In anticipation of the Hackathon, I developed a proof of concept (POC) application that demonstrated a potential use for our API. Basically, it’s a Facebook Application that looks at the location of your friends and generates a random package (hotel + flight) to that person’s location (if several of your friends live in the same city, it groups them all together) if that person does not live in the same city as you do. For the you, the application generates a random “StayCation” deal at a hotel in your current location. It still has a few issues, but I think that it’s a pretty good POC that was ready to share with any of the Hackathon attendees who may need inspiration.
Working on this application not only gave me an opportunity to use the product that I am testing from a client’s point of view, it also gave me a chance to play around with the Facebook API and Google App Engine. I had uploaded applications to Google App Engine before, but they were nothing particularly forward-facing, and certainly did not offer the sort of tight integration with another service (Facebook using Oath for authentication) that goSeeFriends does.
Today is my last day at the Hackathon. It’s also my last day in San Francisco – for 5 days Carrie, the boys and I are coming back next week to spend some time with my aunt Pigi.
This trip has been fun but tiring. I find myself more than a little bored with continually eating out and sleeping in a bed that is not mine. Mostly, though, I find myself missing my family and the area that has been my home for the past twelve years.
I’ll be back soon. Then we’ll be leaving again
Day two of the my trip. I helped out at the Hackathon yesterday afternoon and early this morning. Despite the pictures, I was actually being chatty, smiling and being as helpful as I could be, given the fact that I’m a relative newcomer and have had to ramp up on my knowledge of both the framework that I am responsible for testing and others. Seeing as how there is a strict “no in – out” policy being enforced for the contestants, I’m seeing plenty of sleeping bags and cots around here. I’m also seeing plenty of ad-hoc standing workstations being fashioned by placing (a) a chair on top of a table, and (b) the computer on top of the chair.
1 – Last night for dinner I went to Sweet Woodruff. I had their “The Burger”, which is a small beef patty with Havarti cheese, a Dijon aoli, pickled onions and tomato jam served with an arugula side salad. While the food tasted alright, I found to bun and the overall size of the burger to be a bit underwhelming for a dish that I had to pay $8 for sans waitservice.
2 – This morning I treated myself to a breakfast place that I had wanted to visit the last time I was in SF (last Spring) – Dotties in SOMA. While the outside is nondescript, the inside is warm and inviting. Their menu has loads of temptations on it, but I went with the Pulled Pork Scramble and a side of Bacon. The scramble was a tad underseasoned for my liking, but the bacon was cooked to perfection.
3 – En route to the Hackathon, I stopped off at the target=”_blank”>Sightglass Coffee roasters on 7th Street in SOMA. They seem to be San Francisco’s equivalent of Victrola in Seattle. The vibe of the roastery is certainly the same – sunny, airy with an industrial look and feel to it. The macchiato that I got from Sightglass was (happily) on par with what I’m accustomed to in Seattle
4 – I find evangelists of any stripe to be creepy.
5 – Capitol One has a 3D printer set up on the table next to us. Pretty cool!
Today, for the first time in close to 20 years, I find myself on a business-related trip far from home.
While I was stationed overseas in the Navy, I used to do “fly-aways” in which I’d accompany other repair personnel to a remote port at which there were no repair facilities available to help fix problems. I travelled to both the mainland and Sicily (I was stationed on Sardinia during this time), as well as Greece and Israel during these repair missions.
Fast forward 19 years, and I find myself here in San Francisco representing my Expedia team for an upcoming Hackathon during which I will be providing on-site technical support for an API that the hackers can use in coding their own apps. I’m enjoying being in another city for a few days; I’m not enjoying being away from my family
1 – Hearing all of the news regarding the rampant income inequality in the Bay Area (as evidenced rather ostentatiously by the nigh-ubiquitous Google Busses and Ferries), I was expecting to walk about not in the rough-and-ready San Francisco of my Navy days but rather a bleached out version that had become over-gentrified a la Ballard in my hometown of Seattle (or Bellevue, the city in which I presentlyt work). I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were still plenty of neighbourhood haunts, at least in the section of Nob Hill in which my temporary residence, Hotel Vertigo. As a matter of fact, I had the pleasure of grabbing a delicious half-Cuban sandwich at Bread and Cocoa, a marvellous barbecue chicken wrapped in a spinach tortilla at Sutter Pub (along with a draft pulled pint of San Francisco’s own Anchor Steam ale, which is something that I’ve not had in years), and breakfast this morning at Lori’s Diner. Unfortunately, I think that I got food poisoning from Lori’s But still…there are so many neat looking places to try in the neighbourhood that I’m taking this advantage to not stop off at McDonalds for a meal or Starbucks for Coffee!
2 – I went for a run this morning. I decided to scope out the actual event site so that I’d know where it was for future reference. I started in Nob Hill, passed through the Tenderloin and ended up in SOMA – none of which are the very best parts of town. It struck me to see so many homeless people milling about and sleeping on the street. What struck me even more was the fact that the police officers were engaging in cleanup efforts that seemed to be less about transitioning these people to a shelter of some type than about moving them from one part of town to another with less cachet. “Not my problem, Not in my backyard.”
3 – The Expedia office down here is less a proper office and more of an co-work style incubation space. Open, loud, and raccous. Never thought that I would be on a business trip to San Francisco and miss working in Bellevue
Carrie recently got a book by Sandor Katz entitled “The Art of Fermentation,” in which he discusses everything from homemade sauerkraut to beer and all points in between. Both Carrie and I have taken up the cause with a vengeance, with Carrie making homemade sauerkraut and hot sauce, and me making hard apple-ginger cider and beer using yeasts that have been cultivated from the air, as opposed to store-bought. Carrie also makes a mean milk keiffer that tastes better than anything that you could get from the store
So far, I’ve experimented with making Ginger Beer, the aforementioned cider, and a honey ale, all using wild-cultivated yeasts. The standout as of yet has been the hard apple-ginger cider. The procedure is really simple. First, the mash:
- Mash up 3 inches of ginger and a whole apple into a mason jar or bowl
- Add 1/2 cup room-temperature water
- Stir in 2 tablespoons of raw sugar
- Let stand covered by a towel in a warm place for a week, stirring in 1 tablespoon of sugar every day
Then, the cider:
- Bring 1/2 gallon unfiltered (and preferably unpasteurized) apple cider (NOT Juice) to a boil
- Meanwhile, slice up 12 inches of Ginger and measure out 1 cup of currants
- When the water is boiling, add the ginger and currants and lower the heat to a soft boil (medium-high)
- Cover and let boil for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
- After 20 minutes, remove from heat and add 1-1/2 gallons of chilled cider
- Take the temperature of the mixture. You’ll want the cider to be between 65 – 90 degrees F before adding the mash.
- Once the cider is between 65 – 90F, pour into a sanitized plastic or glass container large enough to hold the entire batch. Do not strain out the ginger and currants!
- Allow the bucket to sit in a warm place (above 65F) for a week, covered by a towel.
- At the end of the week, strain out as much of the mash, ginger and currants as you can.
- Let this sit for another week.
- Bottle or jar.
That’s it. For about $30 you can make two gallons of extremely tasty cider guaranteed to keep you warm during the colder winter months
I’ve recently had to accept a rather sobering fact about myself, career-wise. See, in the way back when I graduated from U-Dubb with my degree in Informatics, I had envisioned myself as becoming either a Project Manager or Application Developer. However, I was having difficulties landing those positions at the time, so I took a position as a Software Tester with Par-3, and the rest is – well, history.
The two jobs that I have gotten since my first have been as a person who specifically writes frameworks that tests software applications. With my latest move to Expedia, I’m starting to lay the foundation for a framework that will test an emerging product aimed at other software developers, primarily those in the mobile space. Having billed myself as a Software Developer in Test for so long, I’m not sure that attempting to switch tracks at this point is the wisest thing to do. I’d make an excellent Application Developer, but I’m sure that it would take my having tangible experience (and not just my word) to convince someone outside of myself that.
So – as Carrie pointed out to me recently – I’ve got to own the specialist that I’ve become. My elevator pitch:
If you don’t have a testing framework for your stack, I’ll create one for you.
If you already have one, I’ll make it better!
Because, that’s exactly what I do
Here it is – B-Boys, year four! A look back at Gabe and Ollie’s past years, just in time for their fourth birthday