with the people around me.

After two phone interviews, a task, an all-day interview, and a few (totally transparent!) hiccups, I was offered the job at Puppet Labs as a support engineer, and I feel so lucky, I have to keep from gushing about it. I left my stable, lifer career nearly four years ago to do ambiguously Better, and yes, Virginia, this is Better.

SO! Now I am LEARNING, learning learning learning! I’m still having a hard time reading the tickets that come in, but what I am able to do is parse Puppet code, and explain what it is and does, and how it’s an enormous, Neil Armstrong-style leap over previous (and still very widely used!) server management technologies. I’m pretty sure I’m in the right industry, guys, as this is really cool to me. Puppet is a company I am extremely excited to work for, for many reasons, not the least of which is getting to know the complex, technical, and awesome product. I keep a notebook on what I’m learning, and I fill several pages a day. Future blog posts will probably just focus on Puppet stuff, unless I get a chance to work on some recreational stuff. Woo-hoo!

And one last thing: if you know me, you know my absolute most highly recommended piece of advice to those looking for jobs: start a blog. Start a blog, start a blog, start a blog. Don’t wait til you code every bit by hand, don’t wait til everything is Perfect, just go to wordpress or blogspot or whatever, and start a blog. Nearly everyone I’ve interviewed with has mentioned it. Fear not about seeming stupid, because you’re brilliant.

Ok – going to cut this off before I get weepy/proselytizey/we-are-the-world-y. GOOD THING.

Meal Planning

Ok, while deciding what recipes I would shop for now that I’m unemployed (because obviously when you’re unemployed it is time to COOK ALL THE TIME), I decided to make a lil Python program that will let me enter recipes, and at a point in the future, probably after I learn regex, make it fully searchable. I’m already separating things out for ease of searching – like lists both with and without quantity indications.

Problems I’ve solved: a) making a new file name out of whatever the user enters, and b) setting a var for the long combination of dir, name & .txt that I’ll use in a few different places throughout the program

global new_filename
new_filename = "recipes/" + new_recipe + ".txt"
open(new_filename, 'a') # 'a' for append

Iterating through a list which adds to another list with some clever while looping

def ingredient_input():
    ingredient = 0  # is it ok to set this var to a dummy value?  it gets redefined with each loop.
    while ingredient != 'DONE':
        print "what is the ingredient?  no measurements yet, please.  type DONE"
        print "in all-caps if no more."
        ingredient = raw_input("> ")
        if ingredient == 'DONE':
            ingred_check()
        else:
            ingredients.append(ingredient)

And there are plenty of problems I haven’t solved yet. Will write more soon! Unemployed coding is fun, ha ha! “Hmm, let me chew on this juuuust a bit more… oh my god how did 3pm get here” etc etc : )

Bananalogies in Javascryptography

Have you all read Douglas Hofstadter’s beautiful Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid? You should go get your copy. If you don’t have one yet, you can take one home for your very self here. I’ll wait. The internet always waits.

Ok! Remember the terrific inter-chapter dialogues between the Tortoise and Achilles? Remember the one about pushing and popping, meta-Genies, and the Majotaur, “Little Harmonic Labyrinth”? Page 103 in the 20th Anniversary edition. Hofstadter was something of a computer scientist (while being rather disinterested in programming itself), so it’s no surprise that the mathematics of this dialogue (and indeed of the entirety of the delightfully dense GEB) read like a computational theory problem wrapped up in a Lewis Carroll witticism (whom Hofstadter adores and references frequently in the book).

I’m getting lost in the book, as I so often do : ) but my point here, other than urging you to GO! GO! READ THIS BOOK! IT’S HARD AND THAT’S OK! is that javascript’s class inheritance reminds me just a bit of this airy idea of pushing and popping from world to world. Each class is its own world, and pushing from that class is another class that can only come from the initial one.

function Feline = (name, type) {
    this.name = name;
    this.type = type;
};

Now let’s add a method to this class:

Feline.prototype.infoPrint = function() {
    for (var i in Feline) {
        console.log(Feline.i);
    }
};

And now, let’s make a new thing altogether. Notice the third attribute:

function DSH = (name, type) {
    this.name = name;
    this.type = type;
    this.color = color;

And now! Since we know that Domestic Short Haired cats are a kind of Feline, let’s make it so officially, and actually CREATE an animal out of this!!

DSH.prototype = new Feline();

var morris = new DSH("Morris", "ornery", "buff and white");

Also notice that only objects created from constructor DSH will have the attribute color, but the regular Feline class will not. DSH is a push down from Feline, and divining objects from the constructor DSH will only give us specific DSHs, which have all the characteristics of Feline as well (though I believe those are specially mutable even after you’ve defined them, but more on that later, when I understand better too [which I am pretty sure can be strung into the metaphor of popping, perhaps?!] : ))!

So, go ye, and read of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid and tell me what beautiful mathematic or programmatic relation he makes you think of, and, likely, consider in a whole new way!

Last thing: once, on the train (a multi-day, cross-country trip), I had that book in my hand, waiting to get a morning coffee so I could sit and read it (I’ve still only read up to page ~130), and a gal came up to me and said “I read that book thirty years ago, and I’ve been reading it ever since.” Still the finest commendation for a book that I’ve ever heard.

Rabbit object constructor with nested function

EDIT: no longer private, because the notes are good and I thought back to them this morning, so, good enough for me! This is from Codecademy Introduction to Objects 1 25/33.
Private because a) it’s not my code and b) there’s no commentary but it’s important enough to log

function Rabbit(adjective) {
    this.adjective = adjective;
    this.describeMyself = function() {
        console.log("I am a " + this.adjective + " rabbit!");
    };
}

// now we can easily make all of our rabbits

var rabbit1 = new Rabbit("fluffy");
var rabbit2 = new Rabbit("happy");
var rabbit3 = new Rabbit("sleepy");

rabbit1.describeMyself(); // called with constructed object, NOT constructor name.
rabbit2.describeMyself(); // constructedObject.internalMethod
rabbit3.describeMyself(); // output: "I am a sleepy rabbit!"